With the Christmas shopping season nearing its conclusion, I’d just to issue a warning and/or suggestion for anyone shopping for something extravagant, like an LCD HD TV, 40-plus inches. You know, that kind of thing. The warning also applies to all of you who will line up at ungodly hours of the morning to save $100 on big screen TVs on Boxing Day.

My warning is two part:

a) when purchasing anything like  big screen TV, go for the extended warranty, and;

d) don’t buy Toshiba.

Savvy readers might have detected that I’m upset that I didn’t get an extended warranty when I bought my HD Toshiba TV a couple of years back. Well detected.

I’ve never been one to buy extended warranties. I read a number of years ago that they were not a good investment, and, being a cheap person, I agreed with the assessment. I have rarely, if ever, regretted the decision. In fact, the few times that I did buy an extended warranty, it ended up going to waste.

But after my Toshiba experience, I’m going the extended warranty route from now on.

My Toshiba HD TV is really a thing of beauty… when it works properly. It was fine for about two years, then suddenly developed peculiar horizontal lines across the screen upon start up. The problem would go away after about a half hour, then the TV would work wonderfully. Lately, it has gotten even quirkier, with psychedelic color patters and assorted other weird stuff. But still, after a half-hour, it does away.

So I phoned Toshiba with the problem, and they directed me to one of their recommended repair places. The repair guy comes along, and tells me he sees this kind of problem quite often. The repair requires replacing the screen, which is an $1,800 repair. Pretty steep for a $1,200 TV.

Unfortunately, the TV’s one-year warranty has expired, so I have no grounds to go to Toshiba and fight. Wondering if I was the only person who had this problem, I went online and  found a website with consumer complaints about products, and found dozens of almost identical complaints about Toshibas. In each case, the writer complained of terrible customer service from Toshiba.  I could, I suppose, go to war with Toshiba, but the warranty has expired, so I’d be going in without ammo.

I’ve owned a lot of TVs, but this new breed of ultra thin HDs are as delicate as a spring flower. The old style tube TVs were build like a brick shit house,; you could drop them down a flight of stairs, and they’d still work. These new ones, the TV repair guy told me, are much more delicate. They go on the fritz if they don’t like the show you’re watching.

So here’s my friendly advice, coming from experience. If you’re buying today’s new fangled TVs, get the extended warranty. At worst, you lose the money. At best, you protect your investment, and maybe even get a new TV out of the deal. Or better yet, look into making your purchases at London Drugs. I was in London Drugs the other day, and, as I understand it, the store offers an additional year warranty on their own on electronics. So you’d get the manufacturers warranty, an extra year from London Drugs, and you can buy an extended warranty that kicks in after that. That’s four years of warranty.

In the meantime, I’m stuck with my TV that looks like garbage until it warms up, then works fine. One of these days, it will stay in garbage mode for good. Then it really will be garbage when I kick my foot through the screen.

Happy shopping.

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2 thoughts on “Extended warranties? Think about it.

  1. Who would have thought that M. Tougas would ever have a consumer reports column???? I was with you on the scam of Extended Warranties – big waste of money…..now must rethink as we contemplate a new TV – and for sure not a Toshiba!!!

  2. Extended warranties are still a scam, even though there are isolated incidents such as yours in which it does turn out to be worth the money. I am seriously considering getting AppleCare for my MacBook Pro (I have until the complimentary warranty expires next summer to decide and shell out the $350), but I wouldn’t with most electronics, particularly non-portable electronics.

    The key is to never be an early adopter and always search online for reviews before you buy. If you discovered belatedly that many other people were having the same problem, no offence, but you should’ve been able to find that out before you bought it two years ago.

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