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The Warranty Question

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Should you buy the extended warranty on your new electronic gadget?

The answer is simple—no. Your salesperson is keen to offer it to you because of the high commission. But most extended warranties simply extend the manufacturer’s guarantee for a few years. That covers random flaws in production, like a piece of plastic that cracks before its time, but almost never the things that might actually happen: a power surge, a water soaking, or snapped screen hinges. Those repairs you pay for yourself.

Still, there are a few good service plans. AppleCare is renowned for its technical support. Wal-Mart and Best Buy offer service plans that cover power surges. CompUSA has diagnostic and repair technicians on-site at many stores. The one exception to the rule: flat-screen TVs. Because they’re still a relatively new technology, chances of part failure are higher, and repairs can run hundreds of dollars an hour. Though the warranty can cost $400 or more, if something does go wrong, you will almost certainly make it back right away.


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