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CompUSA warranty experience

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Kamal, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. Kamal

    Kamal Guest

    Thanks everyone for your advice. I just wanted to post my experience
    with CompUSA warranty purchase.

    I recently bought a Toshiba laptop at CompUSA and as expected, the
    salesperson was all over me trying to make me buy the warranty. One of
    the major advantages he touted was that accidental screen damage/hard
    drive damage etc. was covered. I bought the warranty for $350 for 2
    years. Since I have heard about the sleazy sales tactics of CompUSA,
    BestBuy, CircuitCity folks, I decided not to open the warranty package
    and check up more on this online, in case I need to return it.

    What I found was very vague language that could be twisted anyway that
    the store wanted and NO SPECIFIC MENTION of accidental damage
    coverage. Here is an excerpt from the 2 year laptop repair plan +
    screen protection plan from the link (the CAPS used are mine. Theirs
    is written in regular case)
    http://www.compusa.com/products/mini_product.asp?product_code=296934

    "Purchase of this kit includes protection for your laptop's most
    fragile part, the screen. IF IT SHOULD FAIL, bring it to a CompUSA
    service center near you and we'll repair it."

    Details of this plan at http://www.compusa.com/media/tap_terms.pdf
    says-

    "The Laptop Screen Upgrade will pay for labor and replacement parts
    necessary to replace your laptop computer screen SHOULD IT BECOME
    INOPERABLE"


    Note the words "should it fail" and "should it become inoperable".
    Generally these would refer to the failure due to inherent screen
    problems and not due to accidental damage. This can of course be
    twisted to mean accidental damage as well. But this type of vague
    language made me uneasy.

    I looked up Toshiba SystemGuard warranty and to my relief, it
    specifically mentions "Accidental Damage Coverage provides a repair or
    replacement service in the event of accidental screen breakage or
    other damage caused by accidents such as drops or liquid spills."

    Guess how much it costs- $199 for 3 years. Beats CompUSA for sure.
    That being said, there are couple of limitations. Toshiba will cover
    extend warranty for 3 years for standard failures or problems. The
    additional accidental coverage will only cover one accidental damage
    per year. Note that the standard failures or problems are covered
    unlimited number of times. Only accidental damage is covered once a
    year. Secondly, Toshiba does not cover the battery after the first
    year. That was easily remedied by buying the computer using the credit
    card. The credit card company automatically doubles the standard
    warranty, for FREE. So Toshiba will cover the battery for the first
    year and my credit card company will cover it the next year.

    To be fair, I should mention that CompUSA promises to cover 2 screen
    failures and 2 battery replacements through the life of the 3-year
    warranty. Do the math and it still doesn't make sense to buy through
    CompUSA.

    End result: I bought the warranty from Toshiba. When I went to CompUSA
    to return their warranty, 2-3 salesperson and the manager converged on
    me, trying to convince me how their warranty was sooo much superior.
    When I asked them about the accidental coverage they said it was
    covered. I asked them to show me in writing and they could not produce
    any document that specifically mentioned the accidental damage
    coverage. I flatly told them that I had decided and I didn't want the
    warranty. I think the store guys were pretty upset and someone even
    remarked "ouch" when the manager walked away ;-)

    I have heard good things about Toshiba warranty and I hope they are
    true.

    p.s. If some of you do decide to buy the CompUSA warranty, make sure
    you ask them to give you some free stuff. They will generally give you
    something worth $40-50. Why would they do that ? Because warranties
    are pure profit center and overpriced warranties are more so. I don't
    know for sure but I think BestBuy or CircuitCity would probably do the
    same.
     
    Kamal, Apr 28, 2004
    #1
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  2. Although I don't usually recommend extended warranties, laptops are an
    exception.

    I totally concur with your comments about the Toshiba Systemguard
    warranty. This warranty does, EXPLICITLY, include "no fault" screen
    breakage protection. In my view, if you buy a Toshiba, it's the only
    warranty to get.

    Note, however, that this only applies to the Toshiba "Systemguard"
    warranties. It does NOT apply to other extended warranty plans that
    Toshiba sells. Not all Toshiba extended warranty plans have this
    coverage, so be aware of that.

    As to the plans sold by the stores, they generally do NOT cover actual
    LCD breakage. On the other hand, the Best Buy plan does cover a
    replacement battery, which is a $200 item, and which will often be dead
    before the expiration of a 3-year warranty (and, sometimes, you can go
    through 2 or 3 batteries in 3 years).

    There is no substitute for reading the fine print, and for getting an
    explanation IN WRITING of any sections that seem questionable. It's
    very likely that, BEFORE the sale, you can get a store manager to
    hand-write in language that covers accidental breakage. My experience
    is that they will do almost anything to make the sale "BEFORE the fact".
     
    Barry Watzman, Apr 30, 2004
    #2
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