I have a board I bought almost three years ago, meaning that the warranty period ends soon. I just changed the thermal paste and noticed that a few of the pins in the bed-of-pins are disturbed (looking from above, it looks like lint is on the socket). I'm sure I accidentally did it when I first built the PC. I'm not saying it's Intel's fault.
I opened a support request and asked if I can pay a fee and trade it in. The agent told me that Intel has Standard and Expedited warranty services. I again explained that it was almost certainly my fault and can I pay a fee. The agent told me that Intel usually accepts claims like mine. But then I read in the canned email sent to me:
"Intel Desktop Board and Sever [sic] products returned with Physical Damage (damage due to product external causes) will not be accepted."
I don't want to waste the $12 or so to ship it, only to have Intel inform me that my board is toast. Should I believe the agent's words or the legalese in his email?
I finally chatted with a different agent. He told me that Intel refuses cards with burned parts (capacitors) and/or visible damage. I completely understand the restriction against burned parts, but I still don't understand the implications of "visible damage." I will send it in anyway.
UPDATE 1: Intel support turned it around quickly and shipped me a visibly used one with a label of "functional" and no indication of the BIOS level.
UPDATE 2: I did not notice until I was ready to install it that the DVI video connector had been replaced. This was apparent by the very different texture of metal surrounding the connector. This was a bad omen. I installed it in a case only to find that no video emerged from the card. I guess the Intel definition of "functional" is where the board can be used along with an add-on card to replace the missing functionality, e.g. video card, network card, sound card, etc. That's not my definition.