Surviving Warranty Logistics

Warranties seem like a good idea, until you realize they can be expensive and time consuming to activate. Here are 7 tips to help make sure your warranty is worth your money. 

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #198

Tip #4: Make Sure They Pay for Labor!

Taking a hot water heater back means uninstalling it. That requires mucking around with the gas hookup. Only a licensed plumber can do the job. To use my warranty, a plumber needs to uninstall our old heater and install the new one. The hourly cost adds up to almost half the price of a new hot water heater…which would come with installation included.

Make sure you know who pays for the labor associated with your warranty. If reasonable labor to fix stuff would cost as much as replacing the item, as wasteful as it is, it makes more sense to skip the warranty and replace the item if it breaks.

Tip #5: Get a Warranty That Guarantees Speediness!

[[AdMiddle]How long are you willing to go without use of your product? I purchased the on-site Dell service contract for my Dell computer. The computer broke in a very strange way. Then I had to convince the phone representative that my problem warranted an on-site visit. After about 2 weeks and 20  hours on the phone, they sent him out. He verified the problem, called to authorize an exchange, and the phone support person said, "I don't believe it. It's too strange. I want you to call the normal support line again and redo the diagnostics before I'll authorize a replacement."

So I returned the computer and have never purchased from Dell again. Don't lose 2 weeks' worth of work due to a broken computer! "On-site" isn't enough; your warranty needs to guarantee speediness.

That's one reason I'm now a Mac user. I have an Apple store just a mile away. I bought a service plan for my Mac. My hard drive crashed. With one quick phone call, I made a 20-minute service appointment for 4 pm. They spent exactly 20 minutes with me, issued a diagnosis, and the next morning, I had a working computer. It was the smoothest customer service experience I'd ever had.

Tip #6: Know the Consequences of Call-Center Support

The other problem with Dell was that I had a different support person every time I called. Yes, they had access to my record, but my computer's problem was very strange. So we had to discuss it each time. And each rep had to lead me through the diagnostic procedure that they thought made sense.

If it's possible, verify that during any warranty service, you'll have one person handle your case from start to finish.

Tip #7: One Organization Should Take Responsibility

You not only want one person to deal with, you want one organization. My hot water problem was a nightmare because the manufacturer and contractor pointed fingers at each other. "Nyah, nyah, it's not my fault. It's their fault!" I don't care whose fault it is. I just want a working hot water heater. I had no experience with broken hot water heaters. It's absurd for me to be the go-between for two companies that do business together regularly. I wanted either the manufacturer or the contractor to say "We'll handle it" and work out all the details with the other party.

Warranties sound like a great idea until you realize at best, they're an attempt to fleece you, and at worst, they're an indicator of how little faith the manufacturer has in their own product. In those cases, exercising the warranty can suck up more time and money than just replacing the product. These tips will help you make sure if you need a warranty, you'll go in with your eyes open to possible hidden pitfalls before you buy.

I’m Stever Robbins. I work with executives to help them reclaim their time by aligning their commitments behind their top goals and providing accountability to those goals. If you want to know more, visit http://www.SteverRobbins.com.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/productivity/organization/how-to-file-receipts - Get-it-Done Guy episode on how to file your receipts.
http://www.steverrobbins.com/blog/2011/07/extendedwarranty/ - Stever Robbins article on extended warranties

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.