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Dealing with Extended Warranty Vendors?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the fighting-for-what-you-paid-for dept.

The Almighty Buck 144

edg176 asks: "I am wondering about other people's experiences with getting Extended Warranty service. I bought a laptop at Microcenter. Got the top of the line extended warranty. Laptop died. I sent it in for service, and the outside repair place, MicroMedic, claims they can't fix it, and the actual warranty administrator is separate from the repair place -- way out in Florida! My warranty says I can get a full refund of my purchase price if the warranty people can't find me an equivalent laptop. They can't, because Microcenter no longer carries the sharp ultralight laptops. Dealing with warranty administrator people, Warrantech has been a nightmare. They won't let me speak to a manager and they keep jerking me around. So far, I've gotten them to agree to give me 1200 bucks store credit, which is still 500 bucks shy of the purchase price. Is it worth fighting them for the last 500 bucks? Does anyone have success stories or tips for this situation? Should I just take the 1200 and be happy I got that much?""They claim that a 1200 dollar, 4.5 lb laptop is the same as my old 2.5 lb model. The dude on the phone actually claimed that low weight was not a significant feature in a laptop. Right now I have to say I would never do business with these guys again, as they have been relentlessly condescending and obstructionist."

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three words (3, Informative)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628645)

small claims court. You paid extra for a service for your laptop, and now when you try to use that service, they are refusing to give you the service you paid for. Extended warranty services are a scam, and going to court is the only chance you have of getting what you paid for.

Re:three words (3, Informative)

LouCifer (771618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628782)

I agree. I'd add that I'd call back and ask to speak to a manager again. When they refuse, ask for their info, then ask for the legal department, etc. If the OP's state is one that allows for single-party phone recording (that is, allows him to record the conversation without the other party's knowledge or consent) do so as possible evidence for use in court.

Then, file suit in small claims. When they fail to show up, I believe you get an automatic judgement in your favor. If they show up, use the tape as evidence.

I'd pull Microcenter into the lawsuit as well, since they're the ones that used these bastards as their warranty people in the first place.

Re:three words (1)

flonker (526111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628921)

http://www.pimall.com/nais/n.recordlaw.html [pimall.com] - synopsis of laws regarding recording phone calls, by state.

FL is two-party consent (1)

isn't my name (514234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629338)

Yeah, but according to that list, Florida is a state that requires all parties to consent to the recording. So, if the poster is in Florida, he can't record without their consent.

And, according to the link provided, if the call crosses state lines, you should contact a lawyer and assume that the more stringent (both parties consent required) requirement applies.

Now, here's the question. Assuming that the support center has the boilerplate "This call may be recorded for quality control purposes . . . " language at the beginning, is that them giving consent to have their call recorded? It certainly seems that it is them saying that you are giving consent to a recording, so isn't it tacit consent to allow you to record as well?

Re:FL is two-party consent (1)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629569)

IANAL, but this makes perfect sense to me. It's even better if they use the "your call may be recorded for...", etc. message since it specifically does not state WHO will be recording the call. They might have a better case if they were to say "We may record your call for..." instead.

Of course, you can always tell the rep you're talking to on the phone that you are going to record the call for legal purposes... this sometimes gets results because they know ou're serious about pursuing this.

Also, don't forget about the Better Business Bureau, both in your state and theirs, since they operate in both places... The Attorney General's office would be another good place to go. And any chambers of commerce they belong to would be good places to report abuse as well.

Re:FL is two-party consent (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629917)

But your recording *IS* for "Quality Assurance Purposes". You are assuring the judge that their quality sucks.

Re:FL is two-party consent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11634193)

If they say, "This/your call may be recorded..."
"may" is often used to give permission, e.g., "This product may be used in the following manners: ..."

If they wanted to be careful, they would say, "We reserve the right to record this call..."

Re:three words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11629520)

Completely aside from whatever the local businessmen have pushed through state law, as a practical matter, you can record yourself in any business conversation. Just don't lie to the guy if he asks if it's being recorded.

Most of these places have a message that tells you the call "may be monitored for your own good" or some shit when you ring them up. That covers your ass. THEY are recording it, so you have a right to also.

Re:three words (2, Informative)

jadenyk (764614) | more than 9 years ago | (#11631982)

I've actually legally recorded a call before and typically, if you begin the conversation with something like:

"My Name is {your name here} and I'm calling about {put a long sentance about your problem here} and I'm recording this call for legal reasons."

They'll typically say "ok" and move on with the problem, probably not even registering what you said. In my situation (the states I was dealing in) all I had to do was notify them - I didn't need them to acknowledge it at all. Talk fast, but make sure it's clear on the tape.

Visa Enhancement Services for the win (1)

cwford (848987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628960)

If possible, make large purchases on a Visa Platinum card. Not many people know this, but Visa automatically doubles the manufacturer's warranty if the purchase is made with a Platinum card. I bought a laptop in Dec 01 and it died in Jan 03, a month after the manufacturer's warranty expired. After a few emails, phone calls and faxes with Visa, they replaced the laptop with a brand new one, no cost to me. This may not help you this go-round, but it's something to keep in mind for next time.

Re:Visa Enhancement Services for the win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11629006)

Is a Visa Platnium issued by visa directly, or is it any visa card that is a platnium level?

Re:Visa Enhancement Services for the win (1)

cwford (848987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629051)

As I understand it, any Visa card has this feature. As long as the card is a Visa, you should be protected.

Re:Visa Enhancement Services for the win (1)

mithras (126772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632268)

I have a Visa Platinum card (issued through BofA) so I went looking to verfiy this warranty doubling feature.

I found this [visa.com] , which is an extended warranty program. Pay extra for more warranty. Not what the poster was referring to.

I dug some more and found this [visa.com] , which is a benefit that will replace any item purchased on certain types of Visa cards for any reason, fire, theft, water damage, elephant stepping-on, anything, within the first 90 days of purchase. That's nice, but not the same thing the OP is referring to.

Sorry, but could the OP provide some documentation for this "double warranty" coverage? I'm interested but skeptical. I know that American Express provides that [americanexpress.com] , but I can't find anything that says Visa will do it.

Four more words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11628998)

State Attorney Generals Office. Your state. Florida. Oh and feel free to rip the place you bought the warrenty from a new one too. And why not write a letter to the corporate headquarters about how their store ripped you off, since you know the extended warrenties are all margin (like 80%), and the company that *their* store sold is refusing to live up to their end of the bargain.

It might be worth it to find out if filing a police report (they stole money by false promise) might be appropriate.

Re:three words (1)

Jackhamr (25067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629020)

What does the Microcenter store manager say? He would be the first person that I would be talking to if the extended warranty that his store sold me is not providing the coverage that his sales person promised.

Re:three words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11629151)

A store manager, while they technically have the authority to write something like that off, will completely take it in the ass if they do. For something like a laptop, go to the company, and have them take care off it. Write a polite by unhappy letter with your contact info. They're going to want to actually talk with a person with that much money involved. It's just the way statistics are tracked for retail outlets. Asking the local store to take that would be a real kick in the nuts, particularly since it's entirely a corporate decision. If the company is a good one, chances are they'll want to make it right. Especially, since this guy is completely in the right, I can see them wanting to do something for him laptop wise, even if they have to go through something irregular. (They could have a suitable laptop drop-shipped to him through one of their suppliers, and they might have a special sku for such inventory emergencies, or they could create one fill it with one laptop that drop-shipped to him and take it out of the ass of the company who's warrenties they're selling (if they're still selling them.))

This is a *big* customer service problem for them. Fixing it so that it doesn't go really bad is probably worth more than $1700 to them, and certainly more than $500.

Re:three words (1)

DustMagnet (453493) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629145)

The biggest problem with small claims court is that when you win (you will, they wont show up), you have to convince them to pay you. That can take years. Most of these companies wait until they have dozens of judgments against them, then file for bankruptcy.

Re:three words (3, Interesting)

cybermage (112274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629354)

you have to convince them to pay you.

Don't know how it works in Florida, or inter-jurisdictionally for that matter, but in New York, you can request that the County Sheriff where the business/person resides enforce the judgement. They will go, judgement in hand, and request payment. If payment is refused, they can seize assets to cover the settlement. (I believe they have this kind of sweeping authority because we're talking about small claims.)

If your state has County Sheriffs, I would start by talking to them once you have a small claims judgement in your favor and see what they advise.

Also, unless the refund guarantee specifies "Store Credit," I wouldn't even settle for $1700 in Store Credit. That's not a refund.

Re:three words (2, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629540)

If you can do it, be there when the Sheriff is there. You can help the Sheriff pick out things to sieze. It's good to be helpful. Make sure you go to the auction too, because you can get the stuff you picked out real cheap.

Re:three words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11633411)

In most states if you win a judgement and the organization or person doesn't cough up the dough, you can issue a lein on their property. I know: I did. Basically this prevents them from selling property or refinancing. Leins on companies are the mark of death, so they'll be real friendly with after that.

Re:three words (2, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632170)

90% of the companies that sell extended warrenties also include a clause which requires you to use an arbritrator of their choosing if you have issues with their service. 100% of these arbritrators are located in out of the way places (such as five states away) and in locations where the laws favor the company, not you.

Re:three words (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633656)

I've always wondered about the legality of this. Will a judge actually throw a case out because of such an agreement? I wonder if it's ever happened...

Re:three words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11635685)

> I've always wondered about the legality of this. Will a judge actually throw a case out because of such an agreement? I wonder if it's ever happened...

Why should a judge void a legally binding contract which you freely entered into? If you didn't read the legally binding contract, well, whose fault is that?

If more people read, and then DIDN'T buy, those contracts, they'd get dropped on the roadside like they should be. But nooooooo, folks insist on listening to salespeople and buying a legal doc w/o reading it.

Suckers; there's one born every minute.

File criminal fraud charges as well. (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632305)

Subject says it all.

Extended warranties are generally a rip-off, considering their high cost and low liklihood of having a warranty-covered failure. IOW, while a form of insurance, the premium is damn expensive.

Now, having paid that damn expensive premium, and having a covered failure, you should damn well expect gold-plated service.

Personally, I don't purchase extended warranties, but TEHO. However, it doesn't surprise me that the sleaze related to the high premiums extends to having claims settled.

Similar situation... (2, Interesting)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637220)

I had a similar situation with a Toshiba laptop I bought a few years back. The unit came with a 1 year depot repair warranty standard. I planned on keeping the unit for at least three years (I was in college) so I purchased an extended 3 year warranty.

After having the laptop for a year and a half the unit would not power on from time to time. I didn't think much of it at first until the unit would not turn on at all. I called the support hotline and explained the problem. They said it was the battery but I knew it wasn't because I had swapped batteries with a friend who had the same model. I got the new battery and it did not fix the problem. I call support again and explain to them that the battery did not fix the problem.

At this point they claimed to have no record of me purchasing an extended warranty. I told them they had sent me a battery already and they claimed no such thing had happened. At this point I asked to speak to their manager. After on hold for 30 minutes I finally got through. I explained to them the situation. Again she said there was no record of the extended warranty. I asked her to look at my account information. She said there were only two entries. The first was the shipment of my laptop and the second was an unnamed package sent out a week ealier. I told her that the other entry was the battery that was sent out. She said there was no way to confirm this. I told her that I would be happy to fax a copy of the original invoice proving the extended warranty. She said that the document could not be sent because there was not a record with Toshiba.

At this point I became angry and asked to speak with her manager. She said that her position was the highest in the support department. I asked who her boss was and she said his name. I asked to be transfered but she refused. She then said I could write a letter to corporate headquarters. At this point I hung up.

Since I was in college and had free time I decided to call support every chance I could. My roommate was a support person at one time and he said that the customer should always hang up first. I decided to exploit this rule.

I called every waking hour and spent as much time as I could with anyone I could talk to. I would ask questions completely unrelated to my problem and would always make sure the person on the other end knew my name. I also made sure that I wrote down the name of the person I was talking to.

After doing this for two weeks I had talked with 58 different people and had spoken to some individuals as many as six times. I finally got my way and was asked to fax the invoice.

So here is my advice to you. If you have the time, be a thorn in the side of the company. Waste their time and resources.

Manager (1)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628649)

"They won't let me speak to a manager" - demand to speak to their manager. Keep calling and asking and don't let up.

Good advise (4, Interesting)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628674)

When you are buying a lot of expensive hardware, calculate the exact cost of that extended warranty and put the same amount of money on an special account. When you buy another hardware, do the same. Then, when anything breaks, pay for it with the money you saved. Most likely than not there will be enough money left to go to disco or whatever kids do these days and you will be glad that you haven't wasted that money on the extended warranty in the first place. Usually it is even less expensive to hire a full time support guy for that money provided you are going to pay more money for said warranty than a full time support guy would cost. This is just like any kind of insurance, most of people pay more than they get.

Re:Good advise (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633303)

I would just like to say that even though that is true in general sometimes with high margin items that is not the case.

I worked at Office Max and on electronics the warrenties were a rip, but not too bad (10% for 3 years, lots of rules) our margins were in the 10-40% range. On computers the warrenty was a total waste at 20% for 3 years, with most having a 1 year warrenty (margins were 1-10 %)

But on furnature, where the margins are huge (>50%) the warrenty was 10% the cost of the product, took over the manufacturers warrenty for the first year and was real good. It included things like recushening and wear and tear. Short of intentially breaking your chair it would be repaired replaced. I would never get it, but for someone who likes headaches and paper work (plenty of people do, e.g. mail in rebates) it is worth the money.

The point is I guess that they only need to insure against their cost, and if that is half of what your cost is then everyone can win.

Things may have changed though.

Re:Good advise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11633516)

Mmmm, bad advice from someone who can't spell "advice". Tasty.

Extended warranties are essentially insurance. Insurance is not money put away for a rainy day. The insuror is betting that the return he can make from investing your insurance fees will more than pay for the expected payout when things go kaboom. When you group together a large number of such bets, made carefully, they will pay off properly.

The problem with the posters' "special account" scheme is that the account starts at 0, so if things go kaboom immediately, you're screwed. It only works, and poorly (because you can't get the investment rates the warranty company will get), if you have a large enough account that it's unlikely to drop to 0. That's what a warranty company is able to do and you're not.

Judge Judy (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628682)

Or, if you're not in her juristiction, here in the UK we have something called Trading Standards [tradingstandards.gov.uk]

If a company jerks you around like that, pop into your local trading standards office and they may well take up the case for you.

Do you not have any such body in the US ?

Local newspapers are also a good source of help and may publicise the case. I know our local papers would be hot for it, warranty scams have been newsworthy here for a while.

Re:Judge Judy (1)

Flatline5150 (729912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628878)

Sounds like the Better Business Bureau [bbb.org] is the US version of Trading Standards. I know a few people who have had issues with different types of businesses. When they contacted the Better Business Bureau, the businesses suddenly became very cooperative.

Re:Judge Judy (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629286)

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that the BBB also cooperates with business who have complaints filed against them.

The only place I've worked at that had complaints filed against it was able to take care of the issue by explaining the situation. For example, one customer complained that he'd pre-paid for a year of our dial-up service, and that service was unavailable two times, in that period.

Now, we were a mom & pop shop that prided itself on reliability and service. Our record was stellar, compared to the other services in the area.

Re:Judge Judy (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11631546)

Not quite the same organisation. As I understand it, the BBB is a non-profit orginisation run by businesses that serves primarily as an intermediary and arbitrator. Trading standards is a government body, which exists in addition to various indpendent regulatory bodies and trade associations.

Re:Judge Judy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11635517)

I placed a claim with the BBB and was less than satisfied with the result. I kept getting dicked around buy the company I purchased my item (house) from and the BBB was happy to file a claim. Then the company waited for me to leave town, broke into my house to fix the problem (not to my standards at all!) and now I keep leaving messages but the BBB will not return any of my phone calls. I have spoke to a "real lawyer" and no one wants to come anywhere close to this company because they have a [good / bad / underhanded] reputation.

Ooh, negative feedback for Microcenter! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11629893)

The BBB is next to worthless, but it can't hurt to try. Start with your state consumer protection bureau or attorney general's office.

Local papers might be worth a try. One of our local TV stations has the "problemsolvers", a hype-and-hooplah segment where they chase down cases such as yours. It's massively unfair like all Fox news coverage, but if you can get them on your side, go for it!

Best Buy (3, Informative)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628707)

As much as extended warranties are usually a ripoff, there are certain things I go along for just because I don't want to deal with suddenly not having them. PDA's are like that. I want a replacement immediately if I've got a problem with my PDA.

That being said, Best Buy has been very good to my friends and me with regards to warranty service. I had a friend with a similar issue to yours, and she was given a brand new laptop two years after hers kept going in for repais on the same problem. (The CD drive kept dying on a Toshiba laptop)

Re:Best Buy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11628949)

Having worked for 'Worst Purchase' [bestbuysux.org] in their Service Department, I can state the exact opposite:

Not only do they encourage employees to find ways out of repairing/replacing products, but you'll find that when a repair is actually warranted, it'll be executed by a monkey who does not belong 'under the hood' so to speak ...

Set 20% more than the cost of their plans aside in an interest bearing account everytime you buy something like this. You'll come out ahead in the long run.

Re:Best Buy (1)

jazzwind (132256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632376)

I had a laptop with a bad enter key. Took it to Best Buy under their extended warranty and they had to send it out to Sony. Sony returned it with a note that they repaired the key and reformated my hard drive! A coworker had the same problem and the same experience.

I think their repair procedure looks like this:
1. Reformat hard drive
2. Did this fix problem?
3. If no, now try and fix it.
More Sony's fault than Best Buy's.
I had my important stuff backed up but it was still a royal pain to re-install everything.

Re:Best Buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11635620)

This is standard practice among laptop manufacturers. If you don't want to loose data, you should backup your hard drive before sending it in. If you can't, you should tell them specifically not to reformat the drive and get them to agree to that, in writing.

-Jesboat

(Posting AC because I've already moderated here)

Re:Best Buy (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629035)

I have a friend with a laptop under Worst Buy warranty.

she sent it in to them in late Dec, still hasn't gotten it back yet.

She calls but they just jerk her around. My next advice is BBB...

grump

Re:Best Buy (1)

edward.virtually@pob (6854) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632208)

extended warranties are for suckers. just say no and avoid disappointment later.

Re:Best Buy (1)

Casca (4032) | more than 9 years ago | (#11636945)

The best thing I ever bought at Best Buy was a microwave oven. It has worked spectacularly in preparing items (purchased along with a 3 year warranty) to be sent off for replacement. :)

Letter (1)

listerine reborn (858146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628750)

I would ask for there names and there managers name. Then I would continue to ask to speak with there manager. If they continue to refuse I would ask for the address of head office. I would let them know that the service that you are receiving is noted and that head office and the manager will receive a letter concerning the quality of the service. something like in Schindler's List.

Re:Letter [OT, but funny] (1)

His name cannot be s (16831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628842)

hmmm.

"something like in Schindler's List."

I had two responses to that:

1) Oooh, that's awful close to a Godwin's Law violation. Passed, but barely.

2) Mr. Burns: Listen, Spielbergo. Schindler and I are like peas in a pod! We're both factory owners. We both made shells for the Nazis, but mine worked, damn it! Now, go out there and win me that festival :P

Better Business Bureau (1)

xTMFWahoo (470364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628796)

I'd threaten submitting a claim to the Better Business Bureau
http://www.bbb.org/ [bbb.org]

Re:Better Business Bureau (5, Insightful)

His name cannot be s (16831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628891)


I'd threaten submitting a claim to the Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org/


Tee Hee.

The BBB isn't going to be at all useful, especially if they aren't a member.

The BBB is just a boys club to make people beleive that they can get fair redress from the big bad companies.

The best you can do is to probably ask for the operator's name, and ask them to spell that please, and ask to speak to their legal department.

You may also want to ask them if it is better for the subpoena to be sent to their home or their work. You would be suprised how much more flexible phone drones will be if you make them think that their name will end up on a lawsuit. :P

Re:Better Business Bureau (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11629424)

Another good tactic is to look up the person who is specified in their Secretary of State filings as the one who receives Service (as in notice of suits, etc) and send them a letter. Sometimes when that particular person receives a nice, polite, detailed letter explaining everything the organization suddenly gets reasonable. You might also write to MicroCenter themselves, and their CEO and Recipient of Service, because they may make the situation good with you if the other company doesn't.

If that doesn't work, remember the last step before a suit is to carefully document that you asked for the money and were refused. So when you write them, include a request for a specific amount of money ( or store credit if you are willing to give them that alternative ) and ask to receive it within 90 days.

Ultimately, in the larger sense, the buyer is at fault, however. You should know not to buy great, high-quality speakers that were misdelivered from some cheeky kids in a parking lot, not to tell the Nigerian heir your bank account number, and don't FUCKING PAY FOR A WARRANTY. There's even an episode of the Simpsons where Moe is giving Homer a lobotomy with a crayon and he keeps shoving until Homer says "I'd love the extended warranty!"

Re:Better Business Bureau (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630776)

I have found the BBB to be extremely useful. One thing to keep in mind is that they are local organizations & some are as bad as you claim, but many are much better. Warrantech [bbb.org] and MicroCenter are both members. Warrantech actually seems to resolve complaints brought against them. While making a claim with the BBB shouldn't be the only action made, there's little reason not to.

I will say that the grandparent's suggestion to make this a threat is far too conservative. Poster has already been screwed around with & he should just complain now.

Finally, the advice to contact the legal department is very risky. Sometimes it works & works well. Many times, the legal department gets quite upset that you contacted them directly & quickly discover that you know absolutely nothing about law. I have seen people give up or end up getting nowhere after calling the legal dept. & being told about some legalese that invalidated the contract. In one case, a person was even told that complaining to the people he complained to invalidated the agreement. In short, lawyers are smart & can be shadier than others in the comapany.

I don't want to discourage people from contacting legal departments when that is what is needed--I have seen it work. But I have seen the BBB/FTC/attorney general/planetfeedback work much easier, quicker, and more consistently.

Now you know (0, Redundant)

photon317 (208409) | more than 9 years ago | (#11628947)

When at the checkout counter, say no to everything they ask you. No protection plan, no extended warranty, etc. They are always ripoffs.

Re:Now you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11629114)

When at the checkout counter at MicroCenter, and they ask you, repeat this story in a loud voice, and make sure the checkout girl hates you and that everyone behind you in line won't be getting an extended warranty either.

Re:Now you know (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11631730)

There are exceptions. If you like to run high volumes through your speakers it might be a good idea to get this for speakers. If you drop your laptop often (and who doesn't?) it might be a good idea.

However the above is only true if the company will pay out when there is a problem. Good luck finding one of them. In theory though they can be a good idea.

Do it the BOFH way (4, Funny)

webhat (558203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629069)

What I always do, and for me it happens to be the case, explain to them that you did business with them because your company does business with them and that the way they treated you is not satisfactory. Mentioning an annual budget in the hundreds of thousands and say that if they can't solve it you'll talk to the finance department telling them what happened and how they really treat their customers.

If you have free time: the other way is just to directly call their headoffice and see how high you can get, make sure you get a face to face meeting with the highest guy you can get, then waste an hour or two of his time. Which should be the equivelent of the amount they deducted and explain at the end of the meeting that you purpousfully wasted their time to earn back the money deducted by buying faulty equipment, that'll piss them off.

Also apply to jobs at the firm and just use the interview to complain about the service you got at the store and how you think they really need you to make it less crappy.

And if all else fails, get a soapbox and stand outside the store, on a public pavement and explain to passing customers how they treated you, do it on their bussiest day.

You can get a refund, you'll probably get something even better if you explain that your campaining cost money and loss of earnings. (I think that may be blackmail or racketing or something...)

Just so you know I accept no liability if you do anything mentioned above. IANAL, AFAIK and GFDL.

Time to call the CEO - or e-mail him! (4, Funny)

gregwbrooks (512319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629111)

Warrantech Corp.
2200 Hwy. 121, Ste. 100
Bedford, TX 76021
Phone: 817-354-0095
Fax: 817-436-6151
Toll Free: 800-544-9510

CEO: Joel San Antonio

President of the Consumer Product Services arm: Stephen R. Williams

The chairman of the board and President is Lawrence Richenstein of Peak Ventures in Farmingdale, NY

Any slashdotter worth their salt can socially engineer or otherwise hack their way to an email address for these folks. When you get one, be polite and direct. Lay out the situation and a reasonable solution and show regret (not frustration, not rage) that their company didn't perform to the standards that you're *sure* they expect.

You'll likely get a very fast and very satisfactory resolution to your issue.

Re:Time to call the CEO - or e-mail him! (2, Interesting)

Bob MacSlack (623914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11634534)

This just reminded me of something my dad uses a lot. If a company gives him the runaround long enough, he'll start asking questions about the CEO, like "hey, I went to college with so and so, I'm sure he works for your company, do you know him?" Mentioning personal connections to executives can friendly people up immensely.

Lesson (4, Informative)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629136)

Don't by an extended warranty from a retailer. Ever.

When I worked at a CompUSA in college several years ago, Warrantech warranties were sold at a 75% margin, which translates into a major ripoff.

If you feel that you need an extended warranty, buy one directly from the manufacturer. I don't know about Sharp, but Toshiba and IBM offer comprehensive service plans that include 24hr turnaround service for about half of what a third party warranty costs.

Absolutely (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630679)

No business (except maybe SCO, as M$'s legal puppy) is in business to lose money. No matter how good a deal sounds, they are not interested in losing money to get your business. They are going to make money one way or the other.

So ask yourself, if an extended warranty makes them money, how does it do so, and what does that mean to you? They make money because the repair work they do, or the replacement they buy, plus the overhead of administering the warranty and work, is less than what you paid for the warranty. That difference is their magic ??? profit.

For the consumer, this means that on average, the extended warranty is a very bad deal. If you buy an extended warranty at, say, 10% of the purchase price, this means that they will spend far less than 10% on repair and replacement.

Best deal for you is to self-finance your own extended warranty. Instead of buying the extended warranty, put the amount it costs into a savings account. As this account builds up (and it earns interest too), eventually your purchases will fail, and you will have to buy a replacement or pay for repairs. You will find that you still have money left over in your extended warranty account.

Of course, sometimes lucky streaks run against you, and you will break things earlier than average in the beginning. But on average, statistically speaking, your extended warranty account will be a much better deal for you than paying the store that same money.

Besides which ... first, extended warranties usually don't kick in until the regular warranty expires, so that's interest in the store's pocket, not your bank account. Second, most things covered by an extended warranty are ripe for replacement by the time they come into effect. What will be available in a couple or three years will be better and cheaper than what you buy now.

Re:Absolutely (1)

gi-tux (309771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633144)

Well, I am not sure that I totally agree with you on this. While you are correct that on average the warranty company is going to spend less than they make, it isn't true on an individual basis. It is just another form of insurance.

Now I would guess that you have home owners insurance if you own a home. I would also guess that you have automobile insurance on your car. So what is wrong with breakage insurance on your laptaop? The issue is that companies that sell those warranties don't fall under insurance laws in most states and thus the laws and regulations on them are different than those on a "standard" insurance company.

Now, I don't usually purchase those things as they are usually over-priced and under paid. I have had a few of them in my life and some provided a good experience while others didn't. You usually don't get an option as to who to get the warranty from, it is usually whomever will pay the store the most for selling their product.

If these companies were easily monitored, somewhat regulated, and interested in long-term business things would be much better. However, they usually are most interested in making a quick buck and thus hard to monitor and regulate.

Re:Absolutely (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633826)

Service Plans != Insurance

A service plan repairs damage due to defects in materials & workmanship for a specific term. They do not cover stolen property, accidentially damaged property or acts of god.

Insurance policies "make you whole" after some unforseen circumstance occurs. Your car insurance covers your liabilities in the event of an accident or other event. It does not fix your broken timing belt or leaky radiator.

Your best bet is to buy a quality product that doesn't break, or buy things that you can afford to replace if the need arises. Typically the dolts who bought service plans when I was a salesman were either into conspicuous consumption (ie expensive == good) or were simply not very bright.

House and car insurance isn't for repairs (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633847)

For houses and cars, the worry is expensive side effects, like paying someone else's medical bills or their expensive car. Or for a house, if it burns down, that's a lot of money to come up with, especially since the bank probably owns more of the house than you do. House insurance also covers injuries on the property,like that handyman who falls off the ladder.

These aren't related to repairs. I would never get an extended warranty for a car, and my house came with a useless warranty bought by the realtor which I did not renew.

Of course, an extended warranty may be worth it for peace of mind, if the repairs covered would be a big blow, and if (this is the killer) the warranty is actually backed by a reputable company. But for, say, home stereos, cameras, computers, etc, extended warranties are useless.

The trick to realizing it is that warranties average out over many items. The sellers average it out over thousands or millions of the same item, whereas as Joe Consumer averages it out over dozens or hundreds of different items.

Re:Lesson (0, Redundant)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633341)

you didn't make yourself clear enough,

NEVER EVER BUY THE WARRANTY!

Re:Lesson (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11636143)

Well, it depends. I have a friend who is on his third MP3 player. Each time he went to buy a new one, he got an extended warrenty, and each time it broken in 2-3 years, he got enough credit from the original purchase price that he ended up with a higher capacity. If the technology of what you're buying is changing fast enough, it can work out to be a good deal.

Try dealing with Microcenter (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629239)

Microcenter is a local store here. I've had pretty good success dealing with them on returns and other issues. You bought the laptop and the extended warranty from them. I'd expect them to be able to do something for you.

hindsight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11629280)

This is the exact reason I pay the extra bucks and buy the extra warranty from IBM or Dell.

You get exactly what you pay for. I'm sick of hearing morons exclaim "You got ripped off paying for that Dell......I got this cool model Widget from Best Buy for half the price!!!"

I have better things to do than argue with service departments.

Dealing with companies who try to screw you (4, Interesting)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629427)

So far, I've gotten them to agree to give me 1200 bucks store credit, which is still 500 bucks shy of the purchase price. Is it worth fighting them for the last 500 bucks? Does anyone have success stories or tips for this situation? Should I just take the 1200 and be happy I got that much?"
You should fight for the $500, as you can do it with little effort very effectively. Here's what you do, regardless of what company is trying to screw you:

Dig out all paperwork--in this case the original warranty and receipt for the laptop. Also photocopy everything you mail off. If the warranty company answers emails and faxes, use these methods for rapid communication with some amount of papertrail. If not, call them. But log all phone calls & followup with letters. Also cc microcenter on everything. Unhappy customers might mean they lose their contract with microcenter, which they don't want! Hopefully you've done this, as it seems like you're not getting anywhere with them.

Because of this, you should start contacting consumer advocates. This is typically free, aside from postage & quite effective. File complaints against both Microcenter and the warranty company. File complaints with the BBB and the FTC. You should use the local BBB of both companies. Also use a service such as planetfeedback.com to send letters to reps at both companies who might actually have the power and the willingness to fix this for you. These are often addressed to the CEO & if not, you can always write to the CEO yourself. Also contact the attorney general of the state these companies are headquartered in. If applicable, also the US Postal Inspector. Sometimes states also have a Department of Consumer Affairs.

You can reuse your complaint letters for most of these. In the first paragrah, summarize your complaint & what resolution you want. In subsequent paragraphs, give a detailed history with names & dates. In the final paragraph, say again what it is you want. Try to make this about a page. Say that you have supporting paperwork & perhaps include the original warranty, as that seems to be the most relevant piece. But don't flood anyone with papers. Also try to be civil, but firm.

Submit these on the same day & wait about two weeks. You should start to see results in your favor.

I have almost always had success at this point with complaints on behalf of myself, my family, or friends. If not, you do have more options. You can contact the media if you are savvy or even setup your own microcentersucks.com website. This is typically cheap & these businesses do not want to lose business because of a squeaky wheel. This slashdot post is actually a decent start. If you have a friend who is a lawyer, have him send additional correspondance on his letterhead.

If none of this works, go to small claims court. This will cost a filing fee, but you will most likely win & be awarded the money they owe you plus the filing fee you paid. Many companies won't fight a small claim. Those that do in cases like these lose.

Perhaps the most important thing that all of these do is that they start or continue a trail of complaints about shady companies. Microcenter may choose to use a less shady warranty administrator or customers who see complaints to both Microcenter and the warranty administrator will think twice before getting the extended warranty. If you don't do it for the $500, do it for the rest of us!

Re:Dealing with companies who try to screw you (2, Interesting)

barzok (26681) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630678)

Sorry, but the BBB has no teeth. I filed a complaint with them a year ago, they acknowledged that it was received, they said they asked the company for their take on it, and that was the end of it. I got zero satisfaction. It wasn't worth the time I spent submitting the complaint.

Re:Dealing with companies who try to screw you (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630992)

The most effective way to make a BBB complaint is to contact the local BBB for whatever city/township/county the company headquarters are in. And that's the rub. Some are poor, some are quite good. I have seen some complaints get less attention than yours got--no acknowlegement of receipt until it was sent many, many times. But most BBBs are much better & do try to use their limited budgets to help consumers.

It is worth the time to submit a complaint--the complaint will at least go into a file & consumers do, occasionally, inspect the track-record of a company before they do business with them.

Furthermore, it doesn't take much effort. As I said, you could usually recycle the same complaint letter to multiple agencies. Even if you get stuck with a regional BBB that does nothing, perhaps the same letter sent to the attorney general will get results. At the very least, the company who is screwing you will usually be told who you are complaining to. If you complain to only one organization & they find that organization to be ineffective & don't think anything bad will come from your complaint, they may ignore you. They start paying attention when you complain to more organizations that can do real harm to their business.

Re:Dealing with companies who try to screw you (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633709)

If none of this works, go to small claims court.

This a great option, as the filing fee can usually be $30 or less but there are two things you should be aware of before you try this:

Most extended warranty contracts have an arbitration clause. That means you gave up your right to sue and instead will have the claim decided by an arbitration service that the company selected and pays.

Once you win in small claims court the initial burden of collection is on you. If you can't extract your money from the defendant, there are remedies you can ask the court for, but most aren't too helpful on business that don't own property in your home state.

Re:Dealing with companies who try to screw you (2, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 9 years ago | (#11634174)

Filing fees vary greatly. In Chicago, it would cost about $75 to file this claim. In other districts, I've seen it be less than $20.

When you win, many courts also order interest start accruing on what is owed you. Chicago has a 9% APY. If the company isn't going to go bankrupt (and, in this case, the seller is a very large company), they will usually pay you off immediately, lest they suffer these penalties. Collecting from businesses isn't bad, but you are right that it can get tricky. While you can and should file a small claim & represent yourself, you might want to retain an attorney to help you actually get the money if you have problems.

Extended Service Warranties (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629474)

Buy them...but make sure that the _physical_ store you buy them from will handle returns/exchanges.

But different retail stores within the same company will interpret the warranty policy differently so you might want to get a feel for that before you buy. The phone center of a company will always have the strictest interpretation because they have no vested interest in making you happy and upper management watches them very closely. So only use a 1-800 number when you absolutely have to and expect to have your claim denied in the fine print.

When you do buy an extended warranty make sure you get the name of the person who sold it to you. You r claim will have more weight if you drop the name of Mr. Foo who said that it would be ok to get an exchange if X happened.

If you don't buy an extended warranty and you have a sudden need for replacement, many stores will allow you to purchase a warranty after the fact and give you a brand new product in the bargin. In some cases you might have to buy two, one to serve as the "original" warranty (which has now been used) and one to cover the new product.

Remember that these warranties are essentially pure profit for retail companies because a very small fraction of buyers actually use them. Generally they are a ripoff so keep that in mind.

One word: lawyer (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629571)

Get a recommendation for a local lawyer and follow through with it. With his consent, call your local newspaper and TV investigative reporters and let them in on it. I can almost guarantee you'll have your entire $1700 (plus probably a little extra "apology money") in record time.

That's the thing about having a lawyer. You don't even have to use them to scare the other guy into honoring their agreement; simply having one is usually enough to make them realize you mean business.

Credit Card Extended warrenty experience (2, Interesting)

spotter (5662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11629773)

I usually buy things with my american express blue card, it will extend the warrenty on things I purchase up to a year. Recently one of my 3 year one month old Athlon 1800 MPs died, since they were retail parts, they had a 3 year warrenty. I call up AmEx and they refund my purchase price right then and there, even though one can purchase an 1800 MP for siginificantly cheaper today. I turn around and use that refund to be able to significantly upgrade my computer with 2 Athlon 2800 MPs :)

Re:Credit Card Extended warrenty experience (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11636506)


Was it actually the CPU or the fan? I've had each 1800 MP fan die (within warranty) one year apart from one another.

Me too, I'm upgrading to 2800s, except I'm paying for both :(

Economic Lesson (3, Informative)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630005)

Re: insurance


For things like car collision insurance, product warranties, etc., if it is within your means it is always less expensive to self-insure for loss and damages.

I read once where those lucrative extended warranties that get hawked at consumer electronics stores, the ones that bring in great commission to the sales person, to the store and to the insurer, typically have to pay out about US$1 in claim settlements for every US$11 that is collected. I'm not even sure if the salesperson commission or store commission is included in that figure. Either way, it should tell you something about the risks and probabilities that are involved.

Exhibit A: about 3 years ago my S.O. wanted to pay $4/month for insurance on our cell phone and when she brought it in to be replaced about 2 years later because the antenna had predictably gotten bent, wouldn't stay extended, etc. (insert joke) she was informed that that particular malady was not covered. So we'd paid about $100 for peace of mind that was a delusion.

Exhibit B: When I recently purchased an expensive LCD flat screen TV and I reluctantly agreed to look into the extended warranty because of the infamous "dead pixel" issue, I asked the store for a clear statement of exactly what the extended warranty covered since I'd heard of disreputable places that would exempt dead pixels in the outer third of the screen from coverage, up to 10-12 pixels, etc. Despite their enthusiasm for selling the extended warranty, they never did get me a copy of the policy, we didn't get the extended warranty, saved $1000, and been happy as clams with the TV.

AT HIGH TIDE (OT) (2, Informative)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630767)

been happy as clams with the TV

As happy as clams AT HIGH TIDE is the proper saying. Why do so many people think clams are happy all the time? It is when the tide comes in and keeps the predators from digging them up that they are happy.

That's even assuming clams can be happy, but I'll leave that for some other pedantic.

Re:AT HIGH TIDE (OT) (1)

Rev Snow (21340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11635624)

That's even assuming clams can be happy, but I'll leave that for some other pedantic.

No, you'll leave it for some other pedant.

I see you've applied :-) (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11635720)

Wish I could say you fell into my trap, but ... heck, now I have to go look that up!

Re:Economic Lesson (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630800)

I'm not sure if this is true in every case. It's certainly true for cars, but computers are different if you go for a manufacturer's extended warranty. Take a case I'm familiar with, Apple's AppleCare extended warranty. If, say, your PowerBook's logic board dies and you need to get it replaced, it will probably cost you $1,000 just for the board, not counting the labor to replace it. I'm sure Apple isn't paying anywhere near that much money for their parts. Of course you can get used boards from various third parties, but it's not quite the same thing. In a case like this, the manufacturer has access to parts and supplies that you simply don't have, or can't get at the same price, and the extended warranty may be worth it.

I'm trying to decide whether AppleCare will be worth it on my PowerBook (have to decide before the warranty is up in June). I can certainly self-insure in this case, but these other considerations lead me to wonder whether it might be worth it anyway. Any advice?

Re:Economic Lesson (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632013)


AppleCare will be worth it on my PowerBook

I couldnt' say for sure in this particular case, but if it were me I'd ask other PowerBook owners about their troubles to get an idea of the reliability, how often the logic board dies, etc.

Estimate the risk (let's say for the sake of argument that the probability is 0.05 it will go out between year 3 to year 7 which is when you'll probably buy a new G6 laptop and sell your current PowerBook on eBay) and that the cost of replacing the logic board if you had the work done at an Apple-authorized service center is, say, $1000. Again, I'm making these figures up.

Then look at the self-insurance cost to you:

$1000 x 0.05 = $50
in this contrived hypothetical case. Then compare that number with the cost of Apple Care for that time period. That's all there is to it. I'm betting Apple makes money from Apple Care, so that a cost to self-insure is less than what they're charging for it.

Re:Economic Lesson (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632517)

I'm betting Apple makes money from Apple Care, so that a cost to self-insure is less than what they're charging for it.

But that doesn't follow, which was half the point of my original post.

Apple's costs are not going to be the same as your costs. If Apple only pays 1/3rd as much for parts as you do (by virtue of them buying them in 100,000-unit lots, etc.), then they can make money on their warranty service while still being cheaper than self-insuring. I don't know if they do, but it's possible.

Not exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11633200)

Apple wouldn't do that. Do they make more money selling replacement boards at retail or shipping them through AppleCare at cost? Right. There's an opportunity cost with that decision which you can be certain they have factored in. So yes, it is cheaper for them, but no, don't assume that is passed on to you.

Re:Economic Lesson (1)

m_evanchik (398143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632110)

There was another story on slashdot a week or so ago regarding insurance.

Apparently, many home or renter's insurance policies will allow you to add insurance for computer equipment at a very low cost.

But I think the lessons from the posts on this story are that it is the 3rd party warranty vendors that are the problem. They just don't serve you very well.

Buying an extended warranty from the manufacturer, while relatively expensive, is usually not worth it for desktop systems, which are easy to service and don't get knocked around a lot.

For laptops it is another story. One big factor is how much the laptop is actually moved around. If you travel with it even occasionally, some protection is probalby prudent.

First check with your home insurance company.

It might still be worth it to get Apple's extended warranty, if for no other reason than the added tech support.

Re:Economic Lesson (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637199)

AppleCare has no deductible for covered repairs, and covers different stuff than a homeowner's policy would. If your logic board dies, your homeowner's policy most likely won't cover anything, even after a deductible. Apple will replace it for free, if you didn't do something stupid to break it. If the machine is stolen or destroyed in a fire or other household disaster, AppleCare won't cover it, but insurance might.

Re:Economic Lesson (1)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633379)

Logicboard repairs are usually around the $300-$400 mark.

Re:Economic Lesson (1)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633486)

my friend bought an lcd tv with extened screen protection at compusa, it broke, boxed it up, brought it in, first thing out of the comp guys mouth was, "its not the screen is it? because our warranty doesn't cover the screen..."

Dell (1)

dbullock (32532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630139)

People love to trash Dell, but I have NEVER had a problem with Dell in 5 years honoring their extended warranty service, and have had them ship a newer replacement model for me twice.

There IS a reason they've had such success and enjoyed a high customer satisfaction rating.

Re:Dell (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11631938)

They literally are the McDonalds of computing. If it's not to your perfect like, they'll take it back and give you what they messed up on. If it's broke, they fix it fast. Exactly the way that fast food chain does..

Would you like RAM with that?

Re:Dell (1)

dbullock (32532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632156)

That's disingenuous

I buy systems (desktop and server) for a typical small/medium business corporate environment running a mix of Linux and Windows.

I don't need anything unusual (NUMA, 128 bit, 64x CPU). I need single/dual/quad CPU systems with reliable disk and fast network.

Oddly enough the systems they make match my needs (as well as many many many other people's needs).

Dell's reps come out, they replace/repair the broken parts and leave me with a working system with minimal/no phone hassle so I can focus on other things. That's pretty good in my book.

My bosses are happy when broken systems get fixed fast.

The prices are reasonable.

What specific awful omission of do they make that you happen to need that you're so down on them?

It sounds more like you're repeating a meme than giving any sort of real justification.

Re:Dell (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11636265)

Err, calling a company who makes things, sells things, repairs, and sets things up like clockwork is like McDonalds.

For example, you bought a Big Mac and they did something bad and you didnt like it, after you eat 1/3 of the burger. They apologise and take burger, and give you new one.

You now have the same type of burger, same size.. same everything. Quick, easy, cheap.

The same works for Dell. Bad ram? Call em up, tell em you ran Dell Diagnostic and it said ram was bad. Wham bam thank you maam. Shipment already in works. It'll get there in 1 day.

obligatory simpsons quote (0)

aberson (461047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630533)

Homer: Extended warranty? I can't lose!

dude you're getting a dell (1)

joelja (94959) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630750)

I can't imagine wanting to have an extended warranty serviced by anyone other than then manufacturer. laptop parts are still basically bespoke even if the building blocks are mostly standardized.

dell toshiba ibm and apple all have extended warranty options, a while occasioanly their service isn't great they're actaully capable of supporting a laptop that they made three years ago.

Two words: Attorney General (2, Informative)

axoi (150528) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630922)


You don't mention if you're in the US, but most US cities have an Attorney General that you can speak with that will answer most of your questions regarding transactions like this. If nothing else your attorney general will be able to point you in the right direction of who to contact about this.

Look them up under your local government yellow pages. There might also be a consumer advocate group that you might want to speak with.

If the contract states specific resolutions and they are not being met then it is fraud and open for litigation.

Re:Two words: Attorney General (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11637242)

Actually, no US city has an Attorney General. All 50 states and the federal government have attorneys general, but I can guarantee that all of them have better things to do with their time than talk to you about your warranty. But, you know, feel free to make stuff up and get modded "informative" for it.

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (1)

davidyorke (543505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11630952)

Try calling the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. The possiblility of having their license revoked might wake them up.

Consumer Helpline
1-800-342-2762 (In Florida)
850-413-3132 (Out-of-State)

Look at it for what it really is (1)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11631817)

Most extended warranty contracts gurantee replacement costs. I don't know specifically about your contract, but I would imagine they had a half way intelligent lawyer that stated in the contract that "comprable" was to their discretion.

Now, given that, it's up to them to decide if 2 pounds of weight is enough of a differance to warrant upgrading your PC. I've personally gone through the whole "fight for all you can on warranty" thing but you can't expect to get 100% of the features in a 100% match. Some features will be better, (screen, hard-drive, cpu); others may not exist (ir port, weight, etc..).

In short, get over it. If you absolutely must have the extra's; pay for them. Otherwise appreciate that the rip-off warrently actually was worth something this time.

Crayola Oblongata (0)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632244)


Homer: [holds up a blue crayon] I want you to stick this crayon into my brain.
Moe: No problem -- the ol' Crayola oblongata.

Meanwhile, Lisa draws a picture of her father as a Renaissance-era intellectual. She reaches for the powder blue crayon, finds that it's missing, and realizes what has happened to it.

Back at Moe's Tavern, Moe begins to put the crayon in Homer's nose.

Moe: All right, tell me when I hit the sweet spot.
Homer: Deeper, you pusillanimous pilsner pusher!
Moe: All right, all right. [with a small hammer and chisel, taps the crayon further up Homer's nose]
Homer: De-fense! [woof-woof] De-fense! [woof-woof]
Moe: Eh, that's pretty dumb. But, uh ... [taps once more]
Homer: Extended warranty? How can I lose?
Moe: Perfect.

Slashdot (1)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11632687)

My suggesttion: Post your story on Slashdot to shame the companies with negative publicity. Oh wait...

So far, I've gotten them to agree to give me 1200 bucks store credit, which is still 500 bucks shy of the purchase price.

If you don't mind me aski, what reasons were they giving to avoid paying you the full amount?

dealing with shady companies.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11633073)

When I'm confronted with an obviously shady company bent on getting away with my money.. I usually do the following:
1) Any time you're talking with someone on the phone, ask for their name before they know you're angry.
2) Always pay with a credit card so if it's within 6 months you can charge back.
3) Immediately let the BBB know about the problems you're having. File a complaint. Most companies value their BBB record.
4) Let your attorney general know IMMEDIATELY. You'll have to send them documentation but once they're moving then things get done.
5) Call AND write your congressman. Amazingly, most congressmen don't have enough to do so if you call them about something like this then they'll often help you do something about it including getting the right parties moving.
6) File a complaint with the FTC. Again, they're slow to get moving but when they do.. lookout..
7) I've gotten good results a couple times by asking for the legal department instead of the manager. :P

Local TV (1)

CarrionBird (589738) | more than 9 years ago | (#11633496)

They usually love this kind of stuff. Most areas have one or more stations that will confront the asshats with media exposure. They usually fold like a bad hand.

It's going down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11634004)

Stock trading near 52 week low on the offtrack-pink-sheet-3*5 card market. Last investors meeting in 2002. Board made up of insiders and retired insiders.

Notice they have an automobile division. Be thankful it was just a laptop.

if you are in the states (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11635554)

go to the better business bureaus, I have and I have had success in getting money back. www.bbb.org

You can file a report and they will send the company a letter and stuff for you. It also has company ratings. So if a company has pulled crap on customers before then they may have a record in their database. It is free too.

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