How to Take Advantage of Free Extended Warranty From Your Credit Card Issuer
A couple weeks ago my husband and I were watching a movie on our Playstation 3, and suddenly the disc stopped spinning. After some investigating it seemed like the entire Blu-ray player stopped functioning. Since we purchased the Playstation more than a year ago it was no longer covered by the manufacturer's warranty, but luckily we purchased it with an American Express card, and the extended warranty program offered by AMEX was still in effect. To make a long story short, we are getting our Playstation fixed for free, and this is how you can also take advantage of free extended warranty offered by credit card companies.
First of all, your purchase has to be on a card that offers extended warranty as a benefit. All American Express cards currently offer the extended warranty benefit. Visa has the Visa Warranty Manager program for Visa Signature Cards, and MasterCard offers warranty extension to their Platinum, Gold, and World card holders. If you are not sure that your card qualifies you can always call the number on the back of the card and ask about your benefits. (See also: The "Secret" Credit Card Perk That Saved Me $300)
Each credit card company has a slightly different extended warranty program. American Express extends the warranty for one additional year on manufacturer warranties of 5 years or less. Visa extends warranties for up to one year on original warranties of 3 years of less and also allows consumers to purchase extended warranties that are generally cheaper than what is offered at retail stores. MasterCard currently doubles the manufacturer's warranty time period up to the maximum of 1 additional year, but if the original warranty is already more than a year, MasterCard will not extend the warranty. Also, if you purchase more than a year of extended warranty on your own, MasterCard will not extended any warranty beyond that. If you put these programs side by side, American Express's extended warranty program is the best because it has the least amount of limitations.
If you want to use your credit card issuer's extended warranty you would need to keep a good set of documentation of your purchase for your claim. You should definitely keep the original receipt for your purchase because the credit card company would ask for this when you make a claim. You also need a copy of your original manufacturer's warranty and an estimate of any repair costs. It is best to get the repair costs from the original manufacturer of your product. If the repair costs exceed the cost of replacing the item then the claims department may just choose to give you enough money to purchase a replacement. You can file the claim by phone, or online, and documentation would need to be mailed, faxed, or emailed. It is probably best to speak to a live person by phone to make sure what you are submitting is correct.
Generally it takes a week or two to process a claim, and if your claim is approved then your credit card company would send you a check or issue an instant credit on your card for you to pay for the repair or replacement. In the case of our broken Playstation 3, American Express put a credit for the cost of the repair on our card and my husband used it to pay Sony to fix the product. The whole process was quite easy and I am very happy that it worked out. My husband and I never purchase extended warranty at retail stores, and in this situation AMEX's extended warranty saved us several hundred dollars.
Finally, there is a chance that the extended warranty claim could be denied due to insufficient documentation, and if you cannot find the required documentation to send in then you might be out of luck. In that case you could always try to see if your broken product is on a recall list, or perhaps search for a fix online.
Have you ever used your credit card's extended warranty benefits? What was your experience?