If you own an LG G6 or are planning to purchase one, LG wants you to know that it stands by its products. It wants you to know that so much that today it’s announcing a new program that extends the warranty of the G6 from 12 months out to a full two years. The company is calling this new program the LG G6 Second Year Promise, and it’s being offered for free to all existing and future G6 customers.
In an exclusive interview with the The Verge ahead of the program’s announcement, Chang Ma, president of LG MobileComm USA, was quick to note that this new service is not an insurance program and is not designed to replace one. It will not protect against accidental damage, such as a cracked screen due to a drop or fall. Instead, it merely extends the manufacturer’s warranty against defects from the standard 12 months to 24 months.
Ma says that the idea behind the new program stems from the fact that people are using their phones for longer and are not upgrading as often as before. “We’ve always covered with a one-year warranty,” he says, “but [customers] are now using their phones for 24 months, so what about the 13 to 24 months? That’s how we developed this program.”
G6 customers won’t have to pay anything extra to take advantage of the extended coverage, but they will have to register their phones on LG’s website within 90 days of purchase (or within 90 days of today’s announcement, if they purchased the phone before today) to qualify. The first 12 months of warranty claims will be handled by carriers, as is currently the case with every smartphone, but from month 13 to 24, customers will have to call LG or visit the website to make a claim. Replacement devices, which can be either new or “newly refurbished,” are promised to arrive within 48 hours of filing a claim. Those replacements will then receive a warranty covering the remainder of the program’s term or 90 days, whichever is greater.
This kind of warranty coverage is familiar to Europeans, who have enjoyed two-year or longer warranties on their purchases for a long time. Michael Henson, the senior director of quality management at LG MobileComm USA admits the similarities to what LG offers in Europe, but notes that this particular program is exclusive to the US.
Ma says this new program builds upon all of the things LG has done with the G6 to improve its product quality, from the IP68 water resistance and mil-spec drop protection to the size of the battery that ended up inside the phone. He also notes that while LG did not implement this program directly because of Samsung’s issues with the Note 7 last year, the company did see quality and reliability rank higher in what consumers are looking for from their devices and it is responding accordingly. “As a manufacturer, we have to listen to the consumer and then reflect those concerns in our product design and quality measures,” says Ma.
LG’s motto for this year has been “practical innovation” or providing innovations that provide actual benefit to users of its devices. That’s a stark contrast from what LG did with the G5, which tried to introduce a modular design to a market that wasn’t really asking for it. So far, this change in approach is working: Ma says the G6 has been one LG’s best-selling products since its launch. Today’s announcement is meant to fit into that practical innovation concept.
The LG G6 Second Year Promise doesn’t go quite as far as other manufacturer guarantees have in the past — HTC will actually replace a phone even if you break it in the first year with its Uh Oh program — but it does provide a longer-term coverage than we’re used to seeing here in the US. Hopefully other phone and device makers will follow suit and a 24-month warranty will be just as standard as a 12 month one is today.