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Walk-in clinic heals broken gadgets

Orlando-based company offers cheaper, faster fixes

(istock)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Devices crash. Screens smash. We've all been there.

And we've mostly been told by our wireless companies or the manufacturers that we have no option but to buy a replacement. But, apparently, we do.

An Orlando company, uBreakiFix, has gone from being a living room enterprise to a chain of 28 stores nationwide. Chances are if you break your electronic device the technicians at uBreakiFix can repair it cheaper than manufacturer or wireless carriers.

"Our biggest battle is getting the word out that there is an option that buying a new phone or these overpriced insurance plans," said David Reiff, company vice-president.

A big battle? The numbers speak for themselves.
Local 6 compared the price to repair a 16GB iPhone4.
Factoring in premiums and deductibles, here's what it would cost under the following insurance plans:
Verizon: $277
AT&T: $318
AppleCare: $149
The same repair at uBreakiFix: $99.

Repairs prices for other electronics range from $50 to $150 dollars at uBreakiFix. All repairs are done in-house. The team is mostly self taught; they learn to fix devices by breaking them down and videotaping the proper repairs. Those videos are their training manuals.

The company handles mail-in repairs from its east Orlando headquarters, as well. The business fixes about 500 devices a day at its stores chain-wide. Reiff and company president Justin Wetherill opened their first store in Orlando in 2009 after a very modest start.

"We started in my bedroom in my house," Wetherill explained. "We moved to the living room after we grew out of my bedroom."

"Humble roots," Reiff said.

Some of their customers have been with them since the beginning.

"I was like, hey, is this place really going to fix my phone," customer Brian Mora said. "And actually, they got it fixed in an hour and a half. Been with them ever since."

The company also fixes water damaged phones and electronics. According the Reiff, his team is able to resuscitate about 80 percent of drowned devices that come into the store; that repair will run you about $100.

The business seems to be making an economic impact beyond consumers' wallets. Already it has created about 140 full-time jobs and other part time positions, as well.