Shares Five Tips for Holiday Shoppers
New research guides consumers on how to protect expected $150 billion investment in electronics gifts this season
New research from Creighton University College of Business professor and consumer advocate William Duckworth, Ph.D., released today compares technology protection plans from 12 different retailers, providing consumers with an easy-to-use reference guide for holiday shopping. The study comes just five months after Duckworth’s iPhone app for warranty shopping was released.
Consumers will spend billions of dollars on portable electronics such as smart phones and tablets this holiday season. These expensive, fragile items are prone to accidental damage. Many shoppers will opt for protection plans or extended warranties -- a critical consideration when shopping for teens and children, especially.
“This study helps the average consumer decide when to buy a protection plan, and which ones offer the best value and protection. With the holiday shopping season upon us, I thought it would be useful to have a tool to cut through the clutter,” commented Duckworth. “What I found is that some warranty plans— also known as technology protection plans—have evolved and some have not. The best next-generation plans protect devices by offering accidental damage protection and a fast, easy-to-navigate claims process.”
Duckworth’s review of protection plans at 12 different retailers compares the plans for coverage, value, speed of service and other factors, and provides an overall rating for each. He has put together five tips to help consumers evaluate plans and make informed decisions about when—and what—to buy.
Top 5 Tips:
Tip #1: Buy from a company you can trust.
A protection plan is only as good as the company that stands behind it. Although most retailers put their brand on a protection plan, customer service and claims are usually handled by a different company. Look behind the curtain at what you’ll really be getting.
Tip #2: Look for protection plans that cover all forms of accidents.
Some plans simply extend the manufacturer’s warranty while others provide coverage for accidental damage and sometimes even loss and theft. Buy a plan that includes coverage for accidental damage.
Tip #3: Don’t feel pressured into a purchase.
If you’re given the option to buy a protection plan, but you’re given very little information about it, don’t feel pressured to make the decision to buy or not buy right away.
Tip #4: Watch out for hidden deductibles.
If you’re thinking of buying a protection plan for your cell phone, watch out for hidden deductibles. They’re more prevalent than you might think.
Tip #5: Look at the big picture.
Look for the best overall value in the device you’re buying and in the protection plan you’re considering. Finding the best value in a protection plan means considering coverage, value, ease of use, reputation and speed of service.