PC World extended warranty - thumbs up !

  Taran 14:54 22 Oct 2003

This is possibly flying in the face of most forum members' opinion, but here we go:

16/12/00 my wife bought me a Hewlett Packard Pavilion 9715 from our local PC World store.

It was bought on a whim after I'd been moaning (as only I can) about my main desktop machine at home which had a persistent motherboard/BIOS problem that I hadn't had the time to sort out.

In her wisdom she payed £325 extra for an extended warranty of 4 years over the manufacturers 1 year term.

No comments please.

At the time I wasn't impressed either (but still very grateful for the pre-Christmas present !).

At 14 months old, the machine died spectacularly and required a new motherboard, CPU, heatsink, fan, PSU, and memory.

I have always been very practical about this kind of thing.

Manufactured goods will last or die and that's that. You can build reliability into manufactured goods but you cannot ever eliminate failure so I am always more interested in how things are put right, rather than in the fact that something went wrong to begin with.

Today I had to call upon the extended warranty for a second time. The same symptoms as last time have presented themselves and it looks very much like the same list of components will need replacing.

The telephone call was handled smoothly and efficiently: the person I spoke to was impressively knowleadgable and not in any way patronising. He walked me through some basic diagnostics (I went along with everything since it really doesn't matter how much I know about PC's or not and I wanted to at least try and act like a normal customer) and after we drew the expected blank on these steps Plan B came into effect.

Plan B is as follows: on Friday morning a home visit from an engineer has been scheduled who will be sent with a new motherboard, CPU, heatsink, fan, PSU, and memory.

It was also suggested (by the helpline chap, not me) that a replacement graphics card and hard drive should be sent in the parts list on the chance that they may be required. This, he said, would save a return visit by the engineer and would also prevent me waiting longer to have the machine fixed in the event that they were needed.

OK, so I could rip the bits out myself and either replace them from stock or upgrade the entire system and have things ticking along smoothly within a couple of hours.

Most people though, could not do this.

Whether you like the idea of an extended warranty or not, since nobody can ever guarantee that your computer will last forever and taking into account the cost of two new motherboards, CPUs, heatsinks, fans, PSUs and memory plus the callout charges and time taken for an engineer to come and fix the PC at home, in this case at least, it would appear that my wife and I have had our money's worth.

I am not raising the issues of value for money or hard sell on the warranty front since this has been done to death. It does show that there is another side to the argument though, and I would never have thought I'd be the one commenting on it.

In our case I could have done the work myself using parts I can readily source but since my wife took out the extended warranty and we have twice had to use it, it does raise an important point:

suppose I was not very computer literate or could not afford a home visit from an engineer much less the replacement parts involved or perhaps it was less than convenient to take the machine to a shop or store because of infirmity, disability or...

Well, you get the idea.

Like car insurance, we all hate paying it but when you need it...

Food for thought ?

I'll duck right about now, for the expected flak this will probably generate...

Regards all


  Sir Radfordin 16:07 22 Oct 2003

This just shows one problem with an extended warranty of any kind. You don't know if you will need it, and it's only when you do need it that you feel you have got some kind of benefit.

Some people would doubtless argue you could've got the same under the Sale of Goods Act, but lets face it, it would've taken much more than one phone call. And, in real times/costs actually been more than you paid for the warranty.

  Taran 16:28 22 Oct 2003

You've hit the nail on the head.

It's not for me to say whether or not and extended warranty is value for money to everyone, but clearly in this case it has been.

And I agree that although I may have had some resolution through the Sale of Goods Act, the sheer time and aggravation involved would probably have meant I'd have either re-built it myself or chucked the computer out and started from scratch.


  plsndrs3 16:34 22 Oct 2003

This is the thing about any insurance - when you don't need it, it's a waste of money; when you do, it's a gift! You make a valid point 'what if ...' and there, but for the grace of God, go I. I purchased a PC a long while ago from PCW [HP 350 - cutting edge technology then ;o)] & got talked into an extended warranty. Had it for a year, no problem. Handed on to my eldest daughter & a year later the CPU and Graphics card gave up the ghost. Man comes along, tries to fix it without success and so enters a new PC [350 processor no longer available] replaced under warranty with no issues or major problems - OK, I had to make a couple of calls, but we got a better PC. Then onto my eldest son - after just under 3 years [almost at the end of the extended warranty] PC gives up the ghost again, and again we are offered vouchers to the value of as I would imagine it was uneconomical to fix, so out we went & got a new, faster, bigger PC. And yes, I ASKED for an extended warranty. This is just about to expire & I am being offered an extension & I will take it as "peace of mind is part of the deal" as my children [not yet PC experts] will have a PC that runs or a replacement!

Excluding the voucher deal, this means that we have had 1 PC 'upgraded' free & the second cost about £400 less than the screen price. Am I happy - yes!


  papa lazarous 17:02 22 Oct 2003

It's so refreshing to read comments like these. You all fully understand the concept of an extended warranty. They may seem expensive at the time but it's when the PC is out of it's normal guarantee period and you're on your own that they come into their own. Your PC breaks, you call the support line, you get it sorted. As long as the procedure is followed everyone is happy.

  bfoc 19:01 22 Oct 2003

Konw a fair bit about computers and have built one in the past. But equally my machines tend to go from me to family and friends and I always, without fail, get at least a 3 year warranty.

Of course it may be 'wasted' if it ain't used, but on one machine I had 2 modems, 2 mice, a motherboard, chip and a PSU. All items replaced on-site within 2 days! Ok, not PC World but that doesn't alter the argument.

It is everybody's own choice whether they get an extended warranty or not. I always would.

  oresome 19:28 22 Oct 2003

Taran's warranty has clearly paid off in this case, as indeed has his moaning. It usually takes me several weeks of moaning, before my wife relents and allows ME to buy anything she considers a boy's toy.
The value of an extended warranty clearly depends on the probability of having to use it and the disruption a failure may cause.
It's unfortunate, but understandable that there isn't a small army of proficient repair people out there just waiting to be employed on a 'as needed' basis and carrying all the spares for anything that breaks.
As it is, paying up front would seem to be the best way for the risk averse.

  Taran 15:06 24 Oct 2003

The repair engineer has just left.

A new motherboard, CPU, heatsink, fan, 756mb of RAM and Power Supply are humming along nicely thank you very much.

The old CPU was actually working but the engineer said he'd far rather replace it with a new one than risk the new hardware with a CPU that had been subject to questionnable current spikes and possible long term damage.

He took around 50 minutes start to finish (two cups of Arabian coffee to you and me) and even offered to wait until the factory recovery disks had fully re-set all software.

Am I a happy chap ?


The smile says it all.


  Forum Editor 15:54 24 Oct 2003

I'm delighted to hear that all's well, and that the whole process went as smoothly as it did.

I think that the Dixons group has been on a fairly steep learning curve as far as customer service goes, and perhaps we're starting to see the green shoots appear - as someone once famously said. I have been into PC World twice in the past week or so, and on one of those occasions I needed an Athlon processor from a locked case - nobody was in sight. I went to the security guard and asked for help. He came to the service desk with me, walked straight to the front of the queue, and asked someone for assistance. A technician immediately came out with a key, found my processor, asked if I needed anything else, and told me to go to the checkout and wait for him, while he went off and got the paper.

Not in itself that remarkable, but in the light of your experience I thought I would mention it - a slight pattern might be starting to emerge.

  spuds 00:02 25 Oct 2003

If PC World are beginning to up their standards in customer care, then this can only be the icing on the cake.Where else can you find a good range of products on the shelf, for immediate collection.Products that you can touch,look at, read the specifications etc, then take it away with you.Perhaps PCW could go a little further, by checking and reducing some of their prices, were needed. Then PCW would well deserve the top accolade for the industry.

And yes, I agree with Taran. Extended warranties can have great benefits, if they are implemented correctly.

  Q-Bie 00:12 28 Oct 2003

"Perhaps PCW could go a little further, by checking and reducing some of their prices, were needed."

But, surely that would mean us lowly employees all got a pay cut? ;)

So nice to see a thread about Extended Warranties where people aren't moaning about long phone calls, unhelpful staff, engineers who don't turn up....!

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