Without Proof Of Purchase, Your Warranty Options May Be Limited

Rob’s digital photo frame stopped working a few days ago, so he contacted Kodak to see whether they could help him. He writes that he knew it was at least one month out of warranty because the warranty is for one year, and he’d been given it as a gift a year ago on Christmas. Still, he was hoping Kodak would cut him a deal or do some sort of above-and-beyond thing.

Instead, he found out that as far as Kodak was concerned, it had been out of warranty for over two years.

Rob writes,

What I learned from my conversation with Michael is that unless I have a receipt indicating the specific purchase date, which I don’t since it was a gift, Kodak uses the “Manufacture Date” printed on the frame to determine the begin date of the warranty. The manufacture date on my frame is August 2007. Which means the warranty on my gift frame expired months before I even received it. I just thought it important that before purchasing one of these frames, or any other Kodak product I guess, your readers be aware of this policy.

Oh, and the only way to know the manufacturer date is to open the box and inspect the product itself.

Ok, so either way, my frame was out of warranty. In reality, not by much. By Kodak policy, almost a year and a half. Fair enough – out of warranty is out of warranty. I was hoping to get an extension of a couple of months to cover me, but got no where because by Kodak policy, Michael considered it to be WAY out of warranty.

His options, Kodak said, were to pay $120 for repairs, or buy a new frame directly from Kodak for a 15% discount.

For confirmation, he forwarded us an email he received from a Kodak customer relations specialist. In it, she very specifically notes that this is SOP for Kodak, and as far as Kodak is concerned it’s being gracious to even offer this to customers:

In your Kodak EasyShare Digital Frame User Manual, you will find the terms and conditions of the Kodak Limited Warranty which begins with the information:

Kodak warrants Kodak consumer electronic products and accessories (“Products”), excluding batteries, to be free from malfunctions and defects in both materials and workmanship for one year from the date of purchase. Retain the original dated sales receipt. Proof of the date of purchase will be required with any request for warranty repair.

Because Kodak recognizes many customers receive products as gifts or fail to retain the receipt, as a goodwill gesture we developed an alternate method of assisting with warranty repair, based on the date of manufacture. By doing so, Kodak goes well beyond many manufacturers’ warranty guidelines in an effort to assist our customers as much as possible. Unfortunately, as you have learned, this additional warranty benefit is not realized by customers if they have purchased or received a product that was not sold shortly after receipt by a retailer.

It’s always a good idea to keep receipts for electronics, and to register them whenever the registration is actually tied to a serial number and not just a marketing trick. In tough times, or when companies just aren’t doing so well, they’re going to look for any reason to not spend any money on you–even when it probably means losing you as a future customer.

For example, look at what Rob says Keurig did for his wife when her coffee maker–also a gift that didn’t come with proof of purchase–died on her:

As an example of exceptional customer service, my wife received a Keurig coffee maker for Christmas 2008. It had a one-year warranty but stopped working a little over a year later and since it was a gift, she had no receipt. She called Keurig. They sent her a brand new retail packaged replacement that arrived two days later. All they asked was that she send one small part back to them, which she did. They now have customers for life.

I did not expect a brand new frame from Kodak. But it seems you should have more flexibility in your coverage options. As I stated below, my frame was out of warranty either way. Reasonable consideration would have satisfied me, but I did not receive any.

Your warranty policy and lack of consideration will prevent me from giving any Kodak product as a gift. I have done so in the past. My daughter has one of your digital cameras and my mother-in-law has one of your frames. I now know that they won’t be covered by Kodak if they have a problem.