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Credit card extended warranties and electronics: How a little extra hassle can save lots of money

Jared Newman | Feb. 10, 2016
Why pay for an extended device warranty when your credit card has extra protection built in?

After six days of silence, a second email arrived, asking for something new: “A copy of a diagnostic from an authorized service center stating what is wrong with the product and whether it is cost effective to repair it.”

I wasn’t sure what this meant, so I called the benefit provider for an explanation. Apparently I’d have to find a technician who could look at my Surface and provide more information. (The representative said I’d be reimbursed for any diagnostic costs).

This was where the ride started to get bumpy.

Checking out the claim

Unsure of what to do next, I called Microsoft’s support line and explained the whole situation to a representative, who redirected me to my nearest Microsoft Store. An employee there seemed certain that I could bring in the Surface and get some kind of official diagnosis.

At the Microsoft Store, I heard a different story. No one was sure how to deal with my request, since repairs aren’t done in-house. After some waiting around, a store manager took my number and promised to look into it.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 
A non-damaged Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Credit: Michael Homnick

Later that day, the manager called back with a potential solution: He’d simply write a letter that explained the screen discoloration and listed the cost for out-of-warranty repairs. He sent the letter by email, and I forwarded it along to Chase’s benefit provider. (I should note that I never mentioned being a member of the press during any of this, so there’s no reason to believe my treatment was special.)

Five days later, another email from Chase’s benefit provider arrived, saying I’d have to call with “more information to process your claim.” The friendly representative explained that she needed to speak with the Microsoft Store manager to double-check that my repair was necessary. (I suspect she was also trying to find out if I might have caused the damage myself.) For whatever reason, she was unable to reach the Microsoft Store directly on her phone, which led to a couple days of phone tag as we tried to get the manager to call her.

Fortunately, everything worked out once they got in touch. In a somewhat anti-climactic resolution, the representative from Chase’s benefit provider informed me that my claim had been approved. A check for $342.40, she said, would arrive within a couple of weeks.

Credit card extended warranties: The takeaway

What have I learned from this experience? Mainly that if you want to get reimbursed under a credit card’s extended warranty, you may have to put in some effort.

 

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