Would you like an extended warranty?

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Extended warranties are odd. You buy something hoping it has been well designed and built, and that it might last more than ten minutes. To take advantage of your fear that you may not be able to replace an expensive item you are sold an extended warranty, another insurance policy. So back to our favourite question – do you need this insurance?

The first thing to know is that the 12 month warranty you see advertised is a confidence trick. Since 2003 you have been entitled to a minimum two year warranty period on consumer goods sold within the European Union.

This two year warranty on consumer goods comes from a 1999 European Directive, with countries having to bring it into force in 2002. We shan’t bore you with the parliamentary words, but your protection lies in the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulation 2002 (SI 2002/3045).

So you already have a two year warranty, so why are you told you only have 12 months and asked to buy more?

The golden rule is to understand what you are being sold, and ask do you need it.