It’s become a holiday tradition for American consumers, a day of major spending on mega electronics and consumer goods deals: Black Friday. This national shopping event attracts more people than Disneyland does in a year, according to U.S. News & World Report. But this time of year also comes with ever-growing holiday to-do lists, long lines, and stress.
Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift for a loved one or deciding to treat yourself, few things add to holiday tension more than a great deal gone bad when the prized item breaks. Extended warranties, known as service contracts, are the best a way to ensure that you can enjoy your new Black Friday electronic or gadget even if it breaks or malfunctions. Here are the top three reasons to say “yes” to service contracts:
1. Most Americans don’t have $400 in savings.
A recent study by the Federal Reserve shows 4 in 10 adults faced with an unexpected expense of $400 would either not be able to cover it or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money. The truth is, Americans are bad at saving money for a rainy day. An extended warranty is the remedy; a small planned expense upfront to protect your Black Friday deal means you won’t end up having to discard your new smart TV, phone or other electronic when it breaks down.
Service contracts offer excellent protection for electronic purchases beyond the manufacturer’s warranty — product replacement, discounted repairs, and comprehensive coverage.
2. Many states now have a “free-look” period.
Many people are largely unaware of the vast number of changes extended warranties have undergone over time to better meet the needs of consumers. Nowadays, most extended warranties are able to better cover any Black Friday-sale gadgets like cell phones, tablets, wearable tech, appliances, and more.
For example, the Service Contract Industry Council has successfully lobbied for changes to dozens of state laws that have made free-look periods a reality. That means most states provide consumers the option to try out a service contract with no strings attached (usually a 30- or 60-day window). During that time, you can get your money back if you change your mind.
Another good example is “replacement” service contracts that provide you with a new replacement product rather than repair your broken one.
3. It’s an investment in your peace of mind.
In a September 2016 survey of American consumers conducted by SCIC, 70 percent reported having broken an electronic device in the past year. The average touchscreen malfunction can cost up to $399, according to SquareTrade. Add this to the long lines you’ll experience waiting for a technician over the holidays, and you could find yourself wondering if the benefits of a Black Friday sale are really worth it in the long run.
Key considerations might include the logistics of arranging quality repair service on short notice, the need to find a temporary replacement product during what can be extended repair downtime, the cost of the actual repair, any potential cost of the temporary replacement and the cost to completely replace the product if it cannot be repaired. In most of these cases, an extended warranty saves both time and money and provides priceless peace of mind.
Electronics service contracts are sold at the point of sale or post-purchase with a little research on the internet, and they even cover smaller products such as e-readers and video games. By maximizing your product’s value and enjoyment, it’s no wonder more than 250 million service contracts are sold annually.