Warranty advice needed

  jimmylove 07:58 21 Jan 2003
  jimmylove 07:58 21 Jan 2003

Just bought a new 12.1" superdrive G4 Apple Powerbook. Should I upgrade to their 3 yr coverplan or stick with the 1 yr included one? It costs £280 to upgrade (on a £2,000 computer). I'm just not sure what to do - any advice appreciated.


  €dstow 08:50 21 Jan 2003

Generally these extended warranties are very poor value. Look very carefully into what is offered by the warranty and does it look worth it?

Is repair on site or return to base (on site is unusual with a laptop)).

In the case of a fault, what is covered? Parts? Labour? Parts and labour?

What is excluded by the warranty? Sometimes batteries are classed as consumables and not covered. If the battery is covered, is it for the full term of the warranty? How much is a new battery - is it more or less than the cost of the the warranty?

Does the warranty give you anything over and above what you are entitled to under consumer law?

Most things that go wrong in computers go wrong in the first year. After that time the true value of the machine is most likely much less than the warranty you paid money out for.

Check your home contents insurance policy to see if computer equipment is already included and if not, enquire about the cost of including it with all the virtues claimed on the extended warranty - you may be pleasantly surprised.

You will probably see, I am not a fan. I think most others here aren't either.

Extended warranties are considered a rip off in many cases and the UK government and the Consumers Association are investigating them.


  JoeC 09:26 21 Jan 2003

SHOPPERS are wasting their money on extended warranties and should take retailers to court instead if electrical appliances break down within five years, according to experts.
Consumer groups have said British shoppers are throwing away up to £800m a year on expensive extended warranties, often unaware that they are already protected by the law.
The Scottish Consumer Council is about to launch a campaign encouraging people to take advantage of their statutory rights. By law, retailers can be forced to repair appliances if they malfunction within five years - the length of time most extended warranties last.
The move comes as profits from the sale of extended warranties are soaring in the UK. Shoppers already spend more than £800m on them each year, and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) estimates the figure will rise to £1bn in just three years’ time. Their sale is currently being investigated by the government watchdog the Competition Commission.
Because of fierce competition on the high street, which forces shops to keep their prices down, retailers are instead aggressively promoting the sale of expensive extended warranties to boost their profits.
The evidence is that extended warranties are not required. Your statutory rights should protect you, and you have to be steadfast and go through the process to invoke them. Some people might think that is too much hassle, but the process is clearly there for consumers to use.
"I would urge people to realise they already have legal rights which they can enforce against a retailer."

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 gives consumers the power to sue a retailer for damages up to five years after a product is bought if it breaks down during that time.

Millar said consumers should argue that it was reasonable to expect a major appliance not to break down within five years.
He added that in most cases retailers would back down and offer to repair the appliance rather than challenge a small claims procedure, which covers damages of up to £750.
Millar said: "If you threaten the retailer with the small claims court, that might produce a resolution without having to go through with an action."
A small claim costs £39 to bring. The consumer then has to hire an independent expert to assess if the damage was caused by a design or manufacturing fault. This can cost as little as £10. The retailer has to refund the costs if it loses the action.
Firms can successfully defend the action by arguing that the breakdown was caused by wear and tear or improper use. But trading standards officers believe modern appliances are now so durable that any fault in the first five years is likely to be caused by a manufacturing problem rather than heavy use.
Nevertheless, most experts believe more than five years’ service, and in most cases far longer, should be expected from most major household domestic appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers.
At the John Lewis department store in Edinburgh, an employee explained that the firm’s insurance company, which sets the costs of its extended warranty schemes, estimates the average life span of refrigerators is 10 years. Washing machines should also last about 10 years, while the life span of dishwashers, which are more complex, can vary between five and 20 years.
John Lewis also offers a free five-year guarantee on televisions, which implies it believes the risk of breakdown is low.
Dr Ian Craighead, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at Strathclyde University, specialises in analysing mechanical failure in appliances.
Craighead estimated that the life span of a fridge is 10 years, and that of washing machines and dishwashers is about eight years. "Fridges are very simple," he said. "Washing machines and dishwashers are more complex, but still should be very reliable."
Craighead rejected claims that manufacturers deliberately use components they know will fail within a short period of time to force customers to spend more money buying another appliance.
He said: "It would be counter-productive. The consumer is not going to be enamoured of a brand, and buy the new model with improved features, if the last one broke down."
Last year, a report by the OFT found that the average washing machine and television should have a life span of eight years.
It also found that the average costs of a television repair and washing machine repair were £47 and £51 respectively. Extended warranties can cost up to £200 for five years. This suggests an appliance would have to malfunction four times to justify the warranty cost.
The OFT has also suggested most people’s household insurance would cover the cost of repairs to appliances.
But retailers have defended the practice of selling extended warranties.
Henrietta Whitsun-Jones, of the electrical chain Dixons, said: "Our warranties cover accidental damage as well as mechanical failure, and our customers want peace of mind.

  carver 19:29 21 Jan 2003

After those two replies I don't think any one can add any more and if you still want the warranty you have more money than sense.

  jimmylove 20:35 21 Jan 2003

good point. Thanks for the advice - I just saved myself the best part of £300!


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