Digital Journal — Next time a retailer tries to pressure you to buy an extended warranty on electronics, don’t give in. Most extended warranties are “notoriously bad deals,” according to a recent survey from Consumer Reports magazine.
“Betting on an extended warranty is a sucker’s bet,” Consumer Reports’ senior Editor Tod Marks said in an interview. He explained how most products sold in North America are generally reliable and well made. Few gadgets break within the extended warranty period and, when they do, the repair rarely costs more the warranty would, the consumer group found.
“Technology advances so quickly that new features, dropping prices, better products may mean it’s preferable to buy a new item rather than fix the old one,” Marks said.
Even words of warning won’t stop consumers from buying this huckster form of insurance. U.S. consumers will spend $1.6 billion US this holiday season buying extended warranties for everything from flat-screen TVs to desktop PCs, according to the New York-based Consumers Union.
At most electronics stores, I hear the same refrain: “Would you like an extended warranty for that?” I can almost sense the eager anticipation in a salesperson’s eyes. After all, many retailers give employees commission based on how many warranties they sell. They convince consumers by using fear-mongering — “This TV might get worn down after a lot of use — and fake concern: “I’m just looking out for you. This warranty will keep your investment safe.”
The Consumer Reports announcement will hopefully reverse the pathetic trend of fooling buyers into paying for something they don’t really need. That would make retailers look a little less greedy in our jaded eyes.