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Thursday, January 6, 2011

To Buy or Not to Buy: A Question on the Extended Warranty

My faithful readers know that we learned we needed an expensive repair to our Mac SEVEN DAYS before the warranty expired. So happy.

Today, Mr. FS and I ventured to Baton Rouge, land of malls, to the Apple Store. We had to relinquish our computer; we hope to get it back in a week or so. While Mr. FS handed over the machine, the Apple fellow offered an extended warranty: $170.00! He explained that Macs are very expensive to fix. Unlike clunky PCs, which you can often fix yourself, the beautiful Mac requires an expert. It takes an hour just to remove the screen. (At how much per hour, I wonder.)

So it seems the virus-free Mac DOES have a dark side, what with pricy repairs lurking here and there. My general rule has been that anything the company is eager to sell you (extended warranties, cancer insurance, variable annuities, bundled services, to name a few) is probably more in the interest of the company than the consumer.

But what think you on the subject? Should we get the extended warranty? Or should we just say no?

11 comments:

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I'd say NO...
Our Mac laptops need to be replaced about every 4 -5 years....and my son who works in the tech industry thinks we should budget for upgrades...

maybe not what you wanted to hear...but you asked!

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

I say no. All computers die within 2-5 years now. They don't make 'em like they used to. It's like they put a chip in there or something because my Dell is about to bite the dust and I've had it for 2 years.

If it doesn't die within the warranty it GENERALLY won't die after either. Just screw up a bit.

Just save aside for your next computer.

Terri said...

Hm, I've bought extended warranties on my camera and my vehicle, but I tend to think that the lifespan of a laptop these days is three years. Anything beyond that is gravy.

Marcela said...

I never thought extended warranties were worth the money, by the time they start breaking they probably need an upgrade anyway.
My husband is an IT person and he doesn't see where the fascination with Mac comes from either. In his opinion Mr. Jobs is more marketing smart than IT smart ;) Just thought I would mention it as an extra opinion, in case you find it useful(I know most Mac users are very loyal to the brand)

Shelley said...

Everything I've ever read in financial advice pages says NO to extended warranties. Bill's aunt took this to extreme once and it's one of his favourite stories. Upon being offered the extended warranty, she told the salesman that if the washing machine wasn't going to last so long that it needed an extended warranty, she didn't want the inferior thing anyhow. Not very useful, but it made me smile.

Frugal Scholar said...

@ALL--Thank you, smart readers, for your good advice. We will heed it. And Marcela--what kind of computer does your husband recommend?

Marcela said...

He is not attached to any brand in particular because he says that different models have different performance and that it also depends on the specific needs of each user. He looks for options according to the user's needs (me, for eg ;) and then checks forums and online reviews to verify performance, problems, etc. We recently bought a new laptop for me and chose an HP Pavillion.

Justin said...

My friend actually works at the Apple store. He had that teacher your son didn't like as well (they got a long though). I can ask him about it and see what he says. Personally, I find it a good investment, especially with a Mac. They are too pricey not be warrantied.

Duchesse said...

There are Apple stores but there are also shops that work on Macs, and that is what we use. They are far cheaper, so we do not buy the warranty.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Justin--Thanks! Let me know the verdict.

@Duchesse--Good idea. We've had some incompetent repairs, unfortunately. Luckily, we were under warranty this time.

Justin said...

My friend tells me that the purchase is probably one of the best ones you can make. Many of the repairs are easily 500+.