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HTC 'Uh-Oh Program' Will Replace Your Busted One M9, M8 Phone for Free

HTC hopes to sway customers to its products with a new phone replacement program.

Bonnie Cha

At Mobile World Congress, HTC Americas President Jason Mackenzie hinted that the company was going to offer something different with its new HTC One M9 smartphone to help set it apart from the competition. Today, the company revealed exactly what it meant by that.

With the launch of the One M9, which will be in stores on April 10, HTC is rolling out a new phone replacement plan for U.S. customers called the Uh-Oh Program. Basically, if anything happens to your One M9 within the first year of purchase, whether you accidentally crack the screen, drop it in the toilet or even if you want to switch carriers, HTC will replace the phone one time for free — no questions asked.

Here’s how it will work: You call HTC using an 800 number and give them your phone’s IMEI number. This is so they can check to make sure you haven’t already used the program. If you haven’t, HTC will overnight you a new phone, along with a prepaid envelope to send back your broken One M9 (during the call, HTC will ask for a credit card number to put on hold until they receive your old handset).

If you don’t use the program in the first 12 months, HTC will give you $100 toward the purchase of your next HTC phone.

In addition to the One M9, the Uh Oh Program will also be rolled out to last year’s One M8 model but not to the midrange Desire line. The company began a similar program last year for the One M8 called HTC Advantage that replaced cracked screens for free within the first six months of ownership.

Mackenzie said these types of customers programs are another way for the company to innovate, other than adding new whiz-bang features to their handsets, which are beginning to plateau anyway.

“Everything has LTE now. And everyone says their smartphone cameras are great,” said Mackenzie in a phone interview with Re/code. “It’s all becoming so much white noise, so we challenged ourselves to find other ways to make customers want to buy HTC products.”

The HTC One M9 will face some tough competition from the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, which are also due to launch this spring. But Mackenzie is confident that the quality of the phone and the new program will help steer customers HTC’s way.

“Our competitors look at cracked screens and broken phones as a way to milk more money from [their] customers,” he said. “We see it as a way to change the game, and give customers a premium experience with a premium product. We think the Uh Oh Program is something that will tip people over the edge.”

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