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Sale of extended warranties to be investigated by OFT

OFT to investigate warranties

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate whether customers are getting value for money from extended warranties sold with electrical goods.

Around a quarter of all goods are sold with an extended warranty and the regulator has received complaints that they are often unfair and uncompetitive.

Usually sold at the point of purchase, many shoppers don't realise that such cover is optional and often feel pressurised in to buying unnecessary, over-priced warranties.

Customers have up to 30 days to decide on buying an extended warranty and there's a 45-day cooling-off period during which people can change their mind after purchase.

Claudia Berg of the OFT said: "We plan a short and focused market study to find out quickly what, if any, action is needed to make this market more competitive, to the benefit of consumers and the wider UK economy."

While many stores have come under attack for its warranty policy, there are exceptions.

John Lewis, for example, makes a point of offering a free five-year extended warranty on all televisions sold in store.

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Joe Cox

Joe is Content Director for Specialist Tech at Future and was previously the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across print and online for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung, reported from CES, the Bristol Show and Munich High End for many years, and provided comment for sites such as the BBC and the Guardian. In his spare time he enjoys mixing vinyl and cycling.