Staples Playing Games With Customers Over Oem Printer Warranty

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Staples Playing Games With Customers Over Oem Printer Warranty

 user admin 2014-08-19 at 11:08:52 am Views: 181
  • #40327

    Staples Playing Games With Customers Over Oem Printer Warranty
    Customer struggles to pin down Staples on warranty
    Misplaced paperwork contributed to confusion

    By Paul Muschick The Watchdog

    There's never a good time for your printer to stop working, but Shirley Nylund's failed her at an especially inconvenient time. A project deadline was looming when the black ink stopped printing.

    She took the printer to Staples in South Whitehall Township, hoping it could be fixed quickly. She said a store employee, without even looking at the printer, told her the ink head was malfunctioning and could not be repaired, or would be too costly to repair.

    Nylund, of Macungie, bought the printer at Staples three years ago and it still was under the extended warranty she'd purchased. But she didn't have the warranty paperwork with her at the store because she couldn't find it.

    That's not a problem, Nylund said the Staples worker told her. If you find the paperwork, he said, Staples will give you a cash settlement or gift card for the price of the old printer, $230.

    So she bought a new printer, figuring she'd get some money back if she could find that warranty paperwork.

    Nylund found the paperwork a few months later and called the number on the warranty to file a claim in July. She said she explained that she'd already bought a new printer based on what she'd been told in the store. She said the representative told her she should expect payment in the mail and to call the "resolution team" if it didn't arrive within a few days.

    By July 29, the check hadn't arrived. But when she checked the status of her claim online, the website had it marked "closed."

    Nylund said she called the warranty number again and was told that instead of receiving payment, she'd be given a refurbished printer similar to the one that had broken. She said a supervisor told her that was her only option.

    The supervisor apologized "that I had been given incorrect information by a Staples employee," Nylund told me, and explained that Staples Extended Warranty is a different company from Staples stores.

    Nylund said she asked to speak with the supervisor's supervisor, but was told she didn't have a boss, which I suspect is highly unlikely. Everyone answers to somebody in the corporate food chain.

    So instead, Nylund turned to the Watchdog.

    I reviewed her warranty terms and found they were a tad different than what she said the store employee told her. The warranty provided for a cash settlement or "one-time replacement" if equipment could not be repaired. The fine print noted a "replacement product can be a new, rebuilt or refurbished one of similar features and functionality."

    So Staples wasn't doing anything wrong by offering her a refurbished printer.

    What was wrong was she had been given incorrect information about her warranty benefits and had been counting on a reimbursement when she walked out of the store with a new printer. The store employees should have referred her to contact the warranty company instead of suggesting she was entitled to something she apparently wasn't.

    "That was the thing that kind of bothered me," Nylund said.

    Staples sent her a gift card Aug. 6 to cover the cost of her old printer after I asked about her dilemma.

    "This was due to a miscommunication," Staples spokesman Mark Cautela told me. "Staples is committed to providing the best customer service possible and making the warranties and return process easy for our customers."

    Nylund told me she appreciates Staples giving her the gift card to clear up the situation.

    The best way for Staples customers to make a warranty claim is to go to the website of the current warranty company, SquareTrade, at, or call 877-WARRANTY,Cautela said.

    I suspect, and Nylund concurs, that she would have had an easier time filing her claim and getting accurate information if she had called the number on her warranty before going to the store.

    She concedes that if a speedy repair wasn't possible, she would have bought a new printer that day regardless of what the store told her about her warranty coverage.

    "I didn't have a choice," Nylund said. "I was kind of desperate that day."

    But she left thinking she'd be getting some money back, then had to deal with the headache of sorting through the conflicting information, getting some attitude in the process.

    "That was the harm, it was just very frustrating dealing with the warranty company," she said.

    Dealing with warranties can be a pain. They can have loopholes, exceptions or vague terms that can make it difficult to successfully collect on a claim. Nylund's situation illustrates another possible obstacle, that the business selling you the warranty may not be the same one that services it. Car dealerships are a great example of that.

    If you buy an extended warranty, the store might not be the right place to get your answers about a claim, as Nylund learned.

    Keep your paperwork and receipt filed where you can find them quickly, then follow the instructions to file a claim. If you can't find your paperwork, see if the store has a record of your purchase and can provide you with a copy.