When I was growing up, if something broke or simply wore out, you did not buy something new. Someone repaired it or rehabbed it.
As I moved into adulthood, I was delighted to discover many things came with warranties. This seemed like a variation of what I was used to. Something broke. Someone fixed it.
However, there was “fine print.” We discovered in recent years getting things repaired was not quite as easy as we thought.
Often we were on the phone forever listening to a variety of music not of our choosing interspersed with a pleasant robotic voice telling us how much they cared about us.
When we made it through level one, often the next robot hit us with multiple pre-programmed questions, none of which applied to our situation.
We wanted to scream, “We just want our thing fixed!” 😱. However, if we chose the option to “speak with a representative,” we were flipped back to music and the first robot intermittently telling us how much they cared.
If we actually made it through robots one and two to a live person, often they were in another country. They obviously were reading from a script while practicing English as a second language. They sounded like they were training to be a robot!
If we somehow managed to communicate our problem, often it went one of two ways. Either our very detailed warranty (the one that was fifty pages long) did not cover our specific problem or it required a part that was in another country.
In the latter case, the very nice human robot would offer to transfer our call to that country or indicate they would send them a message. However, they advised us the supply chain was backed up, and it might be a few years until they could get the part.
If it did take that long, the robot felt obliged to tell us if it was outside the warranty period, they could not cover it.
However, they assured us they really cared about our problem.
Upon occasion, the representative was so helpful as to tell us they would gladly send us the part “straight away.” They said it would come with easy instructions on how to fix it ourselves.
We fell for that one a couple of times. We promptly received the part with instructions. However, often the instructions were in such fine print we needed to order a magnifying glass to begin.
If the instructions were big enough to read, often they were in some language neither of us could translate (and in some cases, we could not even verify that language was spoken on this planet).
If we passed those hurdles, the instructions were sometimes obviously written for graduate engineering students.
If we failed that hurdle and attempted to call the company, you guessed it. Back to robot one, two, three, etc. who really cared about us. They told us so multiple times while we waited.
If we actually cleared all the above hurdles, then sometimes the company required someone to come and personally check to be sure we were telling the truth and our product was really covered by the warranty.
That person would then have to report back to another person, who then might come whenever they were available to fix the problem.
If we actually got someone to our house to repair it, sometimes they would find the part that was needed would have to be ordered. And of course, they were not sure how long it would take to get the part.
We were told when the part came in, someone would call us. When they could get to us, they would come back and fix it.
If we actually made it through to getting a real live person at our house with just the right part, we were ready to claim victory.
However, there was one more hurdle. If there was any part not specifically covered by the warranty, there would be a charge.
The charge would be about the same cost as buying a new one. And the repair guy gleefully told us, the new one would be covered by … you guessed it …a full warranty.
And that is why we decided to cut our losses. We are old. We don’t have time to go through the hurdles again. We could die off before the things get fixed.
And so, that is why a couple of weeks ago, we bought a new microwave and today we bought a new washer and dryer. We are working our way through reading the warranty information, in case we need to start the process now!😱