6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, How to Choose a Warranty

(ABC 6 News) – Most major purchases come with warranties; cars, appliances, even many homes.

They’re great peace of mind if they cover the right things. Consumer Reports is here with important money-saving tips that can protect you and help you get the most out of your warranties.

Three months after Alfonso Torres and his wife moved into their new home, his refrigerator stopped working.

“Although the refrigerator was under warranty, we still had to pay for them to come and they could not fix it so they offered to replace it for a similar model but we could not find exactly one, we had to pay a little extra,” says Torres.

Torres is not alone, many consumers face warranty letdowns every year, often because their limitations are hidden in the fine print.

Consumer Reports’ Diane Umansky says, “A good warranty is one that’s long. Covers the most important parts. And has a simple process for resolving problems. And that’s important because that tells you that a manufacturer has confidence that its product is going to last a long time,.”

Consumer Reports says reading the fine print – all of it – is important! Coverage periods in warranties vary, and there are almost always exclusions.

“Regular wear and tear is not covered in a warranty, and neither are user mistakes, like spilling coffee on your keyboard. You want to use the product as it is recommended to be used. That’s really important to make sure your warranty stays in effect,” says Umansky.

Extended warranties that claim to provide additional coverage on top of the manufacturer’s warranty or coverage after it expires, often sound appealing, but Consumer Reports says most times they are not worth the additional cost.

“We generally have found that extended warranties are not worthwhile and that consumers are typically better off just putting a little cash away for emergency repairs,” says Umansky.

Bottom line, know what your warranties cover, and what they don’t, before you need them!

Torres adds, “Always take time to read the terms and conditions of your warranty so you avoid potential frustration in the future.”

Even if a product is recently out of warranty, Consumer Reports says it never hurts to contact the manufacturer to see if they can help.

And if you paid for it with a credit card, you might have additional warranty protection.