Some extended warranties just won’t cut it - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Financial Advice

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Some extended warranties just won’t cut it

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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 4:35 pm

Our family bought a sofa a couple of years ago. It was a frustrating experience. I won’t go into it other than to say when my wife and I finally agreed on one, I thought a burden had been lifted. Then the salesman forces another decision: “So which protection plan do you want?”

Protection plans, warranties and other insurance seem to be sold on everything you buy or any service you use.

Can’t take care of your satellite TV box or remotes? Spend $20 more a month and don’t worry about it.

Scared your video game will get scratched? Buy a $3 protection plan, and it will be replaced.

Yes, your video game! And $3 to protect a $50 game may not sound like a bad deal.

But the devil, as they say, is in the details. In this case: the exclusions. This plan won’t pay for “incidental or consequential damages” or “damage from abuse or misuse.” Doesn’t that cover just about everything?

Consumer Reports says in most cases, extended protection plans just aren’t worth it. They say the product doesn’t break down often during the service agreement period. And if it does, it usually costs less to repair it, than the warranty itself. Their one exception: laptops.

Since I started “Let Joe Know” and have been asking to hear your complaints, I’ve been hearing from people who bought home warranties and are not happy.

One of them is Jules who lives in the Fountain Hills. I’ll tell his story Monday at 6 p.m. on ABC15.

He’s had the same warranty company for about 10 years. When the heater element in his spa went out, he called them. They sent out two contractors. Both of them found the cause was an exclusion to his policy. The company denied the claim.

But Jules had so much proof to the contrary, we asked the company to take another look. And they did.

I see the appeal for some of these plans. We all have busy lives and for a few extra bucks, we’re sold some “peace of mind.” But based on what I’m seeing, the price you pay may not be worth it.

So, if you’re considering a protection plan/extended warranty, check out the exclusions first. Also, make sure to check complaints online at, the Better Business Bureau and run a general search.

Also, check to see if your credit card company may offer a protection plan if you buy an item using the card.

Back to my sofa protection plan, yes, I did buy it. And it was not a good experience.

That’s not because of any exclusion or claim being denied. When I needed it, I couldn’t find it!

And the store was of no help.

So, while you ponder warranty worth, add that to your decision-making.

If you’re prone to losing things, a protection plan might sound like a great idea... unless you lose it!

• Joe Ducey is now helping people like you everyday on ABC15 News at 6 p.m. If you’ve got a consumer issue you can’t solve, you should “Let Joe Know.” Contact him at or (855) 323-1515.

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