Get Service Help for Your BlackBerry PlayBook

Computers of all sizes — including the tiny BlackBerry PlayBook — come with almost no printed manuals (for which the authors of For Dummies books are thankful) and the advice from the pros is this: If you can’t fix it from the outside, don’t even think about looking inside.

There are some problems that proper practices, above-average intelligence, and extremely good looks cannot fix. The fact is that there are no user-accessible parts within the tablet’s slim case.

The fine print that comes with the BlackBerry PlayBook defines the terms of the limited warranty. Note the word limited. Research in Motion (RIM) agrees to repair or replace your unit if it fails or is less than fully useable “because of defects in materials and workmanship under normal use.”

If you take good care of the tablet and an internal part simply dies, RIM should be good for a replacement. If you left it on the roof of your car and then it flew onto the highway and was run over by a circus truck carrying two elephants and 26 clowns, you just might have to buy a new one. Oh and one more hint: the first thing a repair department looks for is any sign that a device has gotten wet.

Consult BlackBerry.com

Using a personal or laptop computer, consult the BlackBerry knowledge base at BlackBerry.com. Select the section about the BlackBerry PlayBook and search for solutions from the company and from the user community.

What is a user community? Besides the help that RIM gives to BlackBerry PlayBook users, there is bulletin board where you can ask questions; provide answers or tips you have worked out on your own; and otherwise share compliments, suggest new features, and even air the occasional complaint. The PlayBook user community is open to any registered users: that is, anyone with a BlackBerry ID.

Get support for your BlackBerry PlayBook

Call the BlackBerry PlayBook support line (which varies according to where you live and from where you bought your PlayBook). Your tablet (when purchased through ordinary consumer outlets such as retail stores and online outlets) comes with 90 days of free telephone support; don’t hesitate to use it.

There is no question too dumb or too complex for the staff to tackle. In fact, don't hesitate calling the number after the 90 days have passed; the worst that could happen is that they would politely refer to the calendar, but they just might still help.

The support technicians may ask you to change settings on your tablet, or to go to the built-in troubleshooting system and produce a log of the devices configuration and events. They may ask you to e-mail that log to them so they can examine the electronic innards of the tablet from afar.

Contact RIM for support for your PlayBook

Call or contact RIM (or your cellular provider if you bought a tablet through them) for warranty repair service. The tablet comes with one year of coverage. You’ll almost certainly have to ship the tablet to a depot; RIM will decide whether to repair the device or replace it with a new or refurbished unit.

What about the data on your tablet? If you’ve made backups of the data and apps to a personal or laptop computer (using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software), you’ll be able to reinstall that information on the repaired tablet or a replacement you receive. If you haven’t made backups, you may be out of luck — unless RIM chooses to repair your tablet and send you back the same unit without wiping it clean.

What about any personal or financial data stored on your tablet? If the tablet is only partly out of commission (the WiFi or Bluetooth is flaky, for example), you may be able to turn on the device and run a wipe.

Or you could try connecting the BlackBerry PlayBook to a personal or laptop computer and then examining the folders on the tablet for any personal information; make a backup to your computer using BlackBerry Desktop Manager and then delete the files from the tablet’s folders.

Many premium credit cards include a warranty extension program for products purchased using their plastic. Check with your credit card company to see if you’re entitled to this benefit. The extension — usually an additional year — mirrors the terms of the original warranty, so you’ll be covered for manufacturing defects but not for a tumble off the kitchen counter into the water-filled sink.

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