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QOTD: Do You Buy Extended Warranties?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 55 comments

Things tend to break down eventually. Even high-quality products eventually break down. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it's a pain.

Thankfully, purchased goods come with limited warranties, typically around a full year. However, sometimes a year just isn't enough, especially when you've vested your hard earned cash into an expensive product. But, you always hope that things will be okay. More often than not, consumers feel that extended warranty plans are just a scam, a way for companies to pocket more money without actually offering anything back.

Warranties, like insurance, work on peace of mind and yes, fear. This is why extended warranty programs have such a stigma over them. When you buy an extended warranty and something does go wrong after the initial period vaporizes, you feel glad that you bought it. If nothing goes wrong, you feel money was taken from you for nothing in exchange--especially when some extended warranties can be very expensive.

I once witnessed a retail sales person sell a customer on a $25 "extended warranty" on a $30 camera lithium-ion battery. First of all, you can't sell warranties on batteries, and second, that was an outright scam.

The question of the day is: Do you buy extended warranties for your devices?

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  • 2 Hide
    jsloan , May 19, 2009 8:37 PM
  • 6 Hide
    cataclymistic100 , May 19, 2009 8:48 PM
    Nope never ever found it worth the money
  • Display all 55 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , May 19, 2009 8:54 PM
    I purchase extended Warranties on pre-assembled computers (though I haven't bought one in years). I got more than my moneys worth using the warranty on my Alienware computer.

    Generally, if the warranty cost is less than 10% of the product cost, it might be worth it. If the extended warranty also covers more types of damage than a basic warranty, it might be worth it.

    I have never, however, purchased those "extended warranties" from stores like Best Buy. They have such poor customer service to begin with, I can't imagine the hassles they put you through.
  • 3 Hide
    christop , May 19, 2009 8:55 PM
    no and never will...
  • 0 Hide
    sublifer , May 19, 2009 9:00 PM
    Not on anything for myself. When its for someone else I'm more inclined to have them get it so I don't have to deal with all the problems. The day they sell an extra 2 years of warranty for $20 is the day I'll consider getting it for myself. Of course a PC ought to last more than 3 yrs anyway... unless something is defective, like NVidia's bad GPUs, parts shouldn't die within 3 years. Most will go for 7 but if you get 3 out of it then you probably got your money's worth.
  • 8 Hide
    tenor77 , May 19, 2009 9:00 PM
    I go by cost ratio. Say I buy a $500 Monitor and they want $25? Sure. They want $100, umm nope.

    Say it's a $4000 HD TV, and they want $100, sure, $500, nope.
  • 1 Hide
    yantelope , May 19, 2009 9:01 PM
    I worked at Circuit City and the profit margin on warranties was 70%. The only warranties that are worth it are the ones that have accidental protection. That way 4 years later your computer can have a little "accident" maybe fall down some stairs, repeatedly. You send it in and get a shiny new one. Of course those types of warranties cost more than half the price of the laptop so they still aren't really worth it.
  • 0 Hide
    thephilly , May 19, 2009 9:01 PM
    depends on the product, but rarely will i buy it
  • 0 Hide
    kezix_69 , May 19, 2009 9:07 PM
    I did once on a laptop I bought from Circuit City. The damn thing broke like 5 times and they simply fixed it each time. I was pissed that they didn't just give me a new one!

    I didn't buy the warranty to make sure it was operational, I paid that much freaking money so that I would get a new one when it broke!

    That's the last time I remember getting an extended warranty on anything.
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , May 19, 2009 9:17 PM
    heh i work in direct contact with suppliers - i already get more then 12 months warranty *minimum*
  • 1 Hide
    mactruck , May 19, 2009 9:21 PM
    I had an extended warranty from BBuy on a TV that broke 4 times in a year. They had it for over 2/3 of the warranty period and then tried to weasel out of replacing it until I threatened legal action.

    That said, I also had a great experience with an extended warranty on a projector I bought online. It was less than 10% of the purchase price and saved me over $1500. I bought a 4-year extension from the same company when I bought my 52" HDTV in March - it was only 8% of the purchase price and includes accidental damage.

    I have only heard horror stories about brick-and-mortar store repairs, but some online retailers have Eggceptional service.
  • 0 Hide
    cadder , May 19, 2009 9:28 PM
    I have purchased them at various times over the years. I have never gotten significant benefit from them. I did buy warranties on 2 different cars that I bought, and both times the warranties paid for repairs, but the total costs of the repairs was less than half the cost of the warranties.

    My philosophy is that I will save the cost of extended warranties, put it in my pocket, and if something breaks I'm way ahead even after I pay for it.

    BUT if I buy something that I think might be more breakage prone then I might buy an extended warranty for it.

    Sometimes the cost of an extended warranty is significant. I bought a small DVD player for my daughter, and an extended warranty because I heard that these items are very breakage prone. The warranty cost over half the cost of the DVD player, but we never had a problem with the DVD player.

    I have heard of other people that bought extended warranties but were denied coverage because of allegations that the product was abused, even when it was not abused. The person writing the warranty has the ultimate authority over whether they will ever pay you or not.

    OTOH I had a friend that jogged frequently with his MP3 player. It failed so he got a replacement under his warranty. After awhile it failed too so he got another one. Each time they would have to upgrade him to a better model because the failed one was no longer made. He went from a 64mb model to a 512mb model.
  • 0 Hide
    radguy , May 19, 2009 9:46 PM
    paid 2400 dollars for a dell laptop in 04. 400 was on a top notch 4 year warrenty. In 05 the hard drive died and was replaced. 6ish months later the ethernet port went and the mainboard was replaced. In 06 a drunken freind spilt beer on it and the keyboard, mainboard, and harddrive was replaced. All repairs were made in less than 3 days.
    It was the only warrenty I ever bought and I needed it cause I didn't have a spare computer at the time.
    I did buy another 2 year warrenty on a laptop purchase last june but it was only $160 and included a battery replacement. Thats the only warrenties I ever bought. Unless its really good deal or I can't aford to replace it I probably won't buy any in the future though.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , May 19, 2009 9:48 PM
    Hell no.
  • 0 Hide
    skit75 , May 19, 2009 9:51 PM

  • 1 Hide
    LATTEH , May 19, 2009 10:02 PM
    i buy extended warrenty's if i know it breaks (xbox 360)
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    A Stoner , May 19, 2009 10:12 PM
    I do, depending on cost of item, expected time before replacement, and cost of coverage.
    I have a car that I never plan to get rid of, it gets extended always. I have in general recouped 80% of the cost of the warranties on it to date.
    New TV, plan to keep it at least 5 years, extended warranty out to 5 years. While it is unlikely that the TV will fail, if it does fail I am out $1000 and if it does not fail, I am out the warranty cost of $125. So far, the warranty company has made money off me, but I have 4 more years to go... Spending 12.5% of the cost of an item to extend the warranty is worth it sometimes. Spending 50%, never.
    Small purchases, less than $250 never get warranties, I can replace those items easily. Larger items that I would rather not live without for more than a short period of time, well, I want peace of mind more than a few less dollars spent.
  • 0 Hide
    tester3000 , May 19, 2009 10:16 PM
    Bought a $200 extended warranty for a $4000 sony hdtv. But wouldn't buy it for anything else. They were basically giving it for free. I actually got the TV for $3000 including a power bar and cables :) 
  • 0 Hide
    waikano , May 19, 2009 10:16 PM
    Nope, haven't bought an extended warranty in I don't know how long.
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