I got a nice surprise from AMEX in the mail today, a check for $305.70 to cover the return shipping charges on 6 return protection claims I made in the past.
Return protection is one of the many fringe benefits that make AMEX cards awesome. If a store won’t accept a return on an item within 90 days of purchase you can file a return protection claim with AMEX. AMEX has a very easy to use Online Claims Center
Return protection is awesome with retailers that have a 30 day, 14 day, or even non-existent return policy and it works great for final sale items as well. Return protection works for items that cost $300 or less and can be used to return up to $1,000 of items per card per year. If an item costs more than $300 you can still file a claim, but you would only be reimbursed for up to $300 (plus tax in my experience).
If the item is under $100 AMEX will typically issue an immediate refund. If it’s between $100-$300 usually an examiner will review the claim to ensure that the item isn’t on the excluded list. Usually the examiner will then issue a refund though on occasion AMEX will request that you email a photo of the item or mail the item in for a refund.
The current return protection policy is that AMEX will pay for return shipping if they do require that you actually return the item to them. In the past AMEX didn’t used to cover the return shipping and they more inclined back then to request that the item be returned.
Apparently I made 6 return protection claims back when the old policy was still in effect. And for that I got a check for $305.70! I’m not sure how they figured that return shipping cost me $50.95 per claim, but I’m not going to complain :D
It’s incredibly generous as I was more than happy to pay the return shipping costs in order to get a refund for an item that I would otherwise be stuck with.
American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.
American Express consumer cards with return protection include:
American Express business cards with return protection include:
Other fringe benefits of using AMEX:
The difference between dispute resolution and return protection is that when you dispute a transaction the merchant actually has the money clawed back from them. With return protection the merchant isn’t affected.
There are times when a dispute is called for of course, and AMEX is by far the best bank for consumers. While other banks will drag you through tons of paperwork and will rarely side with the consumer, AMEX makes it easy to file a claim online and almost always sides with the consumer.
Frankly they may be too good, I had one person dispute the $13 they paid for a DansDeals seminar by AMEX. When I asked the attendee why they disputed the charge they said that they just didn’t recognize the charge, so they disputed it. He called AMEX right away to drop the dispute, but by that point it was too late and they refunded him the money and I got hit with a chargeback fee on money I had already donated.
Yes, the person made up for the chargeback fees I was hit with in the end, but just be careful to only dispute things after attempting to contact the merchant to make things right or clarify what the charge is for as AMEX dispute resolution works incredibly well for consumers. If you ever receive a good or service that you’re not happy with just let the merchant know that you do plan on disputing the purchase and see if they will come to a compromise without that. But if they won’t AMEX will have you back more than any other bank.
Purchase protection covers items that break or get stolen within 90 days of purchase. On most cards you’re covered for items up to $1,000 but if you use a Platinum or Delta Reserve card it covers items up to $10,000 and it will even cover you for items that get lost!
Extended warranty matches the manufacturer’s warranty up to an extra year of warranty coverage on items up to $10,000. The irony is that most manufacturer’s warranties stink. They make you send in your item and typically have long turn-around times. Or they find reasons why the warranty doesn’t cover your problem.
Wait it out until the manufacturer’s warranty ends and you’ll be in luck. Often times you’ll receive a refund of your entire purchase price within a few days of making a claim without even hassling you at all. DDF members report this happening often for cameras, cell phones, and computers. For some more expensive items they may ask for a repair quote but when you send in the quote you’ll typically be credited with that amount (up to the purchase price paid) within a few days. People on DDF have even reported getting refunded for computers with cracked screens and other physical damage during the AMEX warranty bonus year, something that the manufacturer would never cover.
Of course these benefits make the equation on which card to use even more complicated. It’s important to remember that although another card may give you extra points in some categories, what is the ability to return, dispute, or have extended warranty coverage worth?
More reasons I love American Express?
1. They post an opening date for your cards of when you got your first AMEX card. That means that every time you open an AMEX you are instantly improving your FICO score as you are greatly increasing your average account age. (And even when you close a card it still helps average account age for at least 10 more years). Check your report for free at annualcreditreport.com to see for yourself.
2. Typically just 1 pull to get consumer and business cards on the same day.
3. Twitter promotions!
4. Small Business Saturday. Need I say more
Share your experiences with purchase protections and American Express in the comments!