Do Cell Phone Repair Shops Steal Parts? Debunking the Myth

Worried whether or not your local cell phone repair shops might steal parts from your device during repair? You’re not alone! The reputation of some cell phone repair shops has come into question by some consumers with concerns about the possibility of these shops stealing parts from customers’ devices. Below we explore this issue and try to determine whether these concerns are valid or not.

Are All Cell Phone Repair Shops the Same?

To begin not all cell phone repair shops are created equal. Some are reputable and honest while others may engage in shady practices. Therefore its important to do research and choose a repair shop that is reputable and has positive reviews.

Do Repair Shops Actually Steal Parts?

One main concern consumers have is the possibility a cell phone repair shop may steal parts from their device during the repair. The logic behind this concern comes from a lack of understanding of how their phones work and therefore will not know if a part has been removed or replaced. However, cell phone repair shops rely on repeat business and referrals from past satisfied customers. Therefore, it’s not in their best interest to engage in dishonest behavior such as stealing parts.

Survey Results: What Cell Phone Repair Shops Say About Stealing Parts

To better understand whether cell phone repair shops steal parts, we went to the source and asked the repair shops and technicians themselves. We were surprised that 60% of cell phone repair shops believe other repair shops may be stealing parts. However, many note that even though they believe some shops do steal parts they do not believe it’s a widespread issue.

As cell phone repair techs and owners, do you think some repair shops steal parts from customer devices?

Response to Survey QuestionNumber of Respondents
125 cell phone repair shops surveyed

Technicians Report Part Theft

Several technicians reported first-hand experience with parts being stolen. One cell phone repair technician mentioned a customer bringing in stuff for repair after they had taken it to a shady mall repair kiosk, to his surprise some parts were missing inside the device.

Another technician mentions a situation were he outsourced a repair and received a phone back missing the rear camera. To justify stealing the camera, the other shop said the device wasn’t repairable so he took the camera. The rear camera is probably the most stolen part from devices that are deemed non repairable one technician says.

What About Used Parts?

Another issue that contributes to the assumption that some cell phone repair shops steal parts, is the use of refurbished and used parts. Because used and refurbished parts are usually cheaper than brand-new parts some customers may feel they are being cheated by having a used part installed on their phone. However, it’s important to note that used and refurbished parts are often just as good as new parts. In fact, many reputable cell phone repair shops will prefer to use used OEM screens versus brand-new aftermarket quality screens. By using used OEM parts instead of new aftermarket parts the end result repair is of higher quality and the phone remains as close to original as possible.

Trustworthy Repair Shops

Generally speaking, most cell phone repair shops are honest and reputable and will not steal the parts from your device. If you have concerns about a particular shop, it’s a good idea to ask your friends and family for references and read online reviews before making a decision.


While some repair shops may steal your parts during repair, most cell phone repair shops are honest and will not jeopardize their reputation. Though there have been no official reports of repair shops stealing parts there have been reports of shops stealing data during repair. Our findings show that some dishonest cell phone repair shops do steal parts but it’s not a widespread issue. It’s important to protect your data and parts by securing your devices and using only reputable repair shops.

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