Should you consider purchasing the “Protection Plan” (extended warranty)?

When making a purchase, most retailers now offer a buyer’s protection plan in case you have an accident and damage your goods. In the furniture world, these plans are offered to all customers but only a few should really consider making the choice to buy it. Some of these plans are credible, and others are a waste of money.

There are several companies who provide these insurance policies. First of all, these protection plans are NOT extended warranties. They will not extend the manufacturer’s warranty on furniture. For example: most manufacturers offer a one year warranty for defects in craftsmanship or material for the fabric or upholstery. A typical manufacturer warranty on a frame would be 3 years, and cushions 2 years. A mechanism on a recliner may carry a lifetime warranty on parts, but the customer will have to pay for shipping and the labor to install it. The Protection Plan will NOT extend these warranties even if it is a 5 year plan; furthermore, if you call a claim in on anything that they consider to be a vendor’s issue, they will refer you back to the retailer that you made the purchase with.

However, the protection plan companies will service your item if you have accidentally damaged it and follow their strict guidelines for making a claim. Remember that they make money if they do not have to provide their services, and will attempt to deny your claim if the process is not followed to the “T”. For example, you may have to make a claim within a short period of time like within 5 days from the original occurence. It cannot be abused or neglected, cleaned incorrectly, or sustained damage from an animal’s teeth or claws. The claims process may contain a lot of red tape, but this is to discourage the person who wants “free stuff” from following through.

If you have pets, remember that most policies only cover pet urine, or vomit. Not teeth and claws. If you have children that soil furniture all over, this is not covered… only the occasional stain from an accident. You will not find this out until the technician comes to your home and informs you that he is not authorized to clean the entire piece – only a single cushion.

I used to be an authorized technician for a several of these companies, and decided not to offer my services with any of them in the end. The screening process for technicians is terrible with some of the companies. Some do not verifiy a technician’s skill… anyone can claim to be a repairman and will be sent work orders. I grew tired of going behind unskilled techs, and having to overcome customer objections to the “fine print” that was not explained to them. Remember that most of these companies use sub contracted repairmen in different states. The guys may not have even submitted background information. Some authorized repairmen sub their workorders out to a third-party if they do not want to drive a long distance or don’t like the description of the problem. Bad mistake. If he has exposed tattoos, ungroomed, pulls up in a primered Chevy El Camino, or is not in a uniform DO NOT LET HIM IN!!! Call the 800 number to the provider to get details before purchasing.

In short, read the fine print and do not accept a salesperson’s overview as fact. Many salespeople do not even know what is covered and what is not. If you feel like it is a waste of money and it does not provide peace of mind, then don’t but it. A reputable retailer will stand behind their product anyway. If you’re looking to purchase this plan so that you can damage your furniture 4 and a half years after the delivery so that you can get NEW stuff free of charge… don’t waste your time and money. You’re not going to pull one over on them.

On average, only 1 in 10 people actually file a claim, so retailers realize that selling the Protection Plan is almost pure profit. No, it’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread and the salesperson pushing it is not the devil either. If you entertain often, or are generally accident prone then maybe the plan is for you. My advice is to beware. Don’t end up with buyer’s remorse.

Do your own research! Go to consumer advocate sites like “Pissed Consumer”, and “Ripoff Report”. Do it BEFORE you buy though. Most people only think about it after they have a problem.


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