SquareTrade informed PhoneNews.com this week that they are no longer permitting iPhone 3G (and new iPhone 3GS) customers to purchase warranties that cover the full retail price. PhoneNews.com initiated this investigation after noting subtle changes in the iPhone purchasing page.
SquareTrade going forward will only honor the two-year contract replacement amount. Meaning, a customer that purchases iPhone 3G/3GS for the full retail price, will only receive a plan good for partial coverage. SquareTrade defended this action, citing the difficulty in sourcing replacement parts for iPhone units, as well as other unspecified higher costs.
The company has said that they will work with customers who followed their older workaround, which enabled higher coverage values to be purchased, matching the full retail price. However, customers have reported that the best offer that they have received, is a partial refund, downgrading to the standard iPhone protection. On the margin, paying for the higher coverage amount was cheaper than the standard iPhone plan, thus leaving some customers asking for alternatives.
SquareTrade has been criticized by many for offering “custom purchasing pages” that insert pre-set values, often which do not match the actual or replacement retail price. For example, when selecting “cell phone” from the instant quote page, a $399.99 value is instantly inserted… without any option to enter the true retail price. No word at this time on if SquareTrade is enforcing this policy change on their other custom purchasing pages.
AT&T continues to refuse to offer their Asurion-based insurance policy for any iPhone. This comes as Best Buy now offers accidental damage coverage for iPhone purchases, as well as carrier insurance being offered on competing devices, including Verizon’s Samsung Omnia, Sprint’s Palm Pre, and T-Mobile’s G1 and G2.