Why do we pay all of the money for extra insurance or warranties on the items that we buy namely computers, when very rarely does it actually pay off?
Point in case: I went with Aza last week to a small time computer shop because her laptop was in multiple pieces (don’t ask). The shop had a big sign out front that read, “We Fix All Computers!” I told her that we should take it there to see if this shop could fix it for a reasonable price in a reasonable amount of time. Better yet fix it right there as we waited because it was something simple. Aza agrees, so in we walk to an empty shop. We are standing there waiting when all of a sudden out walks Lurch who was obviously the king of geeks and who will be hence forth known as “King Geek” (no offense to the self-proclaimed “geeks” in the audience). I looked at Aza, rolled my eyes and said “Oh Boy.”
So, this is how the conversation basically goes…
King Geek: “How may I help you?”
Aza presents her computer which is in two pieces and explains what happened to it, basically telling King Geek that it just needs four connections attached and the screws put back in.
King Geek: Laughs as though we’ve just requested a triple bypass and says, “Oh we don’t fix laptops here, only desk tops.”
I looked at Aza and King Geek in amazement.
Kojak: “Why does your sign say we fix all computers?”
King Geek: “Oh it says that?”
Kojak: “Uhhh, yeah it does” I snap back.
King Geek: “Geez it shouldn’t say that I guess.”
Kojak: “Yeah, ya think you might want to change that?”
King Geek: “Gosh I better.”
Aza: “Can you recommend anybody in town that might be able to fix it?”
King Geek: “Well I don’t usually give my competition any recommendations.”
Aza: “Well thanks so much for ALL of your help, you have been just tremendous!”
Kojak: “Yeah I agree, thanks I’ll make sure to tell all my friends about your shop.”
Needless to say we walked out very irritated, pissed off, jacked up and just plain ol mad.
Aza says to me, “Well I got the best warranty that money can buy when I bought this computer so let’s just drive over to where I purchased it and drop it off.” I agree so off we go.
We get to our destination walk in and start the process of explaining the situation. The employee looks up her information and see’s that she does indeed have the top of the line warranty. The employee tells Aza, “This should be no problem you have the best warranty you can buy. Which is a good thing considering your laptop is in multiple pieces.” The employee tells us that he will send the computer to Atlanta, they will look at it and either fix it or replace it and send back the hard drive. The employee is confident that it would be fixed because the warranty is the most expensive and best that you can get. “You can stomp on it, it can be in pieces, it can be run over and they will fix it or give you another computer” he says. We walk out feeling pretty good, just waiting to hear back from the company so we can come pick it up.
A couple of weeks go by so Aza calls the store to inquire about her computer. The company tells Aza that it was returned, however, it was returned un-repaired due to “Infestation”, “Whattttttt!!!???” Aza says, her face white as snow. “What kind of ‘infestation’ are you talking about?” The employee has no idea, so Aza is beyond mad and scared half to death, she tells the employee to get a manager on the phone. The phone is silent until the manager answers. Aza explains the situation, the manager is sure that this will be resolved, “Just give me a few days and come see me on Friday (14th) between 10am and 5pm I will take care of the situation.” he says. We have no choice so she hangs up, waiting until Friday.
The week flew by, just as it does when you get old like me. Aza and I walked into the business with hopes that the situation would be resolved. This was far beyond resolved, especially when we found out that the manager that was going to perform miracles for us wasn’t even there. We are face to face with somebody that has no clue what the heck is going on and is nasty to boot. Ms. Nasty gets on the phone for a few minutes pacing back and forth, finally coming back to us with a look of “You’re getting ready to get a big weenie in the behind and you’re not going to like it” She tells us that what they found was one tiny little pinhead size bug inside the computer. They refused to work on it, put it all back together, wrapped in shrink wrap and sent it back un-repaired. Bottom line. You are out eleven hundred dollars, so sorry, so sad have a great day. The only way that the warranty would not cover the computer was if any type of insect etc was found in it. Well howdy do how convenient! So Aza, mad as hell at this point said “So I can be sitting in the quad at school and if an ant crawls in it I’m screwed!?”, Ms. Nasty looking rather satisfied only responds with “Yep” and busies herself on the phone.
Well that just didn’t sit right with either one of us, first of all why the hell did the salesman tell Aza and her dad that the warranty covered absolutely everything, no questions asked? After getting Ms. Nasty’s attention again she says, “Oh well in the extra extra fine print it tells you that it won’t be covered under that one condition. We can pro rate your warranty.” Aza responds with, “Well gee wiz how sweet of you, I’m sorry I didn’t have my attorney there when I purchased it to read the fine print. How much will I get back?” Ms. Nasty now typing on the computer, “Oh let me see, hmmmm looks like one hundred and eleven dollars.” That’s quite a big difference when you pay over eleven hundred dollars for a computer and the super duper deluxe warranty. The kicker to this whole cluster is the only way you can get the pro rate back is in the form of a gift card or refund the credit card that was used. Aza, trying to be as polite as she can be said, “I don’t owe anything on the credit card, and I promise you I’m not doing business with your company anymore. The purchase was made over a year ago so just give me cash.” “Oh we can’t do that!” Ms. Nasty says. “Ohh yes you will!” I step in and say. “Get somebody on the phone now that has some power.” Aza asked for the phone number to their district office and Ms. Nasty gets an attitude. She goes back to a back room and scribbles a number on a torn piece of paper, then gives to another employee to bring out. Now that’s service baby.
I told Aza that we need to get district on the phone because we are not getting any satisfaction here. The little Ms. Nasty wannabe manager is bowed up at this point because she thinks she showed us. Here’s how smart this manager is, we asked for the phone number for the district office in Florida. The number we got was Iowa. Are you kidding me?!
Aza gets on the phone, in 5 minutes and 2 thousand miles away, we got some satisfaction. The gift card would be cashed out (which is what Aza asked Ms. Nasty to do in the first place) and the money given to us in cash. Needless to say, the little bowed up manager had to exhale and let all the air out of her bird chest.
Aza is out of a computer that she just paid off. What does she have to show for it you ask? A big Ben Franklin, and a few George Washington’s.
Moral of the story- READ THE FINE PRINT FOLKS!
I’m Out And Well Talk Later!
Update: I was able to talk to some of our IT guys in the department. One in particular used to work on Toshiba’s in a former life and offered to take a look at it. He called this morning and said he’d probably have it fixed by Friday. So much for a useless two hundred and fifty dollar warranty!
"I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement." ~Calvin Coolidge