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Tech gifts: Add-ons you may not need

When you go shopping for that special tech gift this holiday season, you want to be on the lookout for overpaying for pricey add-ons that you might not necessarily need.

Jennifer Jolly, tech lifestyle editor of, said consumers need to be aware when they're buying.

"You're forking over a hundred, sometimes thousands of dollars, so you don't want to scrimp, penny-wise and pound foolish, so yeah, a lot of times you say 'yes' when you should say 'no,'" Jolly said on "The Early Show."

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Jolly said, "A lot of big box retailers, you'll buy that fancy new high definition TV or the new computer and they will take you over to the little cable section (where the cables cost) $50, $100, and they'll say 'Buy these gold plated cables and make your picture quality better.' That is absolutely false. The $2 cables and the $10 cables and the $100 cables are all the same. (Price) has no bearing on what your picture or audio quality is like."

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"Inside the stores," Jolly said, "the cases are usually double what they cost if you buy them online or at the mall kiosks. Especially that Kate Spade iPhone cover: It will be $40 at the Apple store; it's $20 online at Amazon."


Jolly said this is often a difficult decision because people want to know their new product will be covered.

"(You say,) 'It's a little insurance, how can I go wrong?' Well, guess what? In the big box stores, this extended warranty, this insurance is about double the cost and only covers about half of what a lot of third-party insurers or warranties cover," Jolly explained.

"So here is the other deal. You already have a lot of coverage. Most manufacturers cover their own products for at least a year after you buy it - so that's free. Also, if you buy it with a credit card, most, or many, credit cards also cover you. So American Express, three months, no fault. You drop it, you break it, somebody steals it, you're automatically covered.... Some cards will also extend the warranty up to three years."


"It's a total racket," Jolly said. "They will say, 'We will deliver it to your home for free, but for $150, we will set up your new home entertainment system.' Guess what that entails? Plugging it into the wall!

"It's $140 to $160 (on average to set) up your computer. It is so easy to do these things yourself these days. ... If you get stuck, you can call a help line, you can online and Google it, and chances are somebody will walk you through it on YouTube as well."


"Most people hear 'RAM,' and they get a little overwhelmed and freaked out," Jolly said. "RAM is a very easy way to add speed, power and storage to your computer. You can buy that extra RAM online and install it yourself for a fraction of the cost of getting it done in the store."

But chances are, Jolly said, you'll probably not need as much as you think. She cited an independent survey that showed that nine out of 10 people overpaid for their computer or phone's RAM.

"(Consumers) think they need more gigabytes and all of this stuff they don't need," Jolly said. "If you're a normal person with your smartphone you do a little bit of surfing on your web and you maybe watch a video or something every once in a while, you only need about one gigabyte. If you use your mobile phone as a mobile hot spot that gives Wi-Fi to your computer all day every day, then you're going to need more, but very few people use it for that."

Jolly suggested trying out a website, such as, to help calculate purchasing only what you need.

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