April 19, 2009

A Warranty for The Warranty

In general I am not a huge fan of warranties for the things that I own. I suppose that you can attribute this to a my feeling that the warranties are a marketing trick that is used to try and suck a few more dollars out of me and the fact that most are just inadequate.

Now I am not going to try and make a case for whether either of these thoughts are factually accurate. I'll leave that job to Consumer Reports and other organizations that are dedicated to protecting consumer rights.

At the moment I am particularly irritated because during the past several months I have spent more time than I care to think about dealing with the customer service departments of various manufacturers.

All of these conversations start out the same way. I provide the details about why something I own is no longer working and my desire to see it fixed/repaired/replaced whatever. They in turn tell me what options exist for solving my problem and in many cases it has been a relatively painless process.

But not every time. On more than one occasion I have found myself wishing that I could figure out a way to crawl through the phone so that I might throttle the customer service representative on the other side.

Those moments find me staring at the phone trying to figure out what the source of the communication breakdown is. Maybe it is me. Maybe aliens have zapped me with some sort of invisible laser beam and I no longer speak English. Maybe what they are hearing is me speaking ancient Mayan and that is why they keep asking me to repeat myself.

On one occasion I kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and say that I was being Punk'd. He is lucky that he didn't because I know that Demi prefers that he not be forced to use a straw to eat.

Let's talk about cars for a moment. A while back I purchased a car that I had been leasing. During negotiations the dealer tried to confound me with BS about this and that and threw in a warranty as a gesture of good faith. I didn't really care. We had already agreed upon the price that I wanted so it was nice, but nothing special.

Anyway, I had a small issue with the car recently. This all inclusive warranty was supposed to protect me from virtually anything, except the issue that I had was the one freaking thing not covered by the warranty.

Pretty nifty eh.

And the beat goes on. Last night I discovered that the glass on one of my exterior doors has cracked. It is less than three years old. Needless to say I wasn't pleased. So I dug into my file and found the paperwork for its purchase and called Home Depot.

Mr. Doorman told me that I shouldn't worry because it should have a five year warranty on it. Of course, they don't cover that, the manufacturer does. So he gave their telephone number and told me that I should call them tomorrow morning and he was sure that they'd take care of it.

I asked him what happens if they don't and he said, "don't worry about it, I am sure that they will." Easy for him to say and I hope that he is right. But even if he is, none of them are going to compensate me for the time that I have lost taking care of these things.

I suppose that I really shouldn't complain, but it is times like this that I miss being twenty something and not having to worry about warranties. Back then when it died, it was dead and that was that. There was somethig kind of nice about knowing a quick garage sale would take care of disposing of all my crap.

On the other hand, there is something nice about having real stuff now too. I just wish that it would last a bit longer, or that I had a concierge who could take care of it all for me.

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