VICTORIA BISCHOFF: A warning on extended warranties

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A warning on warranties: Don’t be pushed into splashing out on extended cover for your basic home appliances, says VICTORIA BISCHOFF

Being pestered to buy pricey extended warranties is one of my (many) pet hates. After splashing out on a fancy new energy-efficient washing machine, I expect it to last a good few years.

If it breaks before then you better believe I’ll be demanding a repair or replacement.

So when registering my appliance with Hoover, its incessant prompts to ‘enhance’ my protection by paying £5.32 a month (£63.84 a year) were irritating to say the least.

Unnecessary: The new white goods ‘right to repair’ law also means manufacturers are legally obliged to make spare parts available so appliances can be fixed easily

‘Add Hoover Protection Policy? We see you chose not to enhance your washing machine protection today. Why was this?’ Well, since you ask… because it’s a waste of money.

For the first six months, the Consumer Rights Act requires retailers (Currys in this case) to repair or replace faulty goods.

After this, I can still request a repair as my machine should last a ‘reasonable’ length of time — although the onus is on me to prove the item was unfit for purpose when sold. This doesn’t unduly concern me as Hoover provides a free 12-month call-out parts and labour guarantee.

The new white goods ‘right to repair’ law also means manufacturers are legally obliged to make spare parts available so appliances can be fixed easily.

And Hoover’s small print guarantees all parts for ten years. After the first year, there is a fixed repair cost of £129. 

My machine needs to last only two years and one month before it is cheaper to pay the repair bill rather than buy the extra cover — and I really hope it can manage that!

So the only thing it seems I’ll miss out on by forgoing the firm’s enhanced protection policy is accidental damage cover. I’m quite clumsy but confident even I will struggle to accidentally damage an integrated washing machine.

Unless I perhaps rammed it with an ironing board? But in that event, cosmetic damage such as dents and scratches are on a long list of exclusions not covered.

To be fair, given how expensive washing machines can be this isn’t the silliest extended warranty I’ve ever seen. 

That accolade perhaps goes to small appliance protection policies. For example, if you buy a £69.95 toaster from John Lewis you will be offered the option of paying £10 for its two-year Protect Plus (accidental damage cover).

Even more ridiculous, Argos is advertising a £5.99 three-year ‘replacement care with accidental damage cover’ policy for a kettle that costs £23.50.

Surely we are better off sticking a few pounds into a savings account each month to self-insure against any minor household calamities?

But do tell me if you think I’m being reckless.

TV Licence folly

Whatever your views on the current TV Licensing laws, something has gone terribly wrong when a 53-year-old woman is being hauled to court over what magistrates called a ‘genuine mistake’.

As we report, Janet Ellison thought she had been paying by direct debit. 

But somehow payments were missed and four months later, TV Licence officers were at her door accusing her of illegally watching the news. And despite the court not fining her, she is still on the hook for £142 in legal costs.

So it’s incredibly worrying that as families battle soaring bills, the BBC’s chief operating officer Leigh Tavaziva is warning that prosecutions are set to double.

Can we really not give struggling households a little more leeway?

Bounteous Bonds

Happy tales of your Premium Bond victories continue to pour in. One 98-year-old reader says he has pocketed 534 prizes in the past 43 years, including one £1,000, two £500 and 27 £100 wins.

His theory is you need the maximum £50,000 holding to do well — and a quick trawl online of who has won what suggests this could be true. 

Another reader says he delivered a £75,000 prize (the biggest on offer at the time) when he was a postman in the 1980s. ‘I later won a car so I guess the luck rubbed off on me,’ he adds.

Keep the cheery letters coming!

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