Part 1: Demystifying Warranties

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Warranty Series Introduction

If you’re investing in a new computer, smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device your hope is that it’s going to last. But what if something goes wrong? Depending on the problem, for some devices it makes sense to get a repair while for others the cost of repair might make replacement a better option. In either case, a warranty can be the only thing that stands between you and an expense you didn’t bargain for.

Of course, the term “warranty” is often used generically. In fact, there are basic warranties, extended warranties and service plans, each with its own limitations, advantages and drawbacks and it’s important to know the difference. To decide whether a basic warranty, extended warranty or service plan makes sense for you, it’s important to first understand what they are and how they work.

Part 1: Standard warranties, extended warranties and service plans: what’s the difference?

What is a basic warranty?
Normally, when you purchase a high-ticket item, the manufacturer makes a commitment to stand behind the product. This is called a manufacturer’s warranty, standard warranty or basic warranty. In short, the manufacturer promises to repair, replace or refund the cost of a defective product for a certain period of time. Although not required by law, basic warranties are included in the purchase price of many devices and products. Of course, every basic warranty is unique, with varying durations and covered defects.

What’s an extended warranty?
Often when you buy a device or other product, the manufacturer might offer you the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty that prolongs the terms of a basic warranty, typically from 1-3 years. Unlike standard warranties, these manufacturer-branded warranty programs – like Apple Care or Samsung Premium Care – cost extra and are sold separately. On the plus side, extended warranties will sometimes include additional protections as well as a longer term. So, for example, you might get limited coverage for accidental damage (like a cracked screen) in addition to protection against failures that are no fault of your own (a failed hard drive, for example). It’s also important to note that some manufacturers offer several flavors of extended warranty depending on the type of product, with varying terms and coverage, or warranties that cater to the specific needs of businesses or consumers.

What is a service plan?
Depending on where you buy your product, you might also be offered the opportunity to buy an extended service plan. These plans are like extended warranties, but are fulfilled by third parties rather than the manufacturer. In most cases, they kick in after the basic warranty expires. They are often cheaper than manufacturers’ extended warranties but might not be as generous in terms of the defects they cover or the repairs they’ll provide. They also might not give much choice in terms of who repairs your product and they may not guarantee to use the same parts as the original product.

All warranty programs are limited by conditions and restrictions. It’s important to understand the basics of how a warranty works in order to make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Simple answers to common questions about warranties

How long does a warranty last?
It depends. The only way to find out is to check the warranty document to see when it begins and when it expires, as well as any conditions that may void coverage.

What parts and repair problems are covered by warranty?
Again, it depends. Read to see if any parts of the product or certain types of repairs are excluded from the warranty. In some cases, warranties oblige you to pay for labor costs. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind to look for criteria that could prove costly or problematic to comply with, such as a requirement that you ship heavy or large objects to a distant address for service, or that you return the item in the original box. The majority of laptop warranties will cover hardware problems that are not caused by the owner, such as defective keyboards, monitor problems, modem or other issues with internal components. A laptop warranty will also spell out what actions on your part will void the warranty. Something as simple as opening the case and breaking a seal can be enough to void a warranty, even if you just wanted to take a peek inside.

How do I enforce a warranty?
It depends (are you sensing a theme here?). It’s often the manufacturer who provides you with a warranty but it can also come from the seller or even a third party (if it’s an extended service contract). Check the contact information and inquire before buying if you’re still uncertain. But expect to be asked to provide some proof that the product is still within the warranty period (either a receipt or some other proof of purchase).

Who performs warranty repairs?
Large technology vendors such as Apple, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba will perform warranty repairs but also have designated authorized service providers (ASPs). ComputerCare is qualified to service Apple, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba products covered under their warranty. We use the same parts and specifications as the manufacturers. Service conducted by anyone other than the manufacturer or an authorized service provider typically voids the warranty. In the warranty of a laptop or a smartphone the manufacturer will state how repairs will be completed and whether they will use new, used or refurbished parts. The warranty will also provide details on where servicing will take place.

What is a limited or conditioned warranty?
Certain warranties provide coverage only if you keep or use the product as directed. For example, a warranty may cover only personal uses—as opposed to business uses—of the product. As such, it’s important to check that the warranty will meet your needs.

Is an oral warranty binding?
Don’t take a salesperson’s word that the manufacturer will provide free repairs; make sure to get it in writing. If not, you may not be able to get the service that was promised.

Our next installment on warranties will help you determine if you’re a candidate for an extended warranty and what to consider before making the leap.

Take Advantage of Apple’s iPhone Battery Replacement Program

        

Until the end of 2018, Apple has reduced the price of iPhone battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and later models to $29. Even better, if you bought AppleCare+ for your iPhone and it is still within the two-year hardware repair coverage window, then your iPhone battery replacement will be free.

Keep in mind that demand for this service is currently very high, so be sure to call ComputerCare directly before you bring your iPhone in for service. You can reach us at: ComputerCare Santa Clara: (650) 475-5500 and ComputerCare Seattle: (206) 743-8052.

The iPhones models included in the battery replacement program are:

  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus

When you bring your iPhone in to have its battery replaced, the first thing we do is run a standard diagnostic test to check the battery life and general health of your iPhone. Even if the results of the test show a healthy battery, Apple is allowing the replacement to go ahead.

MAKING AN APPOINTMENT IS EASY

You have several options. If you live near ComputerCare’s Santa Clara or Seattle locations, you can simply give us a call to see if we have batteries in stock before bringing your iPhone to us. Alternatively, you can start a ticket through our website here. If you don’t live or work near ComputerCare, Apple has made it easy to find a participating service provider through its support page. Remember, even if you successfully make an appointment, the app doesn’t keep track of battery stock information, so it’s best to phone ahead to be on the safe side.

To use the Apple’s appointment tool, go to Contact Apple Support and click on See Your Products. You’ll also need to sign in using your Apple ID.

Then, follow these instructions:

Step 1 – Choose ‘iPhone’

Step 2 – Choose “Battery, Power & Charging”

Step 3 – Choose “Battery Replacement”

Step 4 – Choose “Bring in for Repair”

(or send in for repair if you can wait – usually two weeks)

Step 5 – Confirm your location and carrier details.

The map will show availability and distance.

To schedule an appointment, click on a store and choose a time slot. DON’T FORGET TO CALL TO CONFIRM BATTERY AVAILABILITY. If batteries are in stock, the replacement process takes less than a day.

Last but definitely not least, before you bring your iPhone in for a battery replacement (or any major repair) BACK IT UP via iCloud or iTunes so that you don’t risk losing precious data.

ComputerCare is an Authorized Service Provider for Apple, Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and other brands. We are proud to offer repairs, servicing, upgrades and more on laptops, desktops and mobile devices, whether under warranty or not.

GOT QUESTIONS? Call us at:
ComputerCare Santa Clara, CA: (650) 475-5500
ComputerCare Seattle, WA: (206) 743-8052

iPhone 7 Repair for “No Service” Issue

        

Apple has announced an iPhone repair program for iPhone 7 devices experiencing a specific ‘No Service’ issue. If your iPhone 7 is exhibiting these symptoms, visit the Apple support site for information about the affected models and the service process: https://www.apple.com/support/iphone-7-no-service/

As an Apple Premium Service Provider, ComputerCare is happy to assist you with repairs for eligible devices, free of charge. We have locations in Santa Clara and Seattle, so contact us for an appointment. You can open a trouble ticket here, or call our Santa Clara or Seattle offices for help.

–       Santa Clara – (650) 475-5500

–       Seattle – (206) 743-8052

And remember, before bringing your iPhone in for service, back it up using iTunes or iCloud.

Employee of the Month – Obed Hernandez

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Obed is based at ComputerCare’s Santa Clara office, where he is a valuable part of our accounting team.

We sat down with Obed recently to ask him about his role, and interests away from the office. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation:

CC: Describe your role here at ComputerCare
OH: I am an Accounting Clerk for ComputerCare. Basically, this means that I’m in charge of keeping all of the company’s financial records up to date, I’m also in charge of processing ComputerCare’s business transactions, like accounts payable and receivable, disbursements, expense vouchers and receipts.

CC: What is the most challenging part of your job?
OH: Accounting is all about making sure that every detail is just right. So, when you’ve been working long hours or you’re facing a tight deadline, it can be hard to maintain focus.

CC: Do you have a favorite tech gadget?
OH: Sure. I love smartphones because I appreciate how much easier they make our lives. Doesn’t everyone love their smartphone?!?

CC: We’ve heard that you love Apple Macs. Why is that?
OH: PCs are great, too, but I personally prefer Macs because of their software integration and track record of security.

CC: What do you do outside work?
OH: I love to visit National Parks. Two of my all-time favorites have to be Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. They’re amazing! I also like to travel around the world, and my next trip will be two whole weeks in China!

CC: Finally, what’s one thing about you that people might not know about?
OH: A lot of people know that I love music, but they probably don’t know that I’ve been playing the guitar and the piano since I was four years old.

Congratulations, Obed. You’re one in a million.

ComputerCare is growing! We’re always on the lookout for talented technicians and customer service representatives. If you’re interested in joining our team, connect with us via email: HR@ComputerCare.net or check out our LinkedIn page for current openings.

T-Mobile Offers AppleCare+, Giving Customers Access to Repair Services Through Apple and ASPs

        

As reported in several outlets last week, T-Mobile has just announced the addition of AppleCare to its existing Premium Device Protection and JUMP! upgrade plans, at no additional cost.

This means that any T-Mobile customers who already pay $12 per month for JUMP! or the carrier’s Premium Device Protection plan, can get AppleCare+ for their iPhone or iPad. If you’re a T-Mobile iPhone or iPad customer with one of these plans, you can now have your device repaired under the AppleCare+ program by ComputerCare. If you have a cracked iPhone screen, you may also be eligible for ComputerCare’s same-day iPhone repair service in the Bay Area.

Apple puts the Genius Bar in your Pocket with new Support app

Apple Support App
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Apple has some exciting news for people who use its line of iPhone or iPad products. The company has taken the wraps off a new app, simply called ‘Support.’ The app helps iOS device users find links to support articles, and allows them to schedule appointments with Apple’s authorized service providers, like ComputerCare, and not just at Genius Bars, if they have more serious issues.

The Support app has access to your Apple ID and information about your registered products, making it a snap to find support for the right device. This also makes it possible for the service provider to access warranty information about the specific device, making the whole process faster and more convenient.

For more technical questions, users also have the option to visit Apple’s dedicated Twitter account (@AppleSupport) where they can find product tips, tricks and customer support.

Here’s how Apple describes the new app:

Need help? Apple Support app is your personalized guide to the best options from Apple. Find answers with articles tailored to your products and questions. Call, chat or email with an expert right away, or schedule a callback when it’s convenient. Get a repair at an Apple Store or a nearby Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple Support is here to help.

Try this before you send your device to a professional for repairs

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Have you ever thought that your phone or laptop was broken, but later discovered that the ‘fix’ was pretty simple? Electronic devices are expensive, and repair costs can quickly mount up. So, we thought we’d share a few really simple tips that you can try before bringing the device in for a second opinion.

Obviously, if you have a battery issue, a cracked screen or other similar physical damage, it’s best to get it checked by a professional so that you don’t void your warranty or cause more harm. The one thing we strongly recommend is that you back up your most critical documents, photos, music library, etc., on a regular basis so that you don’t lose precious data to a hardware failure. It doesn’t matter whether you use a cloud service or an external hard drive, just do it often!

Try these things if your device is acting a little odd…

  1. Empty the cache. There are many reasons why a device might be unresponsive or running slowly. One of the most common causes of this is having too much data cached in the device’s memory. If you’ve tried other solutions like rebooting, deleting unused applications, or turning off background applications, try clearing the cache. It may give you quite a boost.
  2. Software Update. This is another common problem. As software bugs or security vulnerabilities are discovered, most companies issue security patches, software or firmware updates. Without these updates your device may slow down because of buggy software or even be at risk of a hack. So, make sure you install any recent updates to see if that makes a difference.
  3. Hard reset. This isn’t the same as restoring a device back to factory settings, so you shouldn’t lose any of your data (but make sure to back up everything just in case). Let’s use Apple laptops as an example. If your Mac is acting odd, with things like drives not appearing, screens not adjusting correctly, Bluetooth problems, AirPort connection issues, etc., then it may be time to reset your PRAM and/or SMC (System Management Control). Here’s what you do:

Mac PRAM reset

PRAM stores certain system and device settings in a location that OS X can access quickly. Exactly which settings are stored in the computer’s PRAM varies depending on the type of computer as well as the types of devices and drives connected. To reset PRAM:

  • Shut down your machine
  • Press the power button and then press command-option-p-r. Make sure you get all those keys pressed before the gray screen comes on or it won’t work
  • Keep holding those keys down until after you hear the startup chime as your Mac reboots
  • Release the keys and allow your Mac to continue the reboot normally

Mac SMC reset

The System Management Controller (SMC) is a chip on a Mac’s logic board that controls all power functions. If the computer is experiencing any power issue, such as not starting up, not displaying video, sleep issues, or fan noise issues, resetting SMC may resolve it.

Mac laptops with non-removable batteries – MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, etc.

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Plug in the MagSafe or USB-C power adapter to a power source and to your Mac.
  • Using the built-in keyboard, press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the keyboard, then press the power button at the same time.
  • Release all keys, then press the power button again to turn on your Mac

Mac laptops with removable batteries.

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the Mac.
  • Remove the battery.
  • Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  • Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
  • Press the power button to turn on the Mac.
  •  The LED on MagSafe power adapters might change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Mac desktops – iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, and Xserve.

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Unplug the power cord.
  • Wait 15 seconds.
  • Plug the power cord back in.
  • Wait 5 seconds, then press the power button to turn on the Mac.

For iPhone users:

If iPhone issues are getting you down, it might be time to try a full factory reset. You can do this pretty easily yourself using iTunes, which will help you restore setting and apps on the device, too. There are a lot of sites with great step-by-step instructions, like this one. It’s not a difficult process, but the one thing these sites often forget to tell you is that Apple recommends you turn off “Find My iPhone” before you do the reset.

If none of these tips works for you, your device may need some professional TLC. The best thing to do next is visit the manufacturer’s website and look for the licensed repair specialist or warranty service provider nearest you. They can often run diagnostics on the device to pinpoint the problem, allowing you to decide whether or not to go ahead with the repair.

And did we mention that you should back up your device?!?

NOTE: This information is intended as simple troubleshooting advice only. ComputerCare takes no responsibility for broken or damaged devices. If you believe that your device may need professional repairs, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Now Offering Same-Day iPhone Display Repair

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ComputerCare’s already fast turnaround is now even faster! We can now facilitate same-day display repairs for Apple iPhones for our Bay Area clients. Just stop by our office at 3350 Scott Blvd #51, Santa Clara, during our iPhone repair hours (Monday-Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm) for a free diagnosis while you wait. Items received before 1 p.m. are turned around that same day. If you drop by after 1 p.m., repairs are available for pick-up the following day.

No waiting at the Genius Bar. No appointment necessary! How great is that!?

Don’t forget, we are an Apple Authorized Service Provider for warranty or non-warranty repairs on your iPhone too, so nothing we do will void any warranty and we can handle all the correct paperwork on your behalf, just like going directly to Apple.