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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Tracking warranties

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 by Andrew Conkling

Warranties can be very useful, often meaning the difference between getting something fixed for free or having to replace it. It can be frustrating to miss out on a warranty, especially if it involves paying extra for it. This week we have two tips that will help you keep track of warranties for your items.

The first tip, shared by clayton.chu, suggests keeping track of both return and warranty dates so you have all the information you'll need in case of a problem.

Bob T. Monkey keeps track of warranties

After I get home from shopping, I grab the receipts of every major purchase I've made that I might return or need to service. I create TWO tasks for each item, each with the policy expiration date as a due date: one for the return-to-store, one for the return-to-manufacturer. Each is tagged as either "return" or "warranty".

Each gets a note as to where I purchased it; relevant credit card information; all accessories that may have come with item; and the general return policy (do I need the receipt present, or is a credit card okay? is there a restocking fee?). This way, if I do need to make a return, I won't be surprised when I get to the store to find that the clerk can't look up my information, that I'm missing parts, etc.

For the return tasks in particular, I also add a tag with the store name. For warranty tasks, I add to the note the manufacturer's policy and where to send stuff; the manufacturer's website; or who to call to set up an RMA.

I then use the search

tag:return AND NOT dueBefore:today


tag:warranty AND NOT dueBefore:today

to see what items are still within the return policy. This might be overkill if I have only one item to return, but definitely useful if I have lots of things to return at various stores. I sort by due date; this combined with the store tags let me plan a trip to return all the stuff I want to return in a single shot, within enough time so that the return is allowed.

I don't get rid of overdue tasks; sometimes stores or manufacturers will allow an out-of-policy return/exchange. Keeping the task overdue and on its own Overdue Policy list lets me know that I might have to fight to get my return approved. I never mark the task complete until I have attempted to use the return policy, either successfully or not (i.e., they won't allow me to do an out-of-policy return).

A complementary tip, shared by om, suggests keeping up with any warranties that may be ending soon.

I also created a simple Smart List:

dueWithin: "1 month" AND tag:warranty

This way I can check if there's nothing wrong with the equipment just before the warranty expires and get it fixed or replaced free if needed.

Thanks for sharing these tips, clayton.chu and om! You're both our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winners this week.

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Posted in: Tips & Tricks