Dixons or Currys, Coverplan or ‘Whateverhappens’: a few things to consider before investing

April 29th, 2009 58 Comments By Vince Wong

We apologise for any outdated information in this article regarding Dixon’s previously branded ‘Coverplan’. This was due to a tip linking to a Ciao review article dated 29/12/2008 (and obviously being a muppet on my part). Some edits have been made below in [] to reflect the rebranding to ‘Whateverhappens’. We also discuss further policy changes and on service plan policies in our updated article here.

There have been complaints about extended warranties on electronics, such as those purchased from the DSGi group under the name  “Coverplan” [now rebranded as 'Whateverhappens']. While you may conclude that extended warranty coverage is necessary, in most cases it does not represent a good investment.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Legwork: If you buy a cover plan, you still must do all the legwork for getting your device repaired. In other words, if your widget breaks and you call them up, you still have to go through the adminstration hassle of scheduling in an appointment, potentially provide necessary evidence. [the old 'coverplan' policy required taking this to a service centre for repair also, but the new 'Whateverhappens' policy has repair personnel who can attend to this at your home]. The service centre has a contract for reimbursement. [Coverplan previously only got involved directly in two cases: (1) the repair takes longer than six weeks or (2) the item will have to be replaced. Currently the new policy has 21 days.]

In the event of replacement, you will be provided with a “comparable” item, which may be a refurbished model and not what you would buy if you were to replace the item yourself.

2. ‘Loopholes’: There are enough holes in the coverage (but no more than any normal policy) that you could use it to strain tonight’s spaghetti bolognese. For example, the terms under which the service plan will replace your stolen mobile phone are narrow enough, and the exceptions brad enough, partly to protect these companies that provide such policies with eventuality, particularly when it comes to mobile phone theft.

For example, theft coverage is suspended if:

-You have not done all you reasonably can to prevent your product from being stolen;

-You have given your product to someone else to look after;

-Your product is stolen while it is out of your view or control unless:

  • it is stolen from a motor vehicle where you or someone with your authority was with the vehicle; or
  • you had hidden it from view in your vehicle (for example, in a locked glove  compartment or boot), locked your vehicle, with all windows, sunroofs or roofs  closed and used all available security systems; or
  • you had locked your product in your home, office or room with all windows closed and used all available security systems

The coverplan does not cover the following with regards to mobile phone extended warranties:

- Batteries, bulbs, cables and other consumable items (items which are regularly replaced).

- SIM/MMS cards.

- Damage or breakdown that is due to wind or other severe weather conditions.

- The cost of repairing or replacing a product which fails because anyone neglects, abuses or misuses the product.

(There are many more, but these are most broad exceptions to general policies.)

More importantly, the parts in bold are designed to be interpreted broadly legally. Imagine if your 2-year-old niece grabs your phone and proceeds to drool all over it to the point where it stops working. Is that neglect, abuse, or misuse? There’s a good chance that the sales representative at the POS (point-of-sale) will say “No, they’ll cover it,” while the additional coverage representative will say “Yes, it’s misuse.”

3. Profit Margins:
The profit margin on extended warranties for consumer electronics is in the neighbourhood of 40 to 80%. That’s why they try to upsell it so hard to you in stores. This is also why people are likely to pay much more for these, than they are likely to recover.

4. Warranty overlaps:
The term of coverage may overlap with the manufacturer’s warranty. If you buy a two-year extended warranty and the first year runs concurrently with the manufacturer’s warranty, you’re essentially throwing away half the cost of the extended warranty, because in that first year you’ll use the manufacturer’s warranty for repair or replacement.

5. Service plan vs warranty:
Extended warranties are not insurance, and are not really even warranties. Extended warranties are “service plans”. A service plan is a promise to perform or pay for certain repairs or services. Besides, if you bought it with your credit card, the card may tack on an extra year to the manufacturer’s warranty. Check with your card issuer. The card’s protection may have holes, too, but at least they don’t cost you anything extra.

Have you got any personal experience with coverplan[or whateverhappens], accidental insurance, and repair coverage – good or bad? Please share them in the comments below!

 Dixons or Currys, Coverplan or Whateverhappens: a few things to consider before investing
Comments (58) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by pamela February 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    i bought a sony vaio laptop 2011,,,,, i took out whatever happens, paid it every month for nearly 2 yrs, 2 wks ago i tripped over the dog as i was going upstairs and he was in a hurry to get down, and my laptop fell downstairs, bumping of the wall and several stairs to slam in to the hoover at the bottom of the stairs, i called knowhow and they arranged to get it picked up the following day which i thought was fantastic, speedy pickup,, i called them 5/6 days later to c if there was any progress on it and she told me that it was in for repair, i thought that is brilliant, wont be long until i get it back, but to get a call the following day to say that they r not repairing it, they dont believe me when i told them what happened, so they delivered my laptop back,, well to say i was angry was an understatement, they had dissassembled it, and but god, u would think that they just threw it on the floor, the monitor wasnt attatched to the keyboard fully, it was holding together by 2 wires, both hinges are broken, they have totally broke the facia on my screen, but wont accept liability, wait a minute when it left here it was all intact, the keyboard wasnt working and neither was the mousepad, but it was still switched on, i had to remove the battery so it would switch off.. i dont know the damages in the inside but they r saying i sent it off to get repaired in that state, i am sorry to say but i bloody well didnt, i am still calling them everyday to get this sorted out, any advice from any1 would be grateful…

  2. Posted by cheryl jenkinson February 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    i purchased a fridge back in 2005 and i have been paying this cover for all these years , the way it was sold to me made it sound too good not to have , instant replacement if it cannot be repaied etc . This is not the case my fridge cannot be repaired and iam sat here after throwing away everything that was perishable still without a fridge , this is the least of my problems as iam diabetic and some of my medication has to be kept in the fridge this is as we speak in a jug of ice . my appliance has not been replaced instantly therefore this product was mis-sold to me and i will be requesting a full refund of all payments made.As consumers we should take the risk of no extra warranty cover or any other kind of insurance because like me i could have purchased two fridges for the price of my cover so far and a new fridge would be delivered and installed so much quicker than this ..I didnt expect this much hassle to get this sorted …ya know like the sales lady said it will be repaired just like that , it will be replaced just like that i know this sounds like a paul daniels magic show well i guess it will be magic if i see a replacement fridge any time soon .

  3. Posted by pamela February 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    well after 3 wks of calls…. 3 letters… some pic’s of the state of my laptop and a pic of the sticker the curier puts on the back of the laptop, they have decided to pick it up for repair, which is getting picked up tmw, and i can honestly say that there is no way this can be repaired, they would need a miracle.. :/

  4. Posted by pamela March 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    2 wks after picking up my laptop it still hasnt been repaired or replaced, they cancelled my agreement 2 days after taking the payment out, re-instated it without telling me and took another payment out of my bank account, so that means i am still in “whatever happens ” warrenty, which they r in breech of contract, as it says no repair with in 10 days they will replace it, well i am still waiting, i have been to trading standards and they have advices me to take them the full road, so i am intending to do so….,

  5. Posted by Emily Fisher April 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Hi, I recently bought a camera and was sold the whateverhappens insurance. I was assured by the sales person that as the name suggests, whatever happens I would be covered and get an instant replacement. My camera was stolen while travelling and when going into a store I was told that the insurance would only replace something under 150 and my camera was just over 300 pounds. I have been completely missold and extremely unhappy! I will be taking this further.

  6. Posted by jon May 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    same thing happened to me,i purchased a w.e.h. agreement on my 2 laptops,when I rang them a couple of days ago,they said that they think my laptops have both got viruses,and they are not covered ,under the w.e.h…………..so why do they call it whatever happens ?? someone care to explain,maybe we could get sebastion james to explain this to us,the managing director of dixons/currys,

  7. Posted by Phil October 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    In march 2009 we purchased an LG washing machine from Currys. We were offered the whatever happens cover for 2.99 a month so we took it. Present day the washer was very noisy so called them. After half an hour I got through they then sent an engineer out who said the drum bearing had gone and needed replacing. I was informed via email that the machine was a write off and I would be getting a voucher letter to take to currys and get a new machine. A week later nothing so I contacted them again and was issued with a code which I took to the store for redemption. In 2009 I paid 310 pounds for the LG washer I was offered a machine which they said was the same spec as the LG but only cost 270 pounds. An LG washer similar to ours was 330 pounds but I could put the extra 60 pounds to it and have that. I went away looked up the reviews on the machine they had offered us and it was nowhere near as good. I went back two days later the LG washer had gone up to 400 pounds and although someone there did his best to get it overturned the decision stood. So I was stuck with a voucher for 270 pounds leaving us to find another 130 pounds to get the machine we wanted. You are stuck with currys you can’t shop around, having worked out the cost of the insurance from the time I took it out and the money we put to the new machine comes to 300 pounds. We would have been better putting 3 pounds a month away then when the washer goes I could have shopped around gone anywhere and got what we wanted. I’m finished with currys I’m never setting foot through their door again.

  8. Posted by Richard January 31, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    In Mid December I renewed my cover plan on a tumple dryer, In early January I received a 2nd renewal request, on phoning their premium T/N I was informed that I had in fact renewed my cover plan in December and to ignore this renewal request. On January 31st I received further correspondance sugesting I had only a few days left to renew. Again I phoned thier premium line to ask WHAT’S GOING ON; the reply OH WE HAVE A BACKLOG OF CORRESPONDANCE and to ignore &that I was definatly covered. SORRY we do not pay compensation for UNNECSSARILY USING OUR PREMIUM TELEPHONE SERVICE.

    To K Mansell I report that although your Telephone charge costs are
    ‘PREMIUM’ your Customer Service Deptartment is rubbish, as I am paying through the nose correcting your ERRORS, whereas you should be paying no wonder insurance with Mastercare is so expensive if I have to receive 2 lots of unnessary correspondance relating to the identical problem.

    TO CLOSE IN CASE YOU GET TO READ THIS I HAVE PAID THE RENEWAL

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