Third-Party Service Plans and Replacement Plans
WARNING!!! - Before you even consider one of these plans, first check to see if your credit card company offers the same type of plan FOR FREE, just by using the card for your purchase!
HOW THE PLANS WORK
Here's how these plans work. You buy either a product replacement plan, or service plan, and the plan's cost is based on your PURCHASE PRICE of your product (for electronics, typically 10% and up per year for replacement, 3-10% per year for service). Note that the plan takes effect ONLY AFTER the manufacturer's warranty for the product expires. And note that a 2-year plan, for example, lasts only through 2 years after your product's PURCHASE DATE. It DOES NOT extend your manufacturer's warranty by two years!
If you've purchased a product REPLACEMENT plan, and your product fails after the manufacturer's warranty expires, then you call the plan's provider. They'll have you mail the product to them to verify that it has failed. Then they'll send you a check for what you paid for the product. So, if you depend daily on the product, you can buy a new one right away and then wait for the check. Note that you'll have to pay for shipping the broken product to the provider. So, if the product is big and heavy, then shipping will add substantially to your cost of replacing the product.
If you've instead purchased a SERVICE plan, that's a different story. You may then go through a series of events: waiting for the provider to find a service center, waiting for authorization, taking the product to the service center for diagnosis, waiting for repair parts to ship, then waiting for the repair to take place. So, if you depend daily on use of the product, you may be unhappy with the delays. For that reason, customer satisfaction with the service plans IS SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER than for the replacement plans. The service plans listed below have an average customer rating of about 2.5 stars, versus about 3.5 stars for replacement plans, all out of 5 stars.
EXCLUSIONS - BEWARE!!!
Another source of customer dissatisfaction with these plans is EXCLUSIONS. For instance, you may not receive coverage if the product is used in a business, whether it's a home business or otherwise. Or you may not be covered in the event of theft or an accident. So be sure to read the terms of any such plan before buying it. You should see a link, within Amazon's product page for the plan, to the plan's terms and conditions.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In summary, you're more likely to be happy with a replacement plan than a service plan. But don't buy it to replace a manufacturer's bad warranty service, because it only takes effect AFTER the manufacturer's warranty expires. Since the price of the plans are based on the price of the product, and NOT on the known reliability of the product, then such a plan may be worthwhile for a product that's known to fail after the manufacturer's warranty expires. But make sure that YOUR use of the product is not EXCLUDED by the plan, so carefully read the plan's terms before buying. And make sure your credit-card company doesn't offer the same type of service FOR FREE whenever using your card! And keep your receipts!
Below are two search boxes. The first is for third-party PRODUCT REPLACEMENT plans sold at Amazon.com:
The second one is for third-party SERVICE plans sold at Amazon.com:
Just click the "Search" button for whichever type of plan interests you, and then a new browser page will open from Amazon.com with a list of the available plans.
Once that page opens, you can further narrow the list of plans to those intended just for the product you want to cover. To narrow the list, select a category such as "Electronics" from the drop-down menu next to where the page says "Search" then click the "GO" button. A new, more narrowly focused, list will then appear.
Here's how to do that using Google Alerts. (1) Click on the link below to open the Google Alerts page. (2) Enter your email address. (3) Press the "Create Alert" button. Google will send you a confirmation email, then an email whenever a new review appears at Buy-a-Thon! (Make sure your spam filter doesn't block emails from google.com.)