The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
May 3, 2017
I purchased a new laptop through Costco, and thought it prudent to purchase an insurance plan that would protect the laptop from drops, spills, and so on. A protection plan from Square Trade was chosen which lasts three years, based on the fact that it not only met my requirements but also guarantees that the whole process will be handled in 5 business days after they receive the laptop, and an additional two days for shipping thereafter.
After about a month or so of use, water was spilled on the laptop, and it began malfunctioning. That’s where things get interesting.
The entire process took nigh four weeks, and in the end Square Trade paid the claim. That said, the whole process was much lengthier than expected considering that they guaranteed 5-day service.
Additionally, after SquareTrade received the laptop they updated me consistently for the first week and a half. However, thereafter, the first week after SquareTrade received the laptop their consistency decreased considerably and was nigh non-existent. From here attempting to get information was like pulling teeth. There were a few lengthy waiting periods I went through on the phone [via their call back process] merely to either seek an update of the process, or ask specific questions.
Simply put, the laptop wasn’t repaired within the allotted timeframe. In fact, instead of taking 5 business days, the whole process took nigh 4 weeks to finish. This creates many issues when one wants to rely on the guaranteed speed of a company that claims to handle claims in a timely manner. If SquareTrade didn’t have that guarantee, which is a very solid selling point for those that need their fixed rather quickly, it wouldn’t be an issue. But Square Trade does, as can be seen below.
On the Costco website, SquareTrade states:
As one can see, the 5-Day service guarantee is the 4th point below the “Award-Winning Customer Service” heading. Clear as day, it states “We’ll repair or replace your computer within 5 business days (after we’ve received it), or your plan is free.”
That particular statement is highly misleading because it doesn’t tell the whole story. The fact is that they themselves will NOT refund the payment for the plan automatically if they fail to fix the computer within that timeframe.
On one hand, the screen shot above shows the guarantee. On the other, the one below will show the glaring contradiction in their very words, which can be seen in the downloadable PDF, which covers the Terms and Conditions:
“If we fail to repair, payout or replace the Product within five (5) business days of receiving it, We will continue to service Your Product and the cost of Your Protection Plan may be refunded to You at Our discretion.”[Emphasis Added]
That’s a glaring contradiction if there ever were one. If that’s not false advertisement to boot, I don’t I know what is.
Essentially, what we have is Square Trade:
 Not repairing the laptop in a timely manner, taking nigh four times to settle a claim. Again, if they didn’t guarantee speedy service, it wouldn’t be an issue, but they do. I don’t mind waiting, but a quick repair process was crucial and one of the key reasons why the plan was purchased.
 Not following through on their word when it clearly says in the main product page on Costco that they will refund the money if their guarantee fails.
 Engaging in deceptive business practices as they themselves contradict their guarantee, which you only find when you dig deeper within their own terms of agreement.
And, finally, the icing on the cake:
 when I inquired why they weren’t refunding the plan payment I was told by the customer service representative that the reason that Square Trade will not refund the plan was because they were not notified about their failure to process the claim in a timely manner.
Plainly, the customer shouldn’t have to tell SquareTrade that they failed at their own job in order for receive proper service.
Really hope that SquareTrade begins to raise their standards of business practice because as a company bandying about “guarantees” they leave a lot to be desired.