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TV Extended Warranty Information

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF EXTENDED WARRANTIES OR SERVICE CONTRACTS?
A good contract with a good company can provide peace of mind against future product failure. It allows the product purchaser to pay a reduced amount in advance to protect against a failure that may or not occur. When a failure does occur, your complex product will more than likely be repaired by a skilled technician familiar with that unit. Also, all or most of the costs of the repair will be covered. This means that a possibly costly repair will not strain your household budget.

HOW DO SERVICE CONTRACTS DIFFER?
Service contracts vary widely. The most ideal service contract should cover all parts and labor to repair any failure at no additional charge. However, some may cover only parts; only service; or a combination of the two. Some may require additional payments for service. In some service contracts, only parts that receive regular wear or are consumer-replaceable are excluded. In others, repairs to very expensive internal parts may not be covered. A contract may cover needed cleaning, lubricating and other preventive maintenance to avoid a more serious problem; or it may not pay for this under any circumstances. Some contracts pay for service in your home, including pickup and delivery if it has to be repaired at the service center; some do not. You may renew some, but not others, as your set gets older. Some require that all such products in your home be covered. Generally (but not always), the contracts with the most coverage are the most expensive.

WHAT KIND OF PLANS ARE THERE?
There are several types of plans to meet varying needs, but they basically fall into the following categories:

Date-of-Purchase Plans: Begin on the date you acquire the product from the retailer, even though they don't take effect until the manufacturer's original warranty expires. Then, they take over for a specified period of time.

Extension Plans: Takes effect after the original warranty expires but usually may be purchased either along with the product or any time before the manufacturer's warranty expires.

Major Component Plans: Limited to the major or most expensive components of a particular product; such as the picture tube of a TV set. These, too, take over only on the expiration of the original manufacturer's warranty.

Replacement: For less-expensive items (usually under $100), providing for the replacement of the product with a new or refurbished product (check for the actual wording) if it should fail during a specified time.

Comprehensive: Usually patterned after the manufacturer's warranty to provide a continuation of the identical coverage and limitations of the original manufacturer's warranty for a specified period of time.

Deductibles: Generally, these require the customer to pay a specified amount toward each repair or service.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A SERVICE CONTRACT?
Make sure the service contract fits your needs. But, don't be misled by the name of the contract. Compare extended service coverage with the terms of the original warranty. You may prefer lesser coverage if the policy is significantly less expensive; but, be sure. Check for exact coverage before purchasing:

Specifically, what is covered and what is not? All parts? All labor? Home service and pickup and delivery?

Are you paying to duplicate any of the manufacturer's warranty?

Are there any exclusions? Are additional payments required for any services? How much?

What companies will be able to do the repairs? Will you have a choice? Where are the repair facilities located?

Is the policy renewable? At what cost?

Is it valid if you move? Is it transferable if you sell the product?

Is the contract insured? In full, with no deductibles? Is the name of the insurance company shown on the contract?

If possible, compare more than one service contract and ask the opinion of an independent servicer. Never just take the salesperson's assurance; read the complete contract, including -- especially -- the fine print. If you can't understand what you read, don't buy it.

Finally, make sure that all blank lines and spaces are filled in before you buy. And be sure to get a receipt for the service contract.

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