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Registration and Proof Of Purchase

Most new retail-boxed products, hardware and software, come with some way of registering the item. Traditionally this has meant a physical registration card that you send to the company with your personal information, telling them that you have purchased their product. Today many goods, especially software ones, have online registration using the manufacturer's web site or custom software.

At one point, registration was important in order to prove that you had bought the product. Some companies would require registration before they would even consider the item purchased to be covered under standard warranty terms! This is no longer the case today with all, or virtually all, companies. You can obtain warranty service on most products as long as you can provide proof of purchase. This usually means your dated store receipt. You do not generally need to send in a registration card just to get warranty service.

Companies still like to have their customers register, and you may want to do so in some cases. It can make technical support or warranty service faster sometimes if the firm already has you in their database. Some companies also offer enticements, such as discounted upgrades, to those who register their products.

There's always a flip side unfortunately, that may make you consider not sending the registration card in at all. It seems that many companies really want you to register so that they can put you in their sales database. As someone who has bought one of their products before, you become the perfect target for anything they come up with in the future. They will "reward" your decision to buy their goods by sending you "notices" of "products you may be interested in". In other words, junk mail, physical or electronic, for years afterward. In some cases companies even sell their customer database to other firms so they can send you marketing materials. Nice. You can contact the company and ask them what their privacy policy is on registrations, but don't bet the farm on the honesty--or even the accuracy--of the answer you get...

Whatever you do, do not send in any registration cards until you are 100% certain that you are going to keep the product. Many vendors that allow returns of hardware products do so only if the entire package is intact, including the registration card. Send it in after the return period has passed, if you are going to do so.

Tip: Another reason to consider not sending in the registration card is if you think you may resell the item. Some buyers may want that registration card and it can make the item easier to sell if you include it.

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