Monday, October 6, 2008

Extended Warranties are getting out of control

We’re used to getting the hard sell for extended warranties on many of the things we buy. When I bought my latest television, I had to say no three times before the salesman finally gave up. It was the usual deal: the manufacturer warranty lasts for a while and I was offered a two-year extension for “only” $149. This magically dropped to $79 in less than 30 seconds.

None of this is very surprising, but I did get a surprise while buying a replacement battery after my car key finally died. At first I could unlock my car from 50 feet away. This distance began to shrink until final the battery in the key died completely.

This is actually my second car key battery replacement, and I confidently got out a tiny screwdriver to remove some tiny screws to get at the battery. The guy at the electronics store had no problem finding a replacement battery after I handed him the old one.

Store guy: “How long did your battery last?”

Me: “What? Oh. Uh, 2 or 3 years.”

Store guy: “That’ll be $5.67, and we can guarantee your battery for 3 years for a dollar fifty.”

Me: “Huh? I’m sure I won’t remember where or when I bought it.”

To his credit the store guy was slightly embarrassed at this point and muttered something about how the warranty didn’t really make much sense. I guess the training he got from his employer didn’t strip him of all common sense.

I’d be interested in hearing other people’s experiences with extended warranties:

Did the warranty offered make any sense to buy?
Did the salesperson hit you with an unpleasant hard sell?
When your item broke, were you able to collect on your extended warranty?


  1. The sky is falling, and you're talking about extended warranties!

    Just kidding. Actually, today's post was a good break from watching and reading about the carnage on Bay Street and Wall Street.

    I'm going to have to examine some of my investment strategies. I'm doing all right, but parts of my portfolio are just awful.

  2. Ha! I was in the exact same situation a month ago! The battery for my car's key fob died and I went to replace it at the store in the mall. Not only did they offer the extended warranty on the five dollar battery but they wanted me to buy two packs of AA batteries because they were having a BOGO sale.

    I must have had the most incredulous look on my face that day.