The “Hidden” Extended Warranty

It’s often said that buying an extended warranty is a waste of money, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. I’ve done quite well buying the extended warranty on some laptops, and some TVs – getting far more in fixes than I ever paid for the extended warranty. I don’t buy it on everything though, mostly because I know about the “hidden” extended warranty that I have.

What the heck is a “hidden” extended warranty? Well, it’s one that many people have, and don’t even know it; it’s offered through your credit card company. My credit card is a TD Travel Infinite Visa, and it comes with a number of handy features, including “extended warranty protection.” This extends the original warranty of the product for up to 1 year, and it’s really easy to make a claim if you have to.

My first claim was for an Archos 605 video player. It seemed like a great thing when I bought it, but the battery became so poor that it wouldn’t even turn on (their power technology was so poor that the battery had to be able to receive a charge for it to work, even if it was plugged in – junk!). The problem was that I had owned it for 18 months, and it had a 12 month warranty. I knew I bought it on my credit card (Visa Gold Card), but I had never explored the extended warranty before. I had to send them my receipt, Visa statement showing the purchase, and a form that I had filled out (and I had to send them the device). In return they sent me a check for the FULL amount I bought the thing for (which was pretty close to $400). What a deal! I got 18 months of use from the player, and then got all my money back. I had bought an external battery pack for the thing which became useless, but I didn’t really care at that point.

Now I’ve had to use it a second time after I started having problems with my iPhone 4S. I bought an adapter to use an HDMI cable with it for a trip, and when I plugged it into the phone the device didn’t show up. It worked fine on the iPad, but not the iPhone. Took a trip to the Apple Store and they confirmed that it was a problem with the phone connector, and it would be $200 to fix since my phone was out of warranty. I got some documentation from them that listed the problem, and how much it would cost, and called my credit card people when I got home. Scanned all the documents and sent them to them, and earlier today I got word that they’ve sent out a check for the $208.95 to cover Apple’s out-of-warranty “repair” (they just give you a refurbished phone). Awesome!

So, check your credit card and see if you have extended warranty protection. If you do, purchase things like electronics on the card, and know you’ll be covered for 2 years, without much hassle if you have to make a claim. I’ve been very impressed with the feature the two times I’ve had to use it.

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