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Checklist for those considering extended warranties

December 23, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission and Maryland Attorney General's office for consumers deciding whether to purchase service contracts, also known as extended warranties.

- Check for overlap between the warranty that automatically comes with the product and the extended warranty.

- Check for duplicate coverage. Does the extended warranty cover anything other than what the general warranty covers?

- Check for conditions that void the extended warranty.

- Will the company repair, replace or refund the item if the product fails?

- Who do you contact to get warranty service - the seller or the manufacturer?

- Where is the closest repair place available to get warranty service?

- Do you have to do anything to ensure the extended warranty isn't voided?

- Can you buy the extended warranty later?

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- Is the product likely to need repairs?

- Are there additional costs you incur to get warranty service?

- Is there an extended warranty available through your credit card company?

- Can you negotiate to lower the cost of the extended warranty?

- Is the company you are buying the extended warranty from expected to still be operating during the coverage years?

For more information, you may contact the following:

-- Maryland Attorney General's Office (www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/tip57.htm), 1-888-743-0023

-- Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection (www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-prod.htm), 1-202-326-2222

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