Also known as service agreements, extended warranties usually pay for any repairs to your appliance - washing machine, television, fridge, etc - or replace it, if anything goes wrong in a specified period. This normally begins after the manufacturer's guarantee finishes. Some also include protection against accidental damage or insurance against theft.
Extended warranties usually run for four years beyond the manufacturer's guarantee, so in total, goods are protected for up to five years from the date you buy them. Shops selling domestic appliances will often offer you an extended warranty on your appliance when you buy it.
Extended warranties can cost up to 50% of the purchase price of the appliance, and many are bought as an afterthought.
Be wary of being pushed into agreeing to a warranty contract, take time to think if the cover is really suitable and beneficial to you.
Free guarantees with electrical appliances?
Appliances usually come with a one-year manufacturer's guarantee. This means that if there is a manufacturing fault, then the manufacturer will repair or replace it in the first 12 months.
Always ask what free cover you will get when you first buy the appliance.
When you buy your appliance from a shop you are protected by Sale of Goods legislation, if the appliance is not of satisfactory quality or fit for its purpose.
This law only applies if the appliance had something wrong with it when you bought it, although the fault may not be obvious at the time.
Your household contents insurance policy may cover you for accidental damage, fire or theft of the appliance. Check your household policy for details of your cover.
Do I need an extended warranty?
For the period of the manufacturer's guarantee, if you have adequate household insurance and you bought your appliance from a reputable shop, you are likely to be safeguarded against most problems.
You also have rights under Sale of Goods legislation from the day you buy the appliance. Note: Many sales staff are paid commission on each extended warranty sold, so they will sometimes be keen for you to buy one.
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland are now responsible for providing the phone and web-based consumer advice service previously run by Consumer Direct. You can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 for the English-language line weekdays from 9.00am to 5.00pm.