Proof that I am Not a Member of Vertu’s Target Audiance

I got my Vertu Constellation in a round about way, and while I have greatly enjoyed owning it there has never been a day when I thought for even a moment that I was in the same financial bracket as the typical Vertu owner.

Today I got proof positive of that fact in the form of a repair bill; more on that in a moment…

I had noticed soon after getting my nearly new Constellation that the leather on its battery cover was rubbed and might one day start to peel back. This is certainly not uncommon with the model, and my device’s peeling issues were certainly much more minor than some of the peeling examples I have seen on say, eBay.

Nevertheless, on a $5,000 phone the peeling was an affront, so I made plans to send the phone in for repair. This was after calling and asking if I could just buy a new battery door and learning that it was simply not possible.

Proof that I am Not a Member of Vertu's Target Audiance
The peeling was occurring on the right corner shown; it hadn’t yet started when I took this picture

When I phoned Vertu customer service about the repair, nothing was said about estimates or any other charges, and  the helpful CS agent offered to send me a FedEx box the next day. For a moment, I entertained the thought that Vertu might regard leather peeling on a gently used, less than one year old phone which cost $5000+ as a defect, and perhaps it would be fixed under warranty. I knew that was unrealistic, but hey – nicer things have happened.

Since I didn’t have a phone that I wanted to use as my daily driver right at that time, I held off sending the phone to Vertu after the FedEx box arrived. It was a good thing too, because in a moment of typical Judie clumsiness, one day I knocked my Constellation off the dining table onto the hardwood floor. I looked at it with wide-eyed horror, but since it wasn’t a truly hard fall, I wasn’t concerned just yet…

As might have been expected in a 4′ drop, the battery door flew off, and the battery skidded across the floor. What was unexpected was that the ear cushion on the front completely fell off; it didn’t break, it just fell completely off. Eeep.

Proof that I am Not a Member of Vertu's Target Audiance
The ear cushion is the ceramic bit on the end of the phone with the Vertu V logo that you see here.

Bear in mind that this is supposed to be a beautiful and tough phone; yet it could not manage a drop onto a wood floor without breaking. This result was a far cry from the much more satisfactory experience I had when I dropped my Ascent onto a gravel driveway; in that debacle only the battery door suffered a ding. But I wasn’t too concerned, because the ear cushion was still in perfect condition – it had just popped off and needed to be stuck back on, right?

Upon closer inspection I decided that it looked as if the ear cushion was held in place with some type of double-stick tape. Truth be told, I could have probably reapplied the ear cushion myself with satisfactory results. But since I had a FedEx box waiting anyway, I figured I would just let Vertu do it “right”.

A few days later Dan had sent me his wife’s 16GB first generation iPhone to use. Since I now had a replacement phone that I was very happy with, I boxed up the Vertu – including the displaced ceramic ear cushion, and sent all in for repair.

I joked to Kevin that it would probably be a couple of hundred dollars to fix everything, which honestly seemed high. I suppose that in the back of my mind I was still secretly entertaining the hope that Vertu would perform my repairs gratis. I can be naïve like that, sometimes…

Today I received my estimate via fax.

$206 for the basic service which includes electronic diagnostics, a full mechanical inspection, a full functional test, a final inspection, and a software upgrade (if applicable).

$207 for the pillow replacement (gulp!!)

$236 for the antenna/battery cover replacement

$52 for North American shipping

Grand total $700.


I have no choice but to repair the phone, and then I suppose it will have to go on eBay. I obviously can’t afford to own it. 🙁

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

10 Comments on "Proof that I am Not a Member of Vertu’s Target Audiance"

  1. questionfear | October 6, 2008 at 2:15 pm |

    Holy crap, thats an expensive repair.


    I know it’s that they are a high end phone and all, but you’d think they’d give you some sort of a hint as to the high flying price of repair prior to you sending it in…

  2. Yeah, a hint would have been nice. Then I could have started deciding which limb I could live without in order to finance the repair. 😉

  3. Wow! With that kind of customer service, I wouldn’t want to own one of those! C’mon, I just recevied a brand new MX Revolution mouse from Logitech because the rubber coating was starting to peel. They replaced it free of charge after 1.5 years of ownership, after I provided proof of purchase. I didn’t even have to return to peeling (but fully functional) mouse.

    I always thought higher prices included a level of service that some could only dream of. Clearly, in this case, that is not so. Too bad for all Vertu owners!

  4. Hm, sounds like you did a play on words from Chaucer’s Canturbury Tales Prologue:

    “Whan that April whith his shoures soote
    The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
    And bathed every veyne in swich licour
    Of which Vertu engendered is the floor;
    When Judie Eeeps! with her sweete breeth
    Inspired hat in every holt and heeth
    The FedEx Boxes, and the faxes sonne
    Hath in the Repairs those high costs yronne…”

  5. @warthog – I totally agree. The more something costs, the more I hope that the company will take care of me should something happen. Too often, this turns out not to be the case. 😛

  6. Wow! I didn’t know Chaucer even HAD a cell phone, let alone a Vertu! How progressive!!

  7. Ouch!! But I’m not suprised.. To get a Rolex serviced starts at $350 and ofte goes to $1200. Sorry to hear such a scalping! At least Rolex gives you a detailed estimate before they start and you can add and subtract as you like..

    Sorry to hear you are going to abandon.. Wait at leat 3 months and recoup a bit of your lost spend.. 🙁

  8. Maybe you should trade it in on this model:

    Vertu is definitely going after the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” market.

  9. It’s a shame to see the Vertu’s build quality isn’t up to snuff, I mean the Nokia 8800 Arte that I tested out was build amazingly well and costs a fraction of that price (though still a premium priced phone to be sure).

  10. To be fair, this was the detailed estimate that I received today, and I didn’t necessarily have to agree to it.

    But the only bit that was considered non-necessary and “optional” was (ironically) the peeling leather – my original problem. At the least, this repair would have cost me $500ish for the service and the ear pillow. Since I have decided it would be best to sell, I figured that I had better get the battery door cover replaced as originally intended… :-/

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