Extended Warranties on Your Computer — Pros and Cons

A few years ago, I bought what turned out to be the “Computer From Hell”. It was an HP 9000 Laptop. When I bought it, the store convinced me that I needed the store’s extended warranty on the machine which meant that I had two instead of one year’s warranty coverage.

Since I’ve referred to it as the “Computer from Hell”, you’re probably thinking, “It’s a good thing she bought that extended warranty.” Not so. And here is why.

During the two years that the warranties would have been active, I was still dealing with HP. Even though they make lousy computers, their warranty service was great. During that time, they repaired the computer three times and replaced it two times. Each time it was replaced, I was given a new 1-year warranty on the new machine. By the time, the HP warranties had expired, the extended warranty from Staples had expired long before. So I paid over $100 for a warranty that never really kicked in or had any value. And, yes, shortly after all the warranties expired, the last replacement died.

Extended warranties are very profitable for the companies that sell them and provide good commissions for the sales people that push them. And, of course, they are only as good as the company that sells you the warranty. If that company goes out of business, the warranty is gone as well.

Anxious to make a commission, the sales person can tell you anything, true or not. They can tell you that anything that happens to the computer will be covered when in fact damage from pouring that cup or coffee on it or dropping it may not be covered. Verbal statements cannot be enforced and most times you don’t have the opportunity to read the fine print when buying that extended warranty.

Extended warranties on that computer that are sold by the store are usually not serviced by the manufacturer but by the store’s technicians. They may not be knowledgable about certain problems with the machine and may take longer to get replacement parts. And they are usually less likely to replace the machine itself. If you feel you need an extended warranty, you are better off buying it from the computer manufacturer than from the store that sells you the product.

Most problems with computers usually occur during the first year when the original warranty is in effect. And, as fast as computer technology changes, it may not be cost-effective to extend that warranty. It all depends on how long you keep your computer equipment before upgrading and how heavy you plan to use it.

Also, check what your credit cards will do for you. Some, including American Express, will double the warranty of a purchase at no extra cost to you. Not only will you save the $100+ for an extra year’s warranty but, with the right credit card, you may receive cash back or points for airline tickets.

And what did I do when I replaced the “Computer from Hell”? I bought a business-grade (not consumer grade) laptop computer direct from Dell. And, knowing how heavy I use my computer and the problems that I had with the HP, I did add an additional extended manufacturer’s warranty. But best of all, I’m in my second year of use and haven’t had to use either warranty once! To me, the peace of mind has been worth it.

1 thought on “Extended Warranties on Your Computer — Pros and Cons”

  1. Joyce,
    I can soooooo understand what you went through, I am STILL going through it,, this computer can’t seem to keep a working hard drive.. and I am really disappointed as I really liked the efficiency that it worked with.. when it worked! Maybe this weekend, I will have the patience to call the mfg co once more to see what can be done.

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