indicate they may have changed service vendors, and not for the better.
"implied that it would shorten the duration of the extended warranty"
sounds wrong. Most state laws say you extend the standard warranty by the time you're out of use of the product. That would include travel time of your 'temp replacement'. The extended will have its own language, which you need to check.
From the beginning, Palm mgmt. has sandbagged its own excellent tech people from time to time. That's what happened when it got into serious problems some years ago.
I use my Palm TX almost every day at work because of some programs from ePocrates that make checking drug information much simpler. After 3 years of daily use the power switch on my 1st TX decided to stop working so I replaced it. The Palm folks told me that if I bought the extended warranty one of benefits would be use of a replacement if I had to return my TX for service. That pretty much sealed the deal for me. Unfortunately, reality is not quite so simple.
I bought the new TX about 2 months ago, so I'm still under the original warranty. The screen is acting flaky so I called Palm about getting repair work done. The first person I talked to told me that the repair will require 3-5 business days plus shipping time and that they will not provide a unit for use during the repair. When I questioned the tech support person she became fairly hostile and eventually hung up as I was asking that she refer me to her supervisor. She spoke clear English but it was obvious that she was clueless about some things (I had to repeatedly correct my email and address information when she read it back wrong, ...)
I called back. I got a different person. He did not speak clear English but I had the impression he at least had a clue. He eventually decided that my extended warranty would cover a refurbished unit if I really wanted to do that but making the arrangements would be a hassle and I wouldn't get the original unit back. He made it sound like they ship semi-functional units when they do the exchange. He also implied that it would shorten the duration of the extended warranty, but I never could get him to make a clear statement on that. I'm still not sure if he was being evasive or if it was a language thing.
Maybe I should write to Palm Customer Service? Maybe not. They're not big on putting useful contact information on their web site. To contact Customer Service you call the same number I tried earlier. You end up talking to tech support. Not a terribly welcoming group, are they?
I'll probably end up writing their corporate headquarters. At least that address is available on the web. Still, it's annoying that they make everything about this process so hard.
The main reason I bought the Palm is so I can use the ePocrates product. Unfortunately some of its features don't work on smart phones or Pocket PC platforms so I'm stuck with Palm PDAs for now. Oh well.