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jblank
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« on: December 18, 2006, 09:37:19 PM »

Reading this http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/18/13555/200 at Kos today got me wondering about what others do when confronted with an extended warranty option. On cars, I have found them to be worthwhile, but for almost everything else (except the XBOX 360), I typically shun them, and agree with what Consumer Reports recommends. Anyone wanna discuss their thoughts on Extended Warranties? This is a relevant topic with all the buying going on this time of year.
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2006, 09:51:33 PM »

With big ticket items which will remain the same (so not, for example, DVD players which have new models every 5 months) I would go with the extended warranty.  I used to work at both Best Buy and CompUSSR long ago, so there are a few things you need to check in the fine print:

1. is the insurance plan (which is what an extended warranty really is) they are offering backed up by the company itself, or is it underwritten by a separate insurance company?  You will prefer it to be a separate entity, for a few reasons.  If the company goes under, for example, nobody will honor the policy.  Another is that the vendor is more likely to replace the product if it's not coming out of their own pocket.

2. does the policy actually offer a swap out plan?  If they are obligated to try fixing the item first... good luck.  I recall from Best Buy that their service center had the highest theft rate of any BB site... and it was obviously all employee theft.  Another problem was the amazing amount of time it took to actually fix people's stuff.  Would you want your TV to be out for service for 4-6 weeks?

As for the CompUSSR location I worked at, their repairs actually had a pretty good turn-around time.  My major issue with them was the low quality of retail computers in general.  However, speaking with other people, I might concede retail PCs are higher quality now.


So basically, I would get one if I were buying a console.  For anything else, I probably wouldn't bother.

Now if you REALLY want protection, get one of those credit cards which offers consumer protection with all your purchases.
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2006, 09:59:33 PM »

Unbreakable makes EXCELLENT points.

I get extended coverage for big purchases on things I don't plan to replace in the near future (cars, tv's, that kind of thing). The one exception: computers. I don't really purchase them much; when I do, it's a near-barebones system that I plan on handling myself, and I do my own pc tech support. For those, the warranty's a ripoff for me.
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2006, 10:37:36 PM »

I have found it's not even worth it on new cars. We got one but they didn't have the booklet saying what it covered. We had the option to back out if we didn't like it.
We got the booklet and found the extended warranty covered defects in manufacture and workmanship but not normal wear and tear. So if your transmission goes bad after 75,000 miles it's just wear and tear. Your also had to keep up the maintainence like replacing the timing belt at 50,000 miles at your expense.
We got our money back.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 10:39:36 PM by dbt1949 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2006, 10:51:48 PM »

I treat warranties much the same way as I do insurance: if I can easily afford to outright replace the item if it goes broken, then I don't get it.  Otherwise it's a relatively simple math function for me:

(% Chance of Breaking) * (Replace/Repair Cost) > Cost of Warranty

If the above is true, I get the warranty.  Otherwise, I say fuck it.

I've not purchased a warranty in four or five years, I think.

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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2006, 11:00:59 PM »

I did on the 360, but I skipped it on my LG HDTV.  paranoid
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2006, 11:02:10 PM »

Oh also... any purchase that concerns me reliability wise, I try to buy from Costco - no warranty needed there.

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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 11:09:17 PM »

I never buy them.  Not only are they a very poor value for your dollar, actually getting the business to honor them can be exasperating.  All you have to do is visit bestbuysux.org to get a few horror stories, and they're not the only one.  If something is THAT expensive, then I'll use my homeowners' insurance if it gets struck by lightning or goes kaput (the mysterous "electrical surge" claim). 
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2006, 11:11:38 PM »

It really depends on the store too.  I see the extended warranty as insurance for something that is either hard to fix or dang expensive.  Sadly, some of the stores are a tad bit off kilter and don't do what they are supposed to do for the extended warranties.  If you have any questions on how the Best Buy ones work, just let me know.  Since I am the person that prepares the work orders and makes sure what is covered, I can give my input also. 
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2006, 11:33:17 PM »

Quote from: ROTC1983 on December 18, 2006, 11:11:38 PM

It really depends on the store too.  I see the extended warranty as insurance for something that is either hard to fix or dang expensive.  Sadly, some of the stores are a tad bit off kilter and don't do what they are supposed to do for the extended warranties.  If you have any questions on how the Best Buy ones work, just let me know.  Since I am the person that prepares the work orders and makes sure what is covered, I can give my input also. 

I agree, but with cars, they have actually benefited my wife and I. On my wifes Nissan Altima, the power window motor went out on the sunroof and drivers side window, and the repair would have been over $800.00 with labor included. The extended warranty took care of that and paid for itself completely, on that visit.
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2006, 11:52:43 PM »

On a car, I might get one, since repairs for major problems cost so darn much.  If it's an issue of a few hundred, I'll extend the warranty and hope I don't need it.

Whenever you go into an insurance situation, the issue (and I yell at my brother a lot about this) isn't that you are "getting your money's worth".  The issue is whether you will be placed at financial risk in a worst-case scenario.

Now obviously if your XBox360 turns into a brick in two years, it isn't going to put you in dire straits.  But if your $30,000 car gets totalled and your insurance won't cover it... that's bad.  Or if your house burns down or floods or gets hit by a hurricane, and you have to bear all the expense... that's another case where you will get financially devastated.

Same with some auto repairs, which is why if you don't drive very often, you may be better off leasing a vehicle.  Or someone like me, who drives hardly at all, it's cheaper for me to use cabs or rent a vehicle, since I mainly shop local or use public transportation.  My travel costs are lower than the price of a yearly vehicle sticker, a yearly license plate/registration, and the hastle of storing/parking a vehicle.

So there is really a kind of calculus you need to do based on what you are getting, how you will be using it, and your overall financial situation.  Yep, it's ultimately a pain in the ass, just like everything.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 11:56:10 PM by unbreakable » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2006, 11:57:46 PM »

I've gone with the extended warranties on a handful of larger price purchases, but the only time I've had to use one was with my original XBox through EBGames.  No fuss, no muss - just returned it for a new one no problems.  
I'll usually buy it for consoles or other electronic items that get heavy use that cost over $200, but lately I've been leaning towards not getting it at all seeing how in the past 7-8 years only one item has broken down on me.
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2006, 12:01:49 AM »

With Costco, no extended warranties are needed.  I buy from there only, and its saved my bacon multiple times.  I think extended warranties are a bad idea for consumers, and a great idea for businesses.  Companies make a fortune off extended warranties, which amount to people purchased "Piece of mind", and a *VAST* majority of them are never redeemed.  Based on what I remember being at Radioshack, less than 12% of all extended warranties were ever used.(according to corporate records)  Once again, I choose to shop at a company that feels consumers shouldn't be forced to pay extra for quality and reliability - Costco.

On cars extended warranties are a waste of time usually IMO.  The *ONLY* time in 20 years we've needed them on cars was one used vehicle we purchased I wasn't confident in its quality, I talked them down to $500 on a nice 5 year warranty.  Ended up, the car needed a total of $2900.00 in repairs before the warranty expired, at which point we promptly sold it. 
« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 12:06:33 AM by Kobra » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2006, 12:08:24 AM »

It really depends on the device.  For instance, I have a warranty on my laptop, 360, PS3, TV, and my PDA.  Some are because of failures in hardware, some are just in case of accidental screen damage.  I've had to use it on my laptop once and I was VERY glad that I had it.  I've never had one for my car though...
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2006, 12:43:50 AM »

Quote from: Kobra on December 19, 2006, 12:01:49 AM

On cars extended warranties are a waste of time usually IMO.  The *ONLY* time in 20 years we've needed them on cars was one used vehicle we purchased I wasn't confident in its quality, I talked them down to $500 on a nice 5 year warranty.  Ended up, the car needed a total of $2900.00 in repairs before the warranty expired, at which point we promptly sold it. 

You'd buy extended warranties on cars if you had my luck. icon_wink Same with televisions.

I have horrible luck. And no, there's no Costco in my area, so while that's a great suggestion, it's not an option for me (or I'd buy expensive goods only from there, nowhere else).
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2006, 01:57:46 AM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on December 19, 2006, 12:08:24 AM

It really depends on the device.  For instance, I have a warranty on my laptop, 360, PS3, TV, and my PDA.  Some are because of failures in hardware, some are just in case of accidental screen damage.  I've had to use it on my laptop once and I was VERY glad that I had it.  I've never had one for my car though...

Yeah, that's an excellent point.  Laptops and PDAs... if the screen breaks, you are pretty much screwed.  So at least getting accidental screen protection might be worth it.

One of my instructors was telling me how he purchased some high-end laptop, had it a few days, and the phone slipped out of his hand and crashed into the middle of the laptop screen.  It costs almost as much (and sometimes more) than the laptop to replace the screen, so he has to use it as a desktop now  disgust  Bad thing for him.  But he makes a shit-load of money, so I can't feel too bad  Tongue
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2006, 03:02:06 AM »

i don't usually go for extended warranties, but i did get one on my HDTV a couple months ago.  i paid for an additional two years in that case because the tv is something i can't afford to replace if it were to break outside the warranty period.  the warranty also includes a 'free' bulb replacement within the warranty period though, and one of those bulbs costs roughly the same amount as the warranty.  as long as i replace the bulb within three years (pretty much guaranteed), i essentially get back the money i spent on the warranty.  i figured that's a pretty worthwhile deal in the end, so i went for it this time.
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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2006, 05:52:53 AM »

Well, I'm glad I used it on my laptop purchased over at BB just a little over 2 years ago (on a 3 year warranty). I finally had to take it in for a 4th problem, and at that point their lemon protection kicked in. I now have another $1200 to spend on a new laptop (or something else in the store). And the laptop would be worth half that (if I was lucky) right now.

Pretty good deal methinks.
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2006, 08:24:55 AM »

Quote from: unbreakable on December 19, 2006, 01:57:46 AM

One of my instructors was telling me how he purchased some high-end laptop, had it a few days, and the phone slipped out of his hand and crashed into the middle of the laptop screen.  It costs almost as much (and sometimes more) than the laptop to replace the screen, so he has to use it as a desktop now  disgust  Bad thing for him.  But he makes a shit-load of money, so I can't feel too bad  Tongue

was he using the phone like a Wii controller?  Otherwise I'm not sure how you could break a laptop screen.....
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« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2006, 01:49:41 PM »

One point that was brought up that I never really thought much about is the Credit Card option.  I know I have some degree of protection on my AMEX.  I should look further into that if I have need to buy from Best Buy again.
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2006, 02:51:54 PM »

Quote
I agree, but with cars, they have actually benefited my wife and I. On my wifes Nissan Altima, the power window motor went out on the sunroof and drivers side window, and the repair would have been over $800.00 with labor included. The extended warranty took care of that and paid for itself completely, on that visit.
I've only started buying reliable cars like Honda and Toyota, so the extended warranties don't help in this case.  For less reliable cars, like Ford, I'd buy the extended warranty.  Of course, I'd probably never buy another crappy car like a Ford again.
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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2006, 04:05:10 PM »

Quote from: Scott on December 19, 2006, 02:51:54 PM

Quote
I agree, but with cars, they have actually benefited my wife and I. On my wifes Nissan Altima, the power window motor went out on the sunroof and drivers side window, and the repair would have been over $800.00 with labor included. The extended warranty took care of that and paid for itself completely, on that visit.
I've only started buying reliable cars like Honda and Toyota, so the extended warranties don't help in this case.  For less reliable cars, like Ford, I'd buy the extended warranty.  Of course, I'd probably never buy another crappy car like a Ford again.

There isn't anything wrong with Ford vehicles. If you take care of a car, keep it maintained and the oil changed, anything available today will be a reliable car for the most part. There are always models less reliable, but as Consumer Reports says, the worst 2006 model car, as far as reliability goes, would have been a car with average reliability 15 years ago. Cars are getting better and standards change, but Ford makes fine vehicles, even though I don't own one.

Edited because I apparently had forgotten there was an "f" in fine.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 07:02:04 PM by jblank » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2006, 04:08:24 PM »

Quote from: Scott on December 19, 2006, 02:51:54 PM

I'd probably never buy another crappy car like a Ford again.

The way you treated it, it's no wonder it had problems...   icon_smile
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« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2006, 07:09:09 PM »

Quote
Cars are getting better and standards change, but Ford makes mine vehicles, even though I don't own one.
You aren't particularly qualified to determine how nice Ford cars are then, are you?  I've maintained the Ford cars I've had just fine, but have had a lot more problems with them then the Honda I have.  I've had electrical problems, window problems, seat issues, suspension issues, etc.  How exactly do you maintain a window mechanism?

I've owned 3 Fords (out of 4 total cars), and they all let me down.  I wanted to support American cars, but finally decided that they were garbage, and I wouldn't touch them again.  My Accord has far exceeded anything I had from Ford, in every conceivable way, and actually cost less then my last Found On Road Dead.

Quote
If you take care of a car, keep it maintained and the oil changed, anything available today will be a reliable car for the most part.
So reliable that you feel compelled to always get the extended warranties on cars you own?  That doesn't sound terribly reliable to me...


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« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2006, 07:21:08 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on December 19, 2006, 08:24:55 AM

Quote from: unbreakable on December 19, 2006, 01:57:46 AM

One of my instructors was telling me how he purchased some high-end laptop, had it a few days, and the phone slipped out of his hand and crashed into the middle of the laptop screen.  It costs almost as much (and sometimes more) than the laptop to replace the screen, so he has to use it as a desktop now  disgust  Bad thing for him.  But he makes a shit-load of money, so I can't feel too bad  Tongue

was he using the phone like a Wii controller?  Otherwise I'm not sure how you could break a laptop screen.....

LOL, yeah pretty much.  He just had a case of fumble-fingers, and the phone flew out of his hand.
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« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2006, 03:55:22 AM »

Fords are garbage imo, every single one I have owned has been full of problems. Ford does mickey-mouse shit, like make the rotors on my wifes vehicle wafer thin so we have to replace them instead of resurface them, then the parts are dealer-only.. Fuckers. The *ONLY* reason we currently have Big-Three cars is because we get them dirt cheap and usually pay cash for em. 

But I guarantee, without question, that any future vehicles we own will be Hondas or Toyotas, we're never buying American Cars again, regardless of the deals.
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« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2006, 06:53:51 PM »

Quote from: Scott on December 19, 2006, 07:09:09 PM

Quote
Cars are getting better and standards change, but Ford makes mine vehicles, even though I don't own one.
You aren't particularly qualified to determine how nice Ford cars are then, are you?  I've maintained the Ford cars I've had just fine, but have had a lot more problems with them then the Honda I have.  I've had electrical problems, window problems, seat issues, suspension issues, etc.  How exactly do you maintain a window mechanism?

I've owned 3 Fords (out of 4 total cars), and they all let me down.  I wanted to support American cars, but finally decided that they were garbage, and I wouldn't touch them again.  My Accord has far exceeded anything I had from Ford, in every conceivable way, and actually cost less then my last Found On Road Dead.

Quote
If you take care of a car, keep it maintained and the oil changed, anything available today will be a reliable car for the most part.
So reliable that you feel compelled to always get the extended warranties on cars you own?  That doesn't sound terribly reliable to me...

Oh Scott, come on, lets not twist things around, ok?

Ford's are, for the most part, reliable American cars. Are they as reliable as Honda's? No, but then again I didn't claim they were now did I?

Consumer Reports, an excellent barometer for what is reliable and what isn't, shows that while they have some lesser reliable models (Expedition), they also have models that are above average. My parents are a Ford family, so I can speak to it quite well thank you, and I know that just like with anything, if it is maintained, odds are, unless you get a lemon, you will have good experiences. You can drive a Lexus in the ground if you wanted to and they are exceptionally reliable. I don't expect power window motors to last forever, and in my wifes car, she uses it a lot, so odds are its gonna go out, and it did. I don't hold Nissan responsible, I'm not pissed at them, things happen and thanks to the ext. warranty, it averted a big bill.

As to your little snide remark about my buying extended warranties, did you not read the part where I mentioned that the problems I have had were later in the cars life? We're talking 6 years on the Altima....6 YEARS and considering that was the only problem we have had with the car, knock on wood, I would say I have had good fortune with it. Buying a preventative thing, like an extended warranty, doesn't show a lack of faith, it shows that for a small up front cost, a problem that could crop up down the line, gets fixed for free. That isn't an indictment of Nissan, Volkswagen, or General Motors, the 3 makers of the last 4 cars the wife and I have owned and bought warranties on, its just that spending $500.00, up front, COULD and HAS, been shown to save us money down the line. I also drive about 22,000 miles a year, so I tend to eat up standard warranties quickly.

You are free to disagree and thats one of the reasons I started the thread, to bring all this info out for everyone to digest. icon_smile
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 07:00:45 PM by jblank » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2006, 07:07:38 PM »

Quote from: Kobra on December 20, 2006, 03:55:22 AM

Fords are garbage imo, every single one I have owned has been full of problems. Ford does mickey-mouse shit, like make the rotors on my wifes vehicle wafer thin so we have to replace them instead of resurface them, then the parts are dealer-only.. Fuckers. The *ONLY* reason we currently have Big-Three cars is because we get them dirt cheap and usually pay cash for em. 

But I guarantee, without question, that any future vehicles we own will be Hondas or Toyotas, we're never buying American Cars again, regardless of the deals.

Kobra, I know a guy here at work that has a 94 F150, drives it all over the place, hauls tons of stuff and tows a boat. He changes the oil at 3,000, doesn't let stuff get fucked up, and has 196,000 miles on it. I'm sorry you have had problems with Ford cars, but for everyone on here that has a problem, I know 5 people that don't. I'm not a guy that is rah-rah buy American or anything, but I am loyal to brands that give me good experiences, and thats I why I have bought Nissan's, Mazda's, Saturn's, and Chevy's. I'm not exluding any particular brand, hell, I would buy a Kia with some of the improvements they have made, but every time I hear someone make a blanket statement, like you and this other fella did, I just kinda wanna sigh and roll my eyes (nothing personal), because just because one person has had a bad experience, that doesn't mean an entire make of car is shit. I'm sure there are dissatisfied Acura, Honda, and Toyota owners out there, wouldn't you agree?
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« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2006, 07:17:07 PM »

I'm very dissatisfied with my non-existent BMW.  I think they need to rectify that.
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« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2006, 05:46:44 PM »

Quote from: jblank on December 20, 2006, 06:53:51 PM

Ford's are, for the most part, reliable American cars. Are they as reliable as Honda's? No, but then again I didn't claim they were now did I?

For the most part, they are.  But like you said, they don't *CLAIM* to be Hondas or Toyotas!  That comes with a price, a cheap entry price, but with more maintenence later, and a great likelyhood it won't last as long. So you weigh it out, do you want a more expensive vehicle that has unprecedented reliability and build quality, or do you want a low cost car that is new, but will require more money later?  So far, we've elected to get dirt cheap American cars, then baby the hell out of them and hope they hold out.  This is changing for us, we don't want to be doing shit like replacing defectively engineered rotors at 30,000 miles, so our next vehicles will be Hondas/Toyotas/Hyundai's.

Quote
Consumer Reports, an excellent barometer for what is reliable and what isn't,

With all due respect, I disagree.  Consumer Reports is full of shit most of the time.  Like how they rated Hoovers best model higher than a Dyson, then later this model was recalled, and prone to early failures, and frankly, sucked major ass.   Dysans are known to last lifetimes, have 5+ year warranties, and beat the shit out of any other brand.  Consumer reports has made a succession of shitty decisions like this that call to question their testing methodologies or lack of - at least in my mind. I have a nagging suspicion they may be party to the mighty corporate loddying.
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