Extended Warranties - Big Ticket Items

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Extended Warranties - Big Ticket Items

2018/12/24

Boxing Day sales are just days away and many of you have put off buying big ticket items until this day arrives. You’ve done all your homework. You’ve read all the consumer reviews. You know the brand. You’re making a well-educated purchase. But what happens when it goes on the fritz after the warranty period expires? Frankly, as consumers we’re very much in the dark about what parts and labour for these items may cost us. And retailers know this. And they capitalize on our fears of large repair bills with a thing they call The Extended Warranty. For a fee, usually paid up front, you can purchase up to 4 additional years of warranty for your item which will take care of repair bills for whatever period you opt to purchase. The short answer on extended warranties? Just say “No, thank you”. If you need more convincing, read on.

Fees and Exclusions

Most extended warranties have a long list of things excluded from the warranty and this is usually buried somewhere in the fine print. Certainly accidental damage is not covered, so when your toddler knocks over the $3000 4K UHD TV, that’s on you. But common parts like oven door hinges, refrigerator drink dispensers and drive belts for washers and dryers are also excluded, because these items experience a great deal of wear and tear in everyday use. Each warranty carries its own list of exclusions but in every case these are all parts and circumstances that are prone failure.

Even when a part is actually covered by the extended warranty, you may have to pay a “service fee” to have it repaired. Some plans charge you a fee just to make a claim against the plan. Even worse, your claim could involve you paying a deductible for the service call, on top of whatever fee you paid to buy the plan or make the claim. By their very nature, these warranties have a LOT of fine print so if you’re still considering purchasing one against all advice, make sure you understand the terms.

Product Lifespan

Except in the case of automobiles, seldom will you find extended warranty plans that offer you more than 4 additional years. This is because the average lifespan of most household products these days, particularly electronics, is about 5 years. Yes, planned obsolescence is a real thing. That said, most name brand manufacturers these days make good reliable products and it’s not very likely they will need a major repair in their lifetime. This is how they create brand loyalty and is how they’ve stayed in business. So chances are, even if you buy that extended warranty, you won’t need it.

Warranty Alternatives

Even without an extended warranty, many credit cards offer an extra year’s warranty on products purchased using that card. It’s one of those nice perks they offer which can be actually useful. So even if you planned on paying cash for your purchase, check to see if perhaps using one of your credit cards could provide this benefit for you.

Similarly, even if something has happened to a product out of warranty, you should call the manufacturer before you call a repairman. Sometimes there are known defects of which you are unaware, that the manufacturer for cover. And if you are a registered owner of other products by this manufacturer, they may make a goodwill decision to assist you with all or part of the cost of repair.

When All Else Fails

When all other remedies have failed and you do have to call in a repair person, use social media to find a recommended person. Joining neighbourhood Facebook groups or using sites like Homestars to find good, reliable repair help you can depend on is a great way to add confidence to your choice.

If you feel you’ve been failed by a warranty or have a complaint about a household product, you can file that complaint with MyResolver. It’s always free and easy to use.

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