For some reason the headphones I typically buy usually last no more than a year. They stop working properly after that time and I am forced to buy new ones.
I usually buy the ear-bud style headphones because I like to use them while running and I tend to stay in the lower price range of $20-50.
With this in mind, I bought a new pair of headphones from Best Buy about 5 months ago to replace my older ones that were no longer working – but this time I enquired about the product replacement plan.
How the Product Replacement Plan Works
Best Buy’s Product Replacement Plan gives you peace of mind that the product you buy will continue working beyond the manufacturer’s warranty (usually one year).
The plan itself is simply an add-on to the product you are buying. It varies in cost depending on the item you are buying.
In my case, my headphones cost about $25 and the plan cost an extra $10. This gives me two years of coverage for my headphones.
If the headphones are found to be defective under normal usage (and within the two year window of coverage), you need to file a claim online and are given instructions on how to return the item. The item isn’t brought into store – it is shipped to a central warehouse for inspection.
My headphones stopped working last week but luckily I bought the Product Replacement Plan. I filled out the required information online (very easy to do and is explained in a pamphlet they give you when you buy the plan).
All I needed to do was print the shipping label, find a UPS drop box and send the item off. My gift card (for the value of the headphones) arrived in the mail about 2 weeks later.
What I Like About the Plan
The plan itself is very simple to use and the instructions are clearly laid out in the pamphlet I originally received with the product.
Another positive aspect is that I didn’t have to go back into the store. This may be easy for those who live near a Best Buy, but for those who live in rural areas and do their shopping while travelling, getting to a store isn’t so easy. Having the ability to ship the product out takes out the hassle of going back into the store.
What I Don’t Like About the Plan
Overall, I had a positive experience with the plan because my case was likely straight forward – I bought some headphones that stopped working under normal usage within a few months. I was lucky enough to be refunded my money under the plan.
The key word under the plan is ‘normal usage’. I would imagine that the company would be able to deny replacement requests simply because they could rule that it wasn’t found to be defective under normal usage.
So what exactly is ‘normal usage’? I asked a representative in store and they basically explained that it is assumed the product is not subject to harsh conditions, environments or unusual wear and tear.
I find the term ‘normal usage’ somewhat vague and I’m sure the company uses it as a way to get out of paying claims.
In the past I have avoided any extended warranties or product replacement plans because I find they can significantly add to the cost of the item.
I found in the past that the headphones I bought simply stopped working within one year or less and I had to replace them often. The higher-end headphones sell for $125 and up, and I wasn’t willing to pay that much.
My experience with the product replacement plan was smooth and I was able to get a refund for the original purchase price through a Best Buy gift card.
On the other hand, the 4 pages of fine print within the plan itself uses terms such as ‘normal usage’ that can likely be taken several different ways, and I would imagine some people have their claims denied simply because the product wasn’t used under normal wear and tear situations (even though they may have been).
For this reason – I would be hesitant to get the product replacement plan for any other product I buy in the future.
Have you ever bought an extended warranty or product replacement plan? If so, how has your experience been?