J JamesGames.com RepairMaster 5 Year Warranty Review

RepairMaster 5 Year Warranty Review

They have your money.
By: James Oppenheim | Created: 2013-05-07 13:03:42 | (Updated: 0000-00-00 00:00:00)

-by James Oppenheim,
May 7, 2013

A few years ago I got a tour of the Microsoft Hardware Testing Lab at the Redmond campus. It is there, as in corporate labs around the world, that machines count the number of presses a button or key can take before giving up the ghost.

This sort of testing is a two way sword. In theory it means that customers receive a product that has been thoroughly engineered, presumably for the better.

But, you know how it always seems that products die right after the warranty ends? This may be because it was scientifically engineered to last just a bit longer than the warranty. Built in obsolescence means future sales.

What this means to you, in part, is that reviews don't tell the whole picture of how a gadget will perform over what you might consider to be its reasonable lifetime (as opposed to the warranty period, which might be much shorter).

I see this all the time. For instance, I bought a large screen Samsung LED to test games. When I first reviewed it I thought it was remarkable that such an incredible picture could be displayed in a screen that was barely thicker than my finger.

Everything was great until one day, about a year after it was put in service, it just stopped working. The entire inner workings of the panel had to be replaced. Had this not been a warranty item the cost of repair would have been similar to replacing the unit. Now I hold my breath every time I turn it on. Was this unit designed to last as long as the warranty and no longer?

Similarly, I waxed poetic about the Norelco three head razor I purchased last year. It worked wonderfully until, just months after purchase, it developed an odor that made it painful to put close to my face. Yes, Norelco replaced it. But, it took calls and emails to get it resolved.

An obvious solution is to purchase extended warranties. I tend to get them for products where the replacement cost would make me gulp.

When I redid my kitchen a couple of years ago I bought extended warranties from the authorized dealer of the equipment. The warranties came from a company called RepairMaster. They promised on-site repair from one of their service centers, and the contract warned against hiring some third party repair company.

I spent hundreds of dollars on the warranties, but given that the appliances cost thousands it seemed like a good investment. It looks like I was wrong. Cut to about a week after the original manufacturer's warranty ended on my refrigerator. Of course. Right on time the fridge started making a noise that could wake the dead.

I called the 800 number for RepairMaster and they told me that neither of the authorized repair companies in Manhattan that the manufacturer recommended would work with them. The told me that within 48 hours I would receive a call from Repairmaster telling me who they had arranged to fix the unit.

Two days went by and no call.

Finally, more than a week later I got through to a service representative at Repairmaster who told me I had to call the service center. I asked who I was to call since none had been provided to me. There was a pause. Now, presumably after actually reading the notes in the file she told me that the agent who had "helped" me a week ago had been told that they had no service center who could do the repair and that the customer should arrange for the repairs and submit a claim for reimbursement.

They had just not told me that.

Well, now I knew, but, I wasn't happy. After all, I had paid hundreds of dollars for this warranty plan and now, not only weren't they providing the promised repairs, they wanted me to front the money. I asked the agent and then her supervisor where this procedure was specified in the contract. She offered to send me the terms, but I said I had the contract and it said that they would supply the service, not me.

The supervisor had two "explanations". First, he said that the contract didn't say that they couldn't do it this way. Second, that they couldn't find anyone willing to do the work for their scheduled repair rate or for their company. When I asked why they wouldn't simply arrange to pay the factory authorized repair center they said it was a liability issue.

So, their policy is to shift the cost and liability to the consumer.

At this point they are in Texas and I am in New York, so there isn't much I can do directly except follow their unilaterally modified terms and hope that they pay. But, I would have to urge you to avoid RepairMaster as, in my opinion in my case, they have not honored the terms of their warranty. By the way, RepairMaster seems to be a brand of Warrantech, a company that covers many types of consumer products from appliances to tvs to cameras.

The final verdict is still out. I'll see if I actually get any money back from Repairmaster, but I won't hold my breath. I'll keep you posted.

- details -