Repairing or replacing anything worth more than a few million VND in Ho Chi Minh City is notoriously difficult. Why? Simply because the process will either cost you half your annual salary at a reputable chain, or at least that much in stress as you try to figure out which non-brand repair shop to go with.
I’m talking about laptops, phones, bicycles, iPods, musical instruments - if it's in your insurance policy it probably fits into this category! Intrinsic to everyday life, and a serious headache in Ho Chi Minh City. Over six million tourists travel to Vietnam every year for its fascinating history, hot sun and cheap prices, but electronics in this country can be a lot more expensive than you would think. With Vietnam’s high import tax and the local capacity for scams and overcharging, buying, repairing or replacing a phone can pretty much bust your budget! So what do you do when your smart phone, that best buddy who is by your side day in day out, suddenly pops its clogs?
If I'm honest, I tend to panic.
When I first came here I had no idea where to buy anything. Everything was a mystery to me: the must knows of valuable repairs, the ins and outs of spending and buying, even where to get a pair of socks! (For the record there's a weirdly wooly shop on Lê Thánh Tôn behind Bến Thành market District 1 that sells all things warm and sock related.)
But socks aside. Without a bit of insight into Saigon’s maze of commerce, shopping in this city can be a downright scary process. I'm freaking out a bit just writing about it. Here are some tips to make it easier.
How to Fix Your Phone in Saigon?
Photo Source: Robert Nelson
If you haven't had your phone stolen in Ho Chi Minh City yet, hold on to that sucker as tightly as you can because in reality you're probably next. Almost every tourist who visits this fascinating metropolis loses something valuable at some point, and if it isn't the wallet or the passport it is usually the phone.
The phone. Everyone's best friend, your entire world in one little piece of shiny plastic… If you lose it in Saigon, apart from mourning your loss, what do you do next?
Well first let me advocate filing a police report in case you can claim it on your insurance and changing the passwords on all your social media, email and banking accounts. Also, top tip for all those of you who still have your phone - if it’s a smart phone put a lock password on it! If your phone is stolen this gives you a bit more time to change all those details before the thieves can get inside and access them.
Usually you won’t see your phone again, even if you do go to the police. There is a thriving black market here in Saigon, and many stolen phones are sold either for parts or as full models to secondhand shops and dealers around the city. Often the police either lack the motivation to help, lack the ability, or are in on the whole thing. Police bribes are common. I’m sorry, Lucy (yes, I named my iPhone) is gone. Your best bet is to look for her replacement.
But what happens if your phone isn’t gone? It’s just having a nervous breakdown? Where can you repair that cracked screen or broken camera?
Repairs on the cheap
- Hùng Vương in District 5: Lining the left side of this street as you enter it from Ngã sáu Cộng hoà turning circle, there are a number of secondhand phone shops that will repair your phone in front of your eyes for a very reasonable price. No English, so grunt a lot or use some of the ‘Useful Words’ at the bottom of this post. It cost me VND 300,000 to replace the screen on Lucy and it came with complimentary peanuts.
- Giakien Services in District 10: 352, 3 Tháng 2 Street. This shop is well known for it’s reliable, cheap repairs. You can also visit their website here.
- Hùng Vương in District 5. This strip also deals in quality secondhand models. I bought Lucy, an American iPhone 5 with completely authentic parts, great battery life and a complementary case for VND 7,000,000 here. It came with a 1 year warranty.
- Saigon Square in District 1. There are quite a few second hand phone stalls in Saigon Square which quote a similar price. Turn the phone on to check it before you buy it, and make sure you bargain as sellers will try to charge you more.
- Online. Be very aware when doing this, I lost $350 in a deal with an online seller. We met in a coffee shop, I checked the phone, and just as I handed the money over he switched it for a worthless Chinese knock-off!
Some of the best deals can be had with private secondhand deals, but do be careful. Meet in a public place and bring a second pair of eyes. Make sure you check the phone carefully first, and don’t hand over the money unless you’ve got the right model in your hand! Insist that the seller gives you the phone, box, charger and other accessories separately so that you can see them all as you make the exchange.
Here are some of the more reliable sites offering secondhand models:
Most Reliable iPhone Repairs
iKnow in D2 is the best option for reliable, reasonably priced Apple phone repairs in this city. They also repair laptops and other Apple products which you can read about here. While you can expect to pay a bit more for your repair job than at the super cheap options above, you know that what you're paying for is genuine, quality hardware and the skills of qualified professionals.
Brian, the founder of iKnow, is an ex-Apple repair technician who started the company in HCMC to provide reliable Apple repair services and to sell reliable Apple products to Apple customers in the city. And that is exactly what he does.
- how long will it take? bao lâu?
- I want to watch: tôi muốn xem
How about you? Where do you go to repair your mobile phone in Saigon? Do you have a great address to recommend to anyone who has a broken screen or a dead battery?
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