eBay UK approved SquareTrade warranties

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I recently spent six hundred pounds on a new TV. I didn’t buy it on eBay. The reason I didn’t buy it on eBay was I couldn’t tell which items were genuinely new and which were returns and might no longer be covered by the manufacturers warranty. Maybe the sellers were great sellers, they probably are, but without knowing the companies I didn’t want to part with that much money without some surety that I’d be covered by a guarantee.

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eBay have recognised that as price increases so does the reluctance of buyers to make a purchase without having a warranty and so today they’ve launched .

The warranties aren’t intended to be a money spinner for eBay, they’re offered through SquareTrade at what appear to be pretty competitive prices. The whole point of the program is to add trust to eBay and reassurance if that item breaks or is accidentally damaged outside of any applicable manufacturer warranty period the buyer is covered.

Strangely this trust exists even if the buyer opts not to purchase a warranty. Just the fact that they could purchase a warranty instils a certain level of trust. Knowing that they could purchase a warranty is often enough to reassure buyer that the product is sound and won’t break two days after it arrives. If a buyer is more likely to purchase from me because eBay have a warranty offer available that’s fine by me.

SquareTrade Warranties on eBay

SquareTrade is a well known name, a long time ago (still mentioned on eBay.com but retired in 2008) and offered a Trust Seal (). Since then SquareTrade have reinvented themselves as a supplier of warranties for products purchased on both eBay.com and retail websites, and now the warranties are available in the UK.

The warranty availability will be displayed on and product pages and there are two levels available – warranty to protect from mechanical and electrical failures during normal use or warranty plus Accidental Damage. There’s also a five day service guarantee – SquareTrade will reimburse the full item price or fix your item and send it back within five business days of receiving it at the depot, or the price of your care plan will be reimbursed.

Initially warranties will be available in electronic categories and, depending on the product, coverage will be offered for between one and four years. There is also no excess on the warranties, which can be purchased for products which sell for £25 or more.

I’m impressed by this move from eBay – if I could have purchased my £600 TV on eBay backed by a warranty I probably would have done so. My only complaint is that they haven’t gone quite far enough. eBay have given buyers the option to purchase a warranty, but I’d have loved to see them give sellers the option to automatically add a warranty when they list an item for sale.

Why can’t sellers bundle SquareTrade warranties when listing?

I can’t help thinking that if I could list products backed by an eBay approved SquareTrade warranty, that they’d probably fetch higher prices than similar items from sellers who didn’t supply a warranty. Items where the seller is paying for the warranty could be highlighted in search results and of course could receive a boost in Best Match. Limiting the bundling of warranties with products when listed would be a great differentiator if it was only available to Top Rated Sellers.

Maybe allowing sellers to bundle SquareTrade warranties through eBay is something eBay could enable in the future. In the mean time allowing buyers the option of purchasing a warranty can do nothing other than increase trust on eBay and encourage wary buyers such as myself to make higher value purchases.

18 Responses

  1. I think buyers get added protection on electrical goods via a credit card company, if buying via a credit card. But I’ve recently discovered that credit card companies don’t offer this protection if your items are paid with a third party payment processor like Paypal. As eBay only allow Paypal as an option they really need to do something as they are taking away credit card protection.

  2. I think this is a daft idea by ebay

    In the days of free warranties (e.g. John Lewis) and very cheap warranties (e.g. Richer Sounds), ebay has chosen to go down the “Curry’s” route with a policy that is priced and worded to pretty much put me off straightaway.

    I do foresee this one going the way of express.

    On the other hand, the ebay b&m display shop in London is a great idea – more like that please!

  3. Yet another stupid stupid idea. Its worded in such a way that it implies people don’t offer any warranty on their products and will only get a warranty if they buy square trades.

  4. Any time you can buy something and get a SquareTrade warranty, you know you’re getting a good deal. Even when a product comes with a warranty (brand new from a store), I purchase a SquareTrade warranty.

    They have repaired cameras and a laptop that I’ve had warrantied with them, and the service has been nothing short of excellent.

  5. I have been a SquareTrade customer for the past 3+ years and its been a smooth experience dealing with them
    You, as a consumer, have to decide as to what items make sense to have a warranty on and what you can afford to take a risk with (if its a $75 camera and a $15 warranty, i will pass, but if its a $900 Laptop, it makes sense..)
    I also had the pleasure of dealing with the Claims dept when my Android Phone broke. Sent the old phone in a prepaid envelope and I had a check for the full price in under a week..
    Definitely would recommend SquareTrade over most other warranty companies, especially the store ones..

  6. So what’s to stop scammers from buying say an iphone and taking the warranty

    Then returning a faulty one under the warranty

  7. The warranties aren’t intended to be a money spinner for eBay, they’re offered through SquareTrade at what appear to be pretty competitive prices. The whole point of the program is to add trust to eBay and reassurance if that item breaks or is accidentally damaged outside of any applicable manufacturer warranty period the buyer is covered’

    OK so I get the trust bit, but Comet et al always made a big slice from extended Warranties – indeed I am given to understand that staff were incentivised to sell them!

    So any price might look good with a smaller kickback.

    And then there’s PayPal. Last time I looked they were owned by eBay.

    PayPal will surely be putting something in the pocket?

  8. I’d second Chris on his suggestion of enabling sellers to bundle Square Trade warranties with their products.

    Perhaps eBay can let users tick an option to either search for items that are covered and may cost more, and those that aren’t but may cost less.

  9. SquareTrade was the first 3rd party tool I ever used. When they first switched to being a warranty company you would get a commission every time your buyers bought a warranty for something they purchased from you. Buyers loved it and I made a few bucks on the side. I guess that is no longer the case. I think overall this being integrated into eBay is a good thing.

    There was one huge downside though. If you sell an item and it arrives DOA the buyer tends to see the whole deal a huge scam to upsell warranties. It never happened to me but I saw other sellers accused of selling defective merchandise and then holding buyers hostage with a warranty to get the product to actually work. I don’t think any of the cases were anything more than just a faulty product or buyer error but that perception was still there.

  10. The OFT are due to publish a report on these warranties. Last examined in 2005 such in store warranties generated
    £350 million, and paid out £19 million. I can only assume the report, due to be published ‘Summer 2011’ is now available, and is still allowing this overpriced rip off to continue. I want the option to get this off my listing, its outrageous to be associated with this kind of dubious practise by default.

  11. hmm some warranties are being offered on faulty items

    where do buyers stand on this
    ie if they take it will square trade honour it and if they don’t will the buyer take it out on the seller.
    Its all a bit messy to me

  12. As i said I have found warranties on a few items listed as faulty

    So if a buyer buys one and is then told no warranty by square trade.

    As the warranty was on the listing they might consider it as “item not as described” and its the seller who will lose out

    Although we don’t know ebays stance on this yet

  13. I’ve just purchased a TV for my son on eBay *shock horror* . The TV comes with a 2 year warranty, eBay wanted to flog me a 3 year warranty for £32.99.

    The whole thing reminds me of buying a TV from Currys and being told I really should buy a gold plated HDMI cable for £69.99.

    Just to add, I feel terribly sorry for sellers who have been forced to use catalogue data, the whole search experience was awful.

    Bad links, wrong products, used not new, it was a headache from start to finish.

  14. I can understand Currys dishing out extra warranty as they sell brand new goods, but why would a company offer warranty to millions of second hand goods, many of which will be old or faulty etc. I noticed they offer warranties on cheap Chinese made notebooks and tablets which are well known for being dodgy. It looks suicide to me!



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