How Much is In-Store "Insurance" Costing You?
By Colin McCaig
I saw it coming, but many of us still don't.
No sooner had I handed my card over to pay for my new DVD, than
I was hit with that famous question that meets the unwary at the point of
'Would Sir care to insure his purchase against breakage...' It's
a fact that high-street outlets still sell millions of this 'insurance' each
Unfortunately, for Joe Public, though, they're rarely worth the
paper they're written on.
Indeed, in the majority of cases, it's generally cheaper to pay
for breakage as you go, particularly as many extended warranties can come to
more than *half* the cost of your actual purchase.
Add to this, that we live in a competitive world with goods
bought today far more reliable than 10-20 years ago, you really have to question
who's getting the best deal here. In fact, I can still think of a cheap video
recorder I bought 4 years ago. It came with a 1-year guarantee and it's still
going strong today.
So how do you make sure you're not caught out?
Well, here are a few pointers:
1. Don't fall for the standard 'hard sell' techniques until you
have all the facts up front. These are frequently employed to foist unwanted
warranties on the unwary.
2. How open is the retailer about the cost of their insurance?
Is the cost of the warranty displayed alongside the goods?
3. Does the warranty include a 1-2 month money-back guarantee if
you don't make a claim in that period? And after this, would you be entitled to
a pro rata refund?
4. Is there an information booklet explaining your statutory
rights? This should state that you have the right to cancel and that warranties
are available elsewhere.
On that last point, did you know that warranties bought in-store
can be up to 40% more expensive than those available from other insurers and
And if you're a credit card holder, many cards now cover your
goods for a year beyond the retailer's offer.
Mmm...suddenly that 'insurance' isn't looking so great a deal
So, next time, don't feel pushed into an immediate decision.
One final tip: If you have cash to pay, then why not make the
sales assistant work for the sale? You'll often find their commission has
already been 'priced in' to the item they're trying to sell you.
Haggling is common practice in many countries, so don't feel
embarrassed! You'll find many stores prepared to do so to win business -
particularly if surrounded by a lot of competitors!
So, There you have it...the next time you go shopping for that
new washing machine, try shopping around a little first. That way, you can stop
your 'insurance' becoming a costly luxury.
Colin McCaig is dedicated to helping others
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Copyright Colin McCaig