US Service Contracts Surveyed

Length of TV extended warrantiesIn a series of articles, Warranty Week has been looking at the prices of service contracts in the US for a range of products including TVs, Blu-ray players and digital still cameras. The blog surveyed 11 TV retailers including Amazon, and found 75 contracts for TVs, for between two and five years and the researchers tried to check entry-level, mid-range and high end sets, where possible. Prices ranged from $299 to $1,700 with sets in the 40″ to 60″ range (most at 50″ or 55″). 59 of the contracts were from the date of purchase, while 16 applied at the end of the first year.

Overall, the average rate for contracts was 17%, ranging from 11% average for two year plans to 21% for five years, but the range went from 3% to 66%, a wide variation.

Turning to Blu-ray players, the newsletter found that most of the contracts only went to three years. The average price was around 18% of the cost of players, while the shortest contracts were around 15%. Square Trade was the cheapest supplier (but not always) and there was little correlation between the price of contracts and the prices of the players.

In Digital Still Cameras, most contracts were for two or three years, with some only covering accidental damage during the one year warranty period. The range was from 2.3% to 63%, but there were bargains. Warranty Week decided that some vendors are probably not covering their costs, while some consumers were paying too much, sometimes with only limited protection.