The executive editor of Consumer Reports spoke to Newsday about warranties and service plans for consumer electronics, and how it’s pretty much always an unnecessary add-on that you should avoid. The stories that make it to the Consumerist are usually the exception; in reality, it’s rare that consumer devices break before you replace them anyhow.
When asked whether or not it’s important to buy a warranty simply for “peace of mind,” he replies:
To the peace-of-mind argument, you can buy insurance on all sorts of things. We would urge people, for true peace of mind, to make sure they’re insured for big things in life. It’s better to have life insurance before they insure appliances.
Because the profit margins are so high, sales people will continue to push warranties and service plans aggressively. If you’re a sucker for the hard sell, read this post for ways to protect yourself on the sales floor, or buy online: “We know in particular that people who buy online are less likely to buy extended warranties because they don’t have a salesperson in their face.”