In a report The Sun says that UK consumers spend £750 million a year on extended warranties but say that they are often a total waste of cash.
A new study found that warranties that can be taken to offer repair cover up five years from point of purchase which are sold to cover the cost of repair or replacement should the item break can come to more than two thirds the price of an appliance. And some brands only have a one in 33 chance of ever breaking down.
The study by Which? magazine comes as consumers spend millions on extended cover for electrical goods bought as Christmas gifts.
The consumer magazine compared five-year warranties for washing machines, TVs and fridge-freezers being offered by major UK electrical stores. They also discovered the likelihood of each brand's different products breaking down by quizzing 10,000 members on the reliability of their appliances.
A Bosch washing machine at Comet costs £342 and a five-year warranty £170. Yet only one in eight of the manufacturer's products has packed up within five years.
A Sony Bravia 40in LED TV costs £799 at Currys with a five-year warranty priced at £269. After five years just three per cent of Sony devices will have broken down.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "We were shocked to see what poor value most extended warranties are. As many warranties come to an end before they might be needed, we think that most people should steer clear of them.
"Given how reliable most electrical goods and domestic appliances are these days, there's just no reason to spend almost 70 per cent of an appliance price to insure yourself against a fault that might never happen."
The Financial Ombudsman Service said it had received 895 complaints about warranties over the last year, with 69 per cent of those being upheld.
Paul Davies, an insurance analyst for Which? said that"
There will be times when an unexpected breakdown might catch you out. But on balance it appears that paying for repairs as and when they occur is your best bet, assuming you have opted for a reliable brand.
With appliance prices falling and reliability continuing to improve, consumers are increasingly choosing to replace rather than repair.
Putting money aside in case you do need to repair an appliance seems more sensible than paying for an extended warranty upfront.
If it doesn't break down within five years you've made a good start towards funding a new model when it does.
In short, if you buy decent appliances then the chances of having a fault are minimal and taking the chance yourself rather than paying lots of money for a warranty is likely the more profitable bet. This is especially so when there are so many good quality local repair companies that are more than happy to advise you on the viability of a repair, often without even having to visit, as they have the experience and expertise to offer good advice. And of course you can find a local repair company from our free engineer search facility.
However there are also some appliances now available with five and even ten year manufacturer warranties included. If you take the mid-level Bosch washing machine example above and add the cost of the extended warranty that makes the whole cost for five years £512 for a middle of the road Bosch washing machine. For a few hundred pounds more you can have a far higher quality Miele or ISE washing machine that carries a ten year warranty. And, you don't get harassed constantly in the store to buy the add on warranty!