Saturday, August 12, 2006

AMEX Buyers Assurance: A good experience

My Canon s410 compact died at age 1.8 years -- out of warranty. I'd bought it using my AMEX card though, so it was in the extended warranty period. I bought an Gordon's SD600 (a bit disappointing) and began the AMEX claim process. It took about five weeks from start to finish, but it went well. I was reimbursed for the entire cost of the original s410, which paid for the SD600.

If I'd been faster to ship it probably would have taken a bit over 3 weeks. AMEX provides a web site for status updates on the process and that worked very well. Their phone support was also excellent, though they did flub a request for an old statement.

Some tips on the process:
  • You need your warranty, the AMEX statement with the transaction on it, and the original receipt. Now when I buy something of value I scan all three and file them on my PC. These are faxed to AMEX, so scans will do well.
  • AMEX doesn't provide web access to old statements, though I suspect they will eventually. They will mail or fax old statements, but there may be a fee attached (unclear, I need to look for this). I couldn't find my old statement at first, though I did eventually. I was told they'd fax the old statement to me, but it came in the mail -- five weeks after I requested it.
  • Canon provides a warranty record on their web site and Amazon keeps old receipts. (So does Google Checkout.) In fact I was able to eventually find all the originals.
  • AMEX sent me a claim number and asked me to send the s410 to a company that specializes in scavenging (I fear eBay may end up with my old, defective, seemingly workable, camera). I was very good about this, I managed to find everything that came with it, including the original box, software, manuals, memory card ... everything! I suspect that was overkill, but really it seemed only fair.
  • The scavenger company never got back to AMEX. Three weeks after I UPSd the box AMEX called asking where it was. I had misplaced my UPS shipping number, but once I found it AMEX credited my account within 2 days. Don't lose your UPS number.
I don't buy anything with less than a one year warranty, and I always use AMEX for significant purchases.

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