Product care plans, sometimes called extended warranties, are customer support plans designed to avoid leaving you with a product you either cannot use or will require you to purchase another one. Many electronics gadgets such as smartphones and tablets can end up with cracked screens or have a defective battery that can potentially damage your phone. A product care plan will cover the expense of repairing the damaged item.
A large number of retail stores, including Walmart, offer product care plans on many of their items. What is covered by the plan will likely vary, meaning that you have to compare and select the plan that is best for your particular situation. This requires you to plan ahead and do your homework to get the biggest product care bang for your buck. Not all plans are created equal, and many times the devil is in the details. So be sure to get a copy of the product care plan you are purchasing and read it from cover to cover until you understand everything in it.
There are many advantages to the Walmart Product Care plan, so if you are a regular Walmart customer you may find that their plan is exactly what you need to have a money saving backup strategy should a product you buy from the store become damaged or broken while using it. Let’s get to some of the details about the plan and the various ways you can use it.
Did you ever buy a birthday or Christmas gift for someone from Walmart and find out it is in less than perfect condition? Not only is it embarrassing for you but it also means the reputation of Walmart will take a hit. Neither you nor the store wants to go through that, so spending a few extra dollars on their product care plan means that you can rest easy, knowing that no matter what happens everything in the end will turn out just fine.
One of the most common questions asked by prospective plan buyers is when does the coverage actually begin to take effect. The Walmart Product Care Plan begins immediately from the day you purchase the plan. So for example, if you purchased a gift for a friend or family member and on the way back home you get involved in a car accident that results in damage to your gift, Walmart’s plan will cover the purchase. Like every product care plan, there are limitations to what will be covered, so you want to be sure to read the specifics and ask any questions before buying a plan.
Some Blogger Research
An important part of any review article is where do the informational sources come from. In the case of this article we found Beth from the blogger’s website who has done some personal homework on exactly what is going on with the Walmart Product Care Plan. She discovered the plans are serviced by a Nashville, Kentucky company, Asurion. Their specialty is in fulfilling the conditions of extended warranties. The have telephone numbers that allow you to contact them about original warranties and one dedicated to filing claims.
Smartphones are as common today as electronic pagers were some 25 years ago. Everyone seems to have one, and many professions, such as nursing, find the devices almost essential for their daily job. There are an equal number of funny and tragic stories about what happens when people sit on a smartphone or watch it fall into the toilet. Walmart Product Care Plans cover damage from dropping your phone, as well as spilling liquid on it and finding your screen is cracked. You may not be covered if your phone gets completely submerged under water, though some of the newer Samsung Galaxy smartphones have addressed this issue by making the phone completely water proof. Again, you want to check the limits of coverage on every policy as they may differ from product to product. However, as a general rule you can expect your plan to cover the most common reasons your smartphone gets damaged.
Moving from outside the home to the inside, people who buy the popular large screen TVs have a different set of potential problems to deal with. One of those issues is pixels that have burned out and their absence becomes a constant annoyance when you are watching your favorite movie or TV series. Some people try to ignore the damage, but if the TV is relatively new you feel like you’ve been cheated. The higher the price of the TV, the more you feel you have been cheated. You can avoid all this stress by spending the few extra dollars upfront and enjoy your favorite movies and sports programs.
If you live in a major city the number of times you will experience a power outage or power surge is relatively small over the lifetime of your purchase. Yet when it happens it can completely burn out your electronic device. Modern manufacturing processes are not designed to replace many parts in televisions and other electronic devices, so there is good chance you will have to buy it again. Keep in mind that the number of manufacturers that are including IoT (Internet of Things) technology on their devices is growing by the month. Companies will be using them to save money on service calls, so if they cannot connect to your device because of damage caused by a power surge you may be paying more money later on.
Under the same umbrella as power surges are mechanical failures. Two of the most common enemies of home electronics are dust and humidity. Anyone who has opened the back of their laptop or desktop computer knows how much dust the fan can’t keep out. That dust will damage your computer over time, and the fix can be as simple as replacing a few memory chips – covered if you have a Walmart Product Care plan.
How does Walmart stack up against other major electronics retailers when talking about care plans? An independent website discusses this question. They compared Walmart’s plan to the plan offered by the giant electronics retailer Best Buy. For people who like to keep things simple, the website’s evaluation of the plan calls it not only simpler, but more flexible as well. The rates are based on the price of your product instead of a flat rate where “one size fits all.” If the product’s price is under $150, you get the entire price refunded to you in the form of a Walmart gift card. While many websites have ulterior motives for recommending products and services, this website closes its evaluation of the Walmart Product Care Plan with this statement: “Now I don't particularly care for the evil empire that is Walmart, but I do have to admit that it's protection plans are actually totally worth it.”
Replacement versus Repair
Much of the talk about why the Walmart plan is a solid choice has been based on electronic devices. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first should be obvious: most homes and lifestyles have a large number of electronic devices – large and small – that are with us for much of the day. The second reason is that many electronic devices are more easily recycled if damaged or broken, so apparently the logic is it is easier to replace an item than it is to fix it. Consider that the cost of replacing an iPhone battery can be $50 or more. That’s about 20 percent of the actual cost of manufacturing a new phone.
But there are products around your home that actually are non-electrical, and for these items Walmart’s Product Care Plan covers normal wear and tear. No matter how well you take care of your product, there will come a time when they will simply wear down or break through normal use. While the plan does not cover abuse or misuse of a product, everything else will be covered by the plan.
A controversial type of purchase is the refurbished product. Basically, a refurbished product is one that has been purchased by another customer and returned to the store. It cannot be sold as new by law, so this category has been created to allow another customer to purchase the product for less than the price of a brand new product. The controversy begins by trying to determine how much work had to be done on the product, if any, to put it into the refurbished bin.
The underlying problem is that you are not likely to find out exactly what happened to the product that made the customer return it. Maybe the customer simply changed their mind and returned the product after opening the box and ripping apart the packaging. In this case, you can get a virtually brand new product for a substantial discount. Then there is the uglier side, one where the customer damaged the product but doesn’t make the store aware of it. If the damage cannot be determined, then you will be buying something that is literally damaged goods.
Can you think of any better reason to buy a Walmart Product Care plan? Yes, refurbished products are covered under the plan, but it is limited to electronic products.
Once you file a claim and ship the product to the repair center the company will offer you one of three options. The first is to send you back the same product you purchased, repaired. The second possibility is to send you the same product as a replacement. It may not be exactly the same make or model, but it will basically be the same product. (For example, you will not have to accept a Samsung smartphone in place of an iPhone, but you might get a different make and model of a Sunbeam toaster.) The third option is to reimburse you for the item in cash (in the form of a Walmart gift card, as was mentioned earlier).
Taking a Tour
If you take some time the next time you stop in at your local Walmart and take a walk around, you will see many products that you buy every day that do not fall under the eligibility requirements for the Product Care Plan. Food is an obvious item, as well as most things consumable such as vitamins, drugs, soap, bleach, and candles. The product has to have a certain expected life span and must have a minimum purchase price. That is why you will find the majority of Product Care Plan offers in the electronics section of the store. Computers, smartphones, televisions, home theater systems, and gaming systems are just a few examples of what you will find. But there are some higher priced items such as lawn mowers and hardware that may also be eligible for coverage.
If you are a regular Walmart shopper, it pays to spend a little time exploring the store and asking a customer service associate if the item you are interested in buying is eligible for the plan. You are likely to find that an item at another retail store that has a cheaper price will either not have a product protection plan available, or the features of the plan are less than what Walmart offers at a higher price.
A Final Thought
It is no secret that the competition between online retailers such as Amazon and the traditional stores such as Walmart are fighting for your loyalty - and purchasing dollars. Yet only a very few have a quality customer purchase protection plan, and even fewer match the price and features of Walmart's. A customer's major purchases fall under the umbrella of coverage requirements of the plan, and the price of coverage is very reasonable. When you pause to consider everything written in this article and the potential amount of money you can save, you can move from considering buying the plan to buying one at the next opportunity.
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Written by Bill Vix
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