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Computer extended warranties – are they worth buying??

3 Year Extended WarrantyExtended warranties can be a minefield. So it’s worth doing your homework before buying one, and certainly don’t get pressurised into buying something you are unsure about.

Any piece of computer equipment you purchase from new will come with a manufactures warranty against hardware defects for one year and you as the consumer are covered by the Sale of Goods act. The retailer of the product can then be responsible to fulfil the warranty under “reasonable” terms which normally follow the manufacturer’s instructions. So although the retailer will fulfil the warranty at no cost to you, the product may be sent away. Normally you will not be entitled to a loan/replacement item in the meantime. Ask if the warranty is “Collect and Return” or “Onsite” and what this includes.

Warranties will come in two major types – “Manufacturers” or “Insurance backed”

A manufactures warranty will extend the hardware, and they may offer accidental damage cover in the package. So if you buy an HP, then HP will fix it or their approved repair centre, and you are dealing with HP. Typically this warranty does not always have to brought at the time of your notebook purchase. So ask how long do you get from your purchase to take out the different extended warranty, for what periods and how to register the warranty. Some manufacturers will give you up to 5 years on some models.

If the warranty is insurance backed, then this will be fixed by the insurer’s representative under their terms and conditions. So ask what will happens if it goes wrong? What is the procedure for handling the warranty? Don’t just assume you take it back to the retailer or phone the manufacturer as the small print may tell you otherwise. As some of these insurance based warranties may have to purchased with the notebook, check your cooling-off period if you change your mind – ask about your rights.

So in conclusion, warranties are like any other insurance – you insure against the risk. My advice is seriously consider the manufactures warranty. An HP desktop warranty for example may cost £55 and give you 3 year hardware cover. Being that a board fault may cost £100 plus to put right, it’s well worth it.

As to insurance backed warranties – tread with caution, don’t be rushed or pressured into a decision, ask questions, and find out what will happen if it goes wrong. On the positive also ask what benefits you get in addition the base manufactures warranty, as you might find if the notebook goes incurable after 18 months, you may get a new one.

Written by: Julian Flux – connect with Julian on LinkedIn

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