You gotta love the Cell phone Companies. It’s not enough that we have some how acquiesced to paying hundreds of dollars a month for cell phone service. No they have to rip you off on the equipment as well. Average Cell phones cost hundreds of dollars and the top of the line models can cost $600 or $700 hundred. I was held hostage by my service provider when I upgraded my old phones for the “free” upgrade phones; the ransom, a 2 year contract that costs a $175 dollars to get out of.

So now I have these phones and of course they are starting to fail. Calling the service department at these companies is always an international smorgasbord. You may get a customer service representative from India or Jamaica “mon” or who knows where else from. But they all have been trained to trick you into admitting that the phone has sustained water damage and therefore voiding the warranty.

I was just forced to go through a “diagnostic” over the phone with one of these trained interrogators. This genius happened to be Jamaican which at first was amusing then quickly became maddening. I pictured him lighting up a huge spliff and winking at his friends as the interrogation began. He was trying to trick me into finding a Liquid Damage Indicator (LDI), when none was present. It felt like I was getting water boarded.

“Look carefully now mon, do you see a red dot anywhere.”

The space I’m inspecting is under the battery and is approximately 1 square inch. You don’t need an electron microscope to thoroughly examine the space at a glance and determine that there is no red dot.

“No, no red dot.”

“Are you sure mon? It could be white; do you see a white dot mon?”

“No, no white dot.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to see mon; the plastic case can be white and makes it hard to see a white dot mon.”

“No white dot.”

“Sometimes its pink or orange, do you see an orange dot mon.”

Now I’m sure I hear him inhaling on his bong, but I’m still forced to play the game. I naively was unaware of this whole LDI scam and honestly thought that he was looking for some sort of diagnostic label.

“Let me check the specifications on your phone mon. I need to find out exactly where the red dot is located. Can you hold for 5 minutes mon?”

5 minutes, hmmm, plenty of time to roll another spliff.

“I’ll hold”.

10 minutes later

“Do you see 2 screws on the back of the phone mon?”


“Do you see any dots there mon?”

After 20 more minutes of this inane conversation I actually felt like I was about to drown in stupidity. He agreed to check with his supervisor to see if he would allow me to send my phone in for a warranty repair.

Why should they waste ½ hour of my time trying to get me to admit I do or do not in fact see a dot? These idiots don’t get it. If I send the phone in and they see the red dot, then they charge me. If they don’t see it then their piece of crap phone needs to be repaired. And you don’t even get a new phone; you get a refurbished one that someone else has returned, probably with liquid damage, red dot and all. And there is no extension on the warranty, so you’re stuck for the rest of your contract with a defective phone.

So caveat emptor. Do not ever, ever admit that you see any color dot on your cell phone when you are forced to participate in the telephone diagnostic I fondly refer to as “How freaking stupid do you think I am, mon“?

Just for your edification, here is what a red dot would look like if the LDI was exposed to water. Think you could find it without looking at the specifications?