Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wacky Weird Warranty Wednesday

Last Thursday, FedEx dropped off an empty box sent by Apple to put my Macbook in and ship to them for repair. On Friday, we dropped that box off at the local FedEx. My computer spent the weekend in Memphis at the FedEx hub, and was delivered to Apple on Monday. Apple emailed to tell me they had it and were working on it. They emailed again Monday night to say it had been repaired and was being shipped back to me. FedEx delivered it to me Tuesday afternoon. I am typing this post on it! Isn't that an incredibly fast turn-around? Here is the list of things that Apple replaced on my computer:

Main Logic Board
Connector
Fan
Heatpipe
Top Case

When we bought this computer, we purchased a three-year warranty, and thanks to that warranty, there was no charge for this service. My mac feels different to my fingers. I think that might be explained by the replaced Top Case. The keyboard feels tighter. It feels like a new computer. I am absolutely pleased!

This is the very best kind of warranty story, but then there are other kind of extended warranties, like the story we are about to tell you:
When Roger and I bought the used Subaru back in October, we bought a 4 Year-48,000 mile extended warranty. We hadn't really thought about buying such a thing, but when the salesman was taking us out for a test drive, he said, "This car is in such good condition, I would buy an extended warranty on it." We both thought that he was trying to sweeten the deal by buying us the extended warranty. Later, when talking with the financial adviser who drew up the paperwork and contracts for the sale, we learned that the salesman was only making a recommendation, not an offer. Still, he had planted a seed, and we thought it might be a good idea to purchase the warranty. It cost $1756, but as the financial adviser pointed out, one major engine problem could easily cost more than that. It was worth the investment for our own peace of mind. Well, okay. We were convinced, especially since by that time we were utterly exhausted by how it long it takes to buy a car and process such a transaction. We couldn't think clearly and ask pertinent questions, like why the financial adviser kept looking in his drawer for information on the warranty, but never actually showed us what he was looking at.

After two weeks had passed and we hadn't received any details on the warranty, which in the contract said was with Warranty Company A (not the real name), I checked our envelope of documents from the sale and discovered there was no copy of that paperwork in it. So, began a series of phone calls with the dealership to find out the status of our warranty. First, we were told that it could take two-four weeks for documentation; then we were told it could take four to six; and then six to eight. Roger asked for some documentation of the original application and coverage, and was sent a xeroxed copy of the application on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, which cut off the address and contact information of the warranty company and our signatures. And, we learned on one phone call that the warranty was not really with Warranty Company A, but with a company named Warranty Company B. There was no website for that company to be found.

We were quite alarmed by all of this, and late last week I called the dealership again and asked for paperwork to be sent to us, but this time with the pertinent details that had been omitted on the xeroxed copy. That document arrived on Saturday. We were shocked. Roger's signature looked absolutely forged to us. Something was definitely not right with any of this. The dealership said they no longer contracted with Warranty Company A, and that their name was only an erroneous computer default on the sales contract. But we suspected that the something made us ineligible for Warranty Company A and the dealership had tried to cover it up by submitting paperwork to Warranty Company B, and had signed Roger's name to it. But really we had no way of knowing what was going on.

On Monday, I called the dealership and left a lengthy voice mail message with the General Manager. I told him what I've written here, and that we no longer wanted the warranty, but wanted the dealership to reimburse us in full for it. I thought the dealership had treated us in an incredibly unprofessional manner. We never got the same answer twice when we called them. In addition, if the warranty company couldn't get a single bit of information to us in two months, how could they possibly handle a claim in a timely and effective manner? The General Manager returned my call later in the day, and agreed to reimburse us in full. He did try to sell me on the importance of the warranty, but I held my ground.

So, here are my questions for you, friends:

1. Do you think they were trying to commit some kind of fraud?

2. Should we report them to the Better Business Bureau (after we receive our check, of course!).

3. Should we talk to someone about the forgery? The above photo has four documents that purport to have Roger's signatures. Just look at those signatures and tell us if one looks inauthentic.

22 comments:

  1. I do not trust dealerships as far as I can throw them. I suspect your situation involved fraud and I would, after receiving the check and cashing it (and it clearing), ask for a copy of the original document with Roger's signature so that you can have it checked for forgery. I'd make them sweat. I have doubts about BBB, but it can't hurt (I suppose) to contact them.

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  2. yay about the mac repair!

    something's funky with that car warranty. the state AG office has a consumer fraud division.

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  3. Glad that the Mac is fixed up. Most of my experiences with Apple warranty have been pretty good.

    Regarding the automobile stuff. I am fairly sure that California probably has some regulatory body for car dealerships. The car business is sort of like the real estate business as far as having to adhere to certain regulations. If documents have forged signatures, etc.. I would think the dealership could be in for some trouble if you contact whichever department is in charge of this kind of thing.

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  4. Yes, yes, and yes.... a bit of advice: CA does have a major auto-fraud department...But, unless you get that signature evidence, they will just spin you for months and nada. Get the check, cash it and move on for your own piece of mind. Justice is an extremely expensive business these days. peace m

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  5. happy to hear you are back in business with the mac! about the insurance issue - i would report them as soon as you are reimbursed. but i am confused about the signatures - are all of these signatures from their paperwork or is only one?

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  6. Yes, yes and yes. I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.

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  7. #1 Yes
    #2 Yes
    #3 Yes
    I think you were very fortunate to have gotten your money back. The whole deal reeks of rip off. Think of the people who never questioned them?

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  8. Yes, report it. It may come to nothing for you, but if other people have reported it, or if other people experience the same problem, there will be evidence of a larger problem. (But do cash that check first!)

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  9. This is definitely Attorney General stuff. Third sig looks, um, different. Like they don't even know how to forge.

    The one time I had to avail myself of my extended warranty for my Apple laptop, I was very pleased by the service.

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  10. I had a similar experience with my Mac nearly 15 years ago. My keyboard went bad. I called and described the problem and they FedExed a replacement in about a day. I was impressed.

    It appears that when Roger signs his last name, he makes the capital M using an initial downstroke. One of the signatures does not appear to be made that way. Am I right about that? If I am, then it appears that someone else made that signature. If that signature committed him to some payment, it seems that it would be fraud, although that's really a question for someone who knows the law. I would consider making a complaint.

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  11. Yea for MAC. I would contact your state AG office for sure. If nothing really happens with your case, maybe the next person could be saved from being ripped off.

    Besides the headaches, I'm glad you guys are doing well!

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  12. well, now that we all know how to forge Roger's signature.....

    I would FOR SURE report them to the BBB. They will send them a letter of the complaint, they will have it on file. We just did this for a hearing aid dude that was shady and ripped off our grandmother big time.

    That dealership is especially crooked, seems to me.

    Also, in general, extended warranties are worth it, but obviously in the case of your Mac, it was. Go figure.

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  13. We bought a brand new Honda Civic Coupe in January of this year, and paid cash for it. The dealership was so desperate to sell us a warranty, it was nearly comical. We declined, continuously. Glad we did.

    Glad you got your mac back!

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  14. I don't know whether it's worth bothering with the BBB. They don't have the most sterling reputation themselves.

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  15. Extended warranties are usually applied sneakily.
    When I sat with Emma on her car purchase, they added one in without consulting us. I spotted it on the computer screen and had the dealer remove it.
    Savings = over $2000.

    At my motorcycle purchase, same exact thing. I had them remove it and saved $1600.

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  16. Yes on all 3 counts...

    The Missouri Attorney General is pursuing several of these warranty companies in court for fraud. I have no doubt others are as well.

    That said, there have to be some reputable companies out there as well. In reading the warranty advice on Cars.com (affiliated with my beloved "Click" and "Clack" of "Car Talk") they would seem to point towards Consumer Reports as a source of information. Given the age and condition of the car, I have no doubt you can do better finding a policy on your own than you could with the dealer who no doubt got a percentage...

    alan

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  17. One reason the turn around was so fast at FedEx is because THEY do the repairs for Mac. FedEx does repairs for many companies.

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  18. Good news on the Apple front. Ellie's computer is currently in the repair shop. We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope to get the same fine service.

    On the Subaru, yes. I agree with everyone who has spoken here. You'd being doing a vital service not only to yourselves, but to other potential and future customers. It's not just a good idea, it's a responsibility. Good luck!

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  19. Apple good. used car salesman bad. The apple extended warranty seems pretty reasonable. Computer repairs cost plenty money. I love Apple.

    Enjoying your week off the hard stuff? (chemo) I'll be glad when it's all done. It makes me very nervous. However if it saves your life for a while longer I'll be very pleased. Hang in there brother. Love and screaming rants.

    Can we see what Rogers actual signature looks like?

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