Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Warranty Game

[n. wawr-uh n-tee, wor-; v. wawr-uh n-tee, wor-]
nounplural warranties.
  1.  An act or an instance of warranting; assurance; authorization; warrant.
  2. Law
  3. a.      a stipulation, explicit or implied, in assurance of some particular in connection with a contract, as of sale:
    an express warranty of the quality of goods.
    b.     Also called covenant of warranty. a covenant in a deed to land by which the part conveying assures the grantee that he or she will enjoy the premises free from interference by any person claiming under a superior title.
    c.      (in the law of insurance) a statement or promise, made by the party insured, and included as an essential part of the contract, falsity or non-fulfillment of which renders the policy void.
    d.     A judicial document, as a warrant or writ.
  4. A written guarantee given to the purchaser of a new appliance, automobile, or other item by the manufacturer or dealer, usually specifying that the manufacturer will make any repairs or replace defective parts free of charge for a stated period of time.

The end of March my iPhone 5s decided to get stuck in reboot mode forever and my bad luck with Apple products continued. There was nothing which I could do nor any of the Genius Bar members at the Apple Store to bring it back to function. Of course it happened two days AFTER the warranty expired (is it me or does this apply to many items, it is almost like a timer). However, the very courteous member brought the case to the manager who was nice enough to replace the iPhone for no charge. Fresh out of the box and the content restored from the backup I went on with my life with the iPhone.
Then came last Thursday, said iPhone was searching for the provider. Friday it was still searching for the provider. I checked the billing status just to make sure that the error was not in my court - it checked out, the account was current. The next step was to visit the provider store, another 2 hours I don't get back. After endless minutes of probing, consulting with technical support, and getting the iPhone to factory install it was decided that it is the antenna which was malfunctioning. Since the store was the closest but it was a provider store there was no replacement from the store itself. Instead I was referred to the corporate store, yet another trip I really did not need since they do not replace equipment either. At this store I was reminded that there was no warranty on the replaced device therefore they can not replace it, although I was told at the first store that it was clearly an equipment failure and the device would be replaced at no charge (it was also written up like that). So the first question which popped up in my mind is that if the replaced device is fresh out of the box should it not have a warranty as well? Obviously not. After some discussion with the clerk at the corporate store who was somewhat irritating and arrogant, he finally saw it my way and entered the replacement order, it will be mailed to me within a couple of days.

So here is the million dollar question: Why in the world do I have to pay for a defective device when it was clearly a malfunction on the manufacturers side? Especially if the device just came out of a box and therefore was brand new. Should there not be a warranty on that device automatically?
Here is an interesting quote I dug up:
Consumer advocate groups, such as the non-profit Consumers Union, advise against purchasing extended warranties unless they can be purchased at manufacturers cost. David Butler of the Consumers Union says, "The extended warranty is definitely in the best interest of the company because if the product breaks down they want you to be satisfied with it and buy another one when the time comes, but isn't often in the best interest of the consumer unless it can be purchased at cost with no or very little markup." 

The extended warranty does nothing but feeding the bottom line of a corporation, a bet against a malfunction. Granted that they have a cost associated with the repair, tech support, maintenance and such, but I'm sure that this is already factored in. Besides the cost of manufacturing it in China guarantees that the profit margin is tremendous. However, should it not be done RIGHT in the first place? 

Perhaps it is time to look for alternative smart phone.

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