If you got a gadget or an appliance, maybe a TV, this holiday season then you were likely asked if you wanted an extended warranty. Basically, you're being asked if you want to insure that new smartphone or big screen TV.
As you know insurance can be a great thing. Health insurance. Mortgage insurance. When something goes wrong with your home or your health it can cost a lot to fix it. But that kind of security is not needed, according to industry experts, as a rule for much else.
Let's start with your phone. You just got it. It costs, say, 500 or 600 bucks. That's a lot of money. If something goes wrong, do you have another $600 lying around? Maybe not, but the fix is likely less than the price of the plan.
Let's talk about some facts. According to Consumer Reports, appliance or electronics repairs, as a rule, aren't really that expensive. They cost about the same as the price of the service plan. Also, products rarely break inside the warranty or service plan window. And finally, there's a good chance an extended warranty just duplicates the manufacturer's warranty which can be 90 days.
How so? Well, that new TV, or whatever it is you've bought, is likely already covered in some way.
Alternatives to Extended Warranties
Credit cards offer free extended warranties
Manufacturers also offer free warranty coverage
Extended warranties may duplicate the warranty that comes with your product
When you buy something where an extended warranty might be a consideration ask the retailer to review the at-purchase, basic warranty first. Sometimes the manufacturer's warranty already covers what that extended warranty offers. Now, if the salesperson says 'no' then they don't know the law. It's a federal rule that you can see it if the product is more than $15.
Finally, here's a fourth way to extend your warranty at no cost. There is something called an express warranty. Here's how this works. Let's say you bought Christmas lights and the company advertised, "Enjoy 10,000 hours of beautiful lights." Meaning, they should work at least 10,000 hours, but they don't. You only get through one holiday season and they die. If you have your receipt and proof of that claim, you can hold the manufacturer or retailer, whomever said it or wrote it, responsible then you have a right to replacement, repair or refund.