The following is a excerpt of a post by Christopher Neto of AVShout

At Your Service

Can’t Decide Whether to Love or Hate Service Agreements? You’re Not Alone 

By Christopher Neto

It has many names—a service maintenance agreement, a fixed-price support contract, a service level agreement, a maintenance contract, a service contract, or even an extended warranty (although this term can be limiting). The basics are that service agreements were originally developed as the insurance policy for products and services. For the customer it gave them piece of mind that if something were to go wrong your service agreement would cover it long past your warranty.

Service agreements, in theory, are simple. The words alone describe it as a contract between two people—one, the seller, the other the buyer. The seller will offer a service agreement to the end-user as a worry free solution in the event that something goes wrong. That’s is the simplest way to describe a service agreement but if I told you it took me over an hour to simply a definition for service agreements would you believe me? When I sat down to write this article I figured service agreements are easy—someone sells it and a user buys it. Chances they don’t use it and so goes the vicious circle. It is a complicated issue, however. I can’t figure out whether to love them or hate them.

Outside of my work at AV Helpdesk as a consumer, I’m a fan of service agreements. I love them as much as the electronics they protect. What I have learned over the years is that manufacturers’ warranties on the consumer side are standard 90-day fare. Big Box Stores will not let you return a product after 30 days. So what I am to do? I shop around, compare prices, and always purchase a service agreement. The cost and terms of a service agreement will vary tremendously from store to store. There are times where I feel as if a service agreement in unnecessary but I quickly think back to one instance in which a service agreement saved me a spending a few hundred dollars. Read more