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Word of warning on extended warranties for laptops

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#1 marko

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    Posted 09 January 2011 - 10:11 AM

    Extended warranties have always been something I've frowned upon, simply because more often than not they cover the parts that fail least often and you'll find those parts which are known to go relatively quickly aren't covered. Batteries, for example, are only covered by most extended warranties for the first year thereafter you could be looking at a bill of 100 upwards.

    Given that some extended warranties can cost far more than the cost of a replacement battery and that the battery or power pack could be one of the first things you have issues with, it would make sense to simply save your money. Granted, other repairs on laptops can be expensive and sometimes not cost effective, particularly when some models can be bought nowadays for under a few hundred quid but in the case of my sister-in-law who took out a warranty on a laptop a few years back, she had to return her laptop to the retailers 4 times for repair when various parts began to fail. This was over the space of something like 6-8 months, and each time she was waiting at least a few weeks for it's return, first the screen failed, then the hard drive (lost her data when it was returned), the case began falling apart and a few other faults. The power pack also failed to which she had to pay for a replacement because it wasn't covered in the warranty. It would have been much more convenient if the retailer simply replaced the laptop, but they didn't, they chose the cheapest route which is usually the most inconvenient method for the customer.

    Thing is, sales staff will use any method possible to have you purchase extended warranties because they receive commission from the sale and the warranty provider always usually makes a killing from it and sometimes they just won't take "NO" for an answer!.

    I remember a few years ago purchasing a desktop computer with a friend from a Curry's store, and the sales assistant asked if I needed any software or extended warranty to which I declined. When I reached the sales desk, the manager also asked, or should I say "recommended" that I took the extended warranty and again I refused. Rather smugly, he explained that the parts for that computer were not available anywhere else other than from the manufacturer and he asked if anything went wrong with it who would fix it?. I told him I would fix it, to which he sniggered again and reiterated that the parts wouldn't be available to me. I asked which parts he was referring to, to which he answered it was all the parts in the computer. When I aked did he mean the parts that are on sale in the store, like CD/DVD ReWriters, replacement motherboards, keyboards, mice, power supply units, hard drives, memory and CPU's, the likes of which are also available from any computer store, not just his, he changed his tactics and maintained they could be expensive to replace but I reminded him that his point was the parts were not available and that if he wanted to bulls**t his way through selling warranties he would be better placed trying it with someone else!.

    That probably doesn't happen very often but personally I just can't stand pushy sales people, especially when we're already spending hundreds on an item in the first place and most stores are like this now so it wouldn't have made a difference if I'd have told them to stick it and went elsewhere because the nonsense this store were coming out with would likely have been the same nonsense others would have used.

    The point in all of this is simple, extended warranties are big business, they cost you a lot of unecessary money unless you known for a fact you are getting value for money if you need to claim it. Personally, for laptops and especially if it's for kids, I would check that any warranty you purchase covers the device for accidental damage and all replacement parts and I wouldn't expect to pay any more than 100-150, less if the laptop/notebook only costs around 300. First question to ask a sales assistant is what it DOESN'T cover, like accidents, batteries, power packs and so on, then ask what the repair procedure is because if you have to send it away yourself you might be looking at more cost in postage, etc. Finally, remember if you have household/contents insurance it's worth checking with those policies before you buy a computer or laptop and see if those items would be covered, the best cover is old for new, then that way when you're 3 or 4 year old machine fails you can simply claim the cost of a brand new model (don't forget to keep backups of your data though!).

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