Watch Out For Best Buy's Extended Warranties

HD Guru took a deeper look at the extended warranties and service plans Best Buy pushes on customers who buy expensive electronics like hi-def TVs. You probably won’t be surprised to find out that the fine print negates a lot of what the person or pamphlet on the sales floor will try to promise you—but you might be surprised at just how useless these plans can be when you get right down to it.

Here are just a couple of examples from the HD Guru report:

Sales Pitch: Their Geek Squad Black Tie Protection pamphlet says that if your product requires 4 repairs, “we’ll make sure that you get a new one.”
Truth: Contract says “new” can mean refurbished or rebuilt, at Best Buy’s discretion.

Sales Pitch: Pamphlet says on TVs 30″ and up, you’ll get a loaner if they can’t fix yours on the first visit.
Truth: There’s no mention of a loaner TV anywhere in the contract, so you’d better hope your Best Buy honors pamphlets.

Sales Pitch: If they can’t repair your TV, they’ll replace it with a product of equal value, or reimburse you fair market value for it.
Truth: “Fair market” means what they determine it’s worth at the time of the repair. As an example, HD Guru points out that this past April Best Buy recalled a house brand LCD HDTV that sold for “up to $1000″ and was less than 3 years old. The fair market value compensation it gave out: “gift cards amounting to $500 or about half of the original purchase price.”

Click over and read the full report for more details on the truth versus fiction of Best Buy’s warranty programs, and to read the company’s official response to HD Guru’s questions.

“Extended Warranties: What You See Is Often Not What You Get – An HD GURU Investigative Report” [HD Guru]
(Photo: Robert Scoble)