The "Secret" Credit Card Perk That Saved Me $300

By Elizabeth Lang. Last updated 23 May 2017. 7 comments

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What’s a homeowner’s nightmare? You take nine months to redo your kitchen, spend an enormous amount of money, read all sorts reviews to ensure that you’re buying the best appliances, spend a full day installing a monstrosity of an over-the-range microwave (55 pounds!), and two years later that microwave breaks, nearly a year beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.

What’s a homeowner’s lucky break? Using the right credit card to make the purchase in the first place. (See also: The Best Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles)

About That Microwave

The microwave we purchased for our kitchen was one that was top rated by Consumer Reports the year we got it. We were extremely happy with it until one day, while sitting at breakfast, the microwave turned on without anyone touching it. I went over and looked at it; it was cooking on the “baked potato” setting. I hit “end,” and the microwave started beeping at me and then flashed an “SE” error code. The digital touch panel froze and wouldn’t allow me to press any buttons. After trying a number of different “fixes” (unplugging it, leaving it alone for a few days, etc.) we gave up.

So, I googled the issue and what turns up? Hundreds (and I’m not exaggerating) of people with the exact same problem! An SE error code prevents their microwaves from working after just one or two years of ownership. I trusted the experience of these others who all indicated that it would cost more to fix than the microwave was worth. (One person did actually take the machine apart, do some technical stuff, put it back together, and it worked. But I’m an attorney, not an engineer, so that wasn’t a route for me.) So we concluded that our microwave was officially busted. The warranty was for just one year and our busted miscrowave was approaching its second year in our home.

Now what?

The Eureka Moment

After spending several days fuming — and growing tired of having to heat everything up on the stove or the oven for our one-year-old — I remembered that my card issuer offers “extended warranties.” I discovered that with the Extended Warranty program card offered, my microwave’s warranty was officially valid for two years. I double-checked the date of the purchase on the receipt email. We were less than a week shy of the two-year expiration. A lucky break.

Waiting for the Catch

So, I filled out the form on the credit card website. It took less than 10 minutes to complete and only required a few details about the microwave, the manufacturer warranty, and the purchase. Someone would be in touch within 30-45 days or contact me if they needed further information.

Honestly, the process seemed too easy. I was waiting for them to make me do something ridiculous, like prove the microwave was broken by uninstalling it and shipping it to some far away repair facility. Or that they would credit me $10 for the depreciated value of my busted microwave.

Instead, less than a week later, I got an email saying that they credited the full purchase price of the microwave — nearly $300 — back to my card. The claim was resolved, just like that. After being incredibly glad our credit card offered this perk, we started shopping for a new microwave. You can probably guess which credit card I charged my new microwave to.

The Lesson

So what’s the takeaway from this? Spend 15 minutes looking at your credit card fine print and learn about their perks. If something breaks, use the warranty protection. Based on my experience, the warranty protection is an incredibly simple process that will leave you extremely glad you charge things to your credit card.

Note that warranty protection services may vary by card and most have limits of three to five claims totaling no more than $1,000 per year. Also, remember that it’s a crime to submit false claims to insurance companies, so don’t even think about trying to “hack” this reward as you’ll wind up guilty of insurance fraud.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Guest's picture

I have a similar experience with my laptop, the fan stopped working. When Office depot would honor my extended warranty, I had misplaced the receipt, and used a fake phone number. I hate it when they call me. I contacted American Express and within a week received a full refund for my laptop. No questions asked!

Guest's picture

This is good to know. We just bought four major appliances with our credit card, which we immediately paid off. Looks like that might have been a good move. I'm off to check Visa's policy. Thanks!

Guest's picture

This is great info. We just purchased four major appliances with our credit card, which we immediately paid off. Looks like that might have been a smart way to pay. I'm off to check out Visa's policy. Thanks!

Guest's picture

Wow, that's a great benefit of a credit card. There are a few travel cards that cover travel insurance and things like that. I've always considered getting a credit card that has a lot of perks but then, there is always really high annual fees with the good ones.

Guest's picture
Mark D.

Excellent job on actively researching and finding a solution! I never use cash anymore these days, having an extended warranty on big ticket items is one reason among many other benefits to using a credit card with reward points.

Guest's picture
Bob the builder

I made the mistake of washing my new IPOD in the pocket of my pants. Amex replaced the accidental destruction as well. Amex customer for life.

Guest's picture
Oscar C

I bought a lighter for my brother and it broke two weeks after he received it. After contacting AMEX, I received my refund without me noticing. It was just that simple.

Guest's picture

My experience with Samsung Refrigerator was a similar one. After the warranty period, it broke consistently and each time the service technician came out was a $200 ordeal. Finally I got fed up and bought a Whirlpool Gold to replace it and it worked perfectly since day one and still is the primary fridge in our household. Never ever bought a Korean branded appliance, you end up paying more to operate the machinery vs US brands what's made else where. The brand makes a difference. Toyota Camry is made in the USA but it's less prone to breakage than a Ford Fusion, also made in USA.

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