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Why You Should Keep and Organize Your Warranties

Last September, the DVR at my old job started acting up. It was an important part of our security system, so my boss asked me to look into getting it repaired. She said she was pretty sure it was still under warranty, since it was less than a year old.

I called the people we’d bought it from and asked them about their repair procedures, whether we could get a loaner, etc. First, they said they didn’t know anything about a warranty. Second, they chastised me for not having a service contract. I explained that we’d wanted a service contract (this info passed down from my boss) but our lawyers and accountants hadn’t approved it, so we were stuck without one.

They told me that it might still be under manufacturer’s warranty, so I called the manufacturer.

The manufacturer said that they only work with suppliers, not directly with customers.

Back again to the dealer. More pushing of the service contract. More “What part of ‘we can’t get it approved’ don’t you understand?”

Finally, I got them to quote a price, but they still wouldn’t even rent us a loaner because we didn’t have a service contract.

I decided that this was nuts. If we did indeed have a warranty, there should be some way to get it honored.

So I pulled out the purchase file (I’m lucky it was a corporation and kept lots of records). Inside, I found the contract for buying the DVR. I spent some quality time with it at my desk until I came across the all-important section about replacement.

Turned out that if it malfunctioned in the first 12 months, they were obligated to repair it at no cost to us and provide a replacement while it was gone. No obligations on our side to have a service contract or work with the manufacturer.

So I copied that page, highlighted the relevant section, ran it by my boss, scanned the highlighted page, e-mailed it to the representative and asked how they intended to honor it. Voila, we got everything taken care of in the next few days at no cost.

You’re the only person you can count on to really look out for you. Yes, these people are supposed to know that the first year’s warranty doesn’t require a service contract. Maybe they did know and were trying to get us to pay more, I don’t know.

In this case, finding the warranty was quite easy once I actually thought of it. The office was good about keeping and organizing records. It’s made me resolve to do the same. We’re not too formal about it, but all our instruction manuals and warranties are in a drawer together (organize in this case means that we know where to look, they’re not kept but lost).

And now I know that if something breaks I should go to that drawer and read the warranty carefully. You never know what you might be passing up—like free DVR repair.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

RacerX March 12, 2008 at 6:37 pm

The bst person to count you! Often companies (ones that I wouldn’t use again BTW) will use delaying tactics as a way to cut down their expenses. This is sooo short sided. As I said before, they’ll get the first sale, but nothing else.

Susan March 12, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Oh, goodness! I was feeling frustrated just reading what you went through!
Good on you for looking into the matter further, handling it professionally, and getting thing settled to your and the company’s benefit!

ms. m&p March 12, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Wow. Way to stick it to them. It’s a good thing you’re good about saving your warranties. I have mine stuffed in a drawer. They’re there, but badly organized.

Becky@FamilyandFinances March 12, 2008 at 9:52 pm

Great post. It makes me think of health insurance companies. The problem with them is that their contracts are so complicated it’s hard to figure out if something they try to tell you isn’t covered is or not.

Ryan March 13, 2008 at 1:07 am

Way to go! I try to be a Getting Things Done guy, so I have a manila folder labeled “warranties” where all of those go. I also try to get extended warranties for pricey and/or portable electronics through my credit card…

fathersez March 13, 2008 at 1:18 am

We keep all our waranties, but I must admit, I have never read or understood them fully.

Good that you tracked down the purchase records and took the trouble to spend quality time. So many of us would have just given up and paid.

Your employer should be pleased that you went the extra mile.

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