That’s one of the most common questions I get from Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. How many of you have wondered whether or not you should purchase an extended warranty when you buy a new piece of tech gear? The answer, like my answer to almost any question, is unequivocal: it depends.
Why does it depend? If you buy something electric, check the seller’s and the manufacturer’s warranties and ask yourself, ‘are these good warranties?’ Most tech gear will probably break or fail in the first year if it’s going to. I’ve got 25 or more computers here at the Institute and all the ones that failed either did so right away or died of old age, despite the pleas from Dell® to renew my expired service contracts. Occasionally someone will drop and break a laptop, but that’s a different story.
What’s the difference between an extended warranty and a service contract? A warranty covers defects in the hardware while a service contract covers costs of repairs – sometimes they cover the same thing, sometimes not. The service contract might allow for onsite service and replacement parts while the warranty requires that you return the device to the manufacturer. Between the two, a service contract is preferable.
But the question still remains, do I buy one or the other? The answer depends upon the device you’re buying. I’m hard on laptops because of traveling so I buy the extended service contract to get three years of onsite service. With my iPhone® I purchased AppleCare® (and a bulky, rubber OtterBox Defender case) just in case I drop it and break the screen. If you’re buying a desktop computer, big-screen TV or printer – I probably wouldn’t. For the most part equipment will outlive the warranty and the service contract but the choice is still up to you, especially if the piece of equipment is critical to your legal nurse consulting business (we have contracts on all of our servers plus we buy the software support) or is difficult to move (the 72” flat-screen, 3-D TV you bought with the fee from your first case). Overall the consensus is still against buying the extended warranty or service contract.
So my CLNC® amigos, the take-away for today is that if technology is going to fail and it doesn’t in the first year, it will generally fail after the warranty and/or service contract runs out. Buy a 2-3 year onsite parts and service contract and start saving for your next computer. By the time yours fails you’ll be ready for a cooler, faster machine.