Here’s to a ressurrection of this obscure little blog.
I came across an interesting article by a Scott Cambpell on Channel Web. (ref: Article) The plot of the story is that he took his laptop in for a monitor hinge replacement at Best Buy under the extended warranty and came out with another shiny new part: a new hard drive. With his new hard drive, all data was lost upon delivery, but salvageable for a hefty nominal fee. The theory on why, he concludes, is a corporate culture of trying to increase service revenues. The bigger question is: What license does a warranty grant the warranty holder?
This is concerning both as a consumer and a technician working for an HP Value Added Reseller (VAR) for a couple different reasons, please read on.
First and foremost, I am a consumer. I work so I may be a consumer. It’s one of the perks of a good job, like food, shelter, and transportation. When I buy an item, I HATE worrying if the product is going to last or if I threw my money away. That’s why I look at the warranty as a part of the purchase. In a Best Buy or similar warranty on a computer, part of the repair process includes shipping your machine off for up to 3 weeks. That’s almost a month that you spend separated from your purchase, along with the lost productivity and convenience that you purchased the machine for in the first place. With an expensive extended warranty, why can’t you get in-store service?
The second piece to this is the fact that the warranty can be viewed as an all-pass to replace what they see fit, depending on their benefit. Not only do you pay for the machine and the extended warranty, but now you have the potential to lose everything and have your machine and data held for ransom. So in order to not lose the productivity or the function of your machine, you have to pay more, even when the damaging service was not warranted or even authorized. You’ve got to be kidding me!
Enter a VAR. VAR’s are generally a local business with people who can solve your problem or repair the machine on site. Manufacturer warranties are still honored, but your machine doesn’t get shipped to some large facility and you get to talk to your technician. VAR’s are more interested in establishing a relationship instead of dealing with warranties and service as a quick profit opportunity.
At the end of the day, it’s about trust. You can choose if you trust your technician when you can meet them in person at your local VAR. With a large national chain, you don’t get to meet your technician, nor be a part of your warranty service proccess. A VAR may be a little more expensive because they don’t push the volume of the large chains, but what is it worth to know that your new device will be a sound, hassle free investment?