Consumer Reports: Extended warranties rarely worth it

Some credit cards extend manu­facturer warranty

Holiday shopping is just around the corner, and so are the hard sells for extended warranties and service plans.

But they are almost never worth it, according to Consumer Reports.

Products don't usually break down during the contract period, a survey for the magazine found.

"Even if they do, it doesn't cost that much more to repair them than it does for the contract itself," Consumer Reports' Tony Giorgianni said.

Extended service plans can boost costs by 30 percent or more and can run into hundreds of dollars.

"If you pay for the repair yourself, there's a better chance that it's going to be done correctly and quicker than if you had it repaired under contract," Giorgianni said.

Instead of service plan, check the terms of your credit card. Many cards automatically extend the manufacturer's warranty up to a year.

Calling the manufacturer can pay off, too, even if the warranty is expired.

"If you contact the manufacturer and make a good case, there's a good chance the company will pay for a part or all of the repair," he said.

On possible exception to the rule is laptops.  If you're going to travel a lot with your laptop, Consumer Reports said it is worth considering an extended warranty that covers accidental damage.


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