We’ve been buying photo equipment and other electronics at B&H Photo and Video since the mid 90s.
Back then they didn’t have an online presence but service was great and shipping was fast.
It’s impressive how well the brick & mortar store adapted to compete online with giants like Amazon, Target, Walmart and the bigger membership store retailers.
I usually buy an extended warranty (2-3 years depending on the item) which has recently paid off-twice on the same item.
We helped Hannah buy her second dSLR two years ago. She decided on the Nikon D610 after some extensive research. It’s a good entry-level professional grade camera that’s reasonably priced. (Relative to other pro models).
She dropped it during a photo shoot. One of the reasons I get the extended warranty (in this case 3 years for about $75) is that it covers damage from drops and spills.
Square Trade emailed a free shipping label, I boxed it up and sent it to their repair center.
It took a couple of weeks which was a bummer, but she got the camera back like new.
A few weeks ago, her shutter froze while she was shooting a Pittsburgh Thunderbirds game. Even though her camera had already been repaired once, the camera was still covered. Woo-hoo!
I opened another claim. This repair was projected to take a few weeks because they were waiting for a part from the manufacturer.
I learned that when you purchase the Square Trade warranty through B&H, it carries a special 2-5 day guarantee. If they can’t repair your item within 2-5 days, Square Trade will refund the price of the warranty but still honor it until the warranty expires. You have to ask for this benefit, though.
The repair ended up taking less than two weeks after a B&H executive got involved. He explained to me that either Square Trade or B&H will make accommodations on a case by case basis to make sure their customers aren’t stranded without critical equipment while it’s being repaired.
I have opened claims on two other items that I purchased at B&H and got a full refund when they quit working. In both cases, the manufacturer’s warranty had expired so they really paid off.
B&H Photo’s customer service is the best. In the most recent case, I only contacted them to inquire about a rental or a loaner that I intended to pay for when Square Trade customer service was telling me the repair would take weeks. The B&H rep was appalled that the repair was taking so long and insisted on looking into the matter for me. He suggested that I email the customer service/sales executive to explain my situation. The exec ended up being a total badass but also professional. After he got involved, the estimated repair time turned from a couple of weeks to one day.
Here’s the lesson: B & H has your back. Purchase the Square Trade warranty directly from B&H.