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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Understanding PC Sources, Vendors and Prices | Vendor Evaluation Factors | Warranty Service and Warranty Policies ]

Warranty Service

The length of the warranty provided by the manufacturer and its general warranty policies describe what the warranty is; the way that the manufacturer actually provides warranty service shows how the warranty is implemented. If the warranty is important to you, you need to investigate the company's warranty implementation policies, both by asking the company questions, and by using independent research tools.

Here are a few questions related to warranty service that you may want to ask:

  • Turnaround: How quickly does the company promise to turn around the repair? Do they have a track record for hitting their target dates?
  • Costs: What are you required to pay for? If not dealing with a local shop, you will usually have shipping costs at the very least.
  • Location: Where is the service performed? Local shops do the work in their "back room" by default, but some offer on-site repair, a very useful service especially for businesses. Mail order manufacturers usually require the PC to be sent back to them, but again here, some offer on-site repair, and it is probably even more valuable than it is for local stores (since the alternative is sending it half-way across the country.)
  • Authorization: How readily does the company agree to perform warranty service? Are they interested in satisfied customers or just in keeping their warranty claim costs down? (You'd be surprised sometimes...)
  • Loaners: If a repair will take days or weeks, will the company provide a "loaner" PC for you to use? Most do not; some gain loyal customers this way.
  • Replacement Components: What does the company use for replacements in the event that components go bad: used parts, new parts, refurbished parts?
  • Tracking and Management: How easy does the company make it to track the status of your repair?

I want to emphasize that if you are being thorough, you really want to find out how happy the manufacturer's customer base is with their warranty service overall. It's a good start to have policies that are sensible and well-intentioned, but some companies don't do a great job of translating this into action.

Next: Extended Warranties

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