How Do You Get The Most Out Of (Extended) Warranty?

Sometimes it's worth buying the extended warranty, and it's definitely worth using the regular warranty you get for free. Companies often find ways to avoid paying for repairs, however, so how do ensure you get the most out of warranty?

We've often advised skipping the extended warranty or creating your own, which I tend to prefer, but there are circumstances when the extended warranty is actually a good deal or it's ridiculous to pay for a repair when the regular warranty is (supposedly) going to cover it. If you're reading Lifehacker, chances are you've had a few encounters with tech support where they've made it difficult to get your hardware fixed even though it's clearly broken (and you didn't break it yourself). Some companies are better/worse than others, but this is a fairly common situation. How do you ensure you get the repairs you should get and make the most out of your (extended) warranty? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Comments

    Good topic!

    Firstly, if you are buying a laptop, do yourself a favor, get ext.warranty. If the laptop is about $1000.00 AUD do not pay more than $100.00 for extra two years coverage. Anything over that is pure profit for the retailers.

    Ext.Warranty pays off, but it is a VERY touchy topic and very much depends on the authorized repairer. For example, ICF Ext warranty used to use KWIKTRON as a repairer and they were at least contactable. Recently they have switched to Notebook Depot and good luck with your repair. I had a mainboard replaced on my kids laptop and after that repair, the CPU fan is constantly on full speed, regardless of CPU load. Sent it back, they replaced CPU fan/heatsync assembly, the same. Finally, they told me that I have to download a third party tool "speedfan control" in order to minimize the speed and noise. WTF??? Almost every PC/Laptop from HP/Compaq has VARIABLE speed controlled by the mainboard.

    I have worked at Domayne Computers as a tech and I used to do the repairs for ICF, but these Notebook Depot guys are a joke. Any Ext.Warranty insurer has a policy to REPAIR your product first, if the product had been repaired 3 times in a row with the same problem, end user IS entitled on a replacement. Be careful, they will try to give you "something" that they think is appropriate replacement. DO ASK FOR STORE CREDIT, and YOU choose what you want to replace it with. You have that option to ask for store credit, remember.

    Ext.Warranty is attach service/product, so to ANY retailer, this is a tool for profit !!! Remember that.

    If you suspect that Ext.Warranty is taking you for a ride, let them know that you are willing to take you laptop/desktop to a authorized manufacturers repairer and seek second opinion on repair problem.

    Hope that this helps someone. There are plenty of more dirty tricks that Ext.Warranty use, but this will do for now.

    Cheers,
    Ivan DA GeekTech

    I've only had one experience with having to claim on EW and it was a good one. It was years ago with the Good Guys. I had bought a Creative MP3 player and got 2 years extended warranty. When my player broke down about 15 months later they said that the model I had didn't exist anymore and for me to just to get a newer version from the shop. This was fine with me as the newer one was much nicer and included video as well. They didn't even look at my old one. When I asked the sales guy what would stop me pretending the old one didn't work just so I could upgrade he just gave me a knowing smile and added with a wink, "and just sell the old one on eBay".

    I bought a crappy Korean washing machine from H/Norman back in 2004. It had 2 yr warranty and I paid about $130 for the extra 4 yrs. Good job too. It was repaired about 5 times in all (2 new pumps, new motor etc.) Finally, last year, just before the 6 years was up, the heating element packed up. I called and H/N told me the repairs now matched the original purchase price, so they couldn't cover that repair. I carried on using the machine on cold wash only (assume all Lifehackers do this anyway).
    Have now bought a nice new German w/machine with 2 yr warranty. Oh and yes, I paid the $110 for the additional 4 yrs. Once bitten.....

    My in-laws bought an LG washing machine from the good guys and got the extended warranty. It needed a hose pump repair which continually leaked. The machine was only about 18 months old, when they called the third time the extended warranty company said that a new machine was at the good guys store for them to pick up. They were wrapped and have not had a problem since!

    My 3 year laptop warranty with Dell came in handy so that just before it ended I essentially got a new set of batteries, a new palm rest, new motherboard, fan, new power supply - I said it was running hot and didn't perform to my expectations.
    Technician cam and installed the lot for me, too.

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