If you buy a bed, couch or dining room set these days, the salesman will probably offer you an extended warranty.
But do you know what it really covers? And more importantly, what it excludes?
Barbara Lommel has several young children, as well as a pet parrot named Ed (more on why that's important in a moment).
So when she bought a $3,000 leather sectional, she paid almost $100 extra for a seven-year extended warranty.
Lommel says the warranty looked like a great idea, because she assumed it would cover any type of damage to her couch, even damage caused by her feisty young kids.
However, when Lommel recently found several small cuts in the leather, she says an inspector for the warranty company denied her claim.
Why the denial?
"They wrote in a statement that my pet bird did the damage," Lommel said. "But he could not have done it, because Ed will not leave his cage."
Lommel was frustrated.
"The salesman said if we got the couch, and I buy the warranty, that we could take a knife and cut the whole thing, and they would have to cover it under the warranty," she said.
But the fine print says that scratches and tears caused by pets are not covered.
Lommel claims her young children cut the couch with scissors, while playing around.
We contacted the warranty company, which promised to reopen and re-examine the claim.
"I would just like for them to fix it. That's it," Lommel said. "I paid for the warranty, why can't they fix it?"
How to protect yourself
But there's a lesson here for everyone thinking of paying extra for a furniture warranty. You should get to the bottom of these questions before you say "Yes."
- Does the warranty cover damage from children with pens, pencils and scissors?
- Does it cover damage from pets?
- Does it cover for pet, food or ink stains?
The two biggest exclusions are typically pets, especially dog and cat claws, and normal wear and tear.
When leather starts cracking (or bonded leather starts peeling), that's often considered wear and tear, which typically isn't covered.
So read the fine print and don't waste your money.
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com