|by Jason Steele|
Last week, I let you know that I was going to give American Express Return Protection a try. I had never attempted to use this add on benefit, because frankly, I was a little skeptical of it’s value.
I was able to quickly fill out the online claim form, but I did have to go through the trouble of faxing in the receipt (I would prefer everything to be electronic). After that, I just waited.
Yesterday, all of my skepticism evaporated when I received a check in the mail from American Express. Interestingly, I was never asked to return the actual item I purchased, a child seat for a bicycle.
According to the guidelines for the return protection program:
“Once your request has been approved, you will be instructed to send the purchased item to us within 30 days”
Now, I am left to speculate on what comes next.
1. Within 30 days, I will receive a request in the mail to ship the purchase somewhere.
2. I will not be asked to return the purchase because this particular item is too big and/or has little liquidation value.
3. This is just free money from Amex, and people who take advantage of this program are never asked to return anything.
Frankly, number one seems very unlikely. Why would they bother to send the check first, and then later ask for the item to be shipped?
Number two seems slightly more likely, but not by much. Very few used retail items have much resale value. I suppose it is possible that that Amex has a list of goods that they will actually ask for in return, and this just wasn’t one of them.
Number three is tantalizingly plausible. It just doesn’t seem like there is any attempt to have you return the item, they just send you a check. I will wait 30 days, just to be sure.
There is a maximum purchase price of $300 per item, and a maximum return amount of $1,000 per year. For the sake of my readers, I will endeavor to test this little known feature throughout the remainder of this year.