ANSWERS: 3
  • I answered a similar question some time ago and my opinion on the subject has not changed... Buyer protection plans and other forms of extended warranties are sold by businesses because they are profitable. On some items, the store may make more of a profit from the sale of the warranty than from the sale of the consumer product itself. Salespeople are encouraged to promote the warranties - they may even be required to sell a minimum number per total products sold to maintain a satisfactory performance rating. I have never been convinced of the value of these policies. However, if one provides good coverage at a very reasonable cost (e.g., no more than 5% of the purchase price) it may be a worthwhile investment. If you use the product infrequently, you may see more benefit than if you are a frequent user. This is due to the failure characteristics of active electronic components. The great majority of failures occur very early in the life of an electronic device, typically within the first 100 hours of operation. Once you are beyond the first 200 or 300 hours of operation, the failure rate drops substantially and remains relatively low until the product begins to approach the end of its design life. For example, if you watch a new television for one hour per day, it could easily take more than six months to pass through the initial failure period. If the television has a six-month warranty, you could be out of luck. But if you leave it turned on for four hours a day, you would get through the early failure period within the first two months of ownership. This is the statistical basis on which extended warranties make their profits: they offer protection during a period of a product's lifespan where such support is generally not needed. Footnote... You can obtain a certain degree of confidence in a product by checking the warranty that the manufacturer offers. A product that carries a warranty of less than one year in length is likely to be an inferior product; one that should be avoided. If a manufacturer is unwilling to provide support for their goods for a period longer than six months, it speaks volumes about the quality of the product. I consider a one-year warranty period the absolute minimum and prefer to purchase items with at least a two-year warranty. Many of the audio components that I own, for example, carry a five-year warranty and one product came with a 20-year transferable warranty. Products like those give me a feeling of confidence that is lacking in products with short warranties. None of this means that a product will never need to be serviced - far from it - but it does mean that the manufacturer has tried to build a quality product and is willing to stake their reputation and some of their profit on its long-term success.
  • I've found that if you bought a lemon, you find out BEFORE the (free) mfg warranty ends. That is sufficient. I never buy extended warranties for anything. I believe they are a complete waste of money.
  • In the long you will always be better off if you don't buy warranties. A company focused on maximizing its profits won't offer a warranty that hurts its profits. Emre

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