Before you invest hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in a new computer, find out the types of warranties and service plans that are included. If you're an experienced computer user, having a reliable way to replace broken or defective parts may be all the service you need. If you're more of a computer novice, however, you may eventually need to contact the computer company's customer support department for a variety of questions. Most manufactures provide one- to three-year warranties, which cover repair costs at little or no charge to you. With some companies, you have to ship the product back or take it to an authorized repair site, while other companies offer in-house service in which the technician comes to your home or business to fix the problem right there. Normally, at the time you purchase the computer, you can buy additional extended warranties that provide more extensive coverage in addition to the standard warranty. Most manufacturers also offer troubleshooting and technical support that you can access over the phone, via e-mail, or on the company's Web site. Some of these phone calls are toll-free, while others are not. Some online technical support departments promise instant replies by e-mail, yet others may require you to wait for an answer to be posted to the company's Web site. For more information about computer service and maintenance options, talk to a computer professional.
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