Intuit (s intu), the company that helps manage your money, may owe you some. Heck, even Apple (s aapl) might.
In the winter of 2007, Intuit’s Quickbooks for Mac 2006 contained a fatal bug — an automatic update erased the desktop folders of users’ accounts (yikes). Intuit’s silence on the issue was deafening. Finally, after days of complaining and people fighting with tech support, Intuit offered a free data recovery utility and a limited apology. Now, 18 months and a bunch of lawyers later, Intuit has settled and will offer to pay most expenses related to data loss, recovery and data recreation. They’ll even give you a free copy of Quickbooks 2007. Yawn. Don’t have your receipts related to that bug? Oops.
Apple avoided a lawsuit of their own last week by agreeing to cover MacBook Pros with distorted video due to a problem with the NVIDIA 8600M GT graphics processor. If you paid for a repair due to this issue, Apple may reimburse you. These repair extensions come through every so often and almost always after significant complaints by Apple users, including petitions, angry blog posts, and such — you know the drill. Apple extends the warranty to three years for the identified issue and compensates those who already paid for the repair. As a tip, before you pay for a repair, search out “repair extension” and your model of Mac. Not all repair centers check for these repair extensions, so it helps when you do.
Both announcements underscore the importance of saving receipts for repairs and other losses related to these failures. Receipts take up little space and just only a moment to store. I scan all of my receipts for repairs and documentation into a special iPhoto album called “Disputes.” “Print PDF to iPhoto” is a real helper as well. I use keywords to make them searchable and they are backed up along with the rest of my photos. When these announcements come through, I’m ready to go. A few minutes of your time can really pay off.
Want to know which issue might be the next repair extension? Read Apple’s Annual Report 10-Q and check out the Legal Proceedings Section. Those are the issues ripe for settlement and repair extension.
Consumers really do get reimbursed after submitting receipts and filling out paperwork, usually more often then pesky rebates. All the parties involved know most people don’t like filling out forms, so often the money goes unclaimed by those who were affected. I personally got reimbursed for my faulty iBook adapter, got a battery replacement for my iPod, and received an allowance for my scratched iPod Nano. I don’t always agree with these class actions, but the fact is, if you own a faulty product, it’s worth my while (and yours) to turn in the paperwork and get reimbursed.