Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yes, extended warranties can save you money

BUT the hassle can be a serious investment of time and effort

Back on November 1st the unthinkable happened: a fire broke out in the dryer. Aside from a vague burning odor, I was clueless until the buzzer went off. Opening the door I was immediately greeted by a billow of smoke and a torrent of wispy still-burning ashes.  

So what to do? Panic, of course. My first impulse was to get the situation rectified before Husband woke up from his nap. Fortunately he was really tired from yard work. I had time to do some online consumer research and poll the nearest stores for the desired model. As fortune would have it, Lowe’s had it on sale. It was in stock and could be delivered the next day. I gave them a card number. It was over. I started to breathe again.

That evening, realizing I could never hide a major appliance delivery, I confessed. Husband was astonishingly calm. The dryer was, after all, on extended warranty. It would simply be replaced. Wha-a-a-a-t?? OMG.

I called Lowe’s to cancel everything. Not that easy. I had to show up in person and have my card run before they could credit it back. Off and running.  The guy in appliances remembered my frantic phone call and directed me to the service desk up front. The clerk there was clueless, but after a bit of back-and-forth with Appliances, it got handled.

Then, since the place where we bought the now-smoldering dryer (Best Buy) would still be open for another hour, I next dashed over there. And that’s where it started.  

At this particular Best Buy, the Major Appliance Dept. is managed by a wholly owned subsidiary but run as a separate company. And they had absolutely no idea what to do. Customer Service, however, gave me a number to call to schedule repairs. Couldn’t we skip that step? The dryer was obviously beyond all help. Perhaps, but they needed to hear that from an authorized representative. Okay.

Bright and early Monday morning I was on the phone. The first opening available was Tuesday. A week from Tuesday, that is. Between 12 and 4. My hamper runneth over.

By 4:45 on the appointed day, the man finally showed and pronounced the dryer dead at the scene. So what’s next? He’d make his report. I should get a call sometime tomorrow.

The call came. I was issued a confirmation number to take to Best Buy along with the sheet of paper the repairman gave me. Off and running.

Again, blank stares at the major appliance dept. So I got in line at Customer Service. When it was my turn, I discovered I should’ve been in the Geek Squad line. When my turn came again, the agent took me back to Customer Service, explained things to a girl who was still helping someone else. I waited. 

When my turn came, she called back the Geek who then called someone from Major Appliances and the three conferred. Ah! First, they needed to pick up the remains of the old dryer. Then I could get a new one ordered. Are you freakin’ kidding me??

Another hasty conference. Ah! I could go to another store where appliances are handled directly by Best Buy. They could exchange the new for the old on the same day. Road trip.

The line at this store was only 5 deep, but when it was my turn I found the agent had never handled anything like this before. He called the supervisor, who was also training everyone else manning the counter. Bit by bit, the procedure got pulled together. Soon I was sent off with an appliance salesgirl to select from models deemed comparable to our burnt up Whirlpool.

So here’s the thing: what you get is a credit equal to the price of the old dryer.  Said charred hulk was purchased in 2003,  so guess what. Still, you don’t get a clothes dryer for just under $200 these days, though you must also consider extended warranty renewals which totaled $170. Anyway, another Whirlpool was chosen and delivery scheduled for Friday – exactly 2 weeks after the fire.

Bottom line:  (finally!) The deal is worth it if (A) you have sufficient time and energy at your disposal, (B) there’s a laundromat within 5 miles, OR (C) you have an ample supply of underwear.

But don’t think I didn't have many a fond thought of the Maytag that Lowe’s could’ve delivered immediately.


David Hart said...

So true! Our washing machine's electronic selector dial began acting like a roulette wheel that never landed on the right wash cycle. My wife searched through piles of paper to find the warranty, which, the repairman told us covered the basket, but not electronics, which of course, the dial was. The whole thing is crazy, why did I even need such an advanced wash selector in the first place? My clothes stay on the floor getting walked on until I'm ready to wash them, so any washing machine is like going to a spa for them.

Mary Fagan said...

Only you could have such a hilarious prob with an appliance! So glad the thing still washes...even if it does arbitrarily decide to do towels on the cold/delicate setting. So how old is your washer?

Mary Fagan said...

Only you could have such a hilarious prob with an appliance! So glad the thing still washes...even if it does arbitrarily decide to do towels on the cold/delicate setting. So how old is your washer?