Credit Card Purchases

If you buy an item with a credit card, do you still need to purchase an extended warranty?

Some consumer advocates say you rarely (if ever) need an extended warranty, citing reasons like the adequacy of basic warranties and the cost of potential repairs versus the cost of an extended warranty. Only you can decide if you really need that extra coverage, but before you buy an extended warranty, consider these points:

•    Most stores offer specific return policies that will allow you to return a defective item within a certain time after purchasing. Some are quite generous. Before you buy, find out what the store’s policy is.

•    Virtually all products come with some type of basic, limited warranty. Before making a purchase, ask for details on the warranty. Many manufacturers make warranty terms available on their websites.

•    Purchases made on a credit card fall under consumer protection laws related to credit card use, adding a layer of consumer clout that cash purchase don’t have. If a product proves defective, buying it with a credit card gives you access to those protections.

•    Many credit card companies automatically extend manufacturers’ warranties as a customer service. Not all terms and conditions are the same for all cards, however, so check with your credit card company to see if they offer this service.