The 'Where Did I Put That Warranty?' App

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Illustration: texting on a smartphone.Credit: Bloomberg

You buy a blender and one day, it goes on the fritz. Where did you put that warranty? And the invoice for the device, without which the manufacturer won’t fix the beast?

You could fish through your files. Or you could use the Warranteer app for smartphones, which keeps track of your product warranties for you.

At least you can if you live in Israel. In the second quarter of 2015 the company plans to start pilot projects in Britain and South Africa, and it’s working on setting up to become relevant to American buyers as well.

Let us start by noting that a specific product has a single barcode all over the world, explains Warranteer CEO Avishay Pariz. Variations of the product will have different barcodes, but that’s another matter.

You bought a new product, for instance that blender. You then open the app and scan the product’s barcode. If the barcode exists in the Warranteer database, the app will notify you (by email) that the warranty is now activated. In parallel, it will notify the manufacturer that the specific blender has been purchased and the warranty activated.

If the barcode does not exist in the Warranteer database, when you scan the unknown barcode, the app will give you the option to upload it to the database yourself.

What if you enter the wrong information? Say, instead of typing in that you bought a blender, you write that it’s a Porsche? “We confirm all user entries,” Pariz explains. On your smartphone, the app will associate the barcode with the Porsche you claim to have bought, but the system won’t upload your wrong information to its database.

That is useful to know. Another feature of the app is the ability to scan and upload the invoice when you buy the device, which is another convenience. “Our system is also a very smart organizer,” says Pariz: The system analyzes the invoice, confirming that the product was purchased and on what date, he explains.

The company already has millions of products in its database, says Pariz. In building its database, the company relies in great part on manufacturers who provide the information themselves, and in part on crowd-sourcing – users uploading information as explained above.

For many of the products, the app also provides links to user manuals, which also originate with the manufacturers. Other features include the ability to transfer the warranty if you sell the product to somebody else, and a warning that the warranty is about to expire.

Lovely. Meanwhile the blender has gone on the fritz and you need somebody to fix it. Entering the blender’s information on the app will bring up a list of service vendors, including addresses and phone numbers, again courtesy of manufacturers supplying the information.

In a tiny country like Israel, that’s not too difficult – there are only so many labs servicing the major world manufacturers. What about Britain, or the U.S.? “The service is location-based,” explains Pariz. Put otherwise, if you have GPS turned on, your phone knows where you are and when you access the app and indicate that the blender is broken, the app can recommend the service lab (registered in its system) nearest you.

Presently Warranteer is building its databases of products for Britain, South Africa and Ukraine, starting with the most synergetic for smartphone users – home electronics and electrical appliances. After that it plans to add data for car stuff, baby gear and jewelry, and from there – the sky’s the limit.

At least for the time being, it’s relying on manufacturers for its own distribution. Meaning, when you buy that blender, you’ll get information about Warranteer, and maybe use the app when you buy other things as well.

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