Posted by @ 9:54 pm on Thursday 8th December, 2011.
Categories: A bit of a rant

Last Christmas I had an uncharacteristic fit of generosity which culminated in me buying Chris a laptop. I took all the necessary steps to ensure that it was well-insured and I completed the warranty submission at the point of purchase. So far, so good. Manufacturer's Warranty cover is active until January 3rd 2012. Buildings and Contents insurances are paid-up. Even the Pet Insurance is paid-up.

A week or so ago one of the cats decided to piss on said laptop. Yeah, I know, you can see where I'm going with this.  🙁

Anyway, Muggins here had the job of mopping-up and drying-out said laptop and associated battery. After several days said laptop and battery were dry, so we reassembled the thing and fired it up. One long beep on boot-up, and eventually XP loads and everything looks fine. Some keys don't work, though, and the touch-pad screen/buttons are dodgy. All subsequent reboots are the same as this. So it's broken. No problemo, it's covered.

The warranty folk were all prepared to fix it until they were told the cause, then they bailed on the basis that the laptop is now a "biohazard". In short, they're not allowed to touch it so they can't repair it. Indeed, because they're not allowed to touch it, they can't verify that it qualifies for straight replacement on the basis of not being fit for purpose (it's reasonable to assume that such portable devices should withstand a certain degree of environmental factors that would kill a desktop PC, so a bit of moisture should be withstood with ease). So, no joy from them.

The house insurance company declined to help out because their policy specifically excludes "damage caused by chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling by domestic animals." If I'd dropped it, melted it, lost it, ran it over accidentally or anything like that it would have been covered, but there's no cover for pet-damage.

The Pet Insurance doesn't cover anything that doesn't involve a vet.

The Financial Ombudsman believes that if there is any claim to be made it must be against the warranty provider, but "comes-with-the-product" warranties aren't within their jurisdiction (although extended warranties are). The F.O. referred me to the Citizens' Advice Bureau.

The C.A.B. phone helplines were open but unmanned, somehow I got referred automatically to Consumer Direct. They suggest going back to the retailer/warranty provider and making a "not fit for purpose" claim.

But now for the cherry...

The postman delivered into my hand today a letter from Mastercare, tempting me with their Coverplan. Here's some of the blurb:

  • Simply take out Mastercare Coverplan protection and you'll benefit from FREE unlimited repairs for the life of the Support Agreement...
  • Unlimited FREE repairs...
  • FREE replacement if it can't be fixed...
  • Protection against mechanical faults and breakdowns...
  • Protection against unintentional breakage...
  • Speedy repairs...
  • FREE technical helpline for instant advice...
  • Worldwide protection

For this, they want £71.

In short, said laptop would have been covered against "unintentional breakage" (caused by cat-piss) after 3rd January 2012, but wasn't before.

Oh, and just to rub it in, they've recorded my attempt to claim and so said laptop no longer qualifies for their Coverplan.

'Tis the season of good will... allegedly.

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3 Responses to “Uncovered”

  1. Scott says:

    Did it say somewhere in the manufacturers warranty small print that they could decline to assess if it was repairable? For whatever reason, or specifically for reasons of, ahem, biohazard terror? I know that there'll generally be a condition that they reserve the right to test the thing before replacing, but if they're too scared to do it I'm not sure that should be your problem unless it's a clearly stated condition.

    Mind you, cats are bastards, so you're probably up a gumtree.


  2. BG! says:

    I'll dig out the document sometime next week and report back to you, Scott.

  3. alan.sloman says:

    Interesting. I agree with Scott. If it doesn't say they can't look at it if it's a bio-hazard then they should defo pay out.

    If they don't you could always visit their offices and piss in their computers.

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