Do You Know Your Computer Warranty Details?

Literally 1000's of computer technicians worldwide derive their income from providing onsite computer warranty repair services. With the decline in price of computers in general, fewer extended type warranties are being sold. These warranties can be expensive. The justification for not purchasing one of these warranties, is that the consumer, in their mind say "I'll Just buy another $300.00 computer if it breaks".

What they don't realize, is that there are reasons that make it possible to produce a computer that cheaply. As consumers, we are being "victimized" by mass production. Even though manufacturers can consistently produce a quality product through use of automation, there is always going to be a percentage of components that are either dead on arrival or fail prematurely. Even a random check of a small percentage of these items will not ferrett out all the failures before the consumer gets thier hands on it. It would not suprise me if in many cases, if the decision to ship or not to ship is based on what I call "an allowable rate of failure".

Manufacturers know that it costs more to test something than to let the consumer test it for them. So if random sampling failures, fall into the magic allowable rate of failure, the shipment goes out unchecked.

The Economics of Selling a Computer...

Most people would be suprised to know that computer manufactures really only make pennies on the dollar for selling you a computer. Where the real money to be made is selling other things with thier name on it made buy other manufacturers, Additionally, they sell software, supplies and of course the warranty.

Think of a warranty just like an insurance policy. Just like any insurance policy, that money is invested to make more money. The decline in warranty sales has resulted in a reduction in the available money pool. With less money to work with, the computer manufacturers drive even harder to remain profitable. The effects of that trickels down to the consumer who actually buys the warranty.

With less Money to Work with...

  • The computer manufacturers are paying less to the service providers
  • The service providers have to hire employees (technicians) at lower wage rates
  • Lower paid technicians mean many of them possibly are no more than glorified parts changers...not technicians.
  • Out-Sourced Technical Support to foreign countries by individuals who likely have no field experience or even own a personal computer.
  • Customers being asked to fix the computer themselves,
The last item is of peticular interest to us technicians. Since we derive our income from that end of the business. Here is what the consumer loses when they get talked into fixing the computer themselves when they actually paid for "ONSITE" service under thier warrany agreement:

  • You probably have to be home to sign for the parts. If you are not there or somebody can't sign for the package, a note is often left on the door where you can go and pick it up. This causes a repair delay.
  • You are responsible to remove the defective part.
  • You are responsible to send back the old part. If you don't, you could be billed for the defective part at a rate often exceeding current market price of that item.
  • You lose the opportunity to ask additional questions from possibly a "real" technician who maybe performing this service for you.
  • Onsite technicians often have access to higher levels of support with lower wait times than the consumer does if additional problems are discovered, the wrong parts were sent, or what they sent didn't correct the problem. When the consumer calls back in...let the wait begin!


You deserve to get what you paid for and you should demand it. When you accept to perform component exchanges/repairs yourself, you give the computer manufacturer permission to operate "outside" of the warranty agreement. Whose best interest does this serve?

During the initial troubleshooting experience, you may be asked to remove and re-install parts to determine the source of the problem and decide what parts need to be sent. Your tech support person may use this as an avenue to assure you that you are competant enough to do the repairs yourself. What they don't tell you is that you lose the convenience of scheduling a repair call with your onsite tech who is also responsible for recieving and returning the parts, takes ownership of the problem, and likely has more experience than you in resolving issues.

How much is your time worth?

Fight Back!

Please send this to all your friends who own a computer. Along with that goes the thanks of 1000's of computer technicians worldwide. Our employers may not be able to justify our existence if you do the work.

Where will we be when YOU REALLY need us?


It's All related!

Troubleshooting software problems can often be difficult. When you encounter problems with a peticular piece of software, you may also have other software that does similiar things or rely on similar items to do what it does. Here's a personal story that heps describe what I'm talking about.

Recently, my video editor program stopped exporting and compressing my videos. It had been working properly with no issues. Re-installing the application had no effect on the problem. So I thought possibly something was wrong with the source video. Naturally of course the video played fine on the pc so I ruled that out.

My instinct was to suspect a corrupted codec on the system. Sure enough, my codec checking utility showed a bad codec and reported it had been installed by my DVD authoring program. I wasn't sure if my editing program was using that specific codec though.

Prior to reinstalling my DVD application, I decided to open up a folder that I store video in and preview a movie to test the DVD authoring program with. When clicking on a video, to play the movie, Explorer.exe crashed and closed all open windows into the file system. The peticular folder was set to thumbnail view.

Fortunately I was able to change the folder view settings to "Detail" view to alleviate that problem.

What was actually happening there was XP was using a 'broken" codec to try to display the starting frame of the video. Kind of a cool feature when it works, but I normally use Detail view to monitor filesizes and stuff.

Next I opened up my DVD authoring program to check it out. The last time I had used it there were no problems whatsoever. I was able to import a video and start a project with no problem. However, when I attempted to render the video to a folder to burn the video later...I recieved an error.

Magically, after re-installing that application, everything worked perfect.

So tracking down problems, often involves a little thought about what other software that is supposed to do "similiar" things and comparing notes.

Like I said..."It's All Related"!