Oct 22

Get repairs for free

A broken light bulb, a bent pen nib and one tired liver

Not much to go wrong there!

I was watching Mad Men recently, and aside from lamenting the fact that we don’t wear hats anymore (I even tried a trilby some years back – briefly.) I also looked at how different their desks were. I’m not referring to the bottle of scotch that seems to be in everyone’s draw. Specifically I wondered how anyone got anything done without a host of technology taking up all that real estate on their desks!

For many of us, our reliance on tech starts before we even reach the office. Before nine, I’ve already checked all my emails on my phone, updated my itinerary and started catching up on my tailored news reports.

So reliant are we on technology, that as soon as something goes wrong with it, we are only too eager to throw money at the problem to get it solved.

But there are other steps to consider first, and this is what this post is about. How to get your devices repaired for nothing, or very close!

Support contracts. If you outsource your IT or work in serviced properties, check with your providers to see if they cover the issue. If not, at least get a quote so you know what your alternatives are.

Warranty. The standard warranty is one year, though increasingly companies are offering two year warranties, in line with much of Europe. When you first get a new device, be it a fridge, coffee grinder or laptop, check your warranty conditions. Often, you will need to activate cover by phone call or post. Make sure you do so.

The next point is to keep an online note of your warranty dates on an online shared document, as well as in your calendar.

As your warranty date draws near, check your device and see if you need any repairs. Many companies find it easier to replace items than repair them, but if they do repair them, you will both avert future problems and get an extended warranty.

Credit card. We’ve spoken earlier about the benefits of using credit cards for major purchases, but it is also worth checking your agreement to see if they offer extended warranties as well.

Check online. Given the mass produced nature of our gadgets, if there is a fault with yours there is a strong possibility that others are having the same problem. Look for forums discussing the problems, and if customer services are responding to it. Even if they are not, a large number of similar cases adds wait to you claim.

Social media. Dell are a good example of this, having a twitter account dedicated to support issues. But even if not, most companies will check for their name being mentioned, and will want to be seen as being helpful. Just make sure you publicly thank them afterwards.

Final points:

  • Don’t buy extended warranties. There are almost always a waste of money, and are in fact designed to maximise profit rather than provide necessary cover.
  • Be polite! People working at customer service desks get a lot of grief, everyday. You won’t get better treatment by being part of the belligerent masses.
  • If all else fails – trying asking ‘what would you do?’ They are people at the end of the day, and the chance to be seen as one of the good guys probably comes as light relief.
  • Remember this phrase – ‘not fit for purpose’. It’s from the Sale of Goods Act 1979, and means that anything sold to you must be fit for their intended purpose, and last a ‘reasonable’ length of time.

All the best!