Once in a while, things just go well. Take a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) for example. His 20 GB iPod had some sort of hard drive malfunction and just died. While this is not itself a good thing, he purchased a three year extended warranty with the iPod. Not one to typically buy extended warranties, he decided to make an exception with the iPod because of the rampant stories of poor battery life requiring expensive service to fix. He experienced no battery problem, but with just a few months remaining in the warranty, the hard drive failed.

The terms of the extended warranty promise a new model should the old one be too expensive to repair. Since the lowest capacity hard drive based iPod is now 30 GB, he’d be getting a new model with 50% more capacity if his old device couldn’t be repaired.

And it couldn’t. He was told to return to the store for a new iPod. Given that the 80 GB iPod is a mere $100 more than the 30 GB model, he decided to ask to upgrade, happy to pay the difference. When he returned to the customer service desk, the rep there completed all the paperwork, pushed the 80 GB iPod package and a number of forms across the desk to him and said he was good to go.

He mentioned the $100 upgrade and was told the replacement was for a similarly priced rather than similarly featured device. I suspected she was incorrect, as did my friend, but he did exactly what I would’ve done in his place: smile, say thank you, and leave. He pointed out what he thought was an error, and was assured otherwise. What else is there to do? Argue about it? Not likely.

I checked afterwards, and she was incorrect. The terms and conditions state:

At our option, we may replace your product with a new or refurbished product of equal or similar features and functionality, though not necessarily of the same brand, or we may issue a store credit for the original purchase price. Technological advances may result in a replacement product with a lower selling price than the original product.

They do mention refunding the original purchase price, but you know this would be their last resort. Every other reference is to a replacement of similar features, going so far as stating such a replacement may have a lower selling price. No, the customer service rep made a mistake in this case.