Consumer Issues

August 23, 2008


Filed under: Random posts — Tomi @ 1:55 pm
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Most times when I buy appliances and electronic items from the store, I generally avoid buying extended warranty not because I didn’t believe in its validity, it was simply because I thought it was an excuse for the sellers to get more money out of you for that item.  My take on it was that the item would have to be replaced sometime and so why pay more?  Also the extended warranty has a limited time frame and if the item does not have a problem before the warranty expires I would simply have paid more money for the item than it was worth unfortunately, the money was not refundable.  Again, if I don’t want the purchased warranty to expire, I would have to renew it on a yearly basis and so suddenly, I have an annuity on the item.  However, I found a good deal at the store a three years ago on a major appliance however, it was an open item, a floor model, brand new but it had been sitting out for a while, it seems too good a deal to pass over (the cost was half the price of the in-box item) and so I decided that I’ll purchase the item and an extended warranty that way, I was covered in case of any problem.  Also, the cost of the item and the cost of the extended warranty was still going to be less than the cost of the in-box item.

The appliance has worked well for the three years I’ve had it but the other day, it suddenly decided to malfunction.  When I discovered it had a problem I wasn’t much perturbed since I had the extended warranty service.  My! was I happy I had purchased that service.  Without much ado, I picked up the phone to make a service appointment. First shocker I got, I had not registered the extended warranty and until that was done, I could not make an appointment for service.  Second shocker, the registration required that I had the original purchase receipt as the service contract number was printed on it.  Well, since I had no idea that I had to register the service to activate it and the appliance was over three years old, I simply did not have the receipt.  However,  I needed the original receipt, to activate hence I had to go back in the store where I made my purchase to request for a duplicate of the receipt. 

To get a duplicate of the receipt, I needed to have the credit card which I had used for the receipt and the date of the transaction.   I frantically delved in to my credit card statement for the past three years in search of the transaction.  Luckily, I had an idea of when I made the purchase, so I didn’t have to go searching for long before I found it and it was back to the store. I was told I needed to speak to the book keeper but she wasn’t available at the time, so I had to call her on the phone to leave a message.  I also had to call back a number of times before I finally got to speak with her.   Now another shocker the duplicate was going to take about ten to fourteen business days since the bookkeeper from the store had to send the request to the corporate headquarters where the old receipts were kept and because it could not be mailed, the store would have to call me after it arrived at the store and I would have to make an appointment to pick it up.

Eventually, I got the receipt and called the extended warranty department back  to activate the service contract.  For the registration processing, I had to wait another 2 days before I could schedule a service appointment.  Two days later, I called back again and listened to 45 minutes of please continue to hold messages and music before I was able to schedule an appointment.  Unfortunately, the technician would not be able to come over until 2 weeks later and of course I had the five hour window (see my blog on the five hour window) to deal with.  The whole process was beginning to get annoying, but since I  had purchased extended warranty,  already, I could not bring myself to check the yellow book for a certified technician in the area to check out the problem I would be paying twice. I had no choice but to wait it out.

Finally, two weeks later, the technician showed up to check up my appliance and after looking it over, He discovered that the problem was not covered by the warranty (can you imagine!) and so even though I didn’t have to pay a trip charge because of the extended warranty contract, I still I had to pay for the part.  Also, he would have to be order the part first and after it was delivered to me, I would have to call back to schedule a different appointment for the repair. This  for me was the tip of the iceberg.  Not only did I end up paying more for the item, I had a lot of time wasted just waiting for service during which I could not use my appliance and then what I thought would be the service ended up being nothing but a diagnostics test and the repair didn’t happen until three weeks later (one week for parts delivery and another two weeks for the repair appointment). My conclusion, I probably would have been better off without the extended warranty contract. I I had found someone from the yellow book, I probably would have gotten the problem checked out and fixed sooner than it took with the service contract either way I would have paid for the part.  It is more likely that I would have paid the guy from the yellow book a bit more on labor.  Thus it looks like without the extended warranty that I could have paid more for the repair yet when I look at the time cost and the cost of the warranty which eventually wasn’t as useful as I had imagined, coupled with the fact that I could not use the appliance until it was fixed, buying the extended warranty service didn’t look like such a good deal after all. That’s why I decided, no more extended warranty contracts for me.

August 2, 2008

Enjoying the rest of the Summer

Filed under: Random posts — Tomi @ 3:20 am


On a budget this summer? You are not alone. With the recent historical increases in oil prices and the subsequently higher transport costs many families are rethinking their summer plans. Here are some great ideas to help you get the most of the remaining summer days without breaking the bank.

Summer is half gone yet due to the sudden frequency of longer flight times and flight cancellations, as well as increasing driving costs, lots of families are having to rethink their plans for summer vacations.  Yet with school on break and children home most of the day, getting outdoors and making the most of the warm days of summer remains a high priority for most families especially those of us living in areas with winter snow storms. Many are seeking solutions for summer vacations closer to home.

Here is a list of things to do that would help get the crank out of summer and bring you and your kids some summer fun summer without breaking the bank.

1. Free Summer Concerts: In most township, you’ll find free summer concerts in township parks and other open spaces. Check out your local arts council and local library for information on concerts around you.

2. Go to the local park: Go to a park near you and have a picnic or fly a kite. Most parks also have playground equipments (like swings and slides) for kids

3. Take a walk: Take a walk outside. You’ll be amazed to see that even in your yard you can discover the best of nature – look out for lady bugs, beetles and butterflies take pictures of them (a digital camera would be very useful for this) and go to and see if you can identify the species in your picture then read up on them to give your kids a genuine first hand lesson in science and nature.

4. Go to the beach: If you happen to live close by a beach go on a visit and play tag, Frisbee etc. Hunt for shells and use to make a craft.

5. Get out in your yard and kick a soccer ball, throw a Frisbee or play hide and seek.

6. Get some flower pots and plant a seed/ or grow a garden in your yard. Watch the seed grow. Your young one might surprise you by eating veggies he’d grown by himself.

7. Read a book.

8. Try some indoor crafts: check your local craft store for some easy craft ideas. Also search your local library for “The world of children” by Caxton. The series is old but very handy. Volume 4 of this series has some pages with ideas for toys made with paper.

9. Visit the state aquarium or a nearby zoo.

10. Last but not the least make a journal of the things you’ve seen and done this summer and have memories to last a lifetime. For little ones too young to read find coloring pages relating to the activity (try ask them what they remember and write their response for them collate the pages to make a book. Their very own story.


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