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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Purchasing PCs and Components | Vendor and Order Problems and Solutions | Common Vendor and Order Problems ]

Balking On Guarantees or Warranties

One of the stunts pulled by some companies that I find particularly onerous is refusing to honor guarantees or warranties on products. These guarantees and warranties are widely used to encourage customers to feel safe about buying from a vendor. To accept business under these terms and then balk on the promise made to the customer is inexcusable.

It is very rare for a manufacturer to invalidate a warranty; pretty much the only time this will happen is if you abuse the product or do something blatantly contrary to the warranty terms. The money-back guarantees offered by some vendors are more often the culprits, as are extended warranties sold by vendors. It seems that some firms are far more interested in selling these policies than sticking by them.

Usually when problems occur, the vendor will come up with an excuse regarding why the guarantee "doesn't apply". Unless you were informed of the condition in advance, they may well be looking for a reason to deny coverage. Only you can decide if what you are being told is reasonable or not.

If you feel that you are being treated unfairly by a company that refuses to honor a guarantee then you will need to resort to the steps I discuss in dealing with difficult vendors. Usually the threat of having a credit card charge disputed will bring most companies "into line". This won't help you when dealing with a manufacturer though.

Manufacturers who renege on warranties usually do so at their peril, because word gets around very quickly, especially today with the communication speed of the Internet. Unfortunately, as an individual customer you don't have a lot of tools at your disposal to force better behavior; your money has already been spent. You will have to use persuasion and an escalation in the hierarchy to convince the company to do what they should be agreeing to do anyway. Failing that, your only recourse is to tell others about your experience so they can avoid that firm in the future.

Next: Inappropriate Restocking Fees

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