Extended warranties for computing and consumer electronic technology products - are they worth the money?

Pros and cons of extended warranties.

15th September 2014.
When you buy technology products from many stores, including PCWorld, you are often asked if you would like to purchase an extended warranty for your purchase. There has been a lot of bad press about these extended warranties and it is best to be informed about these warranties before you decide to buy one. These extended warranties offer repair options once the manufacturers warranty is over. Many electronic products provide a one year manufacturer warranty and after this time has elapsed you must pay for any repairs that are needed.
Example : View PCWorld Ireland extended warranty information


 These days many stores will offer extended warranties on most products and it is always better to try to make an informed decision before you go to buy, without feeling pressuried to buy when at the point of paying.

Some consumer organisations have cautioned against the purchase of extended warranties but there are some instances and products where the warranty purchase may be advisable.

Of course, if the warranty of one year seems too little for your needs, it is always waise to search for products that already include a manufacturers warranty for longer periods. These do exist in some stores – where the product includes a warranty of 2,3 or even 5 years included in the price. The stores will often feature this in the product information signs and always ask if any terms and conditions apply before purchasing.

Some consumer electronics manufacturers have cut their warranty periods in recent years. This allows tham to lower their retail pricing but you may end up paying more should the product become defective.

 It may be true that retailer use extended warrnties to boost their profits but depending on your circumstance the extended warranty policies my still be beneficial and at the very least offer you peace of mind.


Pros and cons of extended warranties
Pros
Peace of mind
Free repairs in the event of a break down (terms and conditions apply of course)
Cons
Additional cost – costs can be around an extra third of the purchase price.


So should I buy the extended warranty?
The simple answer can be – it depends on the price of the offered warranty and the type of product you are buying. Also if you are comfortable with basic repairs, many fixes can be made yourself without a need to return the product or call a service engineer. For example, many PC problems are software related and simple fixes can be found online if you are competent with computing. Washing machines often fail due to simple filter blocks etc.
It is worthwhile having an idea of the likelihood of a breakdown of a particular produt type before weighing up the possible benefits of the purchase. Obviously if the product is very reliable, then the chances of a repair being needed are lessened and you may take the options and risk that the extended warranty is too expensive. It is effectively an insurance policy and you need to assess the risk of it being needed.
As a rough guide in a three year period the likelihood of a problem with the product is divided into risk groups below. Higher risk mean there is a greater likelihood of a breakdown during a three year period, and it may prove a wise decision to buy an extended warranty

Higher risk of breakdown within 3 years:
Laptop Computer
Washing machine
Dishwasher
Medium risk of breakdown within 3 years
Desktop PC
Fridge
Vacuum cleaner
Television
Lower risk of breakdown within 3 years
Clothes dryer
Microwave
Camera and camcorder
Printers

 

Check the warranty details before you buy
Always ask for a printed document which details what is covered by the policy. For example, a friend of mine bought an extended warranty for a laptop. Within 18 months the laptop battery failed and he expected that this would be covered. However when he contacted the retailer he was informed that batteries are deemed consumables and not covered. It is important that you understand the terms and conditions of extended warranties. Know how the warranty works and if deliveries and collections are included. Know what is included in the repair services.
I hope that you found this article useful and with these policies it is always wise to know how they work before committing to the purchases.

PC World Ireland