Why Home Warranties Are A Terrible Idea

If you’re considering buying a home warranty, a service contract that covers all of your home appliances and many other routine home repairs, you may be better off taking the money that you would have spent and sticking it in a savings account instead. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs says that one home warranty company in that state collected fees, but wasn’t keen to pay for any actual repairs. [More]


Skullcandy Changes Warranty Replacements: Makes Them Easy, Fast, And Generous

It sounds like mid-priced earbud maker Skullcandy has improved their service. We’ve shared stories about the company in the past when their warranty returns were illogical, didn’t disclose geographic limits, or just took an excessive amount of time to ship out warranty replacements. Reader Keith’s experience indicates that things might have changed, though. [More]

(Rick Drew)

Timberland Boots Have A Lifetime Warranty, Unless You’re In Prison

Prison commissaries sell basic consumer goods like deodorant and snacks, and also optional clothing items like socks and work boots. A reader’s letter brought a dilemma to our attention: the regular warranty exchange procedures don’t work when you’re in prison and can’t receive outside mail. [More]

This Brand Video Stands For Everything And Nothing

This Brand Video Stands For Everything And Nothing

Last month, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency published a very simple, very funny prose description of the world’s most banal promotional video for a brand. What brand? What are they selling? It doesn’t really matter, and that was the point: a montage of stock footage of positive images and ethnically diverse smiling people can sell anything. Now the piece has been brought to life…by a stock footage firm. [More]


3 Years Is The Warranty Length, Not How Long It Should Take To Get Your Computer Back

The state of California has pretty good consumer protections, but not when it comes to extended warranties. That’s what a family who bought a laptop computer at Fry’s learned after a planned five-week repair of an HP laptop ended up taking three months. Three months? [More]

New Owners To Coby Electronics Customers: Sucks To Be You

New Owners To Coby Electronics Customers: Sucks To Be You

Coby Electronics made consumer electronics, notably portable DVD players, tablets, MP3 players, and TVs. Let’s just say that they were not well-known for the quality of their merchandise, but still sold $400 million worth of gadgets per year. Until this year, when they went out of business with a whole bunch of customers’ devices due for warranty replacement.  [More]

A Coby tablet from back in the day.

Coby Electronics Shuts Down, Taking Customer Warranties With It

When consumer watchdog reporters across the country start doing pretty much the same story, it’s not a good sign for…well, anyone, really. The sad tale of the Coby Electronics customer is starting to repeat itself nationwide. A customer sent an item to Coby for warranty replacement, and never got anything back. Not long ago, Coby sold $400 million worth of gadgets per year. Now the company is dead. [More]

Software Update Bricks Teen’s Tablet, Microsoft Shrugs

Software Update Bricks Teen’s Tablet, Microsoft Shrugs

A few weeks ago, we received an e-mail here at Consumerist HQ with the subject line, “Bill Gates screwing a 13 year old.” Well, that couldn’t be literally true, but it was intriguing. Rick was writing on behalf of his grandson, who had saved his money for months to buy a Microsoft Surface that had effectively been bricked by a software update. Microsoft refused to repair it under warranty due to a missing screw, and Rick had spent weeks fighting the company. He turned to Consumerist for help. [More]

Just Because A Refrigerator Costs $10,000, That Doesn’t Mean It’s Any Good

Just Because A Refrigerator Costs $10,000, That Doesn’t Mean It’s Any Good

As consumers, we tend to conflate price and quality. If a car costs ten times more than a basic car, we assume that there must be some wonderful reason. Being really expensive doesn’t mean that something is immune to terribleness. That’s not true, though. For proof, just look at the $10,000 cramped, energy-hogging Fhiaba refrigerator that our lab-coated cousins over at Consumer Reports just tested. [More]

Now From Panasonic: The Disposable Plasma TV Set

Now From Panasonic: The Disposable Plasma TV Set

Kevin spent a lot of money on a plasma TV from Panasonic just a few short years ago. Like many consumers, he assumed that the company would support a product that cost four figures for more than a year. Sure, someone who can afford a home 3D system can probably afford to hire a repair technician to come out with the capacitor needed to make the set actually turn on, but should they have to? Kevin doesn’t think so. [More]

(Mike Matney Photography)

What Good Is An Extended Warranty Plan That Can’t Fix My Phone?

The idea behind paying extra for a warranty plan for your mobile phone that covers accidental damage is that when you accidentally damage your phone, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for a new one or spend weeks or months without a phone. Yet things didn’t work out that way for Nick, because his warranty provider couldn’t get parts to fix a cracked screen, and wasn’t able to successfully repair the phone even when they did. [More]

Our Bissell Vacuum Fell Apart Too, But Second Replacement Was Fine

Our Bissell Vacuum Fell Apart Too, But Second Replacement Was Fine

Back in February, we published a story from reader Tim, who complained that he paid $250 for a Bissell vacuum cleaner that was defective, and the warranty replacement he received was crappy. Reader Trevor says that he had a similar experience with a much happier ending, and send it in as a counterpoint to Tim story. [More]

SquareTrade Hurls Samsung Galaxy S4 At The Ground, Probably Denies Own Claim

SquareTrade Hurls Samsung Galaxy S4 At The Ground, Probably Denies Own Claim

Do you enjoy product reviews from our sibling publication Consumer Reports, but wish that there were more smashing? Do you love the classic “Will it Blend?” YouTube videos, but want to see items destroyed in more realistic situations? You’re in luck. The hard-working experts at extended warranty/protection plan provider SquareTrade conducted a publicity stunt series of tests on current top-of-the-line smartphones to see which was most likely to survive being dropped on a corner from shoulder height, dunked in water, and slid across a table. That last one is kind of anticlimactic. [More]

Why Rechargeable Batteries And Durable Water Piks Don’t Mix

Why Rechargeable Batteries And Durable Water Piks Don’t Mix

The Waterpik Cordless Plus Water Flosser is a great product, which lists for $50 and usually costs about $40. For that price, though, you aren’t buying it: you’re renting it. That’s what Jeff found out when he bought one. The rechargeable battery stopped working just past the warranty expiration date. He bought another: maybe that was a fluke. The new toothbrush lasted a whole 13 months. [More]

Samsung: If You Want Us To Fix Your MP3 Player, You Have To Fly To Hong Kong

Samsung: If You Want Us To Fix Your MP3 Player, You Have To Fly To Hong Kong

The beauty of shopping online is that it’s easy to bring products from all over the world into our homes with a little bit of typing and a major credit card. The problem with buying from abroad, though, is that products for different markets don’t come with the same consumer protections. And sometimes you don’t know that you’re buying a product destined for a different market at all. That’s where Cassi’s cautionary tale comes in. From a small discount site, Cassi bought a Samsung MP3 player. Samsung tells her that it was made for the Chinese market and that if she wants them to honor her warranty, she has to fly to Hong Kong. Being a sensible person, Cassi does not want to fly to Hong Kong over a $200 MP3 player. [More]


Samsung Wants To Patch Up My Defective Phone So It Can Break Again

Alex has a Samsung Galaxy SII on AT&T, and his phone has one of the common defects of that model: it likes to randomly shut itself down for no reason. Instead of casting him into smartphone replacement purgatory, AT&T and Samsung are instead trying to divert him into repair purgatory. His phone will be totally fine after their repair, AT&T assured him. It wasn’t. He turned to Samsung and made his case to them. They were willing to repair his phone, but not replace it. [More]

The screen damage.

Toshiba Sends Contractor To My House To Break My TV Even More, Shrugs

Chad is getting surgery soon: a spinal fusion. He’d like to be able to lie around and stare at his TV while he recovers from the operation, but his TV isn’t working so well. Audio from the coaxial connection went fuzzy, and now doesn’t work at all. A technician came to repair the TV, which was under warranty, and just went ahead and drilled through the screen. Now Chad is stuck between the service company and Toshiba, and they just keep passing him back and forth. [More]


Time Doesn’t Really Fly When Repair Shop Keeps Your Clock For More Than 22 Years

We’ve heard some horror stories about customer service here at Consumerist HQ, but the examples coming from customers of a clock shop in New York are totally taking the cake. One woman dropped off her timepiece for repairs 22 years ago… and hasn’t seen it since.