Extended Warranties pt2, Introducing SquareTrade

by Matt Rutledge

Hi Wooters. Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend. I wanted to get this update out during the week but time ran short and I want it up by Monday..

Back on the 14th, I started a discussion about Extended Warranties and asked what’s your take. I started off the thread expressing that while I’m still personally not keen on extended warranty purchase, I was starting to loosen up on the subject for specific cases. We received good number of detailed, balanced and well expressed opinions from many of you. I really appreciate the effort.

The high-level summary of our extended warranty goal should be apparent and now validated: To craft a warranty option or recommendation with a reputable service provider, at a reasonable price and, perhaps most importantly, with a limited annoyance factor to those philosophically against the option. Really, our bottom line desire is that no one pass up a Woot purchase due to lack of the option.

Conveniently enough, a few Wooters mentioned their use of SquareTrade, a third party warranty provider that pitches itself as consumer-centric, offers a fair amount of transparency by linking uncensored user reviews, and even publishes a blog to chat with it’s user base. Some of you will remember them from their eBay mediation service. They were the prime candidate Woot was considering going into the discussion and they are in fact who we’ve selected. I believe they offer the best match for our needs in style, execution and implementation. Further, they have fairly robust support for extended warranty of refurbished items, and accidental damage policy options on new items – both potential matches for Woot’s varied offerings.

Over the past 6 months I have met with and discussed philosophy with their co-founder and chief operating officer, who I’m pleased to report is now a Wooter. We see eye to eye on many issues and worked out some details involving consumer experience. He readily supported our requests for a light implementation. He and his team will work with us to get reports on warranty operations and, in advance of Woot events, warranty authorization.

How "lite" is our implementation? Well, the reality is that some Wooters already use SquareTrade to extend their Woot and Manufacturer warranties on their own. All we’re doing in Stage 1 of our integration is creating this feedback thread for Wooters to discuss and adding a link on our write up. You’ll see on the front page of woot when an item is authorized for SquareTrade extended warranty and you can head over there and consider the option at your leisure. Stage 2 we’ll add an opt-in request for info on certain items at checkout. That’s it. One of the best features is you have up to 30 days from date of sale to purchase a SquareTrade warranty, so you don’t have to decide at time of Woot purchase (the SquareTrade opt-in reminder can come in handy there to catch the 30 day mark).

While this style of "extended warranty lite" should have very few downsides, it remains valid to gather Woot member input now and in the future. I would like to designate this thread for sharing of research and experience with regards to SquareTrade. Of course keep in mind that no warranty company is without it’s detractors—extended warranties are crafted to suit the needs of insurance companies, so it’s not like they’re some gift to the world. There exists and will continue to exist points of reported drama and contention and your decision should consider them.

I would have liked to dive in and explain details and highlights from SquareTrade such as excluded items, coverage details, pricing, etc. but for now I’m going to have to rely on Wooter comments here and what SquareTrade has published. Woot will work with SquareTrade to authorize various items that we highlight warranty availability on and may offer commentary per item. I’ll follow up on any specific questions here in the thread.