Reader Dustin lives on a military base and Microsoft keeps telling him that they can’t fulfill his warranty because UPS doesn’t ship XBOXs back and forth from military bases. According to UPS, this isn’t true. Dustin tried escalating his complaint and got some apologies, but months went by and still no box arrived for his broken XBOX 360.
An internal Best Buy training document sent to The Consumerist reveals Best Buy’s position on the “Extended Warranty” debate. Best Buy says they don’t sell those pesky “extended warranties” that get so much bad press— instead they sell “performance service plans.” The document also instructs Best Buy employees on how to sell these warranties to Upscale Suburban “Barry” and “Jill.” It’s important for consumers to be familiar with these tactics so they are able to recognize them while shopping in a high pressure sales environment such as Best Buy. Understanding the sales pitch puts you on equal ground with the salesperson.
After Daniela’s SONY laptop was stuck in a warranty repair purgatory for months and a SONY tech screamed at her over the phone accusing her of warranty fraud, her story appeared on The Consumerist. Now she happily writes:
Almost immediately after my article was posted on the consumerist, I received a friendly and extremely apologetic call from a Sony exec. Before even calling me, he had reviewed my case and agreed fully that they were in the wrong. He apologized and offered to have my notebook repaired immediately!
So, I take in my broken PS3 to Best Buy today, to replace it of course, and they refused to because the serial number on the console is different from that of the box. They accuse me of trying to trade back a different PS3 than the one I bought (I guess there are idiots that do that), in order to get out of paying to have it replaced. This, of course, is total crap because I bought this EXACT PS3 the night before.
Not surprisingly, the car dealers who sell the extended warranties disagree. A spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association likened the warranties to insurance for which, of course, policy holders as a group pay more than they get back to protect against the rare problem that is ruinously expensive.
Reader M writes:
Should it take several months and a small claims lawsuit to get Best Buy to take back their defective washing machine? No, but that’s what it did take for reader Keith.
Brooks is a DirecTV customer, and he wrote in to warn other DirecTV customers to watch out for a shady “Protection Plan” the company signed him up for against his permission:
- I was not told anything about a “standard policy” to sign me up for the protection plan upon having warranty work done.
- I specifically declined to sign up when pitched on the idea.
- I was signed up anyways.
- I received the letter stating that there would be no charge.
- They attempted to charge a cancellation fee for canceling a plan I never agreed to.
- I had to waste time and energy to haggle to get the charges off, when it really should have been a simple fix.
Read Brooks’ full DirecTV encounter after the jump.
Wiliam writes in to point out something he noticed in the fine print of Best Buy’s Product Service Plan: it begins as soon as you purchase the item, and doesn’t cover anything covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
On May 3, 2007 a reader wrote in to explain an issue he was having with Best Buy’s Geek Squad. His computer was randomly shutting off and generally acting crazy. His warranty was with Geek Squad so he took the computer in for repair. Geek Squad wiped his hard drive and returned the computer without fixing the problem.
Jed’s Gateway MX6030 laptop worked pretty well for a couple of years, then the problems started—faulty power adapter, kaput motherboard, dead hard drive. Luckily, he’d bought a 3-year extended service plan. Unluckily, when his motherboard was replaced, the bottom of the laptop—where the serial and model numbers are located—was swapped out with one from a different model, so that when he brought it back for the hard drive repair, the store manager accused him of fraud.
I purchased a laptop through my company in 2005. The laptop I bought was the Dell XPS (Gen2). I had several issues with the DVD burner right off the bat. Within months Dell was replacing my 6800 Ultra laptop video board due to video artifacts. This happened again and more parts were replaced. In Late 2006 Dell swapped my Gen2 system for a M1710. In my book, both the customer service and the quality hit the fan. They sent me a laptop with less memory and poor video.
Zachariah no longer has to wonder about why AppleCare costs more in Canada ($199) than in the US ($169), he found a deal at L.A. Computer Company where he could get it for $119. They emailed him the agreement number, he registered the number online at Apple, and received his official AppleCare Protection Plan Certificate in the mail. So what’s the solution to the mystery of why there was a pricing disparity even though there’s parity between the dollar and the loony? We don’t know for sure, but we’re placing our money on that the prices were figured out when the dollar was worth more and they just haven’t been readjusted since.
Did you know that if you request a repair under warranty for an appliance you bought at Best Buy, and the repair isn’t made, then Best Buy will charge you a fee?
Greg writes in to tell us that on January 2nd, his Xbox 360 unit broke down for the fifth time—it lasted eleven days this time, setting a new record for Shortest Period of Functionality. In the past year, it’s been out of commission for over 12 weeks total. He’s now asking for a new or refurbished unit, or else a refund, but Microsoft is determined to keep him in an extended warranty repair cycle indefinitely and won’t negotiate. Surely by this point it’s just cheaper to replace the defective unit, isn’t it?
Thinking about buying yourself some new boobs? You might want to make sure you can handle the after effects. The NYT informs that breast augmentation doesn’t always involve a single surgery and there’s no warranty on your boobs. In fact, one third of women who get breast implants end up having another surgery within four to five years.
Note: This is not a rant or venting session. I was laid off after the holidays, and I have no hard feelings about it ( Layoffs happen to everyone these days) . This is simply a guide to shopping at RadioShack ( henceforth known as RS) for any consumer who likes or buys electronics,written by someone who’s sold far too much of them.