How to Void Your Warranty

Own some AV equipment? Here are five ways to leave yourself high and dry.

You’ve just purchased that awesome AV receiver, speaker or sound bar you’ve had your eye on. If it’s a Yamaha product, it comes with a great warranty that includes parts and labor, and even if it’s a product made by a different manufacturer, it probably comes with some kind of coverage. Either way, you think you’re golden.

Well, like any legal document, there’s fine print. And since many of us don’t take the time to read every one of those tiny, barely-there words, here are some suggestions for what NOT to do if you want to keep your warranty in force:

1. Use your AV receiver as a step stool.

If you send your receiver back with a giant dent in it because Junior used it to help reach the cookie jar on top of the fridge, don’t expect a replacement. This is high-tech gear we’re talking about, and while it may well be solidly built of the finest quality heavy-duty materials, there are limits. You simply cannot expect help from the manufacturer if you abuse the equipment.

The phrase “under normal use and service” in the Yamaha warranty is typical language:

“YAMAHA will, at its option, repair or replace the product covered by this warranty if it becomes defective, malfunctions or otherwise fails to conform to this warranty under normal use and service during the term of this warranty, without charge for labor or materials.”

2. Let your friend Joe “crack ’er open” to figure out why your amp isn’t amplifying.

A surprising number of self-proclaimed “audio experts” attempt to fix something perceived as “wrong” with a new piece of AV gear, realize they can’t, and then send it in to the manufacturer to get the job done right. But if Joe has already given it a shot and failed, your warranty will fail too. The experts at your manufacturer will still be happy to fix whatever the issue is, but you’ll have to pay for it.

Here’s what Yamaha has to say about the matter, which is the approach pretty much any AV manufacturer will take:

“This warranty does not cover repair or attempted repair by anyone other than YAMAHA or an authorized YAMAHA Service Center.”

3. Use your wireless speakers in the shower.

Many speakers, sound bars and receivers do fine indoors in humid climates – certainly the ones made by Yamaha do. But that kind of equipment doesn’t do nearly as well when constantly exposed to high levels of humidity, such as in a small bathroom. Deterioration due to precipitation or other external causes such as extremes in temperature or humidity will void your warranty faster than you can say, “Will somebody bring me a towel?”

The Yamaha warranty addresses the issue this way:

“This warranty does not cover damage, deterioration or malfunction resulting from perspiration, corrosive atmosphere or other external causes such as extremes in temperature or humidity.”

4. Jury-rig your sound bar as a karaoke device.

A sound bar is an absolutely fantastic solution for improving TV audio. But if you alter it in a way it wasn’t intended – say, you manage to take off the back panel and hot-wire a microphone for a night of a capella oldies – you’ll lose out on any warranty coverage if something goes wrong.

Or, as the Yamaha warranty states:

“This warranty does not cover damage, deterioration or malfunction resulting from accident, negligence, misuse, abuse, improper installation or operation or failure to follow instructions according to the Owner’s Manual for this product.”

5. Dig someone else’s non-working receiver out of a dumpster and send it in for repairs.

Yes, this actually happened. The erstwhile owner of said receiver was disappointed to discover that, no, he couldn’t get it repaired for free under warranty.

Typical of most AV warranties, Yamaha puts it this way:

“Any evidence of alteration, erasing or forgery of proof-of-purchase documents will cause this warranty to be void. This warranty covers only the Original Owner and is not transferable.”

Warranties Are Your Friend

In all the excitement of installing your new AV gear, you may want to pause for a bit to read over the warranty info. While you may never pry off the casing of your outdoor speaker to make sure it’s REALLY weatherproof, you’ll still want to know that on the off chance you need an expert at the factory to fix something for you, the warranty will cover it.

Or, as the Yamaha warranty says:

“YAMAHA products are designed and manufactured to provide a high level of defect-free performance. Yamaha Corporation of America (“YAMAHA”) is proud of the experience and craftsmanship that goes into each and every YAMAHA product. YAMAHA sells its products through a network of reputable, specially authorized dealers and is pleased to offer you, the Original Owner, the following Limited Warranty, which applies only to products that have been (1) directly purchased from YAMAHA’s authorized dealers in the USA, including Puerto Rico (the “Warranted Area”) and (2) used exclusively in the Warranted Area. YAMAHA suggests that you read the Limited Warranty thoroughly, and invites you to contact your authorized YAMAHA dealer or YAMAHA Customer Service if you have any questions.”

Learn more about Yamaha AV product warranties.

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