Those purchasing a brand new printer will more than likely be offered an extended warranty option. This will be available at an additional cost, but the salesperson will explain how it will save money in the long run should the printer malfunction. But for a small technological appliance like a printer, is an extended warranty really worth the added cost?
First, determine what kind of warranty the manufacturer offers for no additional charge. Many warranties are a year long, or may extend further than that and only cover certain aspects of the product. Be sure the return policy or warranty at least covers a few months, long enough to determine if the product is not defective. You may assume that a defective product is easily exchangeable, but do not count on it.
Determine what your consumer protection is. For instance, if you purchase your printer with a credit card, the credit card company may offer some protection. If something is defective or breaks under certain circumstances in a specific period of time, they may cover the costs of a replacement printer. Before shopping for your printer, know what your warranty options are outside of the printer company and retail store.
On your own, research the average life span of the printers you are considering purchasing. If taken care of, many printers will last more than five years with little trouble. If you do not print often, it may last even longer. Often, multifunctional printers have more problems than single function printers, so take that into consideration when making your decision.
Next, crunch a few numbers. Consider the total cost of the printer and its inkjet cartridges. Chances are, a replacement will cost about the same or cheaper, provided your printing needs remain the same and technology continues to develop. This means if you spend an equivalent amount on an extended warranty, you could have gotten a whole new printer for the same cost. For example, if you purchase an extended warranty for £140, and in one year your printer breaks, it can be fixed or replaced at no additional charge. You have essentially paid the full price of the replacement via the extended warranty. Furthermore, it limits your options. By purchasing the warranty, or pre-purchasing your replacement printer, you have locked yourself into band loyalty. Probably not the best option if you find yourself unhappy with your brand choice.
If an extended warranty is available for a very reasonable charge, maybe £10 or £15, it may be worth it. This way, if something goes wrong after a few months, you are in good shape and can get a replacement for only the cost of that warranty. If you approach the warranty and cost of the computer as one item, and you consider it the cost of a new printer, it may well be worth the cost. Would you consider the initial cost of your new printer plus the warranty fee a good price for a new printer a year from now? It may seem like a bargain. Even if you find you want a different brand, you have only lost a few dollars and it bought a few months or a few years worth of peace of mind.
In the long run, decide on a budget and stick to it. Before shopping, take things like warranties into account and determine what your ultimate price will be including the printer, multifunctional features, and the warranty.