This is possibly the most boring thing I've ever asked.
May 7, 2015 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Last year we bought a set of appliances (fridge, dishwasher, stove) from Whirlpool and they've sent us a warranty renewal notice. Best as I can tell, the offer is coming from Whirlpool directly (they have our info on file as we got a manufacturer's rebate.) Can you school me on what the deal with appliance warranties is?

I know that oftentimes, warranties on stuff are bullshit, but I have no idea if that applies to appliances, and if that applies to manufacturer's warranties for appliances.

It's like $250 total to insure all three appliances for the year, which isn't going to break the bank (this year, at least) but I'd also rather not throw money down the toilet each year.
posted by griphus to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am of the opinion that warranties like that are BS as you suspected. Just consider that the warranty will be $250+ per year. How often do you call in for service? I have found that we spend about $200 every 5 years on appliance repairs. Obvs YMMV.
posted by saradarlin at 12:03 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here's how long your appliances should last: 15 years for a (gas) oven, 13 years for a fridge, 9 for a dishwasher. So you're looking at spending $3083 over the expected lifecycles of these things.

If one of them was a lemon and will end up costing you a shitload to repair, odds are it would have already started breaking. I wouldn't bother with the warranty.
posted by Etrigan at 12:09 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I used to believe warranties were BS, but things used to be made better than they are now.

Now I don't buy appliances without 5-yr warranties (I'd pay for 10 years if that were offered; there's a reason it's not). I've used the warranties to have repairs done--just a phone call or two and not a dime out of pocket--and I've even gotten a check for a reasonable portion of the cost of replacing a washer that was considered beyond repair.

I don't know about manufacturer's warranties in particular since I've gotten mine from the retailer at the time of purchase. Those tend to be third parties, but none so far have been fly-by-night companies, and I've been glad to have the coverage.

This may be worth more to me since I own my own appliances and those in rental properties, but $250 for three appliances does not seem like a lot. Still, I'd call and find out whether you could pay slightly more for 5 years of coverage.
posted by whoiam at 12:15 PM on May 7, 2015

Response by poster: Still, I'd call and find out whether you could pay slightly more for 5 years of coverage.

Yeah they def. offer discounted rates for multi-year purchases. The form only goes up to $200/year for three years but I'm entirely sure if I call them I can get a 5-year rate.
posted by griphus at 12:34 PM on May 7, 2015

28 years of owning appliances. Only once did I need service, and that was self inflicted. Don't waste the money on extended warranties. Of course certain appliances wear out after time, but there's no reason to spend good money now.
posted by Gungho at 12:47 PM on May 7, 2015

There's a reason companies work so hard to sell extended warranties - and that reason is that it's good (read "profitable") for them. Certainly NOT because it's good for you.
posted by rekrap at 12:58 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's important to read the details of the warranty and what it'll cover. Sometimes the manufacturer's warranty simply extends the original manufacturer's warranty (which didn't cover very much to start with and usually not the parts that they weren't already sure would long outlast the warranty). I've found that in the few times that I have purchased extended warranties for large scale appliances, it was through third party warranty offerers like Squaretrade that have no questions asked policies about the warranty coverage and often covered far more than the manufacturer did.
posted by Karaage at 1:04 PM on May 7, 2015

Best answer: Take a look at Consumer Reports for the types of appliances and the manufacturers you purchased.

Whirlpool typically ranks very well, alongside Bosch and some others, for refrigerators and I believe dishwashers.

Modern appliances are not designed to last as long as many older appliances. Our old kitchen refrigerator, being replaced this month, is about 25 years old and still going strong. Still, I did my homework on what we wanted and I'd feel uncomfortable buying an extended warranty on something that is probably going to last at least 15-20 years.

That's a different story than our GE Advantium, which is a great appliance, but the number of repair horror stories back when we bought it (mid-2000's) was sufficiently compelling that I threw in for the extended warranty, specifically because it covered a full replacement if there were more than a certain number of service calls for any given issue. Turns out to have been not worth the money, since it's been rock solid.

In general, you're better off taking that money and setting it aside for unexpected expenses, which could include repairs for those appliances.
posted by jgreco at 1:06 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In general, you're better off taking that money and setting it aside for unexpected expenses, which could include repairs for those appliances.

We started doing this a while back and it has really shown us how much of a rip-off extended warranties are. I don't have the numbers at hand, but I seem to recall it being favorable to us somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,500 over the course of about 6 or 7 years. We've purchased a new W/D combo, a new refrigerator, a new TV, new home theater system, and a new laptop in that time. The only failure we've had was a door seal on the washer. That cost about $80 to repair.

I'll never buy a warranty again.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 1:11 PM on May 7, 2015

From Etrigan's link: Keep in mind that these numbers are seven years old. If the expected life spans of these products have changed, they have probably decreased.

I think it depends on how much you spent on the appliances themselves. When we remodeled a few years ago we bought mid-level appliances, with the expectation that they would probably last about 5 years and then might need either service or replacing. If I will be quoted $250 to repair a $500 appliance, there's a fair chance that I will just replace the appliance. Otherwise, I will just pay the $250, but now I get to use the repair guy that I nominate, on the schedule that I want, without having to go through the warranty service center.

So, are you willing to deal with the warranty people if the need arises? Do you / will you have the cash on-hand to deal with service issues if you don't buy the warranty?
posted by vignettist at 1:29 PM on May 7, 2015

I'm of two opinions: The warranty that originally comes with the product is a measure of how much the vendor believes in the quality of the product.

Any additional warranty comes from the seller of that warranty believing that on average, they will make more money off of selling that warranty than they will servicing the product.

This means that, on average, you make more money if you pay for your own repairs.

Don't buy the extended warranty, put that money in a fund to pay for emergency repairs instead.
posted by straw at 3:05 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

We have a Kitchen Aid dishwasher. The racks are utter junk and keep breaking. When they break, small plastic pieces fall down into the grinder that chops up food pieces so they don't clog the pipe. This breaks the grinder. I have had the dishwasher less than three years, and am on my third grinder and third plastic spewing rack part.

I signed up for the extended warranty the moment I got the offer because it was clear that this was going to happen all the time due to the design flaw of the rack. When I got the actual warranty information, after I had paid, I found that it didn't cover the rack and there was some language that made it doubtful it would cover the grinder. Fortunately, there was a cancellation period and I was able to get my money back. I used it to buy the rack part and and extra grinder part from Amazon that I now keep around for the day it breaks again (I am about due, I think - the rack has started shedding plastic bits again).

So it turned out to be a useless warranty.

PS - as an aside, I have friends with the same dishwasher and they have exactly the same problem. The rack parts are some plastic junk and cost about $40 apiece. There is clearly a market for high-quality replacement parts. If they could be 3D printed, you could just take the order and send it to be printed and drop-shipped. Please cut me in on the profits when you start this business.
posted by procrastination at 4:22 PM on May 7, 2015

My belief is that warranties tend to cover the period of time where you won't actually need to fix it at all. I had a warranty on my car that was either three or five years, I forget. And like a month or two after it ended, it needed a repair worth a few hundred dollars. Before that, it never needed anything. I agree you should just save the money you'd spend on the warranty and set it aside if/when you need repairs.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:17 PM on May 7, 2015

My late SIL had appliance warranties with Sears I believe. When her fridge went on the fritz I remember her annoyance at how long it took to get an appt. Without the warranty, she could get nearly same-day service, w/the warranty, it was almost a week. I'd skip it and if you need repairs on an appliance, that money you saved on the warranty goes to the cost of repair.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 7:19 AM on May 8, 2015

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