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Ask an Expert: How to provide warranties for imported electronics?

Q. How do I provide warranties for electronic goods imported from China?

A. If you sell electronic goods imported from China, then you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot offer warranties on the products. Fortunately there is a solution.

SquareTrade began in 1999 as a company providing dispute resolution for transactions on eBay. Today it is the largest independent warranty provider for consumer electronics and appliances, with over 20,000 merchants using their services to provide warranties to their buyers. SquareTrade offers a service called CarePlus, a program for electronics sellers on eBay and for those who sell electronic goods from their own websites to offer warranties.

SquareTrade CarePlus plans cover new products for up to 4 years, and up to 1 year for used and refurbished merchandise. SquareTrade will fix any item, or mail a replacement check when an electronic product covered by their plan stops working. They offer a 5-day service guarantee, and they’ll pay the buyer the full item price if the item can’t be fixed. You can see a complete list of what items they cover on their website (check out Special coverage for eBay users).

They are also quite specific about items they do not cover, and these include:

  • Products that fail within the first 60 days after purchase
  • Accidental damage, unless the buyer purchases Accidental Damage from Handling Protection, a separate product
  • Accessories and consumer-replaceable parts
  • Software for computers, cell phones, and PDAs
  • Certain items, items used in a commercial setting, and items fraudulently misrepresented (this last point, though, sounds rather like a catch-all statement that could provide a useful loophole for them)

Arranging third-party warranties adds another layer to the cost of your goods for your customer and requires them to enrol themselves in the CarePlus program, but it also protects you and your buyers from faulty products. SquareTrade claim that their warranties cost up to 40% less than those offered by stores, and as an incentive, SquareTrade shares up to 40% of the profits made on warranty sales with the seller. CarePlus is also a co-marketing program where sellers earn every time their buyers purchase a warranty from SquareTrade.

eBay sellers simply sign up for free, and SquareTrade inserts a banner on warranty-eligible listings. When a buyer buys a warranty, you earn a commission. You can send an e-mail to warranty.manager@squaretrade.com for more details, or to schedule a demonstration.

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