Should I Buy the Extended Protection Plan?

Sally is a college student who has a paper due tomorrow. She has worked long and hard on this, only to find out that her printer decides to crap out just in time to print it. In desperation, she brings it back to the store where she had purchased it for three hundred dollars, only to find out that nobody knows how to fix it. It would have to be replaced. The problem is that Sally is broke. Therefore she is screwed. She has to rush home to borrow mom’s credit card to buy a new one.

Of course, Mom isn’t happy about it because it’s only three months old but finally gives in.

If Sally had bought the extended protection plan where I work, she would be getting a new printer for free, but she didn’t need it like many other people.

So are Extended Protection Plans worth it? I’ve heard from many a customer that Consumer Reports has suggested that, for the most part, these are unnecessary and a waste of money. However, as a tech and salesperson, I see it every day. Somebody is coming in to buy a new printer or laptop, after purchasing one only a few months before because it died on them.

I had one guy spend 1500 dollars on a new top-of-the-line laptop. He comes in a month and a half later saying that it died and wants it fixed under warranty. So I take it in and check it out. When looking inside, I see coffee dripping out of the air holes. The manufacturer’s warranty is immediately voided due to it being accidentally damaged. Warranties only cover normal wear and tear and artistry, so he’s screwed. We fixed it, but it cost him over 1200 dollars to do it. And he got mad at me because the warranty was voided. I don’t believe that it’s my fault. I didn’t dump a cup of coffee on it. If he had bought the plan, accidental damage would have been covered, and it would have been fixed for free. He didn’t think it was worth it, though, at the time of the purchase.

Also, if you have ever dealt with one, you must realize that warranties are a total pain in the butt to deal with. First, you have to call the manufacturer, so you spend an hour on the phone with somebody from India who you can barely understand; he is very friendly and tries to help you fix it but to no avail. He then instructs you to ship it out to the factory at your own expense. Then you wait for it to return, which could take weeks.

Although an electronic device is still under warranty, you have to realize something; except for software, warranty repairs are only done at the factory. The store where you purchased the item will probably not fix it. You often end up with a refurbished model instead of getting yours fixed.

Also, although I’m a qualified tech, I am not allowed to replace anything more than a memory chip or a hard drive under warranty repairs in a laptop. The rest have to be sent back to the factory. If you had purchased the extended protection plan, your computer would be fixed at no cost to you, and you would have it back within a week. If you didn’t, the manufacturer’s warranties would only cover the parts after the first 30 days, and you’d be paying somebody to install them.

I’ve heard every excuse in the book for not buying the plans. Everything from too much money to my uncle knows a lot about computers. “For that price, I’ll just buy a new one.” Okay, whatever. No skin on my back. It’s not like I get a commission on these things. The salespeople are primarily honest but have a grasp of the market better than I do. So, who knows? Maybe the PowerBook 250 is the one for you. Recently, Apple has been introducing some new additions to their other products, including a new pen-based input device. If memory is your concern, be aware that the pen is not included with the PowerBook 250. Check the price tag dearly. Be wary of the buy-in factor. Or, jump into the lake, isn’t there? Ask around. No one knows where this technology takes us.

Nawar Wassouf

Tekneik Eng

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