Should You Buy a Sears Appliance Extended Warranty?

Warranties can save consumers money in the long run.
Warranties can save consumers money in the long run.

Thank you for purchasing a Kenmore refrigerator-would you like a Sears appliance extended warranty with that? While you may not hear those exact words, nearly every Sears shopper will be asked if they want an extended warranty at some time during an in-store purchase. Should you buy service contracts? Are you likely to use them? We will explore these questions and more below.

Sears Appliance Extended Warranty-What's Covered?

Sears offers several types of warranty programs for appliances sold by Sears. Most programs provide the following benefits:

  • Repairs made by Sears repair specialists
  • A guarantee to replace the item if adequate parts aren't available or if the technician doesn't know how to fix the problem.
  • In-home repair service or service at convenient Sears repair facilities
  • No hidden fees. All parts and labor needed to fix your appliance are covered during the first 3 years.
  • A free annual checkup of your appliance to see if anything is beginning to go wrong
  • Free tech support for help with using the appliance
  • A choice of warranty lengths and the ability to transfer or renew the warranty

Will you use the Sears Appliance Extended Warranty?

If you knew there was a good chance that your product would need service during the warranty period, you'd likely purchase the Sears appliance extended warranty. So, just what are the odds that your item will have something wrong with it? Consumer Reports magazine tracks this kind of information through their reader surveys. The results of their 2006 survey is listed below:

Repair Rates for Three- to Four-year-old Products
Product Repair rate
Laptop Computer 43%
Refrigerator: side-by-side with icemaker 37%
Rider mower 32%
Lawn Tractor 31%
Desktop computer 31%
Washing machine (front-loading) 29%
Self-propelled mower 28%
Vacuum cleaner (canister) 23%
Washing machine (top-loading) 22%
Dishwasher 21%
Refrigerator: top- and bottom-freezer with icemaker 20%
Gas range 20%
Wall oven (electric) 19%
Push mower (gas) 18%
Cooktop (gas) 17%
Microwave oven (over-the-range) 17%
Clothes Dryer 15%
Camcorder (digital) 13%
Vacuum cleaner (upright) 13%
Refrigerator: top- and bottom-freezer, no icemaker 12%
Range (electric) 11%
Cooktop (electric) 11%
Digital Camera 10%
TV: 30- to 36-inch direct view 8%
TV: 25- to 27-inch direct view 6%

With the exception of a few items, the reliability of the products in the reader survey are very high. Keep in mind that this survey includes items that may and may not have been purchased at Sears. If you believe that Sears only sells quality, brand-name appliances, then the numbers could be even lower.

How Much Do Repairs Cost

The next question to ask yourself when deciding whether to purchase the Sears appliance extended warranty is:

  • How much will it cost to repair the appliance?

If a common repair needed for a dishwasher, for example, only costs $50 plus labor, then how valuable is a $75 extended warranty?

If you want to learn more, consider calling repair shops in your neighborhood and ask what commonly goes wrong with the appliance you are thinking of purchasing and when is it likely to go wrong. If an item usually doesn't need repair for at least ten years, you may decide to not purchase an extended warranty.

Ask the repair shops the average cost of repair parts plus labor. Also, get a feel for how comfortable you would be having the local shop repair your item. If you trust them to do good work, you may prefer to use them rather than the authorized Sears repair facility.

Why is the Salesperson So Pushy?

If you are wondering why the salesperson is trying so hard to sell you a Sears appliance extended warranty, it may be because he or she is expected to sell warranties on a certain percentage of all appliances they sell. The salesperson may also receive a commission on the price of the warranty.

Pressure is applied to the sales force because extended warranties are a large source of profit for Sears and other retailers.

One benefit that the salesperson is likely to remind you of is the free preventative maintenance which can often catch small problems become they become big problems. When you are standing in the store, the idea of someone coming to look at your appliance can be very appealing. But, remember that you will need to remember to schedule a service-call a year from now. If you don't schedule the service call, the free preventative maintenance feature will be worthless to you.

Conclusion

Become an educated consumer by doing research before making your purchase. Gather enough information so that you can confidently accept or decline the extended warranty or lifetime warranty offer.

Should You Buy a Sears Appliance Extended Warranty?