Warranty Madness

I got a deep fryer for Festivus and just hooked it up on Sunday, upon which it immediately made a loud “pop!” noise and blew the breaker it was on.  After much troubleshooting, I determined that the electronics module had sacrificed itself in the name of some unknown cause.  This particular model is modular, and the electronics module is a small part of the overall unit.  I called the manufacturer, T-Fal, to return the defective bit under warranty, and I was told that the warranty “only covers the entire unit, not individual components.”  I asked if the rep realized the absurdity of that, since warranties are usually restrictive in the opposite direction.  I was told, though, that if I wanted to replace just the failed component, I could always just buy one.  Nice!

The reason I was given for the whole “all or nothing” stance is that they’d be doing what amounts to integration testing on the whole unit before sending it back, and if they couldn’t fix the problem, they’d send me a new unit.  Thanks, but I think the mechanical components are fine, based on my previous assembly, and all I need is a replacement electronics module.  My end result will be the same: a working unit.  The bottom line is that I just don’t want to pay more than I have to for shipping to get it.

I’ve been on the other end of this warranty issue, too, and I use the same philosophy.  On rare occasions when there have been component failures with computer systems that I sell, I’ve always complied with customer requests to just send back individual components.  If I know full well that one stick of RAM is bad, why in the world should I make the customer send a 35-pound computer back just so I can swap it for them?  It’s only when the problems couldn’t be remotely diagnosed or addressed that I’ve needed the entire system back.

A supervisor is supposed to call me back in 1-2 days to either try to convince me why I should pay extra for shipping, or to listen to what I want and make it happen.  In the meantime, let’s all think about what’d happen if your aftermarket car stereo’s warranty required that you send them your entire car so that they could do proper integration testing on a replacement unit, or if your rechargeable battery warranty required you to send them any and all devices you used with the batteries so they could test the replacement batteries.

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