Yesterday afternoon, our 15 year old son came to me in a panic. His beloved Asus laptop had stopped charging and ultimately shut down when the battery ran out of juice.
He had done some basic troubleshooting and determined that the problem was with the laptop itself, and not the power adapter. In other words, we can’t just replace the charger and move on. Bummer.
Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the pin inside the power jack had broken off. Unfortunately, the fix for this is simple (replace the power jack) but not terribly easy. And the computer is still new enough that we don’t want to replace it.
He bought the computer about a year and a half ago and my recollection was that it had a one year warranty. Turns out I was wrong, it has a two year warranty, so we’re good to go. We just need to contact Asus and arrange for the repair.
But even if it had a lowly one year warranty, we’d still be in the clear. Why? Because I paid for it with my American Express card, so it’s covered by their excellent (and free) “Extended Warranty” protection.
Amex Extended Warranty
In case you weren’t aware, purchases made with an American Express card are (for the most part) eligible for an additional year of warranty coverage beyond what the manufacturer offers.
The short version is that, for items with a warranty of five year or less, Amex will provide equivalent coverage for (up to) twelve additional months (up to $10k in coverage per item/loss, or $50k total in a given year). Automatically. For free.
As I understand it, if the warranty is less than a year then they will simply double the warranty period. So, for example, a six month warranty would become a 12 month warranty. Still, a pretty good deal.
Also… You need to charge the full amount to your card to be eligible. They do this because they don’t want you just charge a few bucks of every purchase to your card to get the coverage. But it also means that you need to be careful when using gift cards to pay for part of a purchase.
Not surprisingly, they exclude physical damage (including power surges) unless the manufacturer’s warranty covers such things. They also exclude failures covered under a product recall. They also exclude:
- products covered by an unconditional satisfaction guarantee,
- motorized vehicles,
- motorized devices used in agriculture, landscaping, demolition, or destruction,
- motorized devices used as permanent additions or fixtures in a residential or commercial structure,
- business fixtures, including air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters, etc.,
- land or buildings,
- consumable or perishable items,
- animals or living plants,
- more than one article in a pair or set (unless they can’t be used/replaced individually),
- items still under installment billing,
- additional service contracts or extended warranties purchased for a computer/component from a third party, and
- items purchased for resale.
So yes, there are some exclusions, but most of them make sense.
If/when you file a claim, it’s up to Amex to decide whether they will repair, replace, or reimburse you for your loss. In most cases that I’ve heard about, they simply refund the purchase price back to your card, but that’s not guaranteed.