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Google will replace your broken Nexus 5 for free. Here's the criteria

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What to do with a broken screen on a smartphone? Might as well get a new unit because replacing a screen can cost almost nearly half as much as a brand-new smartphone. For those who have Nexus 5s though, Google has a treat. Broken Nexus 5s are being replaced for free.

News about the free replacements were at first just rumors. Anyone with a broken Nexus 5 can call Google's customer service to ask for a replacement. Google has confirmed that the free replacement service is real but clarifies that it's more of an exception than a new policy.

To take advantage of the exception, Nexus 5 users must have bought their unit through the Google Play store. The replacement request must also be within a year of the phone's purchase date and can only be availed of once. Once a Google customer service representative confirms the replacement, a new (well, refurbished) Nexus 5 will be sent to the user, sometimes as early as overnight depending on the time the request was made.

Unfortunately, the replacement offer is only available to Nexus 5 users in the United States. Some have tried to request for replacements outside of the U.S. but were, as expected, unsuccessful.

Another catch is that the broken Nexus 5 must be sent back to Google within a week. Until the broken unit is returned, Google will be charging the full price of the phone on a user's credit card. Should the unit be returned beyond the one-week window provided, the user will charged for the price of a Nexus 5 but the charge will be reversed once Google receives the broken phone.

But while the replacement offer originally only covered accidental damage, it has now been extended unofficially to cover basically any type of damage. Nexus 5 users who tried their luck are confirming they have successfully been given replacements for non-accidental damage, like broken volume buttons and wonky batteries. There's even a report of a user with a rooted device getting a replacement.

But why is Google doing this? Out of good will? Possibly. But more feel it's simply a way to flush out remaining stocks of the Nexus 5.

Whatever the reason and although it's only a one-time deal, this Nexus 5 free replacement offer is a perfect example of customer service done right. Google painted a good picture not only for Nexus 5 users but others in the market as well, taking care not only of loyal consumers but also attracting potential customers.

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