From the people at http://www.mint.com, the best infographic ever on why you should never buy an HDMI cable at Future Shop or Best Buy, especially Monster cables.
A while back, I wrote about what a mess it is getting HD programming in Montreal. It’s either very expensive (Bell and Shaw Direct) or almost non-existent (Videotron). The local options are so bad that I came very close to going grey-market by paying for DirecTV with the help of a friend with a US address. While the costs are similar to what you would pay with a Canadian cable or satellite company, the amount of quality HD channels available with DirecTV provides much more value.
At the end of the day I decided that my television viewing habits didn’t warrant the big up-front and long-term costs associated with any satellite option. While I love TV, I just don’t watch enough of it to warrant an $80-a-month subscription. I’d much rather spend a fraction that cash for unlimited internet on a mobile device (iPad, anyone?) and figure out a cheap solution for a little TV watching now and then.
Enthused about my previous post about extended warranties, reader Peter sent me his story of a $2400 TV gone bad, and how his lack of an extended warranty ended up working out:
In May of 2008, I treated myself and bought a 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD TV (Model KDL52W3000). I bought it at The Brick and it cost me in the area of $2400. Naturally, the salesperson offered me an extended warranty for a cost of approx $350; I declined.
The manufacturers warranty lasted 12 months. 15 months after having bought my TV, weird things started happening on the screen. I’d see weird double images, colours were off, and it got to the point where the screen would just go blank. I called Sony to ask them if there were any authorized service/repair agencies in my area. The gentleman on the phone was fantastic. He was extremely helpful, asked me pertinent questions and handled everything – from finding the closest service agent, to sending them my request and having them contact me to schedule an appointment.
When the service agent arrived at my place, it took him 90 seconds to assess the problem. He said – “I have to check one thing and then I’ll know where the problem is.” He said – “If you’re lucky, the problem is not with the panel. If it is, it will be cheaper to buy yourself a new TV”. Needless to say, the problem was in the panel. A few days later I received my repair estimate by phone – parts, labour and taxes included – a whopping $2064.00. I asked them to fax me the estimate and proceeded to call Sony.
Once again, the person on the phone was an absolute treat to deal with. I swear if every company had customer service agents like Sony, the world would be a better place… but I digress… So I let them know that I had this TV, and it cost me X and now the repair, only 3 months after my waranty expired is supposed to cost me almost X and that it was unacceptable for Sony to expect us to replace major appliances of this nature every year and a half. He gave me a customer support email address, and asked that I send a copy of my original receipt, the repair estimate, and a photo of the back of the television (serial number and bar code) and that Sony would see what they could do to make me happy. So I did, I sent them everything he requested along with a short letter expressing my long-time love for Sony products (I have a second Bravia at home along with a PS1, PS2, PS3, etc…) and requesting them to cover all costs of replacing/repairing my television.
Eleven business days later, I receive an email from Sony customer support with a Word document attached. In this document, which I have been tempted on several occasions to frame, Sony proceeded to offer me a brand new 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD TV (Model KDL52W5100). The cost? A mere $329.99! That amount was for the 2-year Sony Care extended waranty. So all in all, I’m actually better off than if I had bought the extended warranty at the Brick. My brand new TV is sitting on my table right now, looking better than ever and I have the piece of mind knowing that it’s covered by Sony (not the store that sold me the item) for the next 3 years.
I have had to fight with Bell to have an incorrect $2.00 charge credited; I’ve been on the phone with Videotron, Nissan, Rogers, and my more. I have come to realize that despite the fact that most, if not all companies claim to understand their customers, very few actually do; I’m certain that Sony does. The way Sony treated me, and not just their agents and their offer, but the 3rd party businesses they choose to deal with (service agents, delivery company for the television) has just ensured that I remain a customer of theirs for life.
I’m going to buy my brother a pair of headphones for Christmas after work today. Can you guess what brand I’l be leaving the store with…?
Peter was lucky he was dealing with a company that takes care of its customers. As for the rest of you consumers: This may seem like a reason to buy an extended warranty, to protect yourself from situations like these, but in reality the extended warranty is a huge ripoff most of the time. In a future post, I’ll give you tips on how to create your own extended warranty, while saving money in the process.