Have you ever had a truly bad service experience? We all have. Usually, it is a restaurant or other routine interaction like a convenience store or dry cleaner perhaps. You may never return to that establishment.
However, as bad as a horrible meal or ripped shirt may be, your experience after buying a third-party appliance warranty will be far worse, and you won't realize how much until it is too late.
Unfortunately, you may have good intentions buying warranties as a hedge against unforeseen repairs. This hedge could end in more money lost in time and aggravation.
In this article, we will look at what a third-party warranty actually is and what to do to protect yourself before you lose your mind trying to redeem one.
If you are looking for a summary of the rest of the article: Do not under any circumstances buy one of these ever.
Third-party Warranty Companies
Third-party warranty companies are basically insurance companies using appliance stores to sell their companies. You are right in thinking some very good ones like GEICO, State Farm, and Progressive use independent agents and have good reputations.
However, none of them are in the appliance repair business. These other companies do not have the systems of fulfillment like the home and auto insurance companies.
All they are is call centers, for lack of a better term.
Problems With Third-party Warranty Companies
Call centers lack the actual techs to fix the problem, so they outsource at below market rates. On major time consuming but common repairs like icemakers on refrigerators or direct drives on front load washers, you will not be able to schedule a repair.
Why? The repair agent will be a paid fraction of what the repair should be from a time and cost basis. This problem is becoming worse because appliances are much harder to fix. Soon, with features like connectivity to the internet, appliance fixes will be even more difficult.
Alarmingly, most of the new warranty companies originate from the electronics business and have zero experience with appliances.
So What Should You Do?
Do not buy one. Seriously. If a store is pushing one on you (and you will be pushed), Google their reviews. It is the surest way of what the experience will be based on other people's past experiences. While you are Googling, check out the store as well.
The best review sites are Yelp, Google, BBB (check only the number of complaints, companies can buy a better rating), and Angie's List.
This is doubly true when buying products from the internet because you do not have a physical store to lodge a complaint.
So save your money, time, and sanity by never, ever buying one of these “warranties.”
Why am I telling you this?
You may ask why I wrote this so bluntly as this is not my style. I actually think these are a scam and should be regulated with legal penalties.
What aggravates me is a Vice President of one of these companies was trying to sell me his warranty program. After saying no a bunch of times, he said our biggest out of state competitor was moving a ton of these.
I replied, “They do not give a darn about customer service because you clearly do not have the techs to support your ridiculous claims.”
That was the end of the conversation.
Just be careful. You can be skeptical. Just check everyone's reputation online.
If you read this post up to here, then you should probably download The Yale Appliance Buying Guide. You will learn the best companies, the best time to buy an appliance, and much more. Over 210,000 people have read a Yale Guide.