|Wednesday, October 10, 2012|
By BECKY ANDREWS
Wilson Living Magazine
Like the benefits of good judgment eludes Lindsay Lohan, so does that of extended warranties or extra insurance on any electronic or appliance I have ever purchased.
Financial experts warn that these little extras added on at the end of a purchase are just cleverly disguised money makers for the retailer. But before I can confidently say, “No! I don’t need anything else, not even a warranty,” the salesperson begins the “pitch.”
It seems someone recently purchased the same iPod I was looking at but they foolishly decided against “Platinum Protection.” The day of the purchase, their toddler dropped it and the glass screen shattered. Even though the iPod was new, they were still required to pay for the repair because it was purchased under the “No Platinum Service/No Retailer Fault” clause. So for the next few years this poor little customer had to watch distorted episodes of The Sopranos at 5 minute intervals because it would no longer hold a charge.
“Who is this iPod for?”
“It’s a Christmas gift for my oldest son.”
“Awesome, how old is he?”
“Twelve.” The small talk was killing me. I knew what was coming next.
“How many years would you like Platinum Protection?”
“I don’t need it.”
“Do you mind if I ask why?”
Is he really allowed to ask me that? This was not the first time I’d been backed into a corner over this.
Just over a year ago we purchased a TV and decided to add “extra” coverage. When the sound stopped working we returned to the store with our soundless television and warranty papers in hand. The associate typed in some information then furrowed his brow. That’s never a good sign.
“OK, does that matter?”
“Well yes, you see if your screen was broken, that would be part of the hardware and we would replace it and then we’d probably be able to fix the sound while we were replacing the screen. But since the screen isn’t broken, it’s an electrical problem so it’s not covered. Didn’t read your paper work?”
“So if I take it home and put my shoe through it, you’ll fix it?”
“Exactly, but you can’t do that now because you’re in the system as an electrical problem. It’s probably cheaper just to buy a new one. Will that be cash, check or charge?”
Thankfully that incident was still fresh on my mind reminded me how useless those plans are.
“All the experts say those warranties are a waste of money. It’s cheaper to pay for a repair than buy insurance.”
“You know how hard boys, ESPECIALLY teenage boys can be on their stuff. It would be awful to have this awesome iPod for a couple of days, bust it while wrestling and not get a replacement all because there’s no warranty. That would not be a Merry Christmas. I’m looking out for you really. So how many years? One, two, three?”
“What type of warranty comes with it?”
“Well as soon as you open the package the in-store warranty ends.”
“I’ll take the silver warranty for 6 months.”
“OK, I hope you have a Merry Christmas anyway. Remember after your warranty expires, we do repair iPods at an hourly rate of $85.”
This little twit was trying to intimidate me.
“Thanks, I’ll remember that.”
Christmas came and my oldest was thrilled. He loved his iPod. A few months went by and his wouldn’t hold a charge.
So back to the store we went. The clerk typed in some information and before he could say anything, I confidently said, “I know this is covered because I made sure to get the Silver coverage.”
To which the clerk responded, “Yes ma’am you did, but you purchased this in November and it’s June. Your 6 month warranty ended in May.”
“It was a Christmas gift so that means June is the end of 6 months.”
“No ma’am the warranty starts on the day you purchased the item. And it looks like the pins are broken or bent in the usb port. We will have to replace the entire mechanism. It’s going to be cheaper just to buy a new one. Will that be cash, check or credit?”
Electronics of any kind will be ignored on all Christmas lists from now on.