The Christmas shopping season is nearing its end, which, for many, means they only need to purchase a final few gifts. Others, however, are just now crossing off the first names on their Christmas lists. Whether you are at the beginning or end of your holiday shopping, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel offers some tips in today’s consumer alert you’ll want to heed regarding extended warranties and service plans from retailers.
Especially when buying electronics and appliances, the clerk at checkout most likely will offer to sell you a store-sponsored service plan or extended warranty for the item.
“I urge Arkansans to think carefully before adding the cost of warranties or service plans to their bill,” McDaniel said. “Consumers should evaluate the cost against the potential need for a warranty.”
Many items come with a standard warranty at no extra charge that already covers some repairs, so see if that is the case with the item you are buying. The manufacturer’s warranty may require the purchaser to return the item to the manufacturer for repairs but it will typically cover all defects and last for a specific amount of time from the date of purchase.
An extended warranty, if purchased, does just that: It extends warranty protection after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Data from Consumer Reports shows that products seldom break within the extended-warranty window — after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired and within the typical two to three years of purchase.
And when items do break, the repairs, on average, cost about the same as an extended warranty. Thus, it may cost no more to pay for the repairs on an as-needed basis.
Another option that sometimes proves just as financially prudent is to simply buy a newer version of the item.
Because buying a warranty or service plan more wind up being more expensive than repair or replacement, McDaniel urges consumers to think twice before agreeing to the additional charge as they finish up their holiday shopping.
For more information on this or other consumer issues, contact the Public Protection Department of the Attorney General’s Office at (501) 682-2341 or (800) 482-8982 or visit our website at www.ArkansasAG.gov.