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Reminder: Preserve Purchase Paperwork

Here's one last tip, suggested by reader "rjrjj" in his comment on yesterday's post, before this blog takes a few days off for Christmas week.

Many of the services attached to a tech purchase, such as the warranty, any available rebates, a merchant or credit card's price-protection policy, require you to keep some documents. You don't need to preserve every form of paper attached to the item, but you should hang onto the more important bits of documentation:

* the receipt from the original purchase
* the packing slip that came with the delivery
* the bar code from the package.

You can regenerate some of these easily -- for example, purchase receipts aren't hard to get new copies of -- but others can be more difficult to get back. Stick them all in a folder, and you won't have to worry about tracking them down months later. If your receipts come in e-mail, stick them all in their own folder (or tag them with their own Gmail label) so you don't have to read through 100 other messages to find them.

I am assuming here that the company offering these post-purchase services will hold up its end of the deal. I've been pretty lucky with that; although Amazon once denied a rebate years ago because I'd lost the packing slip, every other rebate I've requested has come through (sometimes within weeks, sometimes months later and only after some nagging on my part). Most recently, American Express's "buyer's assurance" policy covered the cost of replacing the hard drive on my mother-in-law's laptop (thanks, AmEx!).

If you've got any other tips for expediting a rebate, a warranty claim or a refund after you've bought the thing, please share them in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  December 21, 2007; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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