Clean it up before sending it in for service
Whether it’s your car or your laptop computer, be sure to clean it up before taking it in for service. What? Shouldn’t the dealer or manufacturer clean it up before they send it back to you? Sure, that would be a hallmark of good service, but it’s the way your car or computer arrives at the dealer or manufacturer that often affects how they treat it, how they honor the warranty, how they send it back to you, and ultimately whether or not you have a bill to pay.
Think about it. What message would you be sending your boss or your co-workers about your professionalism if you showed up for work dirty and unshaven? How about when you go out on a date? Exactly. You are trying to create a good impression, so that those around you are favorably disposed toward you, and your particular situation.
When you seek warranty service on your durable goods – your washer, your car, your laptop computer, the condition and appearance of those items communicate a story about you, how you treat them, and ultimately whether the failure was likely something you contributed to.
When you take your car to the dealer, if it is clean and shiny inside and out, it conveys the impression that it is well taken care of. As such, the technicians will likely follow your lead, and will be more inclined to cover the seats and mats with paper or plastic, and will think twice before grabbing the wheel with dirty hands. If there is a judgement call on a warranty item, they are more inclined to cover it rather than rule it billable due to neglect or abuse. When it’s time for the yearly inspection, the same holds true. A vehicle that appears clean and well taken care of will more likely be given a perfunctory check and passed, while a dirty, and neglected appearing vehicle will be thoroughly checked out.
Likewise, when sending in electronic items for warranty service or replacement, consider their condition and the story they tell the manufacturer about how you treated them. If your laptop arrives with food crumbs in the keyboard, numerous scratches and scuffs, small bits of plastic chipped here and there, the repair techs may be more likely to look for signs of spills or other warranty voiding circumstances, rather than just assuming a bad component and replacing the parts as needed.
If you haven’t kept it clean, take the time now to clean it thoroughly before you send it in. Examine your work with a critical eye – what did you miss? What would someone else notice? A little extra effort up front can pay dividends in the long run as you sail serenely through the warranty repair process.