Remember a time when you bought an extended warranty for an electronic device like a game system or, in my current case, a smartphone, and it covered anything? If the item was smashed, shocked, fried, or struck down by the hand of God himself you could bring it to the store, swap it for a new one right then and there, and be on your way. Well I guess times truly do change when you don't pay attention to the way things are worded in this day and age.
Now I am not new to a cell phone. I, like most of you, have had numerous cell phones and at least a new one every 2 years. So color me surprised when my recent new phone, the lovely Samsung Galaxy S III, took a slow motion nose dive out of my over-encumbered hands and onto my nice, ice cold, paved driveway. Now the phone survived the fall, as in, the phone still worked. The screen however, was not nearly a lucky. Smashed in 2 primary spots, the screen screamed in pain. Spiderweb cracks engulfing all but a slight spot in the center, rendering a finger swipe useless if not painful. I mean, in order to use it safely I even put the sucker in a clear ziploc bag, which oddly enough the touch screen still worked when i touched it; quick fix successful.
I think I see a skull in the middle right side
Here's where it gets ugly. On the 18th of January after a boring 8hr shift at my job, I quickly flew to my nearest Verizon store to, as I assumed, simply swap out my phone and get a new one and be on my merry way. I mean after all, I pay $6.99 a month for this "warranty" which is $83.88 a year before any taxes, so it makes sense to me that I can just swap it. You see, a few years back, before smartphones like the iphone and other such devices came out, my girlfriend had 2 phones break on her. We had the same priced warranty back then, and both were swapped out in the store, no problem. One was the phone just simply no longer worked and the other she had dropped it. No matter how it happened, both times she got a new phone and that was that.
So now we are deeper into the digital age. It's The age of the smartphone and cloud storage as well as the age of controller-less gaming and 3D movies in your living room. Sadly, it is also the age of cell phone "Insurance." Now for starters, when did phones become that important that they needed to be insured? I can't drive it. I can't live in it. I most certainly cannot pay for a funeral with it (although the prices some of the phones go for, perhaps you could). So why, did that word "warranty" go and change to "insurance.? I'll tel you why and it is also summed up in one word: Deductible.
This is a word most of us adults fear the most. Deductible.... The word just sounds disgusting and vulgar and makes me want to punch someone in the face, most notably the person who invented this word. In any case, I get home and go online to Asurion's website. After making a claim, here's the dreaded word "Deductible" and it is for a whopping $99. So you're telling me I pay $6.99 a month so I am then allowed to ONLY pay $99.... for a phone I paid $199 for thanks to the discounted upgrade. I bought this phone in late November... and now, because I finally broke one of my many cell phones over the years, this is what I get? Whatever happened to bringing it in, they swap it out, and I leave a happy customer knowing my $6.99 a month was worth it? Oh and guess what... they don't even send you a new phone! The one they sent me plainly says "re-manufactured in the USA." So not only did I have to pay $99, and pay $6.99 for this, but then they send me a refurbished phone?! What is wrong with our country!?
Old cell phone memories...and I have no idea why I still have these
Over the years I've run the gamut of phones from prepaid Nokias, to some garbage t-mobile phone, to some LG phone that was ok, to a krazer (which was still my favorite phone ever before smartphones existed), to a special edition Star Wars R2-D2 Droid 2 (which was my first smart phone and I loved it) and now to my Samsung Galaxy S III. Never have I been so furious at an extended warranty plan. I have two Xbox 360s, both have red ringed TWICE EACH and not ONCE did I pay for a new console. My original PS1 broke, FREE swap. My Sega Dreamcast broke years ago, FREE swap. As I mentioned earlier that 2 of my girlfriends phones broke, FREE swap BOTH times. Is anyone else seeing the pattern here? On all of these items I had extended warranties, hoping I'd never need them, and when I had to use them, I got my item swapped out and all was good. Now it's 2013 and I truly see how our future in this country will be, when things like cellular phones need insurance.
I understand they're probably more intricate and expensive to make, I understand that $99 is reasonable considering if I didn't have it I'd either have to pay my $200 upgraded price or worse, but why is that the case now and it wasn't before this time? Is it because Cell phone companies just thought of this in the last few years and realized it was easy money? I mean if I had a regular cell phone I still would've had to pay $45 for a replacement. Shouldn't we all simply just get an automatic extended warranty and just make us pay $99 to replace it? I wouldn't be mad if I wasn't already paying $6.99 a month and I wouldn't be mad if I didn't have to pay that in the first place and could pay $99 for a replacement, but both is just ludicrous and wrong. My Droid 2 never broke on me so I never had to use the warranty which is why i am finding out about this now. Hell I have dropped my Droid 2, 3-4 times, in the SAME driveway and the worst thing that happened was the plastic case I had flew off, that's it. So how do we not get a "one time it's free and anything after that you pay" kind of system that most products today still have?
Ahh... the old R2-D2 droid. I miss your indestructibility
Now granted I didn't have a case on my phone yet, so maybe that's my bad, but realistically, should I have to buy body armor for my cell phone? Perhaps a sleek Kevlar lined cover? Should they manufacture something that will break after being dropped one time? Certainly in the year 2013 this technology must exist. I mean after all, I am pretty sure shatterproof glass and other such materials exist today. But as fate would have it, I DID order a case for my phone and guess when it arrived? The day after I dropped the phone. Does that qualify as irony? I don't know but either way it wasn't enjoyable at all.
So be careful when you get that extended warranty. Get it in writing that they replace it, because I never looked at this "$99 deductible" garbage because I made the mistake of assuming something as insane as this could never exist. Why is my state of the art gaming system able to be swapped for no extra cost but not my phone? Why can I blow out stereo speakers and have them swapped out no problem? I paid $99 for a re-manufactured phone that I just bought for $199 new less than a full 3 months ago and that just doesn't seem right to me.
Nerdy new phone case that arrived a day late...I'm aware it won't protect the screen, per se, but it does shift the phones weight so maybe it'd fall backside down next time...
Did I mention when they first sent me the phone it didn't come with a SIM card and I had to go to the Verizon store to get one and the guy was going to charge me $20 but thankfully hooked me up and didn't? Yea...I love not being able to use my new phone until 3 days after I get it and then have all this happen 3 months later. But hey, it's not all bad, I get an extra charger, battery and a SIM card for all my hassle...
So if anyone agrees with me or has a similar story they would love to share I am all about it. If I sound unreasonable and you disagree, feel free to comment too, I need to know what others think of this policy and if I am just starting to show my age.