Excessive Warranties

Whether you are buying a new stove, TV or VCR — no doubt more than one salesperson will offer you an extended warranty — “giving” you a chance to “better” protect your purchase. But Consumer Reports says for the most part, extended warranties aren’t added protection — but just a waste of money.

Every year Consumer Reports buys thousands of products to test. And it surveys readers about how well products hold up in real life. These days many big-ticket products are pretty reliable.

"Most products don’t need a lot of repairs, but stores are offering extended warranties on more and more things. The truth is most people who buy an extended warranty never use it."

Take this new microwave. The manufacturer is pushing a two-year extended warranty for 53.92.

"But the microwave itself only cost 89 dollars. And our survey shows most microwaves aren't likely to need repairs during the period the extended warranty covers."

And even if you do need a repair, let’s say for a projection TV, the repair usually costs the same or less than what you would pay for an extended warranty.

Still, Consumer Reports says it may pay to purchase an extended warranty for two products. A laptop is one.

"Laptops are prone to damage and they’re expensive to repair. So consider a one to three year extended warranty plus screen insurance."

An extended warranty on a treadmill may be a good idea, too. That’s because with all the wear and tear, treadmills are more likely to break.

Consumer Reports says a one to two year extended warranty on a treadmill will cost you between 70 and 140 dollars a year Testers say be sure to get one that includes at-home service. That way someone will come to your house to repair the treadmill, saving you a lot of hassle.

Pushing extended warranties is just one way stores try to get you to spend more money. The Consumer Reports Buying Guide can clue you in on other marketing moves designed to separate you from yur money. The Buying Guide is on sale now in bookstores.

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