American Express Extended Warranty Protection Buys You A New Laptop

Sick of listening to us tell you not to buy the extended warranty at Best Buy? Listen to this: David first wrote to us back in December about a laptop he’d purchased for his sister-in-law as a Christmas gift the year before. The laptop, a Compaq, had simply stopped working two weeks after its one-year warranty (from date of purchase) had ended. David found this especially frustrating, because his sister-in-law had not even opened the laptop until Christmas. From David’s email:

So I dug out the receipt and she called Compaq/HP. She told them everything and they said it needed to be sent in for repair and that they WOULD cover it under the 1 year warranty. So she had me fax them the receipt. When she called back they said that they WOULD NOT cover it.

Now I am mad. So I called back this morning and went through the whole thing with several layers of managers and what not all saying no. I find this absolutely ridiculous…is there anything I can do? Should I contact HP non-support customer service? I just find this so ridiculous. I literally could have bought the laptop a week later, still given it to her on Christmas, and thus it would have broken the same time, and it would be covered.

After a bit of research, we knew David had pretty much exhausted his options with Compaq, but there was still hope. Even without an extended warranty, we helped David get his laptop replaced. How? Read our response to David and his success story inside.

The Consumerist writes:

David,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Technically, you are past the one year warranty and they don’t have to help you. The way I see it, you have two options.

1) You can try to get in touch with a supervisor and plead your case. Play the Christmas card. (No pun intended.) You might find someone sympathetic who will help you out. They are not obligated to help, so be nice.

2) If you bought the laptop with a credit card, you might not have any problems at all, which is why we always, always, always suggest you buy large tech items with a credit card. Say, for example, you had a Citi Mastercard:

“Extended Warranty is a special benefit offered to Citi

Platinum and Gold MasterCard

Cardmembers. This service enables you to make a claim for repairs if the original manufacturer’s warranty has expired on an item you purchased on your MasterCard card. Your claim must be made within the Citibank

Extended Warranty period (double the time of the manufacturer’s warranty, up to one additional year). No registration is necessary.”

You can submit your info to Citi and make a claim for repairs through them. Lots of credit cards have this. If you don’t have a card that does, we suggest you get one specifically for this type of purchase. You don’t need to carry a balance on it to be eligible for this program, and you don’t need to register.

Some debit cards also have the Extended Warranty benefit. You might want to check to see if yours does.

Please let me know if this advice helped you. If you get your laptop repaired we’d love to post your story! Good luck and keep in touch.

Yours,

Meghann

David writes:

Meghann,

I wanted to follow up with you concerning our emails copied below to let you know that your help was incredible. I have an American Express Rewards card that I use for everything. I love the customer service from Amex and the fact that I have to pay it off every month keeps me out of the credit card debt problem (which I luckily just dug out of).

Thus, your wonderful response reminded me that I bought the computer with my Amex which should have the extended warranty for products. I called them up and sure enough, they would take care of it. I just had to take it into a shop to be diagnosed. After that just fax in the report and receipt, and since they were giving me a full refund on the computer, the computer itself. They even said they would cover the cost of the diagnosis!

It took a little over a month to get everything taken care of and the proper authorizations, but I now have been credited the full cost of the computer plus tax and can go get a brand new computer.

I am more than impressed with Amex and eternally grateful to you and the Consumerist for reminding me of this wonderful service available to me.

Thanks,

David

David was able to get the full cost of his computer refunded to him without paying for an extended warranty. He also had an excellent experience dealing with American Express, in clear contrast with his experience with both Best Buy’s Geek Squad and Compaq.

This could be you! Be sure you know what benefits are offered to you as a credit card/debit card holder. Take advantage of them! Card holder benefits can make your life easier, and as we’ve seen here, they can save you a lot of money. Just be sure to use credit wisely, lest the cost outweigh the benefits.—MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo:robertpaulyoung)

Comments

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  1. Scazza says:

    Holy, thats incredible. You got a full year for free pretty much! Kudos to Amex and their no hassle attitude.

  2. SmoovyG says:

    AmEx is awesome about this sort of thing. I had an iPod die on me about a week and a half over the two year mark and AmEx still replaced it for me, even though I hadn’t thought to contact them until a month and a half past that. They just asked what the date was that it died and a month or so later, bam – credit on our account!

  3. gibbersome says:

    Hmmm, my experience with AMEX wasn’t so great. I had my laptop die two weeks after warranty ended from Costco. The AMEX people would not cover it, but all I had to do was speak with one of the Costco reps and they replaced it for me for free.
    I had AMEX Blue, perhaps that doesn’t cover it?

  4. missdona says:

    Be careful though. Amex’s policy is that the purchase has to be paid “in full” by Amex, meaning no gift certs toward the purchase.

    I would imagine a nice CSR might waive it, but I wouldn’t chance it.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    Amex is the only cc I carry. They have always been super-responsive. (Mine is the regular ol’ green card.) Great story; yay!

  6. velocipenguin says:

    How did he fax in the computer? Sounds like a useful trick.

  7. DerekBilliers says:

    AMEX is awful with their customer service rep. My credit card number was stolen and billed for $1,500. They told me to pay it off and then file a report for investigation. It’s been almost 14 months and they’ve stopped responding to me!
    Visa/Mastercard works for me. AMEX not that great for internation travel anyway.

  8. lemur says:

    First of all, thanks David, Meghann and Consumerist for reminding us that our credit cards may be giving us benefits that we don’t even know we have.

    Slight caveat however. My rule is to never consider extended warranties except on laptops. But with the additional warranty provided by the credit card, I should not get an extended warranty even for a laptop, right? Not quite. An extended warranty on a laptop may still be something to think about even if your card provides one. Why?

    In David’s story it took a little over a month to get everything sorted out. Thinking about my own situation, I can’t be without a laptop for even a few days. I do not have money to spend on a new laptop while I’m trying to get a credit on the old one so buying a new one while things get sorted out is not an option for me. There’s also the risk that my credit request could be rejected for whatever reason. Although I would have to buy a new computer anyway, (whether the credit is granted or not) it is hard to budget properly if you don’t know what money you will have at your disposal when everything is said and done.

    I have a 3-year extended warranty on my Dell laptop with on-site service. I’ve been extremely happy with the service provided. When I needed parts, they shipped overnight and when a tech was needed (to replace the motherboard), they sent him to my house quickly. So I’ve never been without an operating laptop for more than a few days.

    I’m not saying that the additional protection provided by credit cards is not something to think about but we need to think carefully about our needs before deciding to turn down a manufacturer’s extended warranty.

  9. Craig says:

    I have Amex Blue and had the screen on a Palm Tungsten go bad on me after it was out of warranty. Amex refunded the original cost of the Tungsten and I was able to buy a replacement for $75 less than the cost of the original! It was definitely a great experience and all of my electronics purchases are now made on my Amex as a result (so it benefitted them too).

  10. itmustbeken says:

    Whenever I buy any computer hardware, it goes on my Amex. Period.

    I purchased a laptop from the Apple on-line store in it’s early days just before Christmas. February arrived and no computer. Called Apple and they ran me around before telling me to take it up with FedEx. Finally broke down and called Amex. The rep was fantastic. A ‘Sista’ from Charlotte who listened to my story of woe (all the while I can hear the clack clack clack of nails on a keyboard with ‘oh no..they said that?..uh huh..).

    Her final words ‘Ok, lets see if they deal with this once I snatch the money out of their account. Sweetie, if Apple calls you, give them MY extention.’

    I don’t know that Amex rep, but I love her.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    I hate to be quasi-anti-consumerist, but anyone that lets an expensive electronics item sit on the shelf, unopened, while the 12mo warrantee evaporates, deserves to get spanked.

    Nice that Amex sailed in to save the day, but GEEZ, woman…

  12. MikeWas says:

    @itmustbeken: Forget Apple… give US that rep’s extension.

    And ask her for an address for us to use for florist deliveries.

  13. matildaben says:

    How do you find out what credit cards offer the Extended Warranty feature? I have an Amazon Credit Card from Chase and I had to email them to find out if they do, but they appear not to (they only offer 90 day buyer protection).

  14. Meg Marco says:

    trai_dep, She opened it at Christmas?

  15. SOhp101 says:

    My experiences with AMEX has been awesome compared to my other credit cards.

    Gibbersome, Not all AMEXs come with the extended warranty protection, AFAIK.

    Don’t bother getting the Centurion though; everyone I know who has it says it isn’t much different from the Platinum.

  16. dogmatixx says:

    Not only does Amex extend your warranty by a year, but they also have, if I remember correctly, 90 day “oops” coverage. (That’s not what they call it). I buy my wife a new iBook. Less than a month later, she drops a plate on the open screen, smashing it. Replacement monitor for $999 laptop: $700. I call Amex, they reimburse me for the fix.

  17. The Lab says:

    I love how the author still expects to be covered after the warantee has expired. Rules are rules, the day it expires is the first day you are on your own.

  18. buywithcc says:

    so if one were to buy a $2000 plasma, would you say that the manufac. warranty + additional year warranty from the CC be good enough? or should one buy the extened warranty from the store?

  19. Khamel says:

    I love me some AMEX. I thought i was out of warranty and they were more than willing to help me out (the lady even told me what date i needed to claim the tv broke – hint hint) but when i found out i had my warranty intact it was ok. they handeled a shady paypal transaction in days as well. i use my AMEX for everything.

  20. speedmaster says:

    Buy Dell… it is hard to get over the first level of support (they ask you too many questions and perform too many checks even you being a IT professional) but, in the end, they are behind their product. It is not the best machine your money can buy but the safest investment you can do regarding notebooks

  21. SisterGirl says:

    Amex Basic Green cardholder here,and I love these people beyond words. I’ve not ran into any issues with any merchant,but the stuff that matters most ALL goes on this charge card.

    I have the peace of mind knowing that if I have ANY problems,they will stand behind me. This is my everyday use card,and I carry a Platinum Visa with me to use at merchants that don’t accept Amex.

    American Express…Kudos on a job well done !


    I

  22. Broominator says:

    Another cool thing to keep in mind with American Express’ warranty extension–if you purchase a support agreement directly from the manufacturer and the total warranty is less than five years, American Express will still extend your warranty up to a year AFTER even the extended warranty expires!

    For example, I bought a PowerBook G4 from Apple with AppleCare (covers it for three years). The machine stoped working in the fourth year. Since I bought the computer with my AMEX, I just proved to them that my warranty had been extedned from one year to three and they promptly covered the repair–since it was so old, they just refunded my purchase price and I got a brand new MacBook Pro. Great service.

  23. allstarecho says:

    This must be why the transaction fees AMEX charges retailers is the highest of any credit card and why so many retailers have stopped accepting AMEX or are in the process of it.

    My employer (1000 high-volume gas stations nationwide) played hardball with AMEX last year over the increase in transaction fees.. put up stickers on all the pumps with the usual “due to high costs from AMEX..”, stopped accepting AMEX for almost 2 weeks and then AMEX came to a number that my employer accepted.

  24. m4nea says:

    uuuh…what if something happens that this Amex extended warranty doesn’t cover? It is, like regular warranties, restricted to FACTORY DEFECTS.

    I’m not sure what best buy in the states offers (i’ve heard of multiple packages available, including physical-damage-covering plans); however, i work at a best buy in canada, and we don’t offer extended warranties.

    Performance Service Plan covers damage caused by power surges (not covered under warranty), wear and tear, is international (meaning if it breaks on vacation, the product is fixed by an equipped facility WHERE YOU ARE with BBY picking up the bill upon your return); there are other advantages, but I am rambling.

    In closing, I would like to point out that although Amex seems to be setting a gold standard for credit warranties, most corporations require at least THREE quotes from qualifying repair shops, and will not pay shipping for the return of the defective unit, much like MOST manufacturers.