Last night, my one true travel companion’s screen died and now, like Old Yeller, I have to take her out to the back shed, and pop one in her head.
My Samsung S4, has had some issues the last few months. One day she is going strong, her memory is great, and the next day, there is no life in her battery. She is only 2.5 Years old, and in human years, she is in her late 60’s. Oh well, time for a new cell phone.
Doing some searches on the net, I see there is a cell phone screen repair place not far from me. Maybe, I can give it a second chance?
I head down to the hotel receptionist area, asking them if they can call the store and ask if they can replace the screen on my S4.
Yuri, the very happy, honest, receptionist calls the store and they tell him, they can do it today for 750 UAH ($36 CAD). This is great news! Yuri gives me directions and also his phone number. He tells me the guy on the phone does not speak English, and to have him call Yuri, so he can translate.
Wow, have you ever heard of such great service from a hotel? Not, in my travels!
I get to the location and there is no store in site, but there is a cell phone provider across the street called, Cell Planet. I go over and ask if they repair screens. They do, but their guy is away until tomorrow. They call my original store and ask for directions. I guess the store has moved.
Cell Planet also calls me a taxi and gives me great advice about getting there, etc.
So, I arrived at the location and I do not see the store. I ask a local security guy and he points me to mall, with a cell phone area.
At the cell phone area, I ask the desk where True Cell is located. The young girl says, she will walk me there and translate for me.
Wow, again, great help for no real reason. She could have just pointed me in the direction, but instead, she walks me to the store, and then waits with me for 15 minutes.
After 15 minute wait, the guy says, he can fix it for 3000 UAH.
She asks, why he said 750 on the phone. He says, he never talked to anyone on the phone.
At this point I give up and ask where I can find a taxi. She calls one and then also comes outside with me to wait. We have a really good conversation as the taxi takes about 10 minutes to arrive. I thank her for all of the help. She gives me a big smile and waves goodbye as I get into the taxi.
So, day 1 of trying to get a new cell or repair mine has been at a loss. All I really know is, True Cell doesn’t exist, but does exist if you call, with great prices. 🙂
Day 2, I head back down to Cell Planet to see if their guy can fix the phone. When I arrive, they tell me he is in at 11, it is now 10 AM. No problem, there are a tone of used and new cell phone stores in this area.
While I am waiting I go to at least 10 stores looking for possible options if mine cannot be repaired. This is more fun than I really wanted. The scams, begging, etc, is crazy. As soon as they see you are English they think you are dumb, and will pay anything. They also assume I am an American. Maybe that’s why they think I am dumb? Every store gives me prices in USA dollars, and each store I explain I am Canadian, not from USA and only to give me prices in Ukraine UAH. The best price I could find was on a used Samsung J7, for 4000 UAH ($200 CAD). Actually an OK price, but I do not want to pay that much for a 1 year old phone. The worst prices I got were 4000 UAH for a S3. A 5 year old used phone. I was told by Yuri later, he could buy that phone for 500 UAH. Scammers!
Anyways, I look up and see the Sun is at 11 AM, so I head back to Cell Planet.
The repair guy is there and he tells me, it is not worth fixing, the parts here are too expensive because S4 was not sold in Ukraine. They had some A series I guess. He then suggest me a great phone (Xiaomi Redmi 3 2GB/16GB Dual SIM), and tells me, the camera is better than mine, and the battery life is 3 times stronger. Added bonus, is it is 3400 UAH new.
I ask where I can get one, and he says. Give me 5 minutes, I will go find one.
5 minutes later he shows up with 2, A 5 inch and a 5.5 inch.
I take a look and see they are damn nice phones. He lets me use his computer to do some research on them, which shows excellent reviews.
So, I am now a proud owner of a Xiaomi Redmi 3 2GB/16GB Dual SIM, Cell phone and it has been a day. He was spot on with the battery life. A day later and it is at 70 percent still.
What did I learn from this? There are two types of people in Ukraine, the very honest, helpful, nice people, and the struggling, dishonest scammers. However, if you have any common sense, you will know the difference.
My advice if this happens to you. Never buy right away, do some research on the item, and ask a local who you know is honest. Do not spend above your budget, you will eventually find what matches your needs.
Thanks to Yuri and Cell Planet for being honest and extremely helpful.
My first selfie on the new cell.