Check Credit Card Warranty Protection First
Tempted to pay for an extended warranty on an appliance or electronics? No one wants to be burned when their flat-screen breaks one month after the warranty expires. However, most people don't realize that you can get extended warranty benefits for free with many credit card purchases. You may already own a credit card that offers extended warranties on purchases, or if you don't, it can be well worth your while to get one.
How Can I Find Out if My Card Has Extended Warranty Protection?
This is one credit card perk everyone can use. Lots of cards have it, but many people don't know about it. You may have it on one card and not on others, so it pays to check before you make any big purchase. If you aren't sure your current credit card has extended warranty protection, find out by:
- calling the number on the back of the card,
- checking the information on the card online, or
- digging out your credit card agreement and looking at the fine print.
Do Credit Card Companies Pay on an Extended Warranty Claim?
Yes! In fact, the morning I wrote this article, I cashed a check from Capital One MasterCard for $469 for extended warranty protection on a dishwasher that had a complete electrical panel failure just two months after the original warranty expired. However, I almost didn't get that check because I had forgotten about my credit card extended warranty protection.
A few years later, my son's computer failed right after the manufacturer's warranty expired. Remembering my previous experience, I dug out the receipt and found the credit card the computer was purchased on. I looked at the benefits and realized it was the card that had recently changed to no longer cover extended warranty.
However, I contacted the credit card company, and they said that since the item was purchased when the extended warranty was still a benefit, I could make a claim. I had to contact the MasterCard extended warranty service by phone, but once I finally got through, the process was easy, and they didn't require me to do anything but upload my evidence and fill out a form. My son was able to have his computer fixed, and we saved over $1,000!
How Does Credit Card Extended Warranty Work?
Here is my experience. I'd been a loyal Sears appliance customer for years, but after my second Kenmore Ultra Wash failed just a couple of months after the warranty expired, I got fed up. The repair bill for the $700 machine was $500! The Kenmore person said that, for an additional $200 on top of that repair bill, I could get an "extended warranty" for another year! Give me a break.
Do You Have Extended Warranty?
Probably so, but it is a good idea to check all of your credit cards to find out which ones offer it and to use a card that offers an extended warranty for any major purchase of something that could break, like an appliance, a phone, or other technology.
After fuming a bit and wondering who I could complain to about my dishwasher, I remembered reading something about an extended warranty in the fine print of one of our credit cards. Luckily, when I checked, I discovered we had purchased this dishwasher on the Capital One MasterCard, which had an extended warranty that extended the original purchase warranty for one additional year. As I did a bit of research, I found out that most credit cards offer this service, but a lot of people don't realize it and never use it.
Check Your Credit Card Policies
Not all credit cards offer extended warranties, and the warranty coverage is unique to each card. It pays to look up the fine print on your card. Most cards offer a one-year extension beyond the manufacturer's warranty, but some may do this for just a second year (like our MasterCard), while others may offer an additional year beyond a 3-to-5-year manufacturer warranty (some American Express cards). On all cards, you need to:
- Buy the merchandise using that card.
- Keep your original receipt, warranty information from the manufacturer, and credit card statement (if you go paperless, be sure to download statements each month since many credit card companies only provide one year of back statements, but your claim may be for up to two years back).
- Contact the credit card company as soon as you realize the item is broken to find out what you need to do. Most companies have a limit on the time you can make a claim.
How to File a Claim on Your Credit Card Extended Warranty
Our experience with our extended warranty through Capital One credit cards was a completely different experience than the hostile sales talk with the Kenmore service representative. Our second experience with a Chase MasterCard was more complicated (because the card had canceled that benefit) but certainly worth the effort.
Both times the credit card representative responded to us quickly and courteously, giving us all the information we needed to file our claim. Moreover, they sent us reminders after a couple of weeks to let us know of our time limit for turning in the paperwork.
What did we have to send them to file our claim? Beyond the initial contact, when we told them what happened, we had to send scanned and emailed copies of:
- Extended warranty claim form
- Original sales credit card statement from the purchase (remember to save these!)
- Appliance repair estimate
- Original sales receipt
- Original warranty from manufacturer
We had 180 days to send all the forms in. Within a couple of weeks of getting all the information, they sent us a check.
Tips on Credit Card Purchases
Check the Extended Warranty Policy
When you are thinking about what credit card to use on a purchase, you might want to consider the policy of the extended warranty. With Capital One MasterCard, they just send you a check for the amount of the repair to the item. In the check, they included the amount we had to pay to have the dishwasher evaluated by a repairman. Because we had not remembered about the extended warranty when we had him visit, I had to go back to him to have him prepare a more formal "estimate" to send to the credit card company. In the future, I would know that I needed that from any repairman.
Don't Buy an Extended Warranty From the Store
The extended warranty from the credit card is "secondary." That means that if you purchase one from the store, you use that one first. However, I just got the card agreement from Citi and found out that they extend the warranty after any store warranty. That could be a good deal if you purchase an appliance that tends to break within five years or so. With a store warranty and a credit card one, you might have a good chance of getting your money back.
Replace Rather Than Repair
Once we got the check, we had the option of repairing or replacing the item. Rather than using the money to repair the Kenmore, which broke so quickly, we decided to buy a new Amana Standard Tub without all the bells and whistles. Of course, this time, I knew to be careful to buy the dishwasher with my Capital One card, knowing that I now had two years of warranty protection!
Keep Your Receipts Organized
I'm not always good at this, but after our two experiences, I now keep a paper receipt (or a digital file) of all of the warranties and receipts for major purchases, just in case I need them. It helps that I now buy all of those kinds of items using just the CaptialOne card that has the best warranty. I hope that I don't need to use my extended warranty benefit, but I'm glad to know it is available when I need it!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on September 05, 2012:
I don't like doing them either. That's why I find this method so much better. The credit card company has a lot more clout than I do in going after someone who makes a faulty product.