Skepchick Quickies, 2.28


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. I think the extended warranties that the “insider” is debunking are non-manufacuter ones that are sold by retailers. Yes, those ones suck and I thought that was common knowledge.

    Actual manufacturers warranties are not that bad, and as a professional technician who repairs things for a living, I do recommend those as a good value. Typically one repair out of warranty costs more than the extended plan.

    And no, I don’t sell those warrantees, I just recommend them.

  2. I just used my Best Buy laptop insurance, warranty, whatever you want to call it. They replaced the motherboard and keyboard when my cat dumped a cup of coffee on my 1 year + 9 month old macbook… Loving that two year coverage right now… The cost of the motherboard alone would have been about how much I paid for the plan.

    I think the author of that article has a chip on his shoulder.

  3. I wouldn’t say he has a chip on his shoulder. He’s absolutely right: most extended warranties provided by retailers are a useless waste of money.

    If I can afford to replace something, then I don’t buy the extended warranty. I have yet to ever regret that policy. Statistically, I’ll always come out on top.

  4. Our local Skeptics book club read Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation in Medicine by Lawrence K. Altman several months ago. The yellow fever experiments were even grosser than the io9 article implies.

    Excellent book.

  5. I tend to buy extended warranties on things I know I’m going to be hard on… computers get banged around, I can chew through a pair of headphones in a couple weeks if I’m not really careful, and I’ve had four or five mice in the past 12 months… I’m just really hard on electronics.

  6. Tend to agree with Quarksparrow and mark Hall. I don’t but them except for expensive items I’m concerned I might damage/lose like a cellphone. In my experience, Extended wwarranties are usually written so tightly that about the only loss they cover is theft by Vogons and the only damage they cover is for being stepped on by Godzilla.

    I don’t have any active at all except on my cell phone, now that I think about it.

  7. Ok, for someone who actually saw the video (I’m at the desk at work, meaning no video after 10am opening time), what did the fiscally responsible vampire actually do?

  8. @MarkHall…made deposits into a blood bank?

    (Awww c’mon! You had to know THAT one was coming!)

  9. He turned the tables on his bank when they weren’t diligent in responding to his requests. He sued them for it, which they ignored. He won a judgment against the bank…again, ignored. So, after the allotted amount of time of still being ignored, he began foreclosure proceedings against them, which finally got through to the bank when it hit the news. He received a settlement check. Also, he has vampire teeth.

    He hoisted them on the Real-Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

  10. Bought an extended warranty for our teen’s cell phone. She tends to treat all technology like a hockey puck. Her cell has been replaced 4 times in the past year and a half – so the extended warranty was worth it.

    Extended warranties can be useful if it’s something that’s expensive and yet likely to take a lot of abuse.
    But, that’s more the exception than the rule – and they are never as universally useful as the retailer’s claim.

  11. @slightlymadscience: Don’t confuse “warranty” with “insurance.” One covers manufacturing defects, the other covers people dropping things.

    If you buy a warranty for something that’s going to be abused, don’t be surprised if that abuse is not covered. GM will not fix your car if you drive it into a tree, but Nationwide will.

  12. @Zapski –
    In the cases where I have bought them, it isn’t called either. It’s either a product replacement plan, or a product service plan. In the case of the replacement plan, it has covered “dropping things” (as long as it’s not into water), at least from my multiple experiences. And any time I’ve even considered buying one, I verify if it covers “accidental damage” and what the exceptions are.

    I’m referring to “extended warranty” because that’s a generic term that people use to refer to that type of product. Sorry if that muddied the waters.

    It pays to read the fine print which I do.

  13. Apart from the first couple of sentences I’m not sure I even understand what this paragraph is trying to say “Why do you need peace of mind on a new product? What is the significance of the years 2, 3, 4 or 5? Peace of mind in years 2-4 on a washer, dryer, range? Peace of mind in year 2 on a vacuum? Peace of mind in year 4 on a Dewalt tool (3-yr warranty)? If I asked 100 people in a room how long their refrigerator, range, etc. lasted, how many would say 10 years, 15 years, 20 years? The first few years have no bearing for you other than a minimal amount of risk the third-party administrator wishes to take. There is no mind-blowing consumer research at hand. “5 year warranties” on appliances were offered 20 years ago and have not changed. ”

    My only real experience with extended warranties is on the washer-drier we bought about 6-7 years ago. That paid for itself very well as we had multiple callouts in the period after the normal warranty ran out. Now I know an accountant will start talking about depreciation and whatnot at this point – the implication being that somehow the amortized cost of buying a new machine would have been cheaper than the original extended warranty. But the point is that having to buy a new machine at that point would have been a big financial blow for us, so knowing that we had a valid warranty really did give us peace of mind that we wouldn’t, from one week to the next, have to shell out for an expensive piece of household equipment.

    Maybe washing machines and dishwashers are exceptional because i) they have fairly short natural lifetimes and ii) they don’t become obsolete. An extended warranty on the TV we bought a couple of years ago would have been silly because the price of an equivalent model has now dropped by about 50% and, anyway, we could always survive with only 3 TVs and 4 PCs in the house for a couple of weeks :-)

  14. @Buzz That book looks interesting. It is a fun subject. I am the proud nephew of the co-author of a book on the subject for kids. It is called Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine.

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