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What is an Online Warranty?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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An online warranty is a form of product protection that may be purchased through the Internet. This type of protection is usually offered by a warranty company that only sells merchandise coverage, and does not sell any physical products. Coverage may be purchased for a variety of items, including appliances and electronics, and guarantees that, should any problem occur with the merchandise within the parameters established by the warranty, the defective item will be replaced without additional expense for the purchaser.

Many types of products are sold with an automatic warranty from the manufacturer. This type, also known as a manufacturer's warranty, is typically limited in its coverage. Products must generally be new to be covered by this type of guarantee, and the malfunction usually must have occurred and been reported within one year of the purchase of the item.

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Consumers who wish to extend coverage of their possessions beyond the limitations of a manufacturer's warranty may purchase additional protection from a variety of sources, including the manufacturer or the store from which the merchandise was originally purchased. Additional coverage can extend the life of the product, as well as expand the condition in which it may be kept. For example, a manufacturer's warranty on a mobile phone is typically void if the phone is scratched or damaged in any way, and if it has been over one year from the date of purchase. An additional warranty provided by an outside company could replace the phone if it breaks at any time, regardless of the condition of its outside casing.

An online warranty can provide this type of coverage beyond the limitations of a manufacturer's warranty. These kinds of guarantees are generally offered by companies who specialize in product protection only. There are many such companies in existence, and an Internet search can typically locate a warranty offer for virtually any product.

One of the benefits of purchasing an online warranty is its affordability. These types of protection companies typically have very low operating costs. They do not need to maintain physical offices or a large staff, and do not provide actual physical products. Many customers who purchase extended warranties over the Internet never require the replacement feature of the contract, which allows the company to further discount pricing and offer adequate coverage for those individuals who do need such services.

An online warranty usually covers both new and used items. Manufacturer's warranties will only extend to items purchased new, and often only when bought at a specific store. New items purchased through online bidding or from other customers may not be covered. Online services will generally allow customers to register their products on the website and agree to provide a certain amount of coverage for that item for the specified price.

Some limitations for online warranties do exist. Different levels of coverage may be selected that extend for longer periods of time. Coverage for used items may come with certain quality restrictions, such as the condition of the item at the time of purchase. Some online warranties will only guarantee products that are sold from a specified list of distributors, many of which include online sales companies. Consumers may wish to research several warranty companies before purchasing coverage, and should typically thoroughly read the proposed contract and product restrictions before agreeing to payment.

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