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For New TV Protection plan, Walmart plan vs. Costco/SquareTrade

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Kyrsten Brad, Jun 24, 2018.

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  1. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Cinematographer

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    Well folks, the title says it all here. I'll hopefully be making this big TV purchase soon and would like to know about these two protection plans and if anyone here has experience with them.

    Last time I bought a set (Vizio M-50), I bought from WalMart and purchased a 2-year protection plan. Never needed it for this TV but it would have saved me a good $800 when my Vizio M49 went kaput 13 months after it was purchased. No plan on that one.

    And for this coming Vizio P75 purchase, a protection plan seems to make sense.

    I have a pretty good idea on what is covered by each plan (power surge damage, cracked screen, etc) but a detailed explanation (difficult to get at times) would be helpful.

    All input welcome.
     
  2. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    I have never heard a bad story about Costco's warranty/protection plans, so that's what I would go for.
     
  3. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    I'm a longtime member and advocate for Costco but they have no separate plan. They use Square Trade as do many merchants. What Costco does offer over the competition is that they generally extend the manufacturers warranty for an additional year if you purchase with their co-branded Visa card.
     
  4. ScottJH

    ScottJH Supporting Actor

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    Costco sells the Square Trade warranty as a stand alone plan even for TVs not bought at Costco as along as the retailer is an authorized one. If you buy a TV through Costco and use the Costco Visa you get 4 years automatically(2+2).
     
  5. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    My experience, and everything I read from consumer magazines (like Consumer Reports), is to not bother with "protection plans" on electronics (actually most products). Most fail within the manufacturer's warranty. You're usually better off putting that money back for whatever repairs might be needed after the warranty expires - or just to seed the replacement. Many credit card companies automatically add 1 year to any manufacturer warranty as long as you used their card for the purchase. Check your card(s) and use the one that offers that protection.
     
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  6. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    I can only report on my personal experience. A couple of years ago our TV took a lightning strike. We had Square Trade. They did fix it but it took HOURS on the phone (multiple times) to get anything done. We also learned that the warranty only covers repairs up to the total price of the TV - in other words if you paid 1000 and repairs cost 700 they would only cover up to 300 on any further repair. So good and bad - in this case although a lot of hassle they did repair and keep my 3D TV running.
     
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  7. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    While I appreciate stories like this, they are the exception not the rule. Warranties can only be profitable if the odds of capitalizing on them are similar to those of winning the Lottery.
     
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  8. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I'll make *one* adjustment to my comment above.

    I *do* recommend warranties on devices you plan to put in the hands of kids, especially those under ~15 (OK... honestly, under 21) but *only* if they offer "no questions asked accidental damage" coverage with *no* deductible and the warranty purchase price is 15% or less of the product price. The chance of a kid damaging a computer/tablet/phone is pretty high.
     
  9. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    I would agree with you Bob but I think the chances of finding a warranty that meets this criteria is virtually zero.
     
  10. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    Here are my extended warranty stories:

    In 2009, I purchased a Samsung refrigerator and opted not to purchase the extended warranty. 18 months later (or 6 months after the "bumper to bumper" warranty expired), the cooling system in the freezer took a dump. No one but a Samsung Authorized repair center would touch it, but they wanted $100 upfront to diagnose it, plus additional parts and labor. I argued that it fell under the 5 year cooling system warranty, Samsung disagreed. Worse, Samsung kept cancelling my service appointment, then kept saying it was I who cancelled the service. After two days on the phone with Samsung support, they finally relented and offered to fix my fridge at no charge as a courtesy. If I had purchased the extended warranty, I probably would not have had to go through that experience.

    In August 2013, I purchased a Samsung 60F7100 3D HDTV at Best Buy and this time opted to get the 5-year Geek Squad Protection Plan. 3 months later (while still under mfr warranty), Geek Squad was out to fix an issue with flashing LED's on the lower edge of the panel, eventually replacing the TV entirely with the same exact model and a new 5-year plan. Two years later, that replacement TV (now out of mfr warranty) began to exhibit the same issues. Geek Squad didn't even send out a technician, as the likely solution was to replace the LCD panel, which was no longer available. A credit was issued for the cost of the TV and remaining portion of my protection plan, and I was able to upgrade to a 65" UHD with 3D capability and a 5-year plan for very little out of pocket.

    Lesson learned.
     
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  11. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    Yeah, you likely won't find a warranty on TVs with accidental coverage. Many do, however, cover damage caused by power surges
     
  12. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    It has been my experience that Costco's 2-year (or 4-year on the Costco Visa) only covers what the manufacturer covers, which is manufacturing defects. It will not cover items like wear and tear or power surges.
     
  13. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    Rule of thumb I tell people, if the item you are purchasing won't break your wallet to replace it, then the extended warranty is probably not for you. If it is a hefty investment, then an extended warranty should be considered.

    In other words, would I purchase an extended warranty on a pair of $50 headphones? Depends on how much that extended warranty costs - if it's less than 10%, very likely. I would definitely consider an extended warranty on, say a $5,000 or more TV, even if it's 10-15% of the cost, and most definitely if it covered items like normal wear and tear, screen burn-in, and power surges.

    Best thing to do is to read the fine print to see exactly what it covers and how mush they are willing to spend before declaring it unrepairable. Also, is there a deductible or "co-pay?" How much will it cost each time you need a service call?
     
  14. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    Not really. They'll want proof that the set was connected to a working surge protector. How can anyone really know or prove whether their surge protector was in working condition before a power hit? If it was they'll still want to investigate. If it wasn't you're immediately out of luck.
     
  15. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    I don't have a hard and fast rule but I still agree. Statistically warranties are not worth it. I look at the exposure. We live in the Florida lighting corridor. So I bought on my TV and also on my Projector. (In our case we were covered for surges and they didn't challenge (and yes everything is on a surge protector)) but I always pass on the coverage of smaller, less expensive items.

    The only coverage I always get is cruise travel insurance - A helicopter ride off a ship can be $50,000+.
     
  16. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Cinematographer

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    Just talked to my credit card / bank. They will add 1 year to the warranty coverage for using the card to make the purchase. So that’s two years.
    Of course everything is on a surge protector and I’ve had no issues ever with my old Vizio 70.

    Next stop, my insurance company (USAA) to see about special coverage (floater policy) which I already have on my camera equipment. I’ll see if they’ll extend coverage to the TV.
     
  17. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    Forgot to include image burn-in, which is a problem on OLED, that is not covered by the mfr.
     
  18. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    Have you ever actually used this "insurance." I've been on a whole lot of cruise ships all over the world. Never needed a helicopter. I'm not saying it's a bad deal for you, only that it is likely a bad idea for most. That's the nature of insurance. Scare the majority into logic programmed and designed for the masses when they know full well only a small fraction will ever benefit. Lottery...
     
  19. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    I have met two people that didn't have it and needed it. One was ruined financially. The cost vs. the exposure makes it a good deal for me. Like all insurance - it's a waste of money if you don't need/use it but for us we always have it. I don't care about trip cancellation (I can take that hit) just medical - transportation (can run into hundreds of thousands). I also have an umbrella policy for liability. I don't want my retirement to go to someone with a a helicopter or a lawsuit. I don't sell the stuff and I can only say what I do. YMMV. All the best.
     
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  20. John Dirk

    John Dirk Cinematographer
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    I'm very happy to hear this as I've heard horror stories about how insurance companies treat people who file legitimate claims for [supposedly] covered items. We get a lot of storms here in ATL too. I guess I like to self insure wherever practical so I installed a whole house surge protector at my service panels and also use individual protectors on my sensitive electronics. I tried to get the trifecta which would be a protector at the meter but [wouldn't you know] my power company won't sell me the unit I need and won't allow the [required] scheduled power disconnect for me to install my own. They insist on an "insurance plan" which basically means I'm leasing a unit from them in perpetuity. Yea, I'm not a fan of insurance in any of its forms.
     
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