Should A Warranty Replacement Mean A Whole New Warranty?

Warranties can be very complicated things. Jennie and her husband have an over-the-stove microwave that they bought from Lowe’s, and they happen to have bought an extended warranty for it. A pricey one: $100 on a $300 appliance. They needed to call in this warranty after only a few months.

Now they’re annoyed because the warranty replaced the appliance entirely, but they’re supposed to buy a whole new warranty for their whole new microwave with a few years left on the warranty. Is that fair?

If the warranty cost less than a third of the total purchase price of the appliance, maybe they’d have less of a problem just buying a new one.

My husband and I built a new home and purchased our appliances at Lowes. One of our appliances was an over the range microwave/exhaust fan. We also purchased the extra 4-year extended warranty, for the microwave, for $100.00. It was an in-home warranty, meaning that they came to our home to repair the appliance if there were issues.

Within 2 months the microwave was not working. It took 2 service calls and several weeks to get it fixed. Several months later, it stopped working again…..they came out and fixed it again after 2 service calls. This occurred for the 3rd time, and we had only had the microwave about 1 ½ years. Needless to say, the extended warranty customer service rep. told me that it wasn’t economically feasible to repair. Therefore, they were sending me an in-store credit card for the amount of the original purchase.

However, the warranty was now considered fulfilled and no longer was valid. I asked about pro-rating the warranty cost, or simply covering the new microwave for the remainder of the warranty, I already purchased. They told me that it was not transferrable and despite my loss of 2 ½ year of the 4 year warranty, I would need to purchase another warranty for the new microwave I would purchase with my in-store credit.

Looking at the warranty specifics (the purchase was 04/23/2011) for the date of purchase, it appears that they have a “”No Lemon Policy” that indicates that if an appliance has 3 of the same “issues” in a year, they will replace it with a product of comparable performance, not to exceed the original purchase price. It also states that they will cover the cost of installation. It seems that they are quite accommodating when it comes to transferring these extended warranties to a subsequent owner (if you purchased a home and the warranty was still valid on the appliance). They not only allow the transfer, it’s free.

I contacted Lowes Legal Dept., from their website. I explained my situation and I told them that I thought it was unethical to charge for a warranty period if they didn’t honor the entire number of years that they charged people for. I also told them that when I spoke to the in-store salesperson, they assured me that the warranty would take care of anything that might go wrong in the 4 year time period. Otherwise, why would I purchase $100/warranty, on a $300 item.

I was quite impressed that the next day I received a call from Lowes Legal Dept. hoping to discuss the matter. The gentleman was very nice and we had a civil conversation that basically reiterated the facts. He explained that it is just part of the warranty terms and that sometimes salespeople don’t quite know all of the terms of the warranties.

I would like to have my money back so that I can purchase my new microwave (yes, I am still without one, since I have been hoping they will magically decide to honor their warranty and simply replace it, hence the warranty would still be valid) at a store that is upfront about their warranty terms, or at least one that has knowledgeable sales associates.

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