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Call Kurtis: How Long Can Stores Keep My Product For Repair Under Warranty?

AUBURN (CBS13) — Extended warranties on electronics are supposed to give you piece of mind.

But when an Auburn viewer's computer wasn't fixed in almost three months, she called Kurtis.

Many stores hard sell these extended warranties.

She says Fry's told her, it would take five weeks to fix her laptop but almost three months?

That's a long time to go without your computer.

How long should you give them?

"We got the 3 year warranty," said Arlene Cal, Fry's Electronics customer.

And good thing. Nine months after Arlene bought the laptop for her daughter, it wouldn't start up.

When she brought it back to Fry's under that extended warranty, she says they told her it would take five weeks to fix.

Five weeks turned into almost three months, she says they told her they didn't have time yet to work on it.

"It was like they didn't care, there was no compassion, and I just felt like why did I even come into this store?" asked Arlene.

Russ Heimerich with the state Dept. of Consumer Affairs says under manufacturer warranties, companies must return your product within 30 days.

"With extended warranties, there really is no rule," said Heimerich.

He says the four decade old California law says nothing about extended warranties.

"Back in 1970, there were only manufacturer warranties, there weren't extended warranties. They were very,very rare so the law just hasn't caught up with that, if you will," said Heimerich.

So why so long in this case?

Fry's tells us it couldn't figure out how to fix this laptop and had to ship it off to HP and says:

"... the delay was regrettable, and we could have better communicated the status to her."

-- Manuel Valerio, community relations manager

After we got involved, they agreed to exchange the laptop and gave her a $100 gift card for her trouble.

Arlene says she'll think twice before getting another extended warranty through Fry's.

"I think it's worthless," said Arlene.

And Arlene's troubles with Fry's aren't over.

The new tablet she exchanged her laptop for, now doesn't work and she's dealing directly with the manufacturer, Sony, to fix it.

For manufacturer warranties, the length of your warranty would be extended for the period your product was being repaired.

But again, this law doesn't apply to extended warranties under California's Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.

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