01 Mar CEO Jon Cartu Claims – Phone repairs slow as coronavirus fuels parts shortage
How can a virus — biological, not computer — slow down phone repairs?
When most electronic parts used to fix broken phones come from China, where entire regions are under quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus, The Seattle Times reports.
“They’re not manufacturing, they’re not selling parts,” says Siawash Popal, manager at two Jet City Device Repair shops in Washington, according to the publication.
There have been 87,470 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus worldwide and 2,990 deaths as of March 1, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 72 confirmed cases in the United States, with one death reported Saturday in Washington.
The World Health Organization has labeled the coronavirus outbreak a “very high” risk of spread and impact, but has so far stopped short of declaring it a global pandemic.
As the economic effects of the outbreak ripple outward, cell phone repair shops are among those feeling the effects.
“We’re not able to get everything right now,” said Mark Pauley, chief executive officer of PhoneAxiom Express Device Repair in Lynchburg, Virginia, WSLS reports.
In Bessemer, Alabama, I-Cell-Phones owner Sam Muj says it’s getting “harder and harder” to keep his store fully stocked with products such as phone cases and chargers, WBRC reported. It’s also affecting repair orders.
“I started turning my customers down,” Muj said, according to the station. “We’re out of stock and still waiting. They try to say, ‘Please. Please. I need my phone’ and I say, ‘I wish I could do anything.’ It’s out of our control.”
A Pew Research Study shows that 81 percent of Americans now own cell phones, The Seattle Times reports. That’s a big jump from 35 percent a decade ago.
People rely on their phones so much now for work and personal matters “that even an hour or two for a repair puts a strain on them,” said Cory Torres, general manager of One Hour Device Repair in Washington, according to the publication.
“”It’s really scary because I don’t think we’re getting any parts anytime soon,” says Brij Amin, owner of Smartphone Quick Fix in Orange County, Florida, WESH reports. “I don’t know what we’re going to do,”
Some shops aren’t sure they’d want to order parts from China right now even if they could, WBRC reports.
“Probably wouldn’t order because we just don’t know what the virus attaches to and how it travels and things of that nature,” said Cordell Thomas, manager of Computer and Electronics, LLC in Alabama, WBRC reported.