Monday, 24 December 2012 13:01

Belkin: when is a warranty not a warranty?

By

A: when you make it so darned difficult to claim that people just give up.

Belkin who makes mains power surge protectors (amongst a range of other devices), offers a warranty for the devices attached to the protector in the event of a failure.

This means that if a power incident occurs, the protection device fails and connected equipment subsequently fails then Belkin will pay to replace the attached equipment up to some appropriate limit, depending on the exact protection device purchased.

Well, that's the theory.

On Saturday just passed, an iTWire reader (who prefers to remain anonymous) had a lightning strike directly on their house, taking out their computer and modem, both of which were directly connected to a Belkin protection device. Aside from the probable loss of all data on the computers (we hope they had good back-ups!), they thought that they'd be able to quickly claim on the Belkin warranty. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

The following information is in the reader's own words, spread across a couple of communications:

Well what a cop out, Just rang Belkin (surge protection) about our lightning strike and damage caused and it can take up to 3 months for a claim, I also have to pay for the return of said board to be tested so he suggested we go through our insurance company if we want something quicker. Talk about pass the buck. <expletive>... Not happy.

I think we are just going to go through our insurance company it will be much easier and quicker for us as we need the Internet for our sons uni studies! But just a quick run-down he was very uninterested and said I had to put the claim through their website and follow their instructions of what to do I have to pay for the board to be sent to them for testing and if they find a surge mark they will then process the claim which could take up to and beyond three months. So he therefore suggested if we want something quicker we could just go through our insurance company or fork out for new equipment ourselves and wait and see if our claim would be approved if not tough luck for us and our pocket. He sounded quiet bored with the call and very non helpful unfortunately I didn't get his name as I was cranky with the waiting time I was on hold for.... He also sounded like he didn't believe me! He was quiet quick to pass the buck and when I said we would have to pay excess for our insurance his response was that basically he didn't give a shit and that was too bad for us grrrr lol. Thanks for your interest though.

Oh and just one more thing, he didn't ask for any information at all and it states on the warranty to be prepared to provide the following information, he just gave me the website address luckily I have a spare computer that I was able to set up with the Internet otherwise I wold have laughed at him and asked him exactly how would I be able to access that seeing as how my computer just blew up....idiot lol

According to Belkin's own information, the following sequence of events will occur:


According to Belkin's own information, and we summarise here, the following sequence of events will occur:

1. Send the broken protector, a claim form and purchase receipt to Belkin (we ask, who still has the receipt after a couple of years?).

2. Belkin will take up to two weeks to confirm that their device failed.

3. Belkin will respond with the results. If the device passed all tests, they will blame "under voltage, surge through unprotected line, general equipment failure etc."

4. Assuming the device failed in the appropriate manner, Belkin will then request the customer attend a local repair agent to obtain diagnostic reports and quotes for all damaged devices. They note, "If the repairer deems the unit not economical to repair we will require a statement in writing explaining the issue with repairing. and a quote for a replacement based off the features of the damaged equipment."

They then add, "IMPORTANT: If at this stage you decide to go ahead with any of the repairs, or replace any damaged equipment you do so at your own discretion. Belkin will only approve repairs or replacement at the finalisation of your claim."

In other words, any repairs are your own problem; Belkin might, at their tender mercies, reimburse you.

5. The claim team will make a settlement offer. "IMPORTANT: Belkin will replace your damaged equipment based on market average. Pricing average will be used for Televisions, Desktop Computers and Notebooks." In other words, this appears to be suggesting you shouldn't expect full reimbursement if you have 'better than average' devices connected.

6. The customer receives and signs the letter accepting the offer.

7. Belkin will then transfer the agreed amount to the customer's bank account.

All of this (in Belkin's own words) will "take anywhere between 8 to 10 weeks to finalise."

So, aside from the 3 month estimate (vs. 8 -10 weeks on the web site) the information provided by the call centre operator is essentially in agreement with the web site.

Not that either gives any kind of warm fuzzy glow of protection when it comes to assessing the merits of Belkin amongst a variety of such products.

A Belkin representative was contacted prior to this report being commenced, but an autoresponder message suggested that there will be no reply until the new year.

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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