Ask Andy: Extended warranties - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: Extended warranties

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(WMC-TV) - Buy an appliance, a computer, a car, and I'll bet you one thing.

I'll bet you the salesperson tries to sell you an extended warranty.

You should only take the bait if the warranty truly "extends," meaning it provides protections -- including free repairs and/or replacement -- beyond the protections provided by the manufacturer's warranty. 

Before you buy a product, check its manufacturer's website for warranty details or ask its customer service to explain the manufacturer's warranty. Make sure any extended warranty doesn't overlap the manufacturer's coverage.

James Sebastian, managing partner of the warranty consultancy firm SAFE, LLC, in Phoenix, said you should almost always consider an extended warranty for:

* PLASMA TV's. They are expensive to replace. According to Sebastian, 30 percent of all plasma TV's require service in the first three years, so extended warranties for them are a good idea.

* LAPTOP COMPUTERS. More sensitive, more fragile and more costly to fix or replace than desktop computers. They're also more likely to fall flat on the floor.

* WATCHES. Their manufacturers' warranties typically do not cover the parts that are most likely to break, like the face or the band. An extended warranty that does cover those parts is worth the money.

It's OK to consider extended warranties for vehicles as long as they are written or backed directly by the dealer or manufacturer. Never buy a "third-party" extended warranty for a vehicle. Those third-party companies are here today, gone tomorrow.

Sebastian said manufacturer-backed extended warranties are nearly always a better buy than the ones retailers are shilling.

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