To explore how occurring critical incidents affect customer-brand relations, this study measures the impact on the basis of an online experiment. For this purpose, 1,122 usable responses are gathered considering the smartphone brands of Apple and Nokia as well as different scenarios. The respective reactions to these negative incidents are evaluated using the concept of customer-based brand equity. More precisely, a structure equation model is specified and differences in latent factor means are estimated taking into account perceived quality, various brand associations, loyalty and overall brand equity. The findings indicate that brand equity dimensions are not equally affected. Moreover, the results demonstrate that both brand equity and the business relationship before crisis moderate the effect of distinct critical incidents.