Canadian Extended Warranties from Experience


I used to sell extended warranties on electronics.  I was very good at it.  Years of experience has taught me a few things about them.

The odds are always stacked in favour of the house.  This is a massive profit driving force for stores and they want to keep it that way.  Don’t say no immediately though as it can often be to your benefit to pick up the extended warranty.  They do their homework and you should do yours too.

When a sales person presents you with a warranty they will lay it all out; they take a long time to present and there is a lot of detail.  They have to because, technically, they are selling you nothing.  Imagine trying to get someone to buy something they don’t get to take home.   At its most basic level it sounds like a raw deal.  I would advise you give the representative a chance to run over the details so you can see if there are attractive elements to the plan.  In my history there have been a few biggies to look for in a good warranty.

Over and above “Manufacturer’s Defects “:  If a plan covers more than manufacturer’s defects this opens the door for interpretation and can give you more leeway in negotiating what is covered and what isn’t.  Hammer the sales person on this and you should get some answers as to what incidental coverage might be included, like dropping, temperature issues or misuse (see: kids).

Exchange Warranties:  With smaller products that have expensive and compacted parts being able to bring it into the shop and replace it with comparable value is a huge convenience.  This should be considered on products like cameras or computer components and upgrades.

Technical Support:  Some plans include technical support that will help you diagnose a problem over the phone.  Most manufacturers won’t even talk to you after the first year without a credit card.  Keep this in mind for computers and related technology.  With the average diagnosis from a computer shop costing $70 per hour you can get a fair bit of value here.

Before going to buy your new shiny thing make sure you come prepared with the knowledge of the manufacturer’s warranty and any extended options they have as well because this could be fine enough coverage on their own or better than what the sales person is presenting.

If you do get the warranty, take advantage of any free preventative maintenance included in an extended plan.  Often this means they will check your equipment, clean it and make small adjustments to improve performance for free.  It will extend the life of the product and keep you happy with your purchase over the long haul.

Finally, make sure you take a look at repair histories for products.  The Internet is your friend here and you should certainly Google “your product + issues” before you lay down any money on a warranty.  Knowing your product will tell you what a good value warranty is, if any.  There are tons of resources for this sort of thing on the Internet, including Smart Canucks.

I am not saying take the warranty.  Once upon a time I cared if you did.  I’m saying knowledge is the key and if you are excited about buying something this is just one more GOOD reason to spend a few hours browsing about it on the web.

And who doesn’t love to do that?

26 responses to “Canadian Extended Warranties from Experience”

  1. stuey87 says:

    Most credit cards (I know Mastercard for sure) will extend the manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year. This gives you 2 years coverage on almost anything with a warranty that you buy with your credit card. Thats all the coverage I need, I dont mind waiting for a repair/replacement.

  2. mupiel says:

    I agree with this option and highly recommended it. Make sure you know what the manufacturer covers in the first place. Two years instead of one of something that isn’t very good isn’t much better.

  3. Jen M says:

    I never get warranties. If they are for 2 years, I find that the product will break as soon as 2 years go by. Like there is a time clock inside. Waste of money IMHO.

  4. bullwhip29 says:


    “Over and above Manufacturer’s Defects” – we’re talking about a lot of grey area and/or wiggle room here. Salespeople will generally tell you “everything” is covered and gloss over any technicalities that may exist in the policy. More times than not, this is not the case (but you don’t know this until after the fact when the warranty has run out and by this time that saleperson will be MIA too)

    “Exchange Warranties” – many people are told they can bring in their somewhat outdated model and “replace” with a new one prior to expiry of the warranty. Sorry folks, you can’t. If you’ve dropped, mishandled or abused the product, the store will give you squat. If you’re just looking for a free upgrade to the latest and greatest, good luck with that too. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a refurb’d product/part as a replacement if the unit you’re returning is genuinely defective and they’ll only replace what is broken, not everything in the box.

    “Technical Support” – whatever…

    Bottomline: extended warranties are a waste of money. Some companies have the nerve to charge an amount for the warranty that is almost equal to the purchase price of the product in question. That’s beyond funny. Chances are you will lose the documentation req’d to file a claim anyway. For the very few of you that are organized enough to keep track of all these purchases, dates, technical details etc for years on end will likely find out that they are either not covered (did you read the fine print?) or the warranty will have expired prior to anything breaking down (which is typical if the product is of decent quality). Yes, credit card companies do provide additional coverage for FREE as the previous poster mentioned. Some commission salespeople have been known the “throw in” the extended warranties for nothing to close sales too.

  5. Canmore mom says:

    I used to think that extended warrantees where a waste of money until a few years back when we bought a plasma tv from the brick. I don’t shop there but they had the best price at the time. They offered us the extended and back then they had a rule that if you didn’t end up using it, they would give you that amount back to spend in the store. No brained for us….and go figure, just after the 2 years, we started seeing fine lines across the screen and some green fuzz. So we took the tv back and had the option to get the same tv again for the $350 we spent…that tv is $750. We took that money and applied it to a bigger tv and switched to LCD and got the extended for that tv. Now if we don’t use it, we get our money back….even better

  6. bullwhip29 says:

    @ Canmore mom

    Although I get what you are saying, the fact is that after only 2+ yrs you have forked out $700 + tax for the extended coverage. It is unusual for a tv to die after only 2 yrs and chances are that your replacement will outlast the warranty this time around. Getting an “in store credit” back as opposed to real money is fine, but between you and me, I’d rather have the cash in my pocket and not have to worry about losing my receipts, remembering expiry dates and wondering if the store will be around when it comes time to collect. The store ultimately wins since you end up using the $350 of your hard earned dollars for marked up merchandise which costs them far less (and then you go and buy the extended warranty on top of that too).

    FYI, if your original tv was purchased using one of a variety of qualifying credit cards, you would have been covered for two years anyway…for no additional charge. I wonder if these guys sold you a warranty you didn’t realize you already had?

  7. mupiel says:

    Thanks for all the discussion. This is my first post here and it’s great to see the comments!

  8. Felicia says:

    To the person originally who posted this article, thank you for the information.

  9. Cheers says:

    Funny story about extended warranties – well, funny in retrospect, 3 & 1/2 years ago I was fuming!

    I bought my house when I moved out of the parents’, so I started from scratch with furniture/appliances/electronics (suited me just fine as I could give free reign to my shopaholic nature). I’m a pretty informed shopper, I do all my homework and pick exactly what I want before going to a store. Great for time management, not so good for upselling/cross-selling from the salesperson’s point of view.

    I chose to buy my fridge/stove from a known Canadian electronics retailer (what can I say, they had the best price on the fridge I wanted. And they threw in the dishwasher for free when I purchased the other 2). I then went back to purchase the TV I wanted from them as well – can’t argue with a solid, no-interest payment plan and a great price. At this point in time I’ve kinda had it with getting pushed into buying extended warranties for everything (bought them for fridge/stove/dishwasher/microwave and god knows what else on my shopping spree). So I respectfully decline the extended warranty for my 50″ plasma TV, which at the time (4 years ago) set me back $3 000. I bought these items around April-May for end of August delivery (when said house would be ready). Everything’s going pretty smoothly with deliveries/installations, cable takes a little while to come and do the set-up, eventually everything gets done in mid-September.

    About two weeks later (last day of September), TV’s on in the background as I’m putzing around, when all of a sudden I hear a “pfffffff”, smell something burning and glance at my TV to see there’s no picture – sound is on but image is gone. Black screen of death. Try every possible thing under the sun, to no avail. TV image is gone for good. First instinct is to call retailer – lucky me, it’s been over 30 days since I’ve purchased the TV (it had been 32 days) and since I didn’t get the extended warranty (the ONE time!!!) there was nothing they could do.

    I will not go into details of the saga that ensued with the manufacturer – think everything that could go wrong did, even trying to find a repair shop who would deal with it was a nightmare (first answer I got was “Pbbbffftt, we won’t come out for THAT, just scrap it and buy a new one.” Excuuuuuuuse me?!??! I just spent $3K on the thing, it’s not an umbrella I can just chuck!!). It took about 45 days to get solved (keep in mind this is October, hockey season has started and I’m paying for cable I can’t even watch!!!) and it was solved because I told the manufacturer that if they didn’t replace it I’d cause the biggest stink ever and go public with my complaint (I was extremely patient with trying to fix it, but after missing 3 days of work to wait for the repairman and be told “ooops we ordered the wrong part” and “uh-oh, looks like another part is broken, we have to order it & come back” I’d kinda had it…) Miraculously, I had a new TV within 48 hours…

    All of this to say that Murphy’s law is hard at work and will slam you when you least expect it – the one and only appliance I didn’t have an extended warranty for ended up being a lemon and having to be fixed/replaced, which was a hassle I hope to never encounter again. In the end, all the missed work days, anger and frustration at the way things were handled by various parties involved make me say “I wish I had forked out the $$”. Then again, my fridge/stove/home theater are all humming along, not a single cough from any of them, hundreds of $$ down the drain…

    Only you can know if your investment is worth shelling out extra money for, as long as you know what to do, how to do it, and how much energy it’ll take in case something goes wrong.

    Will I buy extended warranty for my next gadget? Probably not, as I like the odds, but I’ll definitely be more prepared to deal with the consequences!

  10. Leia says:

    I’m glad I got the extended warranty (3 years) on my laptop. I was debating it because my first computer had no issues for almost 4.5 years. But my new laptop has had no end of problems. In the two years I have owned it, it has broken down and I’ve brought it in for repairs at least 5 times. The hard drive in it has been replaced twice. The warranty covered all of the repairs.
    Of course, it would be much nicer to have a computer that never breaks down instead of relying on the warranty to cover the cost of fixing it.

  11. Nuxmaniac says:

    Funny as I read this article n comment we got a 60 inch LCD tv for my dad just last Christmas in 2010 n sure at 1 year and 1 month its not working and the repairman said by need to replace sme parts that costs $500’plus including labours.I M sure it was purchased using the aerogold visa. You think i can contact credit card and see if there is Nything they can do about it? Anyone with experience like that pls post reply to shAre your experience thanks

  12. TJ says:


    I am not sure but I was told that the CC with extended warranties ask you to get a quotes / estimates from 3 different repair/warranty shops & based on that they pay you for the repairs or replacement whichever is cheaper for them .

    Ofcourse a few other technicalities might exist before they do that 🙂

  13. TJ says:

    Borrowed From some other forum ..maybe the info above from me might be wrong

    call cc company.

    they give you phone # of insurer to call.

    call insurer file the claim

    they tell you where to go , usually authorized manufacturer service center

    you go there, pay for the repair with the same credit card

    they credit your credit card , no questions asked .

  14. olivercat says:

    I don’t buy warranties–but a friend of mine (she was 15 at the time) bought a warranty for her camera from Staples–she used it for a about 1 and 1/2 and it suddenly died. She took it back to the local Staples with her sales reciept and warranties papers. They did not have that model anymore, but gave her the exact dollar amount that she used to buy a new (up to date) model and it was cheaper than her first camera so she was ableto get an extra memory card too. No arguements, no problems….(I still say this is not normal!!)

  15. Dayanara says:

    I will buy the extended warranties on products only if the manufacturer warranty sucks. And even then, usually only an additional year.

    I forgot all about the CC option, will have to look into that and see if mine provides that. Bit of a hassle if you hae to do it, but saves you the money.

  16. sara says:

    I have never purchased extended warranties, but think they can be beneficial. In general I believe they are purely profit-makers but having one can be worth it. If you’re spending thousands of dollars on LCD tvs and other electronics that are expensive to repair you can save a lot of money and hassle. If you’re a smart shopper, the savings on the item can offset the warranty cost.

    Also, if you buy in the US, some companies won’t honour the warranty but some store warranties will.

    Yes there is credit card protection, but its not the same. Store warranties tend to be no hassle – go to the store and get a replacement or money back. Sometimes they will come to your house. With man warranties you have to deal with an authorized dealer. Depending on where you live this could involve a major trip. I suggest anyone planning to go the cc route look up where their nearest dealer is before purchasing. If there isn’t one nearby the store warranty may be worth it. For smaller items, the cost of shipping for repair often isn’t worth it.

    Some stores, such as Sears, will call and offer warranties on appliances after your purchase. If you think you got a lemon it might be worth getting one later.

    Also, look at what the common issues are. If you’re a DIYer you can sometimes save by fixing yourself. However with everything being electronic these days, appliances that used to be easy to fix can now be costly if an electronic component dies.

    I file every warranty with receipt no matter how small. Most people don’t know that Mastercraft tools often come with lifetime warranties. I’ve broken a couple and had no problem getting replacements. Also, I once had my LCD Christmas lights fail. The box said 5 year warranty and that I should return to the store. This wasn’t listed in the warranty so I kept the boxes. Canadian Tire’s computer said one year, but since I had the box they (grudgingly) exchanged them.

  17. stellar11 says:

    sears lets you get back the amount you spent on an extended warranty in gift cards if you do not make a claim on the warranty in the three years. I know this to be true for the three year warranties in electronics. You just have to keep track of all your documents and find a way to remind yourself. I put it in my outlook at work, and in the notes page of my agenda. When it’s time for a new agenda, I usually recopy whatever is on the notes page, and will will write it on the appropriate date when i’m in the correct year. I can always find something to buy at sears so the cards won’t go to waste.

  18. shmegz says:

    got a warranty on my couch that covered everything for five years for only $89. We need to sell this couch now so we are getting it all fixed up so it sells better. Turns out, the arm in the chair was broken and we didn’t even notice. The repair man will fix that and all the seams coming apart. Glad i got the warranty. Also, the flash stopped working on my camera and we had a warranty and got that fixed instead of having to buy a new one. Warranties are good on some things. Cameras, dishwasher, washing machines and t.vs depending on how much you spend on them and how much it costs to replace them.

  19. sunshine says:

    i think that warranties are sort of like buying insurance. Well at least the insurance that is optional anyway (like life insurance, item insurance, etc).

    so you sorta buy into a policy that you may or may not use, but theres a risk to buying it (paying extra $), and theres a risk to not buying it (having to pay even more if something happens).

    i never bought it for my vaio, and its been a year and a half now, and nothing has happened (knock on wood), and i’m still happy i haven’t spent the extra buck for the warranty

  20. carrie says:

    Can’t say I always buy extended warranties – but when it comes to cameras and portable video players i always due.
    When my son droped my camera and it didn’t work – they replaced it (i told them he droped it)and extended my warrantie for another year – then the one they upgraded me too stopped working went back again, then i didn’t like the 2nd upgarded camera i wanted a point and shoot – so i went back with it and they gave me another one – it was the best $50.00 bucks.
    Not all my stories are like that but that is my best – Future Shop if your wondering.

  21. Natty says:

    My previous laptop began having issues when it was almost 3 years old. The cost to repair after shopping around was about half the original price of the laptop. I ended up buying a newer and slightly smaller model but with the warranty, which cost only about a hundred dollars more then it cost to repair the old one. If I had bought it before with the old laptop, it would have saved me a bundle. ):

  22. Jack says:

    The best I got was… I bought headphones on sale for $15 with extra $5 for 2 replacement within 3 years…it stopped working one side after 8 months, got it replaced. Amazing part when I got it replaced they are selling it for $30…so I guess $5 well spent! But in general not big fan of extra warranties…unless you are using product frequently and the extra cost is not huge amount then its worth it.

  23. SingingGoose says:

    I am a huge fan of my credit card warranty! Visa has paid to get repair quotes and fix items for me as well as replace them completely. No complaints here and everything was quick and easy! I now buy anything with an included warranty on my VISA to double the warrantee. That’s good enough for me!

  24. Lorie says:

    Thank you to the author of this post. Very good info. I have had some worthwhile extended warranties. Here’s my two cents: The Source, $5 for headset/mic for cordless phone worth $30. Free replacement for 3 yrs. Has paid for itself over and over (the wires break on those things so easily.) EB Games warranty for Nintentdo DS (can’t remember the price.) Full replacement in one year. My son likes his stuff like new, so we took it back right before the warranty expired and they gave him a brand new one. I also like the warranty Bell offers on their phones. $7/mo insurance if the phone gets physically damaged or lost/stolen. $150 to replace a $599 smartphone. Keep something like that on until the reg. price on the phone drops. Bad warranty: ipod at FutureShop. Don’t buy that one.

  25. Lorie says:

    Oh and one more I forgot: Dell’s 3 yr warranty on laptop. Dell was fantastic.

  26. Ann says:

    I want to disagree with Lorie^ about the ipod warranty at Future Shop. My son got the extended warranty, and about 1 year into his use, it just stopped working. They couldn’t fix it, so they gave him a choice of all of his money back, or another ipod. The sales person told him that since the price had dropped, that he would be better to take his money back, buy a brand new one with the money, and the extended warranty, so that he could start all over again, and still have around $30 left over. He took their advice, and has had no problem with his new one, except his headphones, which have been replaced a few times. Well worth the warranty!
    Also, I purchased a camera at Staples years ago, with the 3 year extended warranty, the on/off switch broke, and they couldn’t fix it, so they gave me all of my money back which included my warranty fee, and I was able to buy a newer camera with the warranty and still had money left over.
    And I do want to say thanks to Canmore mom for mentioning about getting your money back from the Brick if you don’t use the extended warranty. I had no idea about this, and have one for my couch. I will be sure to go in when my time comes up!
    I also would like to say that I know about the MC extended warranty thing, but the store one just seems like so much less hassle, that it seems more then worth the extra $$$ spent on them.


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