Joined: 06 Jul 1999
Location: Austin, TX
|Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:21 am Post subject: Avoid purchasing extended warranties!
|Almost every major retailer, including box stores like Sears, Lowes, Best Buy, et. al, will try and convince you to buy "extended warranties" for your appliances. They are taking advantage of the fact that there is a 1-year warranty on appliances now, and also because they are made more cheaply than ever before. They are also cashing in on a major market, the appliance service field., only they are contracting the cheapest and least paid people to do the contract repairs. Hence, you get a plethora of questionable companies out trying to make money from third-party providers.
Here's what I think after all my 38 years of customer service repairs in the field:
1. Avoid extended warranties
2. When repairs are needed, it is best to simply pay for them as needed. Most modern stuff has a lifespan of about 7-10 years anyway depending on how hard it is used. 3. The warranty gimmick is cleverly presented by sales people, only pointing out the possible savings over the life of the appliance (remember, 7-10 years). Mostly, it's because they get a commission on the sale, plus the post-warranty company doing the repair is making a cut on every one of them, further encouraging this practice.
4. You will end up paying a co-pay on most of these programs, plust the company decides when to stop repairs in the 'lifespan clause' written in the fine print of your contract. It pays to read those things, trust me.
Here's an excerpt from a column written by an affiliate of mine in Oregon who has been in the business of repairs for for several years:
Regarding extended warranties-
"I think it has more to do with what the customer thinks they are hearing. We lose work to places like Sears because the customer will be looking around for the best deal and on the Sears site, they are able to put in what is wrong with there appliance and an estimated repair cost comes back so the customer considers that a quote. Or the customer will read the service call fee from the website but ignore the fine print stating additional labor and parts will be quoted by the tech and you pay the trip charge regardless. We even had one last month where the customer was calling around looking for installing a specific part, found the part on the Sears parts site and then proceeded to give that to us as a quote from Sears. Unfortunately, trying to explain reality to many of these customers doesn't work because people tend to believe what they read or hear if it agrees with their expectation. Many service providers out there be it Sears, or some one man operation all use marketing ploys of one form or another to get the phone to ring. It is difficult for the average consumer to read between the lines on things like "free service call with repair" because it reads one way to one person and another to someone else. I find it best to ask as many questions of the customers when they call, because when I find people simply shopping or attempting to manipulate my fees by providing details of others charges, I usually suggest they go with the place that offered them such a great deal. I am sure it works out many times for those customers, but the Internet is also full of reviews from customers that felt they were robbed, most likely because they expected the price to be this, when in actuality it was not. As for the "free service call with repair", I spoke with two potential customers in the same week insistent that this other place didn't charge for estimate because of that statement. I politely suggested they go with that service provider because attempting to explain the reality would only be a waste of my time."
All in all, my message is to just buy the appliance and pay to have it repaired by a factory-recommended source instead of the "come-on" guys in the phone book. The best way to do this is to go directly to the manufacturer's website and look up the companies in your area. This way, you are assured of getting someone familiar with your brand, not some do-it-all company that is paid lower wages to come to your house. Repairs are expensive enough, but if done wrong, can cost you more later.
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