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Driving off forgetting the mobile phone on top of the car is the number-one way Australians accidentally damage their handsets, according to research compiled by Telstra customer service.

According to the telco, its customer calls counter is receiving an increasing number of inquiries about mobile phones which have been damaged in an unusual way.

After driving off with the mobile left on the car roof, the second most popular way to accidentally damage a phone is by exposing it to water – either dropping it in the toilet or taking calls in the rain – followed by sitting on the phone, dropping it, and throwing it either on a desk, in a drawer or to a friend.

“Telstra research shows that mobile phones, along with keys and wallets, are one of the items that Australians typically won’t leave home without, so it’s little wonder that customers are finding new ways to accidentally damage their handsets in a variety of settings,” said Telstra spokesman, Peter Taylor.

“We’ve even heard from a customer who retrieved their Next G handset after losing it when back burning a sugar cane field. Incredibly the handset still worked, even though it was a little scorched and melted in places.

“And the popularity of leather cases for mobile phones has seen a surprisingly high number of reports of phones being gnawed by the family pooch.”

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