Consumer alert: We discovered the truth about common warranties

CLEVELAND, OH -- It seems every time you buy an electronic device, a car or even an appliance the salesperson is pushing you to pay for an extended warranty.

But do you know when to buy and when to pass?

To be clear, clear we are talking about warranties, not insurance.

You should always have insurance on things like your car (required) or home.

Extended warranties are what they try to sell you, in case the product you buy suddenly stops working within the first year or two.

Should you buy it for your ... ?

  • television
  • computer
  • cell phone
  • refrigerator
  • washer/drier
  • car

You might be surprised at the answer from Consumer Reports, the non-profit member organization that tests and reviews products
 
"Most of the time extended warranties are really not worth it in Consumer Reports opinion," according to Tobie Stanger, a senior editor for Consumer Reports. "Often times a lot of products are made very well today and they out live typically the warranty."

In an article by Stanger, she says there are a couple of reasons to save your money and just say no.

"Extended warranties often have a lot of fine print. For example there may be certain parts on your refrigerator that are not covered like the gaskets around the door that keep the cold in. Or maybe the water or the ice dispenser that might not be covered," Stanger warns.

Stanger does have a suggestion on what you should do instead.

"If say paying for a warranty might cost you another $300, take that money set it aside in a savings account or checking account so that it is there for you if a repair is needed," Stanger said.

Consumer Reports is still looking at cell phone extended warranties, but warns most warranties do not cover cracked screens.

To replace a cracked screen which can be very expensive is usually covered under phone insurance.

About the only extended warranty Stanger and Consumer Reports does recommend, is Apple Care for computers and laptops.

"We have found that AppleCare, because they have very good customer service, that that might be a worth while warranty to get," Stanger said.

Another tip that could save you money is there are several credit cards that have a sort of warranty, or replacement plan, if you bought the product with a credit card.

Check with your credit card company before you buy.

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