Time beefs up warranty to snag repeat business

Trade-in option

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Time is adding a trade-in scheme for its CoverGold warranty option to encourage repeat business from its customers. After three years of ownership, customers are eligible for a discount on their next Time PC purchase and CoverGold package.

The UK system builder has not announced yet exactly how much discount it is offering on new purchases, although it says the amount will be calculated from "published trade market values." Its site will have more details soon and it says most machines should fetch approx. £249, depending on spec.

Along with the trade-in option, Time will throw in £300 of vouchers for consumables (cartridges, paper, etc.) and transferable cover if users want to flog their PCs off to someone else during the warranty period. It also has a reduced warranty price option for budget systems under £599.

Those not wanting to wait three years will get a pro-rata discount, calculated on the outstanding period of the warranty.

Time sells its CoverGold warranty scheme from £299 for three years coverage. It also has four and five-year options, which sell for £349 and £399, respectively. Users get repair coverage, remote on-site support (via LapLink), priority servicing and other support features. The five-year plan has a cash-back scheme where users can get a full refund for a non-utilised warranty after full period.

Arch-rival Tiny Computers has one, three and five-year warranty options, which sell for £99, £299 and £499, respectively, but provide different features. Its five-year cash-back offer comes in the form of a discount against a new machine purchase.

For those not wanting a premium warranty service, Time provides a scaled-down version called CoverPlus, which provides telephone support and then charges for premium support. It sells for £249, £299 and £349 for the three, four and five year options, respectively.

The company fared badly this month in a survey run by consumer mag Which?, placing Time at the bottom of the polls in brand reliability and quality of service.

Early this month, Tiny announced a raft of new customer-focused initiatives, including an improved customer charter and a bulked-up support call-centre operation. ®

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