With post-holiday sales coming on everything from refrigerators (just in time for your Super Bowl party) to big-screen TVs (what better way to watch the game?), some consumer activists are again warning shoppers about extended warranties.
Don’t buy a service plan on your new mobile phone or car, they say. Just cross your fingers and save your money in case your new laptop goes bust.
Yet service contracts are more popular than ever. In fact, a new survey finds most consumers view extended warranties as a good deal.
The survey, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, found that more than two-thirds of Americans are willing to spend a little more to save time and avoid the hassle if their device malfunctions. Almost 5 in 6 consumers who have purchased extended warranties are satisfied with their decision, according to the survey of 1,000 consumers in November.
Why? Because Americans want to sleep though the night.
The national survey found:
67 percent of respondents would rather spend a little more money if it saves them time.
71 percent say it’s worth paying a little more to know they don’t have to deal with the hassle of repairs.
80 percent of those who purchased an extended warranty or service contract did so to avoid unexpected expense or hassle associated with repairs.
84 percent of those consumers are very or somewhat satisfied with their decision to purchase a warranty or service contract.
55 percent of consumers believe avoiding unexpected expenses is a major benefit of having an extended warranty on consumer electronics, appliances, home systems or car services.
Service contracts, now available for everything from home theaters to home air-conditioning units, covered more than 95 percent of claims in 2012. Sometimes those claims resulted from accidents — who among us hasn’t dropped our mobile phone? — and sometimes from routine wear and tear.
Most service contracts provide 24-hour claims service to their customers, with expedited options for emergency situations. It’s a nice feeling to be able to call a company’s toll-free number and know you’ll be taken care of. Some service contracts even cover damages suffered as a result of a breakdown, such as a refrigerator malfunction that spoils food.
So who buys service contracts? The survey found these consumers are:
More likely to feel there are not enough hours in a day.
More likely to worry of expenses.
Much more likely to be willing to pay more to avoid the pain of getting a product repaired.
“Warranty purchasers tend to be busier than average, more concerned about unexpected expenses and are willing to pay more to avoid the hassles of repair,” noted Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. In short, most Americans value the peace of mind that extended warranties bring. For them, the holidays are stressful enough without adding more worries.
Tim Meenan is executive director of the Service Contract Industry Council, whose member companies collectively offer about 80 percent of the service contracts sold in the United States for home, auto and consumer goods.