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Release Date: 01/09/2014

Consumer Reports Offers Insights on When to Repair and When to Replace

Exclusive advice to save money in more than a dozen product categories

CR February 2014 CoverYONKERS, NY — Deciding whether to repair a broken product or replace it often feels like an expensive guess. Consumer Reports has done the homework, creating year-by-year advice for more than a dozen common home appliances, electronics, and lawn and snow equipment.

“Repairing broken items or keeping them going as long as possible isn’t always the best way to save money,” said Celia Kuperszmid-Lehrman, Deputy Content Editor of Home and Appliances for Consumer Reports. “Our report spells out how much repairs usually cost, brands that breakdown and those that don’t and cheap fixes you can handle to save money.”

The full report on when to repair and when to replace is featured in the February 2014 issue of Consumer Reports and at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Tips on How to Save

Consumer Reports surveyed 29,281 subscribers about their product experiences as part of its 2013 Online Annual Questionnaire.  Here’s what consumers need to know:

  1. Products aren’t breaking faster. The repair rates of most products in the latest survey are similar to the 2010 survey results. Some products are breaking less often. For example, laptops had a repair rate of 24 percent, down from 36 percent in 2010.

  2. Avoiding a lemon. Check Consumer Reports’ “What Breaks and What Doesn’t” lists for the most temperamental product types and – from repair-history surveys – the most and least reliable brands for each. GE electric ranges were reliable, for example, while Jenn-Air and KitchenAid were both repair-prone brands, according to the survey. 

  3. Save money on repairs. People who used independent repair shops were more satisfied with the repairs than those who used factory service. No matter who does the repair, don’t spend more than 50 percent of the cost of a new product on repairing an old one.

  4. Warranties don’t improve satisfaction. People who had a service contract or an extended warranty weren’t any happier with their repairs. They were actually more likely to have had repairs done incorrectly the first time around than people without those contracts and waited at least two weeks for repairs.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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