Should I Buy the Extended Protection Plan?

Sally is a college student who has a paper due tomorrow. She has worked long and hard on this, only to find out that her printer decides to crap out just in time to print it. In desperation, she brings it back to the store where she had purchased it for three hundred dollars, only to find out that nobody knows how to fix it. It would have to be replaced. The problem is that Sally is broke. Therefore she is screwed. She has to rush home to borrow mom’s credit card to buy a new one.

Of course Mom isn’t happy about it because it’s only three months old but finally gives in.

If Sally had bought the extended protection plan where I work, she would be getting a new printer for free, but like a lot of other people she didn’t need it.

So are Extended Protection Plans really worth it? I’ve heard from many a customer that Consumer Reports has suggested that for the most part, these are unnecessary and a waste of money. However, as a tech and sales person, I see it every day. Somebody coming in to buy a new printer or laptop, after purchasing one only a few months before because it died on them.

In fact I had one guy spend 1500 dollars on a new top of the line laptop. He comes in a month and a half later saying that it died and he wants it fixed under the warranty. So I take it in and check it out. When looking inside, I see coffee dripping from the air holes. The manufacturers warranty is immediately voided due to it being accidental damage. Warranties only cover normal wear and tear and workmanship, so he’s screwed. We fixed it, but it cost him over $1200 dollars to do it. And he got mad at me because the warranty was voided. It’s not my fault. I didn’t dump a cup of coffee on it. If he had bought the plan, accidental damage would have been covered and it would have been fixed for free. He didn’t think it was worth it though at the time of the purchase.

Also if you have ever dealt with one, you must realize that warranties are a total pain in the butt to deal with. First you have to call the manufacturer, so you spend an hour on the phone with somebody from India who you can barely understand; he is very nice and tries to help you fix it but to no avail. He then instructs you to ship it out to the factory, at your own expense. Then you wait for it to return, which could take weeks.

The store where you purchased the item is probably not going to fix it. Although an electronic device is still under warranty, you have to realize something, with the exception of software, warranty repairs are only done at the factory, and often times you end up with a refurbished model instead of getting yours fixed.

Also, although I’m a qualified tech, I am not allowed to replace anything more then a memory chip or a hard drive under warranty repairs in a laptop. The rest have to be sent back to the factory. If you had purchased the Extended Protection Plan, your laptop would be fixed at no cost to you, and you would have it back within a week. If you didn’t, the manufacturers warranties would only cover the parts after the first 30 days, and you’d be paying somebody to install them.

I’ve heard every excuse in the book for not buying the plans. Everything from too much money, to my uncle knows a lot about computers. “For that price you can buy another computer.” Okay, whatever. No skin of my back. It’s not like I get a commission on these things. The company sells them because they equal out to be about fifty percent profit after the ones that are replaced are covered. And that does help to increase the margin. After all most devices will last beyond the expiration date of the protection plan if they are well taken care of but there are still a lot that don’t and those that are covered are fixed or replaced at no cost to the buyer.

Of course the price is a determining factor for a lot of people. An extra three hundred bucks on top of the sale price of a laptop may seem like a large chunk. But you have to realize that most laptop repairs cost at least that.

Technology isn’t perfect. I do have to say that for the most part, manufacturers make quality products. I have people replacing items that they were perfectly happy with simply because they want to upgrade to newer and better. However technology isn’t perfect, although one item lasted for years, that don’t mean that the next one will.

Leave a Reply