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buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 12, 2009 10:43PM
I'm looking at some Kenmore HE washers. I would like to buy from Sears (esp if they have some of the clearance models as they seem to on occasion) but I'm never one for warranties. However, on this purchase, for some reason I think I should buy one.

Have you and have you had occasion to use it? opinions?
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 12, 2009 10:49PM
I have purchased Sears warranties. I have rarely used them. The best time it was a deal was on a vacuum cleaner that was repaired about 20 times before the 4 year extended warranty expired. The second best time was when they sold me a one year warranty over the phone. On a washer that had, co-incidentally, just had its transmission fail. I waited the requisite 30 days, called them, and got a new transmission.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: davester
Date: February 12, 2009 10:50PM
How much are they asking. For long term appliances it's almost never a good idea to buy the extended warranty. In fact, if you have a feeling you need the warranty perhaps this is not a good washer to own.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: Doc
Date: February 12, 2009 10:59PM
If it's a home-service warranty including all parts and labor and if it brings the warranty period beyond 5 years then I'd consider it.

...But ask whether you can buy a service plan at a later date. Maybe around the 4th year.

Most modern washers and dryers start to crap out around the 5 year mark.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2009 11:00PM by Doc.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: February 13, 2009 12:56AM
The conventional wisdom is, for large purchases, yes.

I declined a Sears Extended Warranty when purchasing a Panasonic Plasma TV Christmas before last. The power supply failed exactly 14 months later, just as the manufacturer's warranty had expired.

It's the one and only time I regretted not purchasing the extended warranty. And one of the few times one would have been extremely beneficial. Granted, a washer may be less vulnerable to failures than a fancy plasma TV, but protection on large, expensive appliances are worth considering.

My reasons for declining were rational at the time. We'd just had fire damage to our home, and with insurance money, had to purchase all our life's belongings, all at once. Getting extended warranties on all of these items adds up. I gambled a little, picking and choosing which to protect, more or less at random. Also, the salesman was so desperate to sell me the Extended Warranty package, it had the opposite effect he was aiming for, it turned me off. I made the decision to postpone, I believe you have from 30-90 days to add the additional warranty protection, or may be able to add it any time after the original purchase.

In a series of time-consuming phone calls to Customer Service, I spent a few weeks begging, pleading, and negotiating for a measure of grace since the product I purchased from them failed so prematurely, so close to warranty expiration. Though I succeeded in getting some limited help with the cost, a store credit, etc., which was ultimately satisfactory, under the circumstances, it was a difficult process I'd prefer not to repeat.

Both BestBuy, and Sears, are known to have fairly respectable and affordable Extended Warranty options. Sears offers in-home service calls, and annual preventative maintenance calls. BestBuy I believe includes the former, but not the latter.

I've had direct experience with Sears technical personnel. The markup on parts is double, it massively inflates the cost of repair, should you require repair outside warranty. The technician I had experience with was not autonomous. For diagnostics, he basically connected a laptop to the TV and waited for authorization from some central repair office. He was ill-informed, and said things that were either questionable, or false, about the electrical requirements of plasma TVs. I got a more confident diagnosis and more realistic parts prices from an independent Plasma Repair Service.

My experience with Sears is mixed. Sales staff, and technical staff, are overworked and undertrained. Though to be fair, this is likely true of competing departments stores.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/2009 12:58AM by guitarist.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: February 13, 2009 04:15AM
A longtime repairman told he used to never suggest getting extended warranties. Then they started putting in circuitboards for controls in place of mechanical switches. Now he says to always get the extended.

I did on my refrigerator and it saved me $600 when the board crapped out due to moisture.

Apparently water and electronics don't go well together = who knew. eek2 smiley



You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands...
- For example, if they are wrapped around your throat she's probably slightly upset.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: February 13, 2009 05:58AM
Yes, and the thing about these cards....

...for those of us used to customizing macs, upgrading desktop systems, swapping out cards and parts, these appliances have installable cards that look similar enough to what we're used to, I was tempted to try it myself. Purchase the part directly from a supplier, read a manual, and do the repair myself.

When the Independent Plasma Repair service guy was here, diagnosing the problem, and we had the back of the TV opened up, I studied it, and for a moment, considered it. I even discussed it with him (he hadn't ordered the part yet, just confirmed that the whole card needed to be replaced with a new one) and I probably could have gotten instructions from him. But from the look of it--the various connectors and wires that needed detaching and reattaching--- it was enough beyond my pay grade, beyond my confidence level, that I wisely decided not to attempt the repair myself. If I did it, and it failed, I'd have myself to blame. By hiring an experienced repair person (and his price is fair) I was also getting the guarantee of his workmanship.

But, it looked tempting.

Anyone else look closely at one of these cards, and had similar thoughts?
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 13, 2009 06:20AM
I had decent results buying an extended warranty on my last 2 TV sets - both were for 3 years. The first set, a rear projection CRT needed a picture tube and after several failed attempts to get it right, the warranty paid back my entire purchase price toward a new set. This set, a Sony, had one problem early on that was covered by the factory warranty, and days before the 3 year warranty was to expire, I had a tech come out to inspect the cooling fans. He replaced both fans and the bulb so I broke even (at least) on the cost of the warranty vs the repair on that set. In the first case I was way ahead.
Since then I bought all new kitchen appliances; range, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher. At $200 some dollars, I went for the 4 year warranty covering all the appliances. YMMV, of course.



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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: February 13, 2009 06:25AM
Buy a top-loading washer with mechanical controls (all horizontal-axis machines, e.g. front-loaders, require circuit boards) for half the price instead and skip the extended warranty.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: Undrpsi
Date: February 13, 2009 06:34AM
Did it...and there is some good and bad.

I bought a new washer and dryer (the new BIG front end load kind). WIthin one year the washer started screaming at high speed. "Bearings shot" I thought. Called the Sears warranty line. Took 4 days before someone came out. He proceeded to take the washer apart and got to a hidden screen/filter located under the tub. It was full of the usual washer gunk. He looked right at me and said "Yeah..this is common and is NOT covered under the warranty"..???...!!! Luckily, the guy was a contracted service guy and not a Sears drone. He fixed it anyway (cleaned out filter). Then showed me how to do it myself. He told me if I kep it clean I would never see him again. These washers, except for the clogging drain filter, were just about bulletproof. He was very nice and since then (2-1/2 years) I haven't had a bit of trouble. I do clean the drain filter about every 3 months and it amazes me the crap that ends up in it.
I also purchased a slide in convection range with extended warranty. Like the other poster..I had a board go bad. Took only 1 week to have it looked at, order board, and have it reinstalled. I was amazed that a 3" square circuit board controlled the whole thing. The other poster commented on the connections but the Fridgeadair had a mini-pci type slot. Took the guy more time to take off and put on the cover than the replacing the board.
YMMV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jay
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: haikuman
Date: February 13, 2009 07:04AM
I purchase extended warranties most of the time. I respect what many folks say here about never needing them... I purchase them for security... and I may not be much of a tool time sorta guy.

Rudie *(:>*
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: JEBB
Date: February 13, 2009 08:31AM
It depends on what the extended warranty costs. What percentage of the price of a new machine is it? All life's decisions are gambles.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: Michael
Date: February 13, 2009 09:36AM
A three year agreement at Sears for an $833 front-load washer (that I picked out randomly) is $199.99. A 3 year agreement for a $812 front load washer that Sams's Club sells is $79.03.

One other issue is that Sears sells a 5 year agreement ($309.99) and Sam's does not.

If I was to buy a front loader, I'd buy it at Sam's with the 3 year agreement.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: zeppo2
Date: February 13, 2009 09:59AM
Given our recent experience with Sears and their utter failure to stand behind their products (yeah, I'm p*ssed at them), I'd buy it. Better yet, I'd save the warranty money and buy from the limited supply at Costco, where I've taken back things like a vacuum cleaner three years later and had them exchange it, no questions asked.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: TLB
Date: February 13, 2009 10:14AM
Is the warranty Sears, manufacturer or a third party? If it is Sears, I don't know. I have heard rumors they may be approaching the abyss. If they go belly-up, will the warranty be honored? Many Circuit City folks came out OK, because a third party manages the warranties and they will stay in force even with Circuit City gone.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 13, 2009 10:59AM
Thank you everone for the excellent responses. TLB brings up a good point about the warranty origination.
Thanks to all, I really appreciate it.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: olnacl
Date: February 13, 2009 01:33PM
Quote
TLB
Is the warranty Sears, manufacturer or a third party? If it is Sears, I don't know. I have heard rumors they may be approaching the abyss. If they go belly-up, will the warranty be honored? Many Circuit City folks came out OK, because a third party manages the warranties and they will stay in force even with Circuit City gone.

The CC warranty was what I had on both my TVs. The second one expired in January which is why I called for service days before it ended. I didn't renew because, even at that time, CC seemed headed for Chapter 11 at best and I was unwilling to invest without assurance the warranty would be honored. The other reason not to re-up was the TV is now 3 years old and the warranty cost or another three years was about half what what a similar new set costs today (not so 3 years ago). I hope it makes it another three years without problems.



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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: michaelb
Date: February 13, 2009 03:04PM
Quote
guitarist
The conventional wisdom is, for large purchases, yes.

I think the conventional wisdom is (was) never purchase the extended warranty. I think we can be virtually assured that they have teams of accountants and actuaries that price these warranties in such a way as to make huge profits for the companies. So consumers pretty much always lose both individually and collectively. I would guess this is true about even applecare. Although I am sure many here recommend it, I would bet it is a cash cow for Apple. If you saved that money on all your purchases for the few repairs that may come up, you would be ahead.

The value of these warranties must be even further discounted by the fact that you can buy from Costco and get a great return policy, and that all major purchases should be made with a credit card that adds a year to the warranty.

However, the point above that repairs to most applicances are so unreasonable expensive is true. Almost any repair costs so much as to make it worth looking at buying a new one. There probably are anticompetitive forces in the repair market, but the increased use of expensive electronics that fail and require replacement also drive up the cost. Our oven has some interminent problem (a sensor or safety valve), and after a 100+ service call that didn't fix anything, if and when it does break the repair is likely to be 400+, or equal to the cost of a new stove.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 13, 2009 08:17PM
Michael,

I suspect it doesn't make sense to get an extended warranty, especially if you used a credit card for the purchase. Typically, I usually skip an extended warranty when it's for an item that is under $100.00. Think DVD player, computer keyboard, a basic humidifier, cheap microwave oven, etc. If an item like that breaks, I'll just use the extended warranty provided by the credit card. More expensive items, on the other hand, are a different matter.

For example... If I buy a Macbook, I know the card will cover the first year after the warranty. However, i know that many card companies and/or extended service plan providers require you to bring the broken item to one of their repair centers. Said center may or may not have experience repairing Apple computers. So, when it comes to Apple products, I get Applecare. If someone is going to work on my Mac (or Apple display, ipod, etc), then I'd rather it be a company that is well versed with the product. In this particular case, it's Apple.

Whenever I can, I prefer to get an extended warranty provided by the actual manufacturer of the good. HP offers excellent warranties for their items. Brother does the same. They repaired an MFC-5840cn so many times that they had to have lost a serious amount of money on the machine in the end.

Then again, I've gotten non-manufacturers extended warranties and they've done right by me as well. Sometimes it was easy. Other times it was a pain. In the end, theyv'e al come through for me.

I look at it this way. On a big ticket item, if it breaks, it's likely not to break until it's out of warranty. and, when it does break, it'll likely cost me more than the cost of the extended warranty for the repair. If the warranty covers one repair, then it's paid for itself. If the warranty covers more than one repair, then I'm ahead of the game. If the item doesn't break, then so be it. The sense of security is worth the investment, especially if it's a big ticket item that will cost big bucks to repair.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/2009 08:17PM by Robert M.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: February 13, 2009 10:51PM
I think the hard part is mentally factoring in the cost, when you're bargain hunting and price comparing, to have this expectation in your mind in advance.

Otherwise, you are inclined to have this feeling the salesperson is telling you:

"This is how much the product costs. And if you want it to plug it in, use it, and expect it to keep working, it'll cost this much."

(which was my experience, when buying the Panasonic Plasma)

When they push the Extended Warranty on you, the customer, on a product that's understood to have a good performance and reliability score, you feel like they're admitting the product isn't trustworthy, and unless you pay extra to protect it, you're gambling.

Sad, but true.
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Re: buy the Sears warranty for a washer?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: February 14, 2009 03:40AM
If you think you can afford to fix it or replace it if/when it breaks, then don't buy the warranty.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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