Warranties Your Credit Card Company Won't Tell You About

Most people have at least one credit card, but few are aware that there are lesser-known features built into their standard credit card that could be saving them significant time, money, and hassle. Apart from providing of a line of credit that doubles as a short-term loan and an easy to read history of transactions, there are other useful functions that credit cards come with.

Many standard credit cards come with the following benefits:

  • An automatic extended warranty up to one year — 31 percent of consumers purchase extended warranties each year, which means that at least some credit card holders are paying for warranties they're already equipped with!
  • Automatic car rental insurance and collision insurance — that makes the need for car insurance while traveling, non-existent.
  • Trip-cancellation insurance (your credit card network will cover your cancellation fees).

In order to do a case study on a specific automatic extended warranty program, we chose from the cards we ourselves use on a daily basis: many of the MyBankTracker writers own the Chase Freedom Card, a cash back card we highly recommend for everyday use and to rack up rewards.

This card is issued by Visa, and while Visa has a helpful claims section on their website, there are gray areas you'll almost always need to call a representative for. The following is our concise summary of Visa's extended warranty policy as it is written online, and after, we put several hypothetical instances to the test with three collective customer service representatives.

Visa's Warranty Manager Service
Visa's Warranty Manager Service extends their cardholders' purchase warranties by doubling each product's existing manufacturer's U.S. repair warranty up to a maximum of one year. Visa suggests all their customers register every credit card purchase they make so that if a product does get damaged or cease to function properly, all the important documentation they need will already be on file (important and necessary documentation includes the purchase receipt and original manufacture warranty).

In order to file a claim, cardholders should call and speak with a Benefit Administrator at 1-800-882-8057 immediately after learning of a product failure. Upon filing a claim which asks for standard information and the receipt and original manufacture warranty, a Benefit Administrator will examine the claim and decide at their own discretion whether the item will be repaired or replaced sans shipping and handling fees, up to a maximum of $10,000 and $50,000 maximum per cardholder.

We spoke directly with customer representatives and get all the details, stipulations, exceptions, and exclusions you'll want to know about Visa's extended warranty policy in case your product fails.

Myths debunked

Myth 1You must have your receipt and warranty.

A rep told us: If you don't have the receipt we can give you ideas on how to reconstruct the receipt — sometimes the claims department will take your credit card statement instead of the receipt, but they prefer the receipt. Now, you can almost always find the warranty online through the manufacturers website.

Myth 2You will not be eligible for a replacement or repair if you fall outside the 60-day time frame.

A rep told us: If this is the case, you're considered outside of the time frame and we're not able to file a claim for you. You could if there were extenuating circumstances such as you moving or an illness or something like that. You can actually ask for us to file a claim regardless and then have the claims department review that.

Myth 3The claims process is lengthy.

A rep told us: Provided that you do have the benefit available on your card and did purchase it on your card, we file a claim, send you a claim form, once you receive that claim form you would sign and date it and return it to us within 90 days from the date of the product failure, of which you do have 60 days to report it to us.

Once we receive that claim form along with a copy of your itemized sales receipt and a copy of the manufacturer warranty, an examiner  would review your claim and contact you within five business days to walk you through the rest of the claim process and advise you to have the item either repaired or replaced. Then we would be able to see about reimbursing you up to the original purchase price that you purchased the item for.

Myth 4The registration process is lengthy.

A rep told us: The registration process is very similar to the claims process. Basically, you give us a call, we ask you when you purchased it, we put in that purchase date, go over the benefit with you real quickly, ask for the manufacturer purchase price before tax. If you have a serial number and the model number we can put those on there, we'd send your registration form either by mail or email whatever you prefer, you send us back your receipt and your warranty.

Now this takes 5 or 10 minutes, but depending on whether we already have your address on file, it would take even less time than that.

Myth 5You have to send your warranty and receipt via snail mail.

A rep told us: No actually — you can send it through the mail if you can't get it scanned, and we're fine with either way on registration especially because there's no time limit, but we always ask you to keep your original receipts and warranty.  You you send it by email we  ask you to scan it or take a photo, as long as the information is visible.

Myth 6If you want this benefit, and are a Visa cardholder, you have to sign up for the service.

A rep told us: It's not exactly something you have to sign up for, it's determined by the bank or financial institution. Some cards do have this benefit and some don't, it depends on the bank or financial institution.

Myth 7The extended warranty 'stacks on top' of additional warranties or protections you may have purchased.

A rep told us: Unfortunately, no it would not stack on top, it would only go after the original manufacturer's warranty. So say for instance you purchased a two-year extended warranty that added an additional two years to the end of the manufacturer warranty, ours would only go in during the second year and run parallel to that extended protection that you purchased.

Myth 8Visa will reimburse you for damaged or lost item, whatever the cost.

A rep told us: Normal coverage is anywhere from usually $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 maximum per account but for the actual benefit limit.

Myth 9The policy is standard across the board, regardless of who you bank with.

A rep told us: No — for instance, with Chase, as of Nov. 1 of 2013 Chase did do a revise of their extended protection, one of the exclusions that was omitted from their benefit was the real estate exclusion (which typically is excluded). Also, instead of doubling the manufacture warranty up to an additional year, Chase now adds an additional year on the manufacturer warranties of three years or less. So say you have a three month manufacture warranty — usually if the original manufacture warranty was three months, it would have another three months. However, now it would add an additional year so it would be a year and three months.

Chase Freedom's terms and conditions
This card does have that extended protection benefit, and what that does is, it will extend the time period of the original manufacturer's U.S. repair warranty by one additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less that is up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. To be eligible, you must charge some portion of the item's purchase price to your account or use rewards points earned off the account toward the purchase.

This benefit does run secondary to any additional service contracts or extended warranties that you purchase or receive. With this benefit we do also offer registration, so after you make the purchase you can give us a call with the purchase information, we would send you a registration letter and with the letter, you just send us a copy of the itemized sales receipt and a copy of the manufacturer's warranty and we'll keep that paperwork on file just in case you do have a problem in the future.

There are some exclusions to this benefit that I can also make you aware of as well. We would not cover any boats, automobiles, motorized vehicles, their parts, equipment, or accessories, any items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use, as well as any computer software, medical equipment, or used or preowned items, would also be excluded from this benefit.

To see Visa's entire extended warranty policy online, head to their e-claims site, on which you can find a list of products Visa's policy doesn't cover, like medical equipment, computer software, boats, automobiles, and more.

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This article originally Warranties Your Credit Card Company Won't Tell You About appeared on My Bank Tracker.

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