How American Express Purchase Protection Saved the Day When My Apple Watch Broke

Oct 6, 2017

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I’m not ashamed to say I was one of those people who woke up at 3am to place an order for Apple’s newest Series 3 Apple Watch. Having never owned an Apple Watch and having seen its functionality during the Apple event in September, I was too excited about the possibilities and ordered it for pickup from an Apple Store in New York the first day it was available, September 22. In all, the watch cost me $399 plus tax, for a total of $434. However, my time with it would prove to be short.

Less than 48 hours after I’d opened the packaging and customized my watch, it was no longer usable. I picked up the watch late on a Friday afternoon, and early in the afternoon on Sunday, a crack in the screen rendered it unresponsive. I was walking down the street at a leisurely pace when my swinging arm grazed a street sign. It wasn’t a hard, direct hit by any means, and I was walking at a slow pace, so I wasn’t expecting any major damage. However, when I looked down, I noticed first a scuff mark and later a diagonal crack across the screen. When I tried using the watch, half of the screen (above the diagonal crack) responded, and the other half of the screen was completely unresponsive.

While the whole situation was frustrating, as Apple markets the watch as a product for active people, I immediately began thinking about my options. I didn’t purchase Apple Care, and because it was a scratch not caused by a defect, it wouldn’t be covered by the product’s one-year warranty. (As I later found out, Apple wanted to replace the screen, which could cost as much as $289. No thanks!)

Thankfully, I paid for the watch with my Platinum Card from American Express, meaning I was eligible for the Amex Purchase Protection. After glancing at the policy, I determined I would most likely be eligible for the protection. Here’s how Amex defines its Purchase Protection:

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The Purchase Protection on the Platinum Card covers up to $10,000 for any one covered incident and up to $50,000 per a calendar year. There are a number of general exclusions as to what kind of accidental damage isn’t covered and purchases that aren’t covered altogether, but luckily my purchase didn’t fall into any of the excluded categories. Amex makes it easy to file a claim: You can either do so online or call 1-800-322-1277.

I called Amex to file the claim one day after the watch got scratched. The friendly representative filed the claim on my behalf and told me that I should expect to hear from the Amex Assurance Company within 24-48 hours regarding next steps. As that 48-hour window came and went and I still hadn’t received anything, I called again to inquire about the claim status. As it turned out, I was having issues with receiving emails from the company and nothing was coming through, so I had to call Amex several times to ask for an update and manually submit a photo of my receipt.

About 1.5 weeks after I initially filed the claim, I finally got an email from Amex Assurance Company that my claim was approved. In the letter, Amex said that it had approved the claim for $399, which doesn’t include the cost of tax, and that amount would be issued to my account in the form of a credit within three business days. Just a couple hours after I received the email from Amex, the $399 credit had already hit my account — it didn’t even take three business days.

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This incident was a firm reminder for me to always make large purchases with a credit card that offers favorable purchase protection as a benefit. Had I purchased the watch with a card that doesn’t offer any kind of purchase protection, I would have been out the $399 completely — a scary thought. Now that I know I got the credit back, I already purchased a new Series 3 Apple Watch. During my first 48-hour jaunt with the product, I was sold, and I can’t wait for my replacement to arrive.

Featured image by Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images.

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