Update: the period in which to file a claim ended January 25. The law firm handling the bankruptcy and their phone number is listed below. You can also call the NJ Department of Consumer Affairs (listed below.)
So you bought an expensive flat screen TV and an extended warranty from 6th Ave. Electronics, and now the TV is on the blink just as the electronics store chain is in the throes of bankruptcy. What can you do?
The answer is - it depends.
, including one in , dozens of worried TV, cell phone, and other owners of high-priced electronics have been trying to find out where they stand if their product purchase needs repairs.
On its website, 6th Ave. Electronics offered two types of warranties: one that they serviced, and another by a company called Mack Product Warranty. Mack is still in business, so if you purchased your warranty through them, you should be fine.
But the warranties 6th Ave. offered were much less expensive than the Mack warranties, so chances are most customers opted for the 6th Ave. warranty.
One woman who wrote to 6th Ave. about her extended warranty on a DOA purchase got this response:
"We apologize, but are no longer able to honor the extended warranty you purchased from 6th Avenue because we are going out of business."
When Circuit City, another electronics retailer, went out of business in 2008, buyers of their extended warranty had an easier time of it. The company put together information on their website to make it easy to customers to make claims, through Assurant Solutions, a third party firm.
Unlucky 6th Ave. customers are filling the Internet with hard luck stories of what's happened when their devices die and no one answers any of the phones at the company.
She was advised to contact the manufacturer if the item was still in their warranty window; if not, she should fill out a claim form and send it to the legal firm.
Apparently some customers who had dropped their broken electronics off at 6th Ave. stores that have since been closed haven't received their merchandise back, fixed or not.
"If you dropped off an item to be repaired and have not received a call to pick up the item, please fill out the attached form and submit it to the office of McCarter & English LLP who will determine the course of action that will be taken in reimbursing you for your item," the company replied to Marjorie.
"We apologize for any inconvenience."
The first thing customers should do is check who services their warranty, said Neal Buccino, NJ Division of Consumer Affairs spokesman.
If your warranty is through Mack Product, they can be reached at their website.
If 6th Ave. Electronics was the warranty provider or if the consumer simply doesn't know, Buccino suggested giving Consumer Affairs a call. Their number is 800-242-5846.
"In situations where consumers have a need for repairs and do not know the identity of the administrator and the seller has gone out of business, they should contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. In many situations, we may be able to help the consumer by identifying the administrator of the extended service contract and by working to see that repairs are made consistent with that contract," Buccino said in a prepared statement.
Since 6th Ave. is still working through its bankruptcy in the courts, more information about servicing warranties should eventually be made public. Patch will keep up on it, and keep customers posted on what to do.
Having a problem with your 6th Ave. Electronics extended warranty? You can email me at email@example.com. I will keep you updated on what happens next, and I will do what I can to see you get help.