Don’t you just love those 30-day try-out periods or your money back deals? But, make sure to read the fine print. Many companies are charging hidden fees such as 20% for restocking, cost of shipping, insurance, etc. But the offers sound so good on the surface, the marketing gurus are able to convince many of us to buy their products. They sure lure me.
Companies of all sizes are using these innovative marketing techniques. The offers are available in everything from cell phones to blenders to book clubs to vitamins. I especially like the computer companies that offer this benefit. Beware, 30 days more often than not, means 30 days. I recently purchased a laptop computer from DELL. They are one of the major players in the computer sales by phone and mail order businesses. I received the laptop and immediately went on vacation for almost 3 weeks. Of course, I didn’t have time to put the laptop through my daily work paces until I returned; and then it took me about a week to get my programs and data all up to snuff. Not keeping pace with my time limit, my 30 days went bye-bye.
Although from the very beginning, I noticed the laptop mouse seem to stick and scroll the screen when it wasn’t supposed to, I did not think that was a really big deal. I figured I could probably fix it in through the software; and if not, I could utilize DELL’s “3 Year Rapid Response…Warranty” that DELL so boldly pitched when they sold me the computer. But, the worst problem was discovered after the 30-day period. The PSION DACOM Gold Card Global modem they installed and sold me would not work well transferring files to and from my office. Like many of you, I transfer data files to and from my office, daily. I use the very well know and well proven LapLink program to accomplish this feat. From my perspective, this is one of the most important functions of
having a laptop, to be mobile and be able to send and receive data. One could argue it was my responsibility to have checked this machine out within the 30 days. But, who would ever think that a company like DELL wouldn’t stand behind a basic product problem like this? This is where I thought DELL’s Warranty program would step in. But, it hasn’t, yet.
I have spent over 40 hours communicating with DELL and trying to fix the problem. During Comdex, I even met with a DELL representative who assured me he would help. He even went so far as to say that DELL would replace or take back the laptop; and he would personally pursue the same through management approval. After weeks of phone calls and many more emails, he still assures me they are going to do something. Like many of you, I spend countless hours on the computer. And if the computer isn’t working right, it is torture, everyday. I finally took an old PCMCIA card modem out of old laptop and have been able to transfer my files. Although this modem is much slower and does not do what the Gold Card reports to do, it works. For the mouse-sticking problem, it seems to be a bit better, now; or I am finally getting use to living with it.
So what is the moral of this story? Take advantage of the 30 day free trials, but:
- make sure you read the fine print to see if there are any additional fees or “gotchas”;
- make precious every moment possible to thoroughly check out the product well
within the 30 day limit; and
- make sure you know what is in the warranty after the 30 day trial period, and… you
can live with it.
Spilled milk, nah… just another one of those learning experiences.