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Lowe’s Extended Protection Plans Called Deceptive

A Washington consumer who bought a barbecue grill last year from Lowe’s is suing the company for deceptive practices after his grill went on the fritz and Lowe’s refused to fix it.

Like many shoppers who buy more expensive products, this customer was asked at the checkout if he would like to buy a four-year extended warranty “Protection Plan.” He was told it would cover everything and even included on-site repairs. After he agreed to buy the $79.99 plan, the cashier put a brochure about it in his bag.

Fast forward about 10 months, and sure enough his barbecue developed a problem so the consumer asked Lowe’s for someone to come out and pick it up for repair. Lowe’s refused saying the grill was covered by a five-year manufacturer’s warranty and according to the customer’s lawsuit, while the Lowe’s extended warranty plans start on the day of purchase, they only provide benefits after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. [Thanks to Truth in Advertising for the case.]

The extended warranty contract used by Lowe’s is not clearly worded to explicitly warn purchasers about this:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Parts and services covered during the manufacturer’s warranty period are the responsibility of the manufacturer. Your Product(s) may have a labor and/or parts warranty from the manufacturer that may provide additional or overlapping coverage with this Plan. Review Your manufacturer’s warranty. Nothing in the Plan will limit or discharge any manufacturer’s obligations.

To add insult to injury in this case, since the barbecue had a five-year warranty and the Lowe’s plan was only four years, it completely overlapped what the manufacturer was providing. That made the Lowe’s plan a complete waste of money for the customer.

Lowe’s has not publicly commented on the allegations made in this lawsuit.

Whenever buying a warrantied product, try to purchase it with a credit card that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to an additional year for free. Many card issuers have dropped this benefit, so double-check which of your cards still offer it.

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9 thoughts on “Lowe’s Extended Protection Plans Called Deceptive”

  1. Most extended warranties are worthless. Many times (in consumer electronics, especially) the product is obsolete after a few years and putting the money you would pay for the extended warranty could be better used to purchase a new one. Also, watch for the fine print that says the warranty provider can just refund the price you paid for the warranty instead of repairing or replacing the product.

  2. Yeah, if it walks, talks, and looks like crap, it’s crap. This is 100% deceptive by Lowe’s. I wonder, if and when this makes it to court, if the plaintiff asks a Lowe’s executive to describe a situation that would be covered under the Lowe’s plan. Probably the exec would just deflect with “I don’t know everything that the manf warranty covers.”

    This is, however, standard malpractice for these crappy plans. Buyer beware.

  3. So what was the manufacture going to do for the customer with this grill that was not working right?

    Did the person buying the grill know the grill had a 5 year warrantee before going to the checkout counter? Did the person ringing up the purchase of the grill at the checkout counter know the grill had a five year warrantee?

    The 80 buck purchase here was not necessary right?

  4. Back in 2003 I purchased my first hybrid, a Honda Civic. After the deal was sealed, the salesperson said, “And now, of course, you’ll want to purchase the extended warrantee.” I said, “No, thank you.” He said, “But the manufacturer’s warrantee is only for 35,000 miles! They know that after that, problems are more likely to occur.” I said, “Look. A few minutes ago you were telling me that I was making a really good choice…that this car has a great reputation for reliability–one of the best in the industry. Now you’re trying to tell me that it’s going to start having problems after only 35,000 miles? No, I’ll pass on that extended warrantee.” He was not a happy camper! (I sold the car after 150,000 miles and had had very few problems with it.)

    These “Buyer Protection Plans” are NOT for the benefit of the consumer. They are for the benefit of the seller. This is why the sellers are so anxious to promote them. While there may be an occasional exception where the purchase of such a plan is actually a good idea, the default answer when asked should be, “No, thank you!”

  5. Now please do a story on that Car Shield scam. I love the ads with the actors telling how Car Shield replaced their motor and transmission, because, you know, those fail all the time and the company is just printing money

  6. David,

    One of the people doing a CarShield ad is longtime ESPN hack Chris Berman; it’s a perfect marriage…

  7. Very interesting Mouse Print story, Mr. Consumer! The comments this time were some of the best ever. I bought an extended warranty on a freezer I bought a couple years ago because of the failure rate reported by quite a few reviewers. First time ever I bought an extended warranty. And I live in the Phoenix area with its 110° summers (the freezer is in my unairconditioned garage). Kind of surprised me there’s no provision for making a claim for spoiled food, either in the Home Depot extended warranty or the manufacturer’s warranty.

    Also found it interesting that virtually none of the above commenters had anything good to say about extended warranties. Nor was there a single war story about a good experience with one.

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