TAPs and Obsolete iPods


With the recent introduction of new iPods at MacWorld on July 17th, many have inquired about exchanging their existing iPod for a new one. Many were sold Technology Assurance Programs (TAP’s) under the assumption that obsolete technology was covered. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This article will attempt to explain and iron out some issues with CompUSA TAP’s and what they allow. As in many cases with CompUSA, results will vary from store to store.

The Fine Print

The most commonly purchased TAP for the iPod (however, not the only one) is the TAP for Mass Storage devices. This is indicated by the following series of letters on the receipt, “TAP 2YR C/I RPL MA.” Some people have reported only receiving a 1 year plan instead of two years. If you plan on purchasing a CompUSA TAP, please make sure you get the two-year plan.

The following text was taken from official CompUSA documentation regarding their Technology Assurance Programs. This section is specifically related to the replacement plan mentioned above (TAP 2YR C/I RPL MA):

Replacement Plans
(Available in 1 Year and 2 Year Terms- From Date of Product Purchase)

Carry-In Replacement Plan
(A replacement carry-in only plan designed for products that carry a manufacturer’s warranty of at least 90 days on Parts and Labor)

PDA Replacement Plan
([modified: it simply says the PDA requirements.])

“In the event your covered product fails to operate and cannot be repaired (including mechanical or electrical defect in your product screen), the Replacement Plan will provide a one (1) time replacement of your original product with a product of equal or similar features, specifications, and functionality. Your product must be carried into any CompUSA store location or any other authorized service center as assigned by the Administrator to obtain replacement under this plan. You must provide the store location or service center with proof of purchase documentation at the time of replacement request. On-site coverage will not be provided. If your product is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, you may be directed to call the manufacturer directly. To obtain a refund on your accessory kit within the first 30 days, you may return your product to the store for a full refund. Your product is not refundable after 30 days. For reimbursement of your Accessory Kit Replacement Plan, refer to the section entitled “Cancellations and State Specific Requirements.”

As you can see, there is NO mention of this program covering obsolete technology, as some have been misinformed. It is important to note that this is a one (1) time replacement of your product. Once the TAP has been used, one would have to purchase a new TAP on an iPod with a different serial number.

Old iPod, New iPod and TAP

One should be aware that Apple has currently extended the warranties of the iPod, and this action appears to be retroactive. New iPods carry a warranty of 1 year and older iPods seem to be affected by this change as well. To determine if your old iPod is still under warranty, go to Apple’s iPod Service page.

Does this extended warranty mean that CompUSA’s TAP is useless? Absolutely not. Apple’s warranty is a limited warranty that does not cover user error. The CompUSA TAP covers more user error type iPod failures with fewer questions asked. The TAP is still a worthy purchase.

Another important note about the CompUSA TAP is that simply bringing in a non-working iPod will not guarantee a replacement iPod. CompUSA will give the iPod to their service center and allow them to work on it for up to 3 days. If their service center is able to fix the iPod, the old iPod will be returned. However, if the iPod cannot be fixed CompUSA will issue, “replacement of your original product with a product of equal or similar features, specifications, and functionality.” If you are hoping to take an old 5GB iPod in that doesn’t work, and get it replaced with a 10GB model, it appears they would have to be out of similar products (i.e. any 5GB iPod).

Word on the Streets

However, this is not the end of this story. Many forum members have contacted their local CompUSA’s (including myself) and have been told many different stories. Jason Clarke (jerseyfreeze) wrote, “I went into the Richmond, VA CompUSA and asked a few questions. They said that if the iPod was, indeed, broken (although they didn’t define how much work they’d put into checking to see whether it was broken), then they would replace it with a comparable model.


Dennis Lloyd

I'm a passionate, long-time lover of Apple products, and was a civil draftsman and graphic designer before creating the iLounge web site. My prior projects include work for The Los Angeles Times' LATimes.com, and the company Creative Domain, where I developed websites for clients including Columbia Pictures, Disney, Fox Studios, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers. As the Publisher of iLounge, I direct the site's community forums, photo galleries, iPod User Group, and general business affairs, which have grown under my watch to over sixteen million page views every month. I'm happily married with one daughter, one dog (Rocket the Wonderdog), one cat (Ferris), many iPods, iPhones, iPads, and two turntables.