EE Product News

To Buy Or Not Or Not To Buy

Do you purchase extended warranties on electronic products? I never do. I guess I have undying faith in the quality of the products produced by this industry. But I got a wake-up call recently.

I had purchased a Dell Inspiron 600m notebook computer for my daughter when she graduated from college. I spent a little more for it than I usually do since my daughter wanted the lightest notebook available—she intended to continue her schooling and knew she would be carrying it around a lot. I thought the notebook would last for years and years, as mine have done.

Instead, I got a call from her a few months ago, telling me her notebook had conked out. This was approximately a year and a half after I had purchased it for her—without an extended warranty. The news from Dell was $199 just to look at the notebook and over $500 if the motheboard was fried, as I suspected.

What to do, what to do? Dump the notebook and buy a new one or take the $199-$500+ plunge? We took the plunge and discovered that the damages were in the $500 plus category. Now, how do you wiggle out of this one? Here’s what I did.

I decided to check my credit card insurance policy. As you probably know, if you purchase products with certain credit cards, the credit card company doubles the warranty period of the product. But when you file a claim, they want to see all the purchase info including a copy of the original credit card bill, the bill of sale for the product with credit card info, a copy of the warranty, and so forth. This request made me realize how little of this information you get when you purchase products online, as you do for a Dell computer.

Fortunately, Dell was able to dig up all the information I needed. As for the original credit card statement, I’m a bit of a pack rat and still had it. The entire claim process took a couple of months, but the check to cover the repair finally showed up last week.

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