In our case, we asked for a warranty to be added to the deal as the price was being negotiated. It seemed like a good idea costing us essentially nothing and offering a promise to fix major components of the house that could go belly up shortly after we moved in.
Opportunity #1: Garage Door Opener
The first major element that we found broken in the house was a garage door opener that when engaged, made hopeful noises but didn't move the garage door. Finding this on day one, motivated me to learn more about the warranty coverage.
The warranty basically operates like health insurance for our home. When something goes wrong, I can contact the warranty company for a repair, they may authorize a repair which will have a $75 deductible applied. If the service man gets here and it ends up not being covered (there are crafty loopholes making it hard to be certain what is covered) I'll get stuck with the whole bill.
I wan't happy with the garage door openers in the house to start with, plowing $75 or more into making them work wasn't appealing when a new one wasn't a whole lot more money, so we opted to skip the warranty and just put in new openers.
Opportunity #2: Dishwasher Buzzes with Only One Cycle
The second major element we stumbled into was the dishwasher being mostly broken. I knew it had issues from the home inspection, it was reported to have a buzz when drying, but was workable. It turned out that it buzzed constantly unless actively washing or being open and it sometimes refused to even run the one cycle it was stuck on. As our first few weeks in the house passed the buzz got more annoying and the frequency of totally not working seemed to increase until we just had to do something about it.
Since a new dishwasher could easily run $500-$800, a repair at $75 seemed like a good choice so I contacted 2-10 about the issue. Their web site was unusable beyond allowing me to register the warranty and providing an option to upgrade my coverage, though I have no idea what would be better or how much more it would cost. It did have a phone number, so I called them.
The pleasant person I spoke with at 2-10 took down relevant information and said an appliance repair person would call me within 24 hours to schedule a repair visit.
After a week, I checked the website and learned that my repair was in progress and I should contact the repair company for more information. Since I had no idea who the repair company was, I called 2-10 and learned that the repair company had tried calling me on my cell phone but was unable to reach me. Oddly, my cell phone had no missed calls or messages, perhaps they had actually dialed my number and Verizon selectively erased all traces of the call .
The 2-10 rep called Express Appliances, the company that had been selected for the repair, and managed to setup a next day service call.
The next day, a tech arrived and tore the dishwasher apart far enough to see a clearly burned out control board and rather broken lower dish rack both of which needed to be replaced. Of course, neither part was available. They would be ordered and should be in within a week. When the tech put the dishwasher back together it still buzzed but refused to do anything else, after the first pass repair it went from mostly to totally broken. Yes, it was worse after being fixed.
We waited through our week of part on order hoping it might arrive early and get us out of our manual dishwashing mode to no avail.
As our second week of waiting for the part that was supposed to be in within a week ground on our patience was got thinner. I called Express Appliance and was told that 2-10 had put a hold on the parts and was considering replacing the unit.
I then called 2-10 and was told that wasn't correct. After spending quite a while on hold and describing the problem repeatedly, I was told they would approve the parts order and I would be contacted with more information.
The next day Express Appliance called and let me know that the parts were on order and should be in within 5 to 7 business days. They told me they will call when the parts are in and a repair visit can be scheduled.
We're currently in the 4th week, waiting on the parts which will hopefully be in soon, though I am not holding my breath.