Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Turnover Tuesdays - Warranties

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

Warranties are a big deal to customers.  A lot of people will only make purchases on electronics if they know there is a warranty and they will expect that there is some sort of warranty once it breaks even if they didn't look into it at the time of purchasing.

What happens on Amazon when the purchaser of record is you and the item you sold breaks?  First of all, if you buy the item well before you sell it, the warranty may not apply or might be severely truncated.  The customer will approach the company to have their item fixed and might be told that the warranty is only valid for the original purchaser.

My Experience 

During the Dell Amex offer last year (see week 17), I bought a lot of Dell Venue tablets.  They were only like 5-10% ROI or slightly better than that but they were great filler items to get over the threshold for the Amex offer.

Unfortunately for me, I was selling them for about $120 then and there is only one seller now for $250!  I wouldn't want to wait 8-10 months for a sale anyways but that would have been nice.

Either way, the problem with these products is that they stink.  They are constantly breaking.  I got quite a few returns because of that.  I actually still have a used one in my apartment which I need to send in for a warranty fix (if it's still covered - gotta check it out!)

One purchaser emailed me through Amazon saying:

I may be asking for a return/refund but thought I'd troubleshoot first.  I bought a Dell Venue Pro8 from you in July and had to exchange it in August.  I upgraded to Windows10 and it stopped loading to the login screen about a month after installing.  All recovery options have failed.  I'm trying to reinstall Windows 8.1 but I don't have the product registration key.  I've also attempted to get Dell support but they say that I'm not the owner of this device.  Can you assist in providing me my product registration key and, if possible also coordinate to make me the owner of the device that I bought?

My Response was :

Please provide the serial Number and I will contact Dell to try to provide the product registration key.  Hopefully we can make you the owner of the device as well.

It turns out that Dell has a way of transferring ownership to the new buyer for warranty purposes.  It takes a while but eventually I got it transferred over.  News to me.

Either way, here is where I messed up.  

I have transferred ownership to you. Dell says it will take 7-10 days for it take effect and we will both receive emails when that happens.

I want you to know that I didn't have to do this.  This tablet is past the window of being returned to me, but I did it to help you and I would definitely appreciate a nice review on my seller page.

You see, this isn't technically true (I found this out later).

  • New: Just like it sounds. A brand-new, unused, unopened item in its original packaging, with all original packaging materials included. Original protective wrapping, if any, is intact. Original manufacturer's warranty, if any, still applies, with warranty details included in the listing comments.

In my case I got lucky that the customer didn't lodge any complaints against me with Amazon.

Apple is specifically known to honor a warranty for whoever brings in the item, though the clock starts when the item was originally purchased by you, not when it is sold on Amazon. 

Whenever you sell anything with a warranty, you are putting your Amazon account in a little bit of risk.  You can google and find people have been suspended by Amazon for selling "counterfeit" items.  They are buying regular items just like you and me but if you buy it from someone who is not an authorized reseller (think eBay) or you are not an authorized reseller yourself and someone makes a claim against you because of the warranty, it becomes rather difficult and sometimes impossible to prove authentication.  You can then say good bye to your Amazon account, either temporarily or permanently

I'm not trying to scare anyone.  I don't know anyone personally who has lost selling privileges for this but you should at least have the information.

There is the principle of The First Sale Doctrine which should apply here and allow you to sell any item that you buy from the manufacturer, but Amazon decides the rules and if they suspend your account, you may be right but unable to sell.