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Mini Dragon Group (ages 6-7)

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Best Buy Geek Squad Protection Plan Worth It [UPDATED]

Signing up for a Geek Squad plan could be worth it, depending on the consumer and the piece of electronics they are looking to have covered. Generally speaking, Best Buy protection plans break down into three categories.

best buy geek squad protection plan worth it

The company offers a number of extended warranty plans for computers and tablets. These plans cover repairs for accidental damage and will furnish a replacement unit if necessary. The only downside here is that these plans can be costly and may not be worth it if the laptop itself was on the cheaper side.

If you nip into a store like Best Buy or Walmart for your large electronics, you'll almost definitely be offered a protection plan of some sort. These are often replacement or repair programs that claim to make the blow of dead electronics easier on you in the long run. "If your TV dies in the next four years, we'll give you a TV valued at what you're paying now."

These protection plans are usually pretty well-explained, and you'll almost always get a pamphlet on what you're entitled to in the event that your device goes kaput. Plans will vary by device, so whether or not you should buy the plan will also vary depending on the device you're purchasing.

Out of the three, the replacement plan is most worth it. It's usually pretty inexpensive (around or less than 50% of the cost of the device), and really if anything goes wrong, you just get a new one. Buttons stop working on your Xbox controller? New one. Headphones stop working on one side? New pair. Depending on the device, you usually have the option for two to four years, depending on the product. Since this plan covers "normal wear and tear," it's totally worth it. It even covers blown speakers, so in the middle of your third year, crank 'em, blow 'em, and get newer speakers.

This is honestly the only plan I'd purchase for my devices. But even then, I'd only get it for anything over $100. For devices below that price point (aside from gaming controllers and speakers), it's not really worth it.

In my experience, these protection plans are only worth it if you're spending over $1500 on the product. The price of the plans is often exorbitant and unnecessary. The employee might give you a "deal" on the protection plan, but read on to find out why that's not the best for you, the customer. Most current LED TVs don't experience terrible burn-in unless they're cheaply made or there's a manufacturer defect (which you'll likely experience within the first year). Unless you're absolutely cranking your speakers all the time, they shouldn't blow unless there's a defect (remember that you always get what you pay for with speakers). Home appliances is an iffy category, especially depending on the appliance. There's a lot you can fix yourself on larger appliances, but I would indeed consider protection for larger appliance like fridges, ranges, washers, and dryers.

So you really need to consider your usage and whether or not you're comfortable fixing something yourself. If you have absolutely no knowledge of troubleshooting, then a Geek Squad plan may be best for you, especially if you're a power user who absolutely counts on their computer for work or other needs. I wouldn't buy a plan for a tablet, though unless you're buying the highest-end devices. Even then, that's probably an iPad, and AppleCare+ is the better deal.

For computers, it all depends on your knowledge as to whether or not you should buy the protection plan. I would say if you're somewhat savvy or have savvy friends, don't go for it or only go for it for the shortest term. With computers becoming obsolete after only a few years now, there's really no point. And you can upgrade RAM and other components down the road if need be anyway.

This is the most important section when it comes to Best Buy. You will, 9 times out of 10, be offered a "deal" on your protection plan. Best Buy employees aren't on commission, but they'll still offer deals because if your numbers aren't good, you'll just get fired (or demoted to cashier). The language is always that they'll offer you the service plan for less, but the service plan is not what's being discounted. The way they discount is off the most expensive product you're buying.

If you buy a protection plan for a TV, then the money comes off the TV, not the service plan. So Best Buy makes the full amount off the plan, but less off the TV. The kicker is that, if it comes time to replace the TV (which it very rarely does), you only get a TV for the actual purchase price.

They essentially cover everything Best Buy does (outlined above), but at much better rates. For example, if you purchase a laptop priced between $500 and $5000, the three-year plan is only $95. That covers your hardware, including normal wear and tear and accidental damage. Now that is absolutely worth it. Buying a TV between $1000 and $5000? $163 for a four-year plan. They'll even include in-home service if the manufacturer's warranty covers it.

And if you've spent under $150 on a product, Walmart just gives you the money back in the form of a gift card. Now I don't particularly care for the evil empire that is Walmart, but I do have to admit that it's protection plans are actually totally worth it.

For the most part, the answer is no. The out-of-pocket cost for most repairs does not often exceed the price of the service plan you're buying, depending on the device. I would recommend only buying protection in these scenarios, and even then, really consider your options first:

Common repairs don't often exceed the price of service plans. And if you are going to buy a protection plan, get it from Walmart and really take your needs, use, and financial situation into account before buying into a program that you'll likely never use.

The one question you know you'll hear before you cough up that moolah is the one that has become, for many consumers, the most annoying question one can hear from a salesperson: "Do you want our [INSERT SPECIFIC RETAILER'S PREFIX] protection plan?" If you're at Best Buy, it's the Geek Squad Protection Plan. If you're at Sears (and it happens to be one of the few locations that still sells TVs), it's the Sears In-Home Master Protection Agreement. And so on.

Many consumers won't buy a retailer's protection plan under any circumstances. A much smaller percentage will buy a protection plan in each and every case, possibly because at some point in their lives they needed one and didn't have it. That leaves a large percentage of consumers who are open to buying a retail protection plan for certain products under certain circumstances.

Should you buy the retailer protection plan for a big-screen TV? To cut right to the chase, my answer is ... You probably don't need to if you're buying a well-reviewed TV model from one of the top brands. However, there are some cases in which it's a good idea.

When it comes to TVs and retail protection plans, the three main questions to ask are: 1) What does the plan offer that the manufacturer's warranty doesn't? 2) How likely is it that the TV is going to have such an issue during the time period covered by the protection plan? 3) What's the extra cost?

Manufacturer's Warranty Vs. Retailer Protection Plan Part of the spiel that you're likely to hear from a salesperson is that the manufacturer's warranty doesn't cover every issue that could possibly go wrong with a TV. As you may be aware, one incentive for the salesperson to tell you that is that the retailer typically makes more profit off the protection plan than the TV itself. However, in many cases, the salesperson is likely providing correct information, especially if he or she works for a reputable retailer.

A retailer's protection plan generally covers everything the manufacturer covers for a longer period of time (usually up to five years). In some cases, it also covers at least some of what the manufacturer will not cover even during the first year.

Playing the Percentages Even though some retailers' TV protection plans offer more and better coverage than the manufacturer warranties, the important question is this: just how likely is it that a TV is going to have a problem after the retailer's return period is up?

Nevertheless, Sasicki noted that Abt still sells TV protection plans, and he said that it makes sense for consumers to consider buying one "because of the high cost of repair and parts." A new TV may cost only $800, but the panel for a three-year-old TV costs about $950 without an extended protection plan. And the larger the screen, the higher the cost.

Once you get past that first month, issues like dead pixels and other AV problems tend not to happen on quality TVs from major TV makers, at least not until the TV's life cycle starts reaching its end a few years down the line--well after the time covered by the typical retailer protection plan. If that weren't the case, it wouldn't be profitable for retailers to even sell those protection plans.

So, should you ever buy a protection plan from a retailer when you're getting a high-end, well-reviewed TV model? Sure. If money is no object and/or you feel the plan is cheap enough that you can afford it. If you know you're the sort of person who will sleep better at night knowing your TV is covered for three years, five years, or whatever is being offered. Or, if (like me) you use a TV more than most people and would be absolutely miserable if you could see even one dead pixel on the display.

You might also want to consider a protection plan if, for some reason, you won't be using the TV very much during the initial return period. Maybe you're buying the TV at an ultra-low sale price but are waiting to give it to someone as a gift. Or maybe you are waiting to put it in a room of yours that's being remodeled. If that's the case, you will largely be at the mercy of the manufacturer's warranty if you don't get the retail protection plan.

Not All Protection Plans Are Equal On the cost front, not all retail protection plan pricing is equal. For example, if you were to buy a retail protection plan for the Samsung 65-inch UN65MU8000FXZA 4K TV from P.C. Richard & Son in late December, it would have cost you $199.99 for a two-year plan, $299.99 for a three-year plan, or $399.99 for a five-year plan. At the same time, Sears was charging $493.49 for its three-year plan and a whopping $745.49 for its five-year plan on the same TV model, with no option for a two-year plan. 041b061a72

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