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Service Plans - Fact or Fiction ?  

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am new to projection TVs and was wondering about the necessity for dust cleaning and lens "adjustment" periodically? The sales staff at Best Buy is obviously trained to sell hard the in-home service packages / warranties that add hundreds to overall cost. I never buy extended warranties on anything because I expect the manufacturer to have built the quality into the product. On the other hand, the sales people are telling me the the performance will deteriorate if I don't have periodic maintenance. What also makes me suspicious is that there is no set interval for the maintenance - they're telling me I can call whenever I need the in-home service.

Anyone have any opinions? Thanks for your help.
post #2 of 9
Electronics have an early life mortality period. Once you get past that period, they are good for a long time. The one year warranty on most electronics is enough to get you past the early life failure period. Thus, extended warranties on electornics are generally a waste of money.

My $0.02 worth...
post #3 of 9
There was no mention of periodic service, in the manual for my Toshiba Projection set. So it's not a factory recommended service.

Also, extended warranties, (at least in the used car market, have markup of 50% over cost). My brain tells me that if PROFIT is 50% of the warranty cost it's probably not going to provide the benefit expected. Or in another view, most likely it's not going to break, and if it does the cost to repair will be manageable when averaged out over all my "eligible for extended warranty" devices.

I like to think of an extended warranty as insurance. I insure myself when I could suffer a loss that would be catastrophic. For example, Car, House, Home, Life.

Electronics in general follow a failure curve that looks quite like a cross section of a bathtub. High failures at the beginning and ends with a big flat spot of reliability in the middle (When your extended warranty is in effect....)

Just my .03 worth.



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Jeffrey Macko
The Royale Cinema
post #4 of 9
The Bathtub analogy is correct for most products, and I would not buy one for A $300. unit. However A RPTV is A large investment and I would invest X-tra for some peace of mind.
RE; the above comments.
On the 1yr warranty: in many cases this is parts only. (labor may be as little as 90 days).Cold Solder Joints are common and They SUCK.
Profit Motive: Absolutely it is the margin on the extended warranty's that allow them to make so little on the actual product.
In the Past I have Sold Them, Bought Them and Used Them, and I still do. Building Brand Loyalty is not as important to most Mfgr's as it used to be so long term reality is not as great.
My .04$ Worth.
Brent McCall
post #5 of 9
I can tell you all you want to know about Best Buy's program because I
use the same company where I work.

They cover a lot of things that make the program a "service." The idea is not that the product will break, but that if it does you are covered. Look at it this way.

On a $4000 Toshiba HD-RPTV it costs roughly $350 for 5 years of coverage. That five years covers parts, labor AND technical assistance. You can call their tech line 24 hours a day and get information on ANY product, not just the one you own. (They have micro-fisch of all manuals)

It also covers the remote control, which is rare. But the #1 reason is prevention. You are paying only $70/yr for the program and they are willing to send a tech out atleast once a year to clean the inside of the set and check its operation (like loose cold solder joints) This would cost you $80-$120 every year if you did it on your own.

Not to mention that MOST manuf. do not pay for in house service anymore. Could you imagine loading that 65 inch Sony into the truck and bringing it to the service center? Thats a $350 value for me right there.

I don;t buy into the program like most people would want me to. (company) but I do know that on RPTV's its a great value. If you don't think so - great. Yes they are profitable - but not as profitable as you would think. Most sales guys make $15-$35 for selling the program, which to me isn't enough to get upset of hostile.

Use your own judgement on this one. I buy them on RPTV's and camcorders.

Dan

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Dan Henderson
dan@net-impress.com
post #6 of 9
I generally don't buy extended waranties. They may be good for some people on RPTV's, but check them out. How are some facts I have discovered over the years.

1) Many and most stores don't back these warranties themselves. Like a lot of insurance these days the policy or warranty is sold to a holding firm that carries the risk.

2) Extended warranties often do not equate to factory authorized service. This to me is a big problem. Some tech unfamilier with the model tries to fix it and makes it worse. Then if factory authorized service is finally brough in they will charge to make it right. Usally the warranty risk owner pays this but in the meantime you are down with a lot of phone calls and yelling. The profit is so high with these warranties, the clearing houses can afford to eat the realativily infrequent repair costs and avoid the expense of using factory authorized service centers.

3) Read the fine print. Some do not cover the expensive wearable parts. It was commen a few years ago for extended VCR warranties not to cover head replacement due to wear. When TV cameras used pickup tubes, these were not covered because they age quickly. Make sure the RPTV tubes are completly covered. That means in five years if they are soft, they should be replaced. A tough request, but hey, you should get something for that $500 fee other than peace of mind.
post #7 of 9
Sh*t happens, says Forrest Gump.

OK, so, when that happens, the people with the extended warranty will be delighted. When it doesn't happen, it feels like you've wasted money. That's all.

My brother bought his XBR, and doesn't opt to take the extended warranty. 21 months later, something was wrong, and it cost him $300+ to have a repairman fix. It would have cost him about the same thing if he had taken the 3-year extended warranty. Of course, he didn't have anything happen after that (within the 3-year period). So, he losts nothing.

I bought my XBR and purchased a 2 year extended warranty. Guess what? It never broke down. It looks like I'm spending money on something that I don't use.

The argument about 'needing to ship the (big) equipment' back is valid, and can be a good reason why someone should get an extended warranty. All in all, your mileage may vary. Remember that these warranties only goes for something that's broken, and not for 'calibration' stuff. You cannot ask for someone to repair something when you see the lower left corner is not very converged.

Ciao.
Muljadi Budiman.
post #8 of 9
Cheyenne, Wyoming? Wow. I am from Casper.

Anyway, back on topic.

Do read the fine print. There are many sleezy companies out there. I have seen almost everything - do your homework, flip a coin, whatever makes you feel good.

Dan

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Dan Henderson
dan@net-impress.com
post #9 of 9
And here's another way to look at it if you don't get the extended warranty. Say 2-3 yrs. down the road whatever you buy breaks - hey great reason to go buy a new toy! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif Always gotta look for the upside hehe.
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