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Credit-card extended warranties come in handy

Credit-card extended warranties come in handy


By Dennis O'Reilly

Most experts recommend against paying for an extended warranty when you purchase a PC or peripheral, partly because you may already be covered beyond the vendor's standard warranty period.

If you used a credit card to buy the system, your card company's extended warranty could be the key to a free repair or replacement.

In his Dec. 3 Insider Tricks column, WS contributing editor Scott Dunn points out that paying for an extended warranty is usually not a good idea. A reader named "Jojo" reminds us of an added layer of protection that you may not be aware of:

"It's my experience that few CC users know about this nice benefit. At some point, you received a summary of benefits, and the coverage is described there.

"Typically, the extension is a doubling of the original warranty up to one year. A standard requirement is that you paid for the product completely with the credit card. There are exclusions (e.g., automobiles are not covered), but most small items are covered, including computer equipment. I once used this benefit for an internal CD/DVD drive that went bad.

"I have made use of this a number of times through Visa and American Express without any major problems. American Express has been the easiest. Not too long ago, my digital camera died a few months outside the one-year warranty. I submitted a claim and got a full refund of the camera price ($300) applied to my credit card in a few weeks!"

That sound you hear is me shuffling through my old credit-card bills to find the statement listing my HP notebook, whose motherboard fried just beyond its one-year warranty.

Scott's article also referred to the incomprehensibility of most online end-user license agreements (EULA). James Lawson recommends a free tool that attempts to make sense of these nonsensical documents:

"Those darned EULAs can be pretty tricky, and I'm sure very few people even scan them — let alone read them — before clicking the Accept button. I see some of them now have a Print button, so we can send a copy to our lawyer before clicking the Accept button. But that seems to take too long when we're itching to use our new software.

"A great tool I've discovered is the EULAlyzer. Perhaps [using the program is] not as good as reading — and understanding — the entire contract (the 'A' in EULA may stand for 'agreement,' but technically it's a contract) or having it vetted by one's lawyer, but [it's] leaps and bounds better than 'Accept'ing without even looking."

For more information on EULAlyzer, visit the Javacool Software site. Paying a lawyer to review the EULA for a free or low-cost software app? Now that's what I call a hidden cost.

Douglas Beard

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