BEFORE BUYING: ‘Tis the season with some tech!

About to gift a gadget or a fancy tool for school or work? The family youth will always allow you to sit at their table in family gatherings and any tech support advisor will be eternally grateful if you consider few simple things before and after you make it to the till!

Be aware of the duration of the remorse period of the reseller

This is the dreaded ‘x-days-from-purchase’ period that everyone thinks they are entitled to a Ferrari even if they purchased a Fiat. The zone of the twilight for any customer whose computer doesn’t work or who’s phone speaker crackles. In other words, the only period where the customer is actually right!

In tech, you shouldn’t be proactive. Doing Christmas shopping in November or even earlier will not help with any claims of service within the remorse period. Most retailers are happy to replace an item only within a certain amount of days from purchase without extensive troubleshooting or an explicit hardware diagnosis. Therefore, it is important to buy the gift only a couple of days before intending to offer it in case it proves faulty. Within the remorse period, both the buyer and the end user are entitled to the royal treatment of customer service.

Register the proof of purchase and keep a copy of the invoice

Most of us can related with the freshman who has to perform the awkward phone call to his uncle cruising in Tenerife to request the receipt for his gifted laptop to send it away for repair just before the new term starts. To their despair, they only find out that it was bought from a catalog with no admin support making a simple reprinting of the invoice or sending it via email impossible.

The majority of companies allow the end user to register the day of purchase of the item either while making the transaction at the retailer’s till, or simply by submitting a copy of the invoice on their website. Having the correct day of purchase registered with tech support is a tremendous helping hand to the recipient of the gift (and tech support who arranges any service) in order to make use of the manufacturer’s warranty. Also, a quick scan or a clear snap of the invoice the day of purchase mailed to your email as a backup will save you the trouble of calling the reseller in agony in the middle of troubleshooting.

Furthermore, it would be great to extend the warranty if possible as an extra touch of care for the gift recipient, especially if you are aware that they will be in a remote area or their work will depend on this gadget for the more than a year.

Give the gift in the original box and let the new owner to set it up themselves! 

Possibly the most important step of gift giving, the rule of thumb in offering tech goods of any kind and the federal law for anyone not tech-savvy enough to remember a user’s password five minutes after creating it.

Experience shows that many people who purchase computers, tablets or phones for young family members tend to configure the initial settings or set them up for the kid in an attempt to draw the boundaries of usage or simply check if the machine performs to their expectations. While this practice shows care for the item and for the young soul to avoid disappointment, it also causes trouble to the buyer, to tech support and eventually to the retailer. There are many examples of customers unable to distinguish the difference between software and hardware, who demand to have the unit replaced for an issue that they have caused due to the lack of skills or expertise.

In our digital age, it is pretty clear that the younger the recipient of the gift is, the more tech-savvy they are. Due to the fact that most of the people who can afford to gift gadgets with bitten fruit logos are the ones unable to use them without guidance or classes, please do the world a favour and set the gadget up alongside with the kid if interested to watch or learn. Your child will probably know how to put the security restrictions for themselves as well and you can thank them later!

Be aware of the brand’s support in the area the user is located

If sending a unit miles away for a technician’s assessment or for a replacement of display is not an option due to work or education engagements, think again about the brand you are committing to and thoroughly check with tech support what kind of service your base warranty covers. Usually, accidental damage, customisation of any sort, configuration changes or other customer induced damage is not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty as it is meant only for mechanical faults that manifest during normal use of the machine.

If the manufacturer, or some times the reseller, offers the option for a technician to visit you instead of shipping away your digital baby, consider a warranty upgrade for a small fee. It will prove totally worth it one week before your deadline!

And for Christmas’s sake, do not remove any labels containing valuable information about the unit!

When making the dreaded call to tech support in the hopes of reviving your frozen laptop, you will be asked to provide the serial number of your machine before even spelling your own name.

On most devices, the golden ticket to tech support  lies on a sticker often located at the back of the machine or at the side of the tower if it is a desktop. As tempting as it might be, do not peel the label off the unit and make sure you take a clear picture of the label content and send it to your email as a way to back the information up on a different platform than the unit itself.