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11/16/2006
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Extended Warranties Unwarranted, Except For Apple's

For most products, extended warranties are a "notoriously bad deal" because products seldom break within the three-year window specified by most offers, Consumer Reports says.

Consumer Reports, the independent product review and rating publication, has urged shoppers to turn a deaf ear to salespeople shilling extended warranties. In almost every case, such warranties are a waste of money.

One exception: Apple Computer's warranty extension for its Mac computers.

The publication claimed that its data shows extended warranties are a "notoriously bad deal" because products seldom break within the three-year window specified by most offers. "Based on our extensive testing and research, Consumer Reports has long advised against extended warranties," said Kim Kleman, deputy editorial director, in a statement. "A better idea is to buy a reliable brand."

One of the two exceptions the magazine called out was Apple's AppleCare Protection Program, which the computer maker sells as an add-on. The extended warranty for a 20-inch iMac, for instance, adds $169 to the machine's $1,499 base price.

"[Macs] come with only 90 days of [phone] tech support, and the additional warranty extends that," said Consumer Reports.

The other product where an extended warranty is warranted: rear-projection microdisplay TV sets, which the publication pegged as both expensive to repair and three times more likely than other TV types to need repairs.

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