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That Out Of Warranty Treatment

Updated on February 20, 2008

Corporations design all products to break or breakdown the day the warranty ends. This is a given. And I'm positive that they have several people in several laboratories working around the clock to find the exact moment (whatever it is) when what you own or about to buy will become something worthless to own. I get that this is how they make money on all of us on their extended warranties and/or convincing us when we come in with something broken that instead of fixing it we should just buy the newest thing instead (at triple the price). I get it, I get it, I get it. What I do not get is the difference in treatment you get when you have something in or out of warranty. That "out of warranty" treatment - Don't Get Me Started!

As I've written about previously, I own a Mini Cooper. It's a 2004 so last year the full service warranty was up however as I am a complete rule follower (sucker) I have taken it for all its needs back to the dealer where I bought it. I have vowed that I will find a cheaper mechanic to work on it but I'm worried that if the non-dealer mechanic screws something up then it's going to void something else and then I'm going to have a red and black planter on my hands instead of a car. And so I paid the almost $200 to get the oil changed - I know, I know. So yesterday I start the car up and one of the six million warning lights on the console come on. At a stop light I furiously pull out my manual from the teeny tiny glove compartment and see that the light is a warning light for the brake pads. Okay, I know I'm tough on brakes so I figure it's time to get them replaced. I call the dealer. Now for those of you who don't know, Minis are made by BMW but when you call in and say that you're a Mini driver, they immediately tilt their head back a bit and look a little further down their nose at you. And so they transferred me to the special Mini service department. (You know, the one that doesn't give you a loaner car or makes you sit there telling you it's "almost" done until your warranty has run out and they can charge you even more money) When the "Mini Woman" answers the phone she is full of energy, vigor and delightfulness. I explain the light has come on, ask her when I can bring it in and she continues on in her best happy homemaker cooking show voice.

Her: "Have you had your Mini serviced here before?"

Me: "Yes, many times." I reply, getting sucked into the delightfulness.

Her: "May I have your name?" she asks. I hear some clicking on a computer and as if there was a metal wall crashing down, her entire voice changes. "Hmmm. That's a 2004 Mini Cooper?"

Me: "Yes" I say trying to keep the happiness in my voice.

Her: "Well, when are you looking to bring it in?"

Me: "I don't know, I guess as soon as possible."

Her: "Well, we don't have any time until Thursday or Friday."

Me: "Okay, well, I guess Friday. Is it going to be okay that I drive it for the next couple of days until I bring it in?"

Her: "Sir, I'm definitely not comfortable telling you to go ahead and drive it. Here's the name of the service person assigned to your vehicle...Alan HJIUASdawd..."

Me: Cutting her off, "I'm driving right now so I can't take down all this info. Can you email it to me or something?"

Her: In complete disgust, "Ugh, well what IS the email?"

Here's the deal. She loved me, adored me, practically wanted to have my children before she looked and saw that my car was (horror of horrors) four years old and out of warranty. I'm not saying this car cost me a million dollars but it was no Yugo either so a little service wouldn't kill them, would it?

This reminds me of the time we went to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. We had driven up from Delaware and got to the front of the hotel at around 2am. There was a large black man in full doorman regalia sitting just outside the door in the cold air of the night. He looked half asleep and a little crumpled. We stopped in front of the hotel and rolled the window down to ask where we could park the car (a Land Rover so once again, not a Yugo or AMC Pacer). After asking, he asked, "Are you staying here?" When we replied that we were, he straightened up to about five inches taller, unfolded his white gloved hands and in a voice that would have made you think he was playing the role of a doorman in some Broadway show, with all his teeth gleaming he said, "Welcome to the Waldorf!" and then he waved his arm gallantly to show us where to park in the parking garage around the corner. (I think it's important to note that the room we got using frequent flier miles so it cost on $18, while the parking for one night cost $165)

My point is that in or out of warranty, it shouldn't make a difference when it comes to how you treat people. Especially with cars, I mean come on I'm going to actually pay millions to get brake pads on while the guy with the 2008 Mini isn't going to create any revenue for them at all. Don't I deserve a little niceness? Don't I deserve more than that "out of warranty" treatment - Don't Get Me Started!

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    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 9 years ago

      Which leads me to one more remark (thank you Scott for this forum), VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON!

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 9 years ago

      I would just like to add that the Effexor was prescribed for menopausal symptoms although its primary use is as an antidepressant. When I told my Dr. I wanted to wean off it because it made me feel exhausted, she told me to keep taking it and wrote a year's worth of RX's. What is that about?!? Today is the day after I wrote to you about this and I woke up feeling a lot better (you know what they say about laughter). Everyone should tell their friends and family to avoid Effexor if at all possible. Too many side effects. I like Mini Coopers, however.

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 9 years ago

      Darling Scott: Thank you for your compassion and for the Tylenol joke. The funny thing was I felt a glimmer of hope before i read your disclaimer. It really made a bad week a lot better as I sit here pondering permanent brain damage. My mind would really be a terrible thing to waste. Oh, by the way, good luck with your Mini Cooper's break pads!!!

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 9 years ago from Las Vegas

      Oh my dearest Guru-C,

      I know exactly what you're talking about...some day when I get my strength up I'll go off on the whole Cobra thing!!!

      Hang in there and if all else fails...crunch up a Tylenol and snort it. Okay, don't do that - just a funny thing to say, not a real thing to do. (Yes, that was the out of warranty disclaimer)

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 9 years ago

      I can really empathize, Scott, being that today I feel like I'm out of warranty, also known as an unpaid Cobra bill. My goodness, you're the only person I've told this to (and your 5 million readers). I had to stop taking Effexor cold turkey because there was no way I was actually going to pay full price for that poison, and I'm sure the imperious pharmacist who informed me I was out of pocket was darned close in attitude to your mini-lady. Oy, my head is rattling and I'm divulging all kinds of personal information. I know how you must feel.