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02-05-2010 04:59 PM #7"Wannabe Retiree"
I think common wisdom on extended warranties is that in the long run you lose money on them. They're high-profit add-ons at point of sale which is why you hear so much about them. But when a claim is entered the mitigation is essentially the same, repair or replace depending on age and brand. It doesn't change the inconvenience factor or the amount of time needed, which are not compensable anyway. The only difference is who (partially) pays in the end. If you end-up cashing-in on, say, one out of 10 ext. warranties, have you really saved any money?
Better protection comes from buying quality brands from reputable outlets, preferrably ones where you have placed significant business in the past, and ones that have service centers (rare anymore) or agreements in place. Some credit cards offer to double mfgr's warranties at no additional cost, so that is another avenue to explore next time you're inclined to buy the ext. warranty. Make sure you also do what is expected of the owner, like ascertaining the unit is adequately surge protected and gets sufficient ventillation, etc.
I speak with a fair amount of electronic knowledge, at least sufficient to get me past the "nuisance" type of problems the OP reported. What jayn_j describes is completely accurate however. When you get into repairs at that level, having at least enough information up front to be skeptical and understand what you're being told helps immensely in the decision process, repair or replace. But a quick assessment up front to determine if the problem is simple or more involved is certainly worthwhile, even for $100 - 150 bucks or so especially with a newer set that otherwise satisfies you. My bet is that quite a few problems fall into the "easy" category but never get that first look and that equipment is relegated to the scrap heap prematurely. If you don't have the knowledge to make such an assessment you might know someone who does who can assist as a "disinterested 3rd party". To me investing $100+ on a first look is a better gamble than the ext. warranty. You can reduce that cost by taking the unit to the shop yourself. (But there is an honesty factor to be considered in that case.)
I for one do not buy the extended warranties. To this point I have never been sorry about that (KoW!!). That's not to say I haven't had problems, just none that were complete "showstoppers"...
Last edited by bhelms; 02-05-2010 at 05:16 PM."Everybody has an agenda. Except me!"
(M. Crichton - R.I.P. 11/04/08)
02-05-2010 06:56 PM #8Supporting Founder
If the screen is cracked, throw the set away. Don't even argue. A replacement screen will cost more than a new set.
I stopped buying extended warranties way back when my wife was selling appliances at Sears in the '70s. They were the highest profit margin item in the store and Sears expected some insane percentage of units to go out with a service contract attached as that was where they made most of the money.
I've actually been burned a couple of times, but all in all, I am still way ahead. I am not fond of Best Buy's new policy of not accepting returns on defective merchandise unless you have their warranty. All that means is that I simply don't buy much from BB anymore.