Monday, June 25, 2007

20D Purchased; SquareTrade

Last night I won a 20D on eBay for $640 (including shipping). It is a refurbished model, body only. Maybe $10 more than the going rate, but I didn't want to wait the week it might take to get a lower price (the same seller is selling a lot of them).

I had a bit of a decision between a refurbished body and a used body, but I decided to go refurbished because Canon refurbs have a 90 day warranty. If it doesn't break in 90 days, it probably won't break for quite a while.

Another thing I'm considering is a SquareTrade warranty. For 10% of the purchase price, I can get 2 years of warranty (either fixing or replacing the camera). I haven't yet decided if it is worth spending $60 on a two year warranty since I'll already have a 90-day warranty on the camera.

But, two years, if I keep going at my current rate, is about 50K shutter actuations, which is around half of what you can usually expect to get out of a 20D. And, since it is a refurb, who knows how much mileage is already on the camera before I get it. The warranty is starting to look pretty good, but I'd like to be sure before I go ahead with it.

After some research, this is what I found out:

  • Their sample warranty in plain English. Seems to be good, 2 years, starting 60 days after purchase (my 90 day Canon warranty would cover that) complete repair, replacement, or refund. Accidental damage not covered, but from the web, it doesn't seem like they are too quick to call it accidental.
  • Some reviews on Yelp, quite favorable.
  • According to this, Digital Cameras have a 10% failure rate after 3-4 years. Honestly, with the work I'll be putting the camera through, I think it will be more than that. Digital SLRs are pretty complicated machines.
  • An extra FAQ, most notably saying I can get a SquareTrade warranty 30 days after purchase. Nice.
  • Also, you can cancel or transfer the warranty at any time. So if I decide I don't want it in the first 60 days, I can cancel it and get a full refund.
  • There's one guy on eBay that really doesn't like them. But his points aren't great (of course they don't cover accidental damage!).
  • There's a long forum thread about the times SquareTrade has screwed up. According to SquareTrade, this was a separate company they contracted out to, but they've since terminated that relationship and now they handle the warranties themselves. Recent reviews are positive, including the end of that forum thread above.
So, based on my research, it will probably be worth it to get the SquareTrade warranty in addition to the Canon warranty and cover my 20D for 2 1/4 years (assuming I don't break it myself or drop it in the ocean). I still have some time to decide, so I'll get the camera first, then decide. Apparently SquareTrade has recently revamped their approach to dealing with warranties with great success (I didn't find any recent horror stories).

Completely independent, I need to look into insurance to cover myself if my camera is lost or stolen (and cover my lenses, since they are worth more than the camera). But that's a post for another day.

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