Can someone give me some input on the Internet about warranties focusing on whether purchasing products over the Internet has increased the need for warranties.
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Whether or not a product should be warranted is an issue entirely separate from whether or not it was purchased via the Internet. Online shopping, of course, has completely changed the way many of us shop; busy people with many obligations often find it much easier and more convenient to locate items, place a credit card number, point and click. Some online retailers even offer gift-wrapping that is either free or perhaps available for a nominal fee. However, the more important issue regarding online shopping is the reliability of the retailer in terms of offering quality products at reasonable prices, dependable shipping options, and a clearly articulated return policy. Customers who prefer to have a warranty will likely prefer this regardless of the venue where the product is purchased; additionally, most warranties don't extend beyond a year unless one wishes to purchase the "extended warranty" which most financial planners consider non-cost effective most of the time. A customer considering the purchase of an online product would do well to purchase only from reputable retailers, or at the very least, conduct extensive research into the company's policies and reputation, Better Business Bureau rating, and customer reviews. Legally, companies are not required to offer warranties, but the law does require that if a warranty is so offered, it must be clearly articulated, easily understood, and enforceable.
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