What’s the Difference Between Compatible and Original Parts?
Repair centres that complete independent repairs and don’t work for manufacturers have to source their own parts for ‘out-of-warranty’ repairs. Manufacturers don’t directly sell parts to repair shops.
There are cases where service centres will re-sell parts without obtaining permission from the original manufacturer, while other manufacturers authorise service centres to re-sell parts to third party repairers.
It’s quite common for repair centres to either use second-hand parts, or to purchase parts directly from Chinese suppliers. Parts are sourced from Chinese suppliers by any of the following methods –
- Either re-manufacturing or copying the parts entirely, or combining some original parts with their own manufactured parts. At other times second-hand parts are used to make a new part.
- Disassembling them from either new or used phones in working condition, and restoring them to new condition.
- By using relationships they have with factories which produce parts for the original manufacturer, and purchasing parts through backdoor deals.
- Parts obtained through the backdoor method could be stolen from factories, or have been rejected due to poor quality, meaning that they may not have been through the entire manufacturing process. Now you have a half-assembled part being finished off by a third party, and then on-sold.
- There’s no strict quality control system in place in China, therefore parts don’t always meet manufacturers’ standards.
- There can be small defects in parts that are hard to detect. For example, a discolouration in the LCD, a crackling speaker, or a dead spot in the touch sensor.
- China grades the quality of their parts from A+ to C: we use only A+, or whatever is the highest available grade.
- The definitions in China for conditions of parts range from original to original copy, original self-welded, and so on. Because each supplier has its own specific definitions, the quality is inconsistent.
- Prices for parts from China are based on the market demand.
- You may have a supplier in China who normally supplies quality parts; however the parts market in China has no transparency, so you can never be sure just what the quality is going to be like.
- Generally, parts from China aren’t handled to ESD standards for electronic component handling, therefore the life span is reduced, and electronic components can suddenly malfunction.
- A lot of repair shops would be ignorant of how Chinese markets work and how clients are easily misled.
‘VG Phones’ will never use any of these parts.
At ‘VG Phones’ we purchase our parts through service centres wherever possible, and these are the parts we recommend for our repairs. In this way we source Samsung, HTC, Nokia, and LG parts. Because manufacturer prices remain the same, and are often quite expensive, this can be an issue when you have an older phone to repair: in some cases it’s not even viable to repair the phone.
If we have a situation whereby the price difference for original manufacture’s parts is significant, we source parts through Chinese suppliers. When we can’t source parts through the authorised service centre for specific brands or models, we choose to use Chinese sources to repair handsets.
Almost all phone repairers use suppliers who are either Chinese or have a connection to China.
At VG Phones we have the following part types –
- Ori MFN: Original Manufacturer
- Ori TPS: Original Third Party Supplier
- AM: After Market
For each of the above classes we have New, As New, and Used conditions.
- Original Manufacturer
This means that the parts have been sourced from either the manufacturer or service centre. They will have been tested by the manufacturer, passed Quality Assurance, and packed in ESD safe materials.
At VG Phones we are one of the only companies Australia wide who has this practice, and this explains why corporate clients and insurance companies are happy to use our services. We ensure that each and every phone is restored to reliable factory condition.
- Original Third Party Supplier
This means that the parts have been purchased from sources other than the manufacturer or service centre. These are parts that claim to be original, such as LCD assemblies and LCD frame and glass, and they’re often assembled with original parts from outside the manufacturer’s factory. This method is dependent upon the Chinese supplier’s Quality Assurance process as there is no strict Quality Assurance in China to be adhered to. They’re usually packed in plastic bubbles, which may be great for shipping, but is not ESD safe.
All components must be original for us to be able to label these parts as being ‘quality original third-party’. This refers to original LCD and original glass. It’s unfortunate that some repairers and suppliers are not overly concerned, and when it contains only 1 original part, which is usually the LCD, they still name the entire part ‘original’, which of course it’s not.
- After Market
The cheapest way to fix a phone is to use a copy of the original part: this is common for small parts such as speakers, flexes and buttons, and also for touch panels and housings. At VG Phones we very rarely use this option. The only exception is when we are not able to source original parts, and we use this term when we are aware that it’s not an original part even though the supplier may say it’s original. We also use this term when one part of the assembly is not original, such as if the part has original LCD, but the glass is non-original.
‘New’ means never used, straight from the manufacturer. If Third Party Supplier, then new - but could contain second-hand parts that we’re not aware of.
- As New
Often removed from new phones, or alternatively from phones that have been returned to the shop or carrier where purchased. Once they’ve been installed, VG Phones provides a guarantee that your product looks and functions as new, but we still advise you if it’s not in fact new. Others may use the term ‘refurbished’ for these phones.
‘Used’ mean parts that are still viable, but not visibly new. They could be scratched or have a small dent. In good faith we are more than happy to show you the part prior to instalment. In the general market this is often known as refurbishment, but it’s really quite different to the above example.
Here at VG Phones we don’t use the term refurbished because it’s overused by other third party repairers and suppliers, and it doesn’t provide clarity to our customer – in fact it allows for dishonesty. Refurbished can mean second hand, other say refurbished is new but assembled by another party, and still others say it means used, but restored to new condition. At VG Phones we don’t like the vagueness of the term, and we believe there should be honesty and clarity in our dealings with our customers.
Below are some facts that you will NOT hear from third-party repair shops –
- Currently there is no service provider selling parts, so all Apple parts originate from China. All Apple parts are purchased by VG Phones, while other repair parts are sourced from those who declare they are genuine parts. They are made from original materials, such as original glass and LCD, and assembled by another party. When not all original parts are available, substitutes are used; however the part is sold as original. Apple is often unable to see this once the product has been installed.
- Approximately 95% of Samsung screen assembly occurs in China, and are assembled used original materials.
- Most of the LCD assemblies (LCD on frame, glass) use second-hand LCD screens. Those screens with broken glass are sold back to the refurbishment centre where the LCD is separated from the cracked glass, and the part is re-assembled.
- Here at VG Phones all repairs to iPhones are Original Manufacturer New.
- Almost all Samsung screen repairs at VG Phones are Original Manufacturer New.
- LG repairs at VG phones are Original Third-Party Supplier New.
- HTC repairs at VG Phones are Original Third-Party Supplier New and Original Manufacturer New.