When to Repair and When to Replace
Deciding whether to repair a broken product or replace it often feels like an expensive guess.
"Repairing broken items or keeping them going as long as possible isn't always the best way to save money," says Celia Kuperszmid-Lehrman, Deputy Content Editor of Home and Appliances for Consumer Reports. "Our report spells out how much repairs usually cost, brands that breakdown and those that don't and cheap fixes you can handle to save money."
Tips on How to Save
Consumer Reports surveyed 29,281 subscribers about their product experiences as part of its 2013 Online Annual Questionnaire. Here's what consumers need to know:
- Products aren't breaking faster. The repair rates of most products in the latest survey are similar to the 2010 survey results. Some products are breaking less often. For example, laptops had a repair rate of 24 percent, down from 36 percent in 2010.
- Avoiding a lemon. Check Consumer Reports' "What Breaks and What Doesn't" lists for the most temperamental product types and – from repair-history surveys – the most and least reliable brands for each. GE electric ranges were reliable, for example, while Jenn-Air and KitchenAid were both repair-prone brands, according to the survey.
- Save money on repairs. People who used independent repair shops were more satisfied with the repairs than those who used factory service. No matter who does the repair, don't spend more than 50 percent of the cost of a new product on repairing an old one.
- Warranties don't improve satisfaction. People who had a service contract or an extended warranty weren't any happier with their repairs. They were actually more likely to have had repairs done incorrectly the first time around than people without those contracts and waited at least two weeks for repairs.
Source: Consumer Reports
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.