ADA, Okla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new LegalShield survey finds 62% of consumers face difficulty when attempting to resolve warranty claims with retailers and manufacturers. This, despite the fact that more than two-thirds of shoppers will likely seek the assurance of extended warranties to back their holiday purchases.
“Consumers are buying extended warranties, but not getting the benefits they were promised,” said Warren Schlichting, LegalShield CEO. “Shoppers are intimidated by contract legalese and struggle with protection plan terms. That’s a problem LegalShield and its partner attorneys work daily to stop.”
LegalShield, which provides affordable access to legal services to members nationwide, manages about 150,000 legal issue inquiries a month. Recently, it polled U.S. adults to gauge perspectives and behaviors about product protection and knowledge of basic consumer rights.
The study revealed that when it comes time to cash in on an extended warranty, more than a third say they lack confidence that the issues will be reasonably resolved.
Fine Print Spurs Confusion and Low Consumer Confidence
Consumer struggles with warranties are at a peak during holiday shopping season, especially when it comes to the terms of purchase protection plans: 1 in 3 consumers rarely or never read the terms, and 44% say the terms are somewhat or extremely confusing.
"Most store or online warranties aren't like the bumper-to-bumper coverage offered with new cars where virtually everything that could break is covered,” said Wayne Hassay, a LegalShield partner attorney. “Don’t hesitate to check the fine print for exclusions and deductibles; if what’s excluded matters to you, think twice before buying an extended warranty; it's often a waste of money.”
Shoppers Lose Time and Money to Fine Print
In addition to confusing terms and conditions, consumers report significant time invested in attempts to get warranties honored. A third of respondents said they've spent over 30 minutes, with 16% spending over two hours trying to get a problem fixed. Shockingly, 14% were never able to get the issue resolved.
The survey also shows shoppers have trouble with returns, with 67% responding it’s unfair for stores to charge fees to return items. Further, more than half (55%) have had a negative experience returning an item, with 46% saying they are unlikely to shop at that store again.
"Companies will often stall and drag their feet, hoping consumers will give up on warranty claims or returns," Hassay added. "Things tend to move much quicker when an attorney sends a letter urging the company to honor their obligations. Having legal support can stop companies from wasting your time."
The LegalShield survey was conducted in September 2023 and surveyed 1,209 adults, ages 18 and older, who live in the United States. The sample was balanced by age, among other demographic variables, according to the U.S. Census.
For less than a dollar a day, LegalShield connects members directly with experienced lawyers who handle an average of 12,500 requests for legal guidance on consumer finance issues each month for members.
For more than 50 years, LegalShield has provided everyday Americans with easy and affordable access to legal advice, counsel, protection, and representation. Serving millions, LegalShield is one of the world's largest platforms for legal, identity, and reputation management services protecting individuals and businesses across North America. Founded in 1972, LegalShield, and its privacy management product, IDShield, has provided individuals, families, businesses, and employers with tools and services needed to affordably live a just and secure life. Through technology and innovation, LegalShield is disrupting the traditional legal system and transforming how and where people receive legal guidance and services, with access to thousands of qualified, trusted attorneys and law firms. LegalShield and IDShield are products of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. To learn more about LegalShield and IDShield, visit LegalShield.com and IDShield.com.