Store warranty - waste or want?
April 28, 2006 7:11 AM   Subscribe

How worthwhile is buying an extended warranty for a Plasma TV when it doesn't cover things that might actually happen, like burn-in or "accident". Are they prone to outright failure much?

Plasma TV = $2300, Extended Warranty = $460
Full terms and conditions
posted by FreezBoy to Shopping (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Buy it from Costco and return it if anything ever goes wrong. They have a lifetime return policy.
posted by blueyellow at 7:20 AM on April 28, 2006

Got a plasma from Best Buy and an extended warranty. They had to replace the whole set after coming to my house after one month of use. Sucked since it concked out during a crucial moment in a playoff game.

You might want to ask yourself how much you are spending. IF it is less thank 2K than the extended warranty's numbers may not be so great. I spent way too much and viewed it as a small percentage of my total cost.

I also second the recommendation of Costco. They will take it back if you drop the thing.
posted by jadepearl at 7:37 AM on April 28, 2006

If you search for "warranty" here, you'll find much more detailed answers but basically it's a huge profit center for electronics stores because more than 90% of warranties never get used.

I bought my tv at costco, because the price was $300 cheaper there than anywhere else.
posted by mathowie at 8:04 AM on April 28, 2006

As a general rule, never buy an extended warranty. It's just the store's way of preying on your fear of product failure to squeeze an extra few bucks out of you, as mathowie has pointed out. Sure it's possible something might go wrong, but the odds are heavily in your favor.
posted by BorgLove at 8:07 AM on April 28, 2006

Best answer: The question for extended warranties is not really "will anything go wrong?" but "if something does go wrong, are you willing and able to pay the cost of fixing it?" If not, then an extended warranty can be useful.
posted by kindall at 8:33 AM on April 28, 2006

From Consumer Reports:

"You may already know the answer. For years, Consumer Reports has cautioned against buying this costly coverage. Survey data from thousands of readers have shown that, generally, extended warranties cost not much less than the average repair. That’s if you need a repair at all. As you can see in Product repair rates, many electronics products are unlikely to need repairs within the first three years.

When it comes to plasma and liquid-crystal display (LCD) TVs, however, the decision is more difficult. Preliminary data from our user surveys show no unusual rate of repair for flat screen plasma and LCD TVs in the first year, but long-term reliability is still unknown. "
posted by Neiltupper at 9:33 AM on April 28, 2006

I bought a plasma using an employee discount from my wife's cousin. he sells at ultimate electronics and said "i would never buy a warranty except on a plasma" so i did. i got employee pricing (like 90% off) on the warranty so he didn't just "sell" me on it.

yet it's been 2 years and i've had no problems.
posted by thilmony at 9:33 AM on April 28, 2006

Best answer: Bought a Plasma 2 months ago.
Did a fair bit of research on the subject, and what I found was a combination of Neiltupper's answer and thilmony's answer.
1. essentially extended warrantees are a rip off
2. Consumer Reports Does not have any long term data *on plasmas* to substantiate this claim, so they have to hedge by saying 'in general we do not support extended warrantees, but ... given lack of data on Plasmas, you *might* want to look into it.
I think that is the source of a statement like the above "i would never buy a warranty except on a plasma"
There is no evidence that Plasmas are any worse than any other electronic in the long run, but then again there is no evidence that they are better either.

Long and short, I decided to take my chances. The Manufacturer's warrantee is fine for me.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 10:28 AM on April 28, 2006

The other calculation to keep in mind with flat screen TV prices is that they've dropped a lot in recent years, and that trend may continue in the future. So, the cost of replacement might decline dramatically between the time you buy your set and the time you need to repair it (if you need to repair it).
posted by Good Brain at 10:55 AM on April 28, 2006

Response by poster: Great answers folks. I appreciate your help and your first-hand information. Kindall really helped clarify the questions in my head.
posted by FreezBoy at 11:45 AM on April 28, 2006

I used to hate "extended warranties" myself, but then I worked for an electronics retailer. I noticed people bringing in busted up goods out of warranty, and more often than not, they were outside their warranty by just a few weeks, if not days. There's a reason manufacturers set their warranty time tables the way that they do, and I found out it's called the Bathtub Curve.Every product should be expected to fail at some point. Supply and demand dictate that they're made by parts machined by the lowest bidder. The more you pay, sure, the higher the quality, but how many electronics do you have now that work the same as they did out of the box? Some, sure, but the more expensive the unit, the more sensitive the pieces are. These new-fangled flat-panel TVs are a great example. The PARTS are more expensive (newer tech always has a higher price tag) than standard TVs, so the repair costs are very high. The warranty on most of these is one year, and here's why:In the above graphic, the axis on the left is the "likelyhood of breakdown", meaning the chance it'll go kaput. The bottom axis is "time", I've got about 14 months on here.Now then, you'll notice that in the first 30 days, the "LOB" is very high. This is because if there are manufacturer defects, they generally become apparent in the first few weeks, which is why stores tend to have a 30 day exchange period. If you bought it broke, they'll fix it quck.But then look; the LOB drops. If it's working, it'll continue to work for quite awhile. But, with usage and time, the LOB slowly creeps up (making the graph resemble a bathtub. Dumb, I know, but I didn't name it). After a certain amount of time, the products LOB is roughly the same as it would be new and un-tested, so, being a smart manufacturer, that's where you'd end your warranty period (in theis graph, it's at one year). But, as you can see, the LOB logically continues to rise after the warranty period. This is where your extended warranty kicks in.So you can see, they have value. How much is up to you: say there are two TVs. Same brand, same feature set. One costs $300 more, but has a 3 year warranty. Is it worth it to you? There's no easy answer, but I hope these ideas help. Good luck!PS, please forgive my rough photoshoppery, I'm on my powerbook and using a trackpad. :-P
posted by mattoly at 11:55 AM on April 28, 2006

Sorry, AskMeFi ate my paragraph breaks! :-(
posted by mattoly at 11:55 AM on April 28, 2006

By the way, if you have a gold or a platinum credit card, it probably comes with automatic warranty extension on everything you buy, up to an additional year.
posted by kindall at 12:25 PM on April 28, 2006

I work for a major electronics retailer. As I said to a customer earlier today: yes, warranties are very profitable for us. Do you know what's even more profitable? Fixing products out of warranty.

On the other hand, I don't buy warranties. It's a numbers game, and I roll twenties.

kindall probably has best answer
posted by Ptrin at 11:01 PM on April 28, 2006

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