It's no mystery that companies make a great deal selling customers extended warranties. If that's the case, then why do consumers keep purchasing these warranties? Clearly, they offer peace of mind. However, it may not be the economically sensible thing to do in many cases.
In today's Wall Street Journal, Neil Templin writes about the mistakes that we make with regard to extended warranties. Here's an excerpt from his column:
"There's no mystery why retailers push them. In some cases, they make more profit selling the warranty than they do selling the actual gadget.The mystery is why consumers get them. If the retailer makes a lot of money selling them, then it stands to reason the consumer buying the warranty isn't getting a great price.That's not all. What if the company offering the warranty gets into financial trouble? asks Ram Rao, a management professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, who has done research on warranties."
Toward the end of the article, he quotes an official from Consumer Reports on the merits of purchasing an automobile extended warranty:
"If you have your heart set on a car that is unreliable, then [an extended warranty] is probably worth it," David Champion, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, told me. "But if you have a reliable Honda or Toyota, you should take the money and put it in a CD or money-market account. The odds are it will still be there when you buy a new car."
That quote reminded me of my response when my Honda dealer tried to sell me an extended warranty on my 2004 Accord. I stopped the sales person in their tracks and said, "I won't be needing one of those because I bought a Honda." She looked at me with a puzzled face, and then she got it. Honda Accords are incredibly reliable. I was buying a car which was not likely to break down. More than 100,000 miles later, I have never regretted my decision.