Extended warranty on camcorder?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by ChrisHeflen, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

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    I just brought home a mini dv camcorder.
    I also bought the extended warranty, three years= $139.00.

    I am normally not a sucker for these, but I thought well at least I won't have to worry about it for three years.

    What so you guys think? I can "return" the warranty within 15 days. Starting now.
    Should I keep it? (warranty)
     
  2. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Keep it if it covers the cost of routine cleanings and maintenance. One cleaning can cost over $70 u.s. You rarely here of someone upset that the purchased a warranty, but you will here people upset that they din't buy one.
    Scott
     
  3. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    Buying an extended warranty is generally not a good idea. Extended warranties are just another form of insurance.

    You buy life/health insurance so you are not devastated in catastrophes. This would probably not be a financial catastrophe if you had to have the camcorder repaired.

    Keep in mind too, that there is a great deal of 'fine print' in all warranty contracts. A problem you may encounter is not always going to be covered under the warraty.

    Electronics, if they are going to fail, will generally do so early in their life. You more than likely won't ever need the utilize the contract.

    As far as 'routine cleaning an maintenance', there's really nothing to be done with the camcorder. You could keep it for years and years and only the only maintenance you'd have to do is wipe the lense once in a while.

    If you are concernced about it needing repairs, take the $139.00 you paid for the contract and set it aside for three years. If your camcorder needs repairs, use that money. If you don't need it (which you probably won't), you'll have some 'fun money' in the end.
     
  4. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Read the owners manual where it talks about routine maintenance and cleanings. If they didn't need cleanings why would the manufacturer reccommend it, and the extended service plan pay for it? Also, Consumer Reports wrote that as much as 30% of all electronics fail in the first year. The cheaper they make this crap the faster it breaks. Once again, IF you are the type who will take the camcorder in for the reccommended cleanings, and IF the service contract will pay for them,then the policy will pay for itself. In otherwords, FREE insurance so to speak.

    Scott
     
  5. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    You're assuming the recommended cleanings are worth the cost of the contract. As I've pointed out they are worth about $10.00 at best.

    Chris,

    Do what you want, but just be aware maintanance contracts are generally not seen as a good investment of your money.
     
  6. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Return the warranty and buy yourself some accessories with the proceeds.
     
  7. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, it is as simple as this. Odds are 3 out of 10 camcorders will break. Will you be on of the 3? Who knows? Thats why you got the insurance. Not only are the cameras of today much more technically advanced than older models, but also are made more cheaply. Todays camcorders are basically a lcd tv, vcr, digital camera, and camcorder all in one small package. Many things can go wrong, and the average cost of repair is much more than the warranty you bought. Having worked in the industry for over 10 years, i can honestly tell you. Not once have i ever had a customer pissed off at me when his camera broke if he had the warranty. I can't tell you how many people get angry at the dealer when their camera breaks when they don't have the warranty. It's as simple as this. If it makes you sleep better at night having a warranty, then keep it. If not, return it and take your chances. Hell, the odds are in your favor. Oh, and don't use those cassette tape head cleaners any technitian will tell you they don't clean heads.
    Scott
     
  8. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

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    Gee, I didn't mean to start a war.

    Here's the details... I got a Sony Trv19 for $285.00 at Fry's. It was a return that was in immaculate shape (things were still in bags). I am only using it to film my 1 yr. old and other rec. type taping.
    I thought even with the warranty it still is under list price and so I was thinking I got a good deal and I don't have to worry about anything pretty much except for it getting stolen. I guess I'm thinking if something does go wrong without the warranty then I am only out 285. But if nothing goes wrong WITH having the warranty then I am out 139.00 (wait, did I say that right?)


    Scott, the sales guy said that the heads need to be aligned from time to time. Is this true?
     
  9. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, after reading the last post, i would say return the warranty and take your chances. Spending half of what the gear cost isn't worth it probably. But then again...

    Scott
     
  10. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

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    Good gracious!

    Would somebody please make up my mind?
     
  11. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    Chris , I'm an authorized servicer for these things and I usually think extended warranties are a poor investment. However with anything digital it's a different story. The ICs used on the boards make them unserviceable so board replacement is needed for any electronic failure. Many of the very fragile mechanical parts for MiniDV mechanisms are also not supplied so complete chassis need to be replaced for many problems. Some companies didn't even bother to write alignment manuals opting for complete chassis replacement for any mechanical failure. Without extended warranties most digital cameras are throw-away items (even the $600 ones).

    On the other hand , heads never "go out of alignment" and cleaning is not preventative maintenance. Normal use actually cleans the heads (tape is abrasive and is wrapped snugly around fast spinning heads). A problem tape (or moisture) can clog the heads but it is sudden and obvious and usually cleans itself quite nicely in a few seconds. Unlike VHS and BETA ; 8mm and MiniDV can actually be cleaned quite well with a cleaning tape. Just don't clean unless you have a sudden , obvious problem and only do it once. Tape guides (not heads) can go out of alignment if set screws come loose or something gets bent , but this is something that can happen but usually doesn't.

    Most problems occur from being too forcefull with the mechanisms and tapes , or dropping the unit (even a few inches can take one out). I wouldn't buy an extended warranty based on the bogus "regular maintenance" theory but I might on the "oops , I put the tape in crooked and now I need a $350 chassis with $150 labor bill" theory. (As long as the warranty company doesn't claim any mechanical failure is "abuse" and deny coverage) You also need to find out if the warranty will cover a repair if it has to be sent to the Factory and not a local or dealer servicer. Many of the brands forbid field service and insist that the unit go to their national service depot for repair but many warranties are sold by insurrance companies and won't pay factory (flat) rates ($250-$450 typical)

    I've been in the service industry for 32 years and even worked on the BetaMovie when it came out. Now that's a machine you would have really needed an extended warranty to keep running. I would balance warranty cost with normal replacement cost (not your one time deal) when deciding if the purchase is a good idea.
     
  12. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Great post Steve. Thanks for clearing up the head cleaning thing. It's amazing how much misinformation is out there, and i just helped spread it.
    Chris, listen to the PRO he is right.
    Good luck, Scott
     
  13. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    Chris, you paid a TON for that warranty, I don't see how it could be so dam expensive! Honestly, I work at Visions Electronics, and our 5 year warranty for that camera is only $79, plus if you don't use that warranty service, you get the full $79 back as an in store credit. Fry's doesn't offer that, so you would never see your $139 again. Oh ya, the Visions warranty also gives you one free cleaning per year without voiding your warranty rebate. Food for thought. Of course I recommend warranty, I sell it [​IMG] but not when it is THAT expensive. Take it back, get your refund, and spend it elsewhere. Once you've done that, go enjoy the camera, and make some digital memories!

    I just noticed your in Washington, so you paid $139 US for that warranty? Yikes, even worse. Ours would only be like $60 us for 5 years.
     
  14. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    I've always found that brand new blank tape works well for cleaning.
     

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