I’ve never had such a hard time buying a computer.
Several months ago I mentioned that I’m trying to decide between a PC and a Mac. My wonderful readers (that’s you) suggested (overwhelmingly) that that I get a Mac. Unfortunately, every time I look at the price tag I get cold shivers.
At least I’ve managed to make one concrete decisions.
I’ll Buy My New Computer with an American Express Card
From the reading and research I’ve done, American Express offers the best extended warranty for electronics.
What does the AMEX warranty offer?
When you charge the cost of a covered product with your American Express® Card, the Extended Warranty will extend the terms of the original manufacturer’s warranty for a period of time equal to the duration of the original manufacturer’s warranty, up to one additional year on warranties of five years or less that are eligible in the U.S.
It seems as if this is one year beyond whatever warranty you get. Thus, for example, if you buy a MacBook Pro (as I’m considering) and get three years of AppleCare, then you’d have four years of coverage if you buy with an American Express. That’s pretty cool.
Here are the terms and conditions wording (if you can make sense of it):
If you purchase an additional service contract or extended warranty with a product which is otherwise eligible under the Buyer’s Assurance Plan, and the combined coverage provided by both the original manufacturer’s warranty and the purchased service contract does not exceed five years, then the product is eligible for coverage under the Buyer’s Assurance Plan. The Buyer’s Assurance Plan will extend the warranty time period and mirror coverage of the original manufacturers’ warranty up to one additional year after both the original manufacturer’s warranty and the purchased service contract have expired.
It’s not unusual to pay $100 for a year warranty on the computer, so I think this feature is pretty valuable.
The best part is that I’ve actually got some American Express cards in my wallet so it’s not like I need to go out and sign up for a card. In fact, the Starwood American Express card offers some of the best earning potential for anyone who uses credit cards for travel rewards.
But there’s a lot more to it than the stated warranty.
What’s most important is always the customer reactions to the warranty.
From the searching I’ve done online, it seems as if most people have been very satisfied with how American Express handled an issue they had with a broken computer.
Here are some examples I’ve found online:
Xin Lu from Wisebread shares this experience:
A couple weeks ago my husband and I were watching a movie on our Playstation 3, and suddenly the disc stopped spinning. After some investigating it seemed like the entire Blu-ray player stopped functioning. Since we purchased the Playstation more than a year ago it was no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, but luckily we purchased it with an American Express card, and the extended warranty program offered by AMEX was still in effect. To make a long story short, we are getting our Playstation fixed for free …
Dennis left a comment on this post (at mymoneyblog.com), saying:
The hard drive on my Dell laptop died after about 14 months. I had the 1 year warranty. I called AmEx, told them what was wrong. They transferred me to their computer expert. I told him what the computer did and everything that I had done. He said,”Ok, you clearly know what you are doing and know what is wrong. Buy the replacement hard drive on your Amex, send this paperwork to here, we’ll credit your Amex for the purchase. The upgrade from a 60 GB (what i had) to an 80 GB hard drive was like 5 dollars. I asked about upgrading it, they said just buy it and they took care of the upgrade, too. Much easier I think than it would have been if I would have had to go through Dell under warranty.
Another reader at the mymoneyblog.com post mentioned above added:
I had a laptop with a 3 year warranty. It broke after 3 and half years of use. Amex tried to get me to fix the laptop, but when it became clear that that would be difficult, they refunded me for the entire purchase price. This included several hundred dollars for the purchase of the extended warranty and accessories. Now I make sure I buy every thing with Amex and to keep the receipts.
The Consumerist helped David figure out how to get his computer fixed using his American Express Extended Warranty. He’s what David said about the experience:
Thus, your wonderful response reminded me that I bought the computer with my Amex which should have the extended warranty for products. I called them up and sure enough, they would take care of it. I just had to take it into a shop to be diagnosed. After that just fax in the report and receipt, and since they were giving me a full refund on the computer, the computer itself. They even said they would cover the cost of the diagnosis!
It took a little over a month to get everything taken care of and the proper authorizations, but I now have been credited the full cost of the computer plus tax and can go get a brand new computer.
One thing to note about the warranty is that you must buy the computer in full with your American Express card. Keep all relevant documents and then hope that you never have to use it.
Have you ever had an experience with an American Express Extended Warranty? Please share.