Dec 31, 2012 9:05 PM by Eric Ross

New state law regulates warranties on consumer electronics

A new law supposed to protect consumers may actually end up doing just the opposite.

Begin in January, all retailers selling portable electronics will be required to offer warranty protection plans to you.

Some folks are skeptical the law will benefit them.

"It's important to know that every single retailer gets to set their own rules," Katie Carrol with the Better Business Bureau told News 5 in an interview last week.

For years, there's been a lot of leniency with store policies, many of which protect the store over the consumer.

Now, the State of Colorado is taking some of that control back.

A new law will require retailers to offer insurance plans or extended warranties on their products.

"They (stores) push them," Aaron Molenburg said. "They pressure them into selling that stuff."

Molenburg is a former Best Buy employee. He says for years, managers have pushed employees to sell warranties with electronics.

He fears that practice is about to expand.

"You definitely need to do your research on how much you're paying for the warranty and how long it's going to last," he said.

Accepting or declining a warranty will often be required at the time of sale, forcing you to make a split second decision.

"If your item breaks you can take it back and the store will take care of it," Molenburg said. "However, the negative side is that you'll have to pay for the warranty up front and if your item doesn't break, then you're just out that money."

All consumers should take note that extended service plans are completely optional.

If you opt-in, find out if loss, theft or water damage are covered.

Some warranties have deducticles too and refunds for unused services rarely exist.

Most manufacturers' already offer a standard warranty on their product. If that's the case, you should ask the store about the difference between the two policies.

If ever in doubt about warranties or ethical business practices, be sure to read the fine print or report your concerns to the Better Business Bureau.




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