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Is it worth it to purchase an Extended Warranty for furniture?

By Jeff Frank

Extended Warranty Plans for furniture are a waste of money.

Furniture salespeople may make a strenuous effort to sell you an extended warranty. These plans are typically pitched as though they offer added protection and extend the retailer’s warranty.

Extended warranties are extremely lucrative to the store. Salespeople receive a very high commission for selling these plans.

Furniture warranties are not intended as protection for the consumer.

  • They are intended as protection for the manufacturer and retailer against responsibility for the most common and most expensive problems that are likely to occur.
  • The language of the warranty may appear to protect the customer, but most of those protections will be negated by exclusionary language buried further down in the contract.

Extended furniture warranties invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Manufacturer’s warranties will have exclusionary clauses that specify they are voided if the customer purchases an extended warranty.
  • Manufacturer’ are under no obligation to work with third party warranty companies to correct a problem.
  • Extended warranty companies pay a large percentage of the cost of the warranty with the retailer and the salesperson. Their profits depend on their ability to reduce costs or completely avoid responsibility for costly repairs.
  • As a result, extended warranties are loaded with exclusions that eliminate coverage of the most common problems consumers are likely to experience.

For example one of the most common furniture problems encountered is seat cushions that lose their shape and resilience after a very short time.

  • Despite large bold print that may state 5 year cushion warranty, there will be smaller print further down the warranty that will exclude repair or replacement in cases of “normal wear” or “customer abuse.”
    • These two exclusions can be used to refuse coverage in almost all cases of worn out or damaged cushions.
  • “Normal use” can be interpreted to include any damage that occurs after one year of use (and sometimes even earlier.)
  • “Customer abuse” adds additional safeguards for the warranty provider. It can include many situations that most people would never think of as “abuse” including:
      • Use of the furniture by pets
      • Exposure to sunlight, moisture or soil.
      • Use of a fabric protection or cleaning product. (This may include fabric protection products applied by the retailer.)

Another frequent complaint that will not be covered is peeling bonded leather

    . This problem is particularly acute with reclining furniture.

    • There are thousands of complaints (and multiple lawsuits) related to bonded leather defects. Bonded leather problems can completely destroy the looks and usefulness of expensive furniture. Repairs are extremely costly and are rarely attempted.
      • The extended warranty may have bold print specifying multi-year protection for fabrics, including bonded leathers.
      • This protection will not begin until after the expiration of the original retailer’s warranty.
      • By the time the extended warranty is activated the vast majority of problems are classified as the result of either “normal use” or “customer abuse.”

Extended warranties are third party insurance contracts from financial companies.

  • If the company backing the extended warranty goes out of business you lose your coverage. There are many cases of extended warranty companies that have gone out of business.
  • Extended warranty companies subcontract furniture repair services.
    • Contracts are usually awarded to 3rd party repair services. These may have bad reputations or be inconveniently located.
    • They have no relationship or agreement with the furniture manufacturer or retailer.
    • The contracts are often awarded to the lowest bidder regardless of the experience or reputation of that subcontractor.

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4 thoughts on “Is it worth it to purchase an Extended Warranty for furniture?”

  1. I just requested service from my “CARE FREE” extended warranty.. it’s at the end of it’s 5 year run.. but still active.. the recliner will no longer recline. They sent a technician, who diagnosed it as NOT the motor.. but the POWER BOX and the CUP SWITCH. I called the company, they placed the order and said they would ship to me. A few days later, I get an email stating that they are giving me a CLAIM RESOLUTION of a check… (apparently they can’t get the part)… my recliner cost $450.. the service contract cost $270.. they are offering me $202.50… again, the chair is 5 years old. I am torn.. on one hand.. I could take that money and try to fix it myself… OR, I could try to fight it and get them to give me a replacement for a chair that is no longer in stock. This is LIVING SPACES, incidentally. What do you recommend? Some people advise FIGHT FIGHT! Others advise, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME….

    • Sorry, this is simply another confirmation of what I wrote in my article.
      Extended warranties are written by attorneys for their client – which is not you!

      You have no chance to succeed in fighting the warranty company or Living Spaces. They deal with hundreds of situations like this each month and are well protected.

      You are actually fortunate that they are offering any compensation at all.
      If you are handy, you can try to repair it yourself. There are companies online that sell recliner parts.

      If you can’t do it yourself, you need to find someone who can replace the motor. This is not a furniture repair.

    • Extended warranties have the highest profit margin of anything sold by furniture retailers. In the vast majority of cases, for low and mid-priced mass produced reclining furniture, the recliner motors will not be the first part that wears out.
      Some reclining furniture is currently being made with 2 or even 3 different motors. As the number of motors increases, the chances of something going wrongalso increases.


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