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'tis the season for returns

I admit it - I'm anxious to get my new big-ass computer monitor. 'Tis not often that I purchase items over $100 for myself (mainly because I don't have to), so whenever I do, I'm always anxious to get whatever it is I bought.

But, at the same time I'm also worried. See, the deal with mail order is that while it's true you save a ton of money, you also run the risk of having a product arrive DOA. I've had that happen before concerning electronic items ordered this way, and it absolutely frickin' sucks every time it happens. There is absolutely nothing good about it. You get angry, feel cheated and it just ruins your whole week.

Some vendors will eat the shipping cost for returns. Others won't. So if you have an item arrive DOA, you sometimes have to pay extra shipping just to get a replacement. This is why vendors like Dell are great to work with, because they spend a ton of money on shipping just to keep customers happy - and that's not a bad thing at all. When you get a replacement part from Dell, there is a return shipping label in the box. You take the new part, install it, then take the old part, put it in the box, slap the label on it, call the shipper and he comes and takes it away. Very simple. Very easy. Very cool. You spend nothing. Awesome.

NewEgg's return policies are fairly decent. They're not as good as Dell, but I do consider them above-average. At least they spell everything out in plain English. The verbiage is lengthy, but that is a-okay because it's not vague. Better to be lengthy than just a little two-sentence write-up.

Aside from electronics, I think where people screw the pooch the most is with automobile warranties. Some auto dealers will attempt to sell you on "extended" warranty plans, but sometimes they aren't even worth the paper they're printed on.

Case in point: My last car (2000 Oldmobile Alero) had one of those extended plans. However, what I didn't know is that it was not a GM warranty (it was by a company called API). It was a separate warranty that came into effect after the primary one expired. Also, I found out that no one would honor it except the dealer I bought the car from.

In addition, I found there was a lot that this warranty did not cover. So I requested a print-up of the contract and read it top to bottom. Then I knew what was covered and what wasn't. In several instances I had to "read the rule book" to the dealership when they tried to give me a b.s. reason for not wanting to fix my car.

For example:

(After bringing car to dealership and speaking with mechanic concerning oil leak in front of the motor.)

"I noticed an oil leak in the front of the motor."

"We didn't find any oil leak, sir."

(Head to another Chevrolet dealership but don't tell them you've already been to another one, have the mechanic perform diag and give confirmation that yes, there's a problem there. Go back to other dealership.)

"You remember saying there wasn't a problem in the front?"

"Yes."

"Well, [name of other dealership] says there is. Here's the diag sheet they wrote up stating where the problem is. Would you like to take a second look at it?"

(Mechanic's face turns white)

"Yes, we'll take a look at it."

(Wait a few hours)

"Yes, we found the problem. It's fixed, but your warranty doesn't cover it. You will need to pay [insert hundred of dollars amount here]."

"No, that's not true. My warranty plainly states on paragraph five section B that this is an engine issue and is therefore covered."

(silence...)

"One moment, sir."

(placed on hold)

(comes back)

"Oh, yes! You are right. It's covered. You can come on down and pick up the car."

"Thanks."

It does not matter what car you own because this always happens.

You can tell I'm a bit "seasoned" with this, eh? 🙂

My tip for today: Always read your return policies and warranty contracts. Every word.

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