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How to Win at eBay:

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Bogus "Square Trade" Warranties

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Ignore sales pitches for warranties.

I often get repeated pitches from Square Trade offering coverage, along with loads of claimed testimonials from happy customers.

I decided to read the fine print, since for about $10 they offered several years of coverage for a used Nikon FA I had bought, and I know FAs occasionally need service. I'd pay their $10 for a few years of insurance. The FA hasn't been made for over 20 years.

It would have been trivial to click the links and buy the coverage, and I almost did.

Then I read the fine print.

Square Trade explicitly denies any coverage for anything more than a few years old!

Square Trade would cheerfully have taken my money, and God help me if I ever needed to make a claim!

One of you consumer lawyers out there needs to do something to stop them from so aggressively and repeatedly offering coverage on items which clearly would have no coverage.

Google them if you're curious.

In September 2013, I saw this again. I bought a 30-year old preamplifier, and got this pitch via eMail:

Square Trade Pitch

The Pitch. bigger.

When I click Proceed to Checkout > , I get to:

Square Trade scam

The Upsell. bigger.

From this page I can check-out, and they also try to upsell me on even more coverage since I'd bitten on this so far.

Hopefully you won't fall for this, because only if you click the "more" link after "a few items may not be eligible" well below the Proceed to Checkout > button, you'll see that I'd have been scammed and gotten no coverage, even if I had paid for it:

Square Trade scam

The fine print: you're not covered for anything that was new more than 5 years ago.


New Gear: Manufacturers' Warranties

If you're buying what you think is new gear in the box, but if it's not sold by an officially authorized dealer, legally it's a used product, and not covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

This is another reason to buy new gear only from real, authorized dealers, and not strangers over eBay.

eBay is for used gear. I never use it for getting new gear.

Sure, you might get the manufacturer to cover you, but like everything else over eBay, you're gambling.


What if it shows up, and it's not what you expected?


Next: Legal Obligations

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Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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