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This is just to clarify a few suspisions floating around the Ciao website as regards extended warranties, particularly their treatment at branches of Currys. I am a former member of staff and dare not say too much as a gagging clause is built into our contract, but especially for you ...
Extended warranties are the holy grail in Currys. It does not matter if you made a £5000 sale for your company, if you did not get extended warranty, it ain`t worth nothing. Both products and warranties are sold according to target, but the warranties create greater commission and are worth more to individual sales staff and the company as a whole.
New staff are trained in a technique called looping and are given stock responses to every single objection to warranties possible. You are not even safe if you are an electrical engineer by trade. They will respond by telling you the price of parts, the difficulty of obtaining parts and inform you that at the end of a hard days labour you will want to put your feet up and watch someone else do all the work. Try it and see!
If you object that nothing has ever broken down on you before and you are willing to take the risk, they will quote that all important "peace of mind guarantee" and show you other customer`s repair bills in contravention of the data protection act.
Also be wary of the very successful doubling up technique. If you do not want extended warranty, the sales person will often approach another member of staff, normally the manager for added prestige, and together they will approach the hen pecked customer. I have even witnessed a manager taking one lady`s car keys so when she returned to find them, he could have another pop at her. Customers frequently walk out in disgust at this stage.
If you have already purchased/ are considering purchasing an extended warranty, here are some points to note -
* Some extended warranties are worth taking out. For example, in most outlets, camcorders will have to be sent to the manufacturer to be repaired in a dust free environment. This can cost in the region of £70. If you do opt for this, I would reccommend taking advantage of this service whenever possible. Other products, such as fridges and freezers have little to go wrong, and unless you are in the habit of defrosting them with a sharp knife, I would pass immediately on the extended warranty.
* Don`t be made more guillible by one bad experience with a product. It happens to us all, and major faults normally appear within the manufacturers warranty. If you are worried about reliability, why not invest in a more expensive, reputable brand rather than the long term cost of extended warranty. Miele products claim to last four times longer than the average life expectancy, eg. chest freezers last for approximately 20 years. Toshiba TV tubes also have an excellent reputation and there are some around older than me (though be aware of too good to be true bargains - they are usually graded.)
* Servicing your own products can add years to their life expectancy. It may sound obvious, but regularly check you washing machine (if available) and tumble dryer filters. To use the cliche, if I had a pound for every vacuum cleaner `repair` that needed a change of bag or filter or a coat hanger stuck up its pipe ...
* Some products come with their own extended warranty, either free of charge (Hotpoint 3 years parts, Dyson 2 years, Nilfisk motors 5 years) or for a much more reasonable fee (Whirlpool). If you are unsure of what is offered with a product, or of the extended warranty itself, go home and think about it. You can usually take out the warranty right up until the end of the first year of purchase. This is also a useful tit bit of knowledge for dissuading sales sharks.
* If your product breaks down slightly outside the manufacturer`s warranty period, it is often worth while appraoching the manufacturer themselves. Results vary according to company, product and nature of fault, but replacements in these cases are not unprecedented. It is also worth while contacted the retailer to liase on your behalf. This is usually more effective in independent shops, where staff know product reps. well. Remember, however, do not be abusive as it is not their fault.
* You have a right to cancel your extended warranty, usually within the first 14 days.
* This is a seldom advertised fact, but most warranties (Domestic and General, Mastercare) offer you a small cash back if no claim (or sometimes only one claim) has been made within the warranty life time. This is usually in the form of a gift voucher with a very short use by date, so be prompt.
* If you have an item in for repair under an extended warranty, they usually offer some sort of time scale for completion and will offered compensation if not adhered to.
* This is very dubious. This is a ploy sometimes resorted to by desperate sales staff (both to customers and as regards their own products.) This is NOT my advice! Extended warranties do cover against accidental damage and will replace if the item is beyond economical repair. So if a television is being moved into a different room and finds itself accidentally falling down the stairs ... or little Lucy wedges a jam sandwich into your state of the art but slightly ageing vcr ...
Finally, my views on Currys are not representative of all staff. I worked in three stores in total over a short space of time and met some excellent sales staff who were well informed, listened to customer needs and did not adopt the hard sell. The need to sell warranties is indoctrinated from the top down, and it is sometimes the case of sell warranties or sign on the dole. The aim of this op. is not to slander Currys as a whole, for, indeed, you can get excellent bargains out of them by playing them against the competition. Rather, I hope I have presented an insiders view into the pros and cons of extended warranties.
I might add it covers accidental damage on items above 129.99 and those under it doesn't but it's an instant replacement if it breaks (eg. straight swap over)
Tawg 21.04.2008 03:10
Things have long since changed at currys. Coverplan is no longer an option (the extended warrenty service in this post) and had been replaced (thankfully) for whateverhappens. Coverplan was crap to be honest, There we're no solid time limts etc.
When designing whateverhappens they asked a customer panel what they wanted in an extended warrenty and the end result is a service plan called whateverhappens.
It has to be picked up in 2 days, fixed in 21 or they have to give you a brand new one (working days that is). a 3 year term covers the unit for as many times as it breaks or if it breaks too often a replacement. If you need to claim and get a replacement, you automatically get cashback on what you havent used.
mrpaella 18.08.2001 22:31
Thanks for your insight being a former member of staff. A thought provoking op...Paul