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Old 10-12-2019, 10:46 AM
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Lifetime (?) warranty


What is your understanding about a product's supposed "lifetime warranty" when it is not accompanied by any clarifying language?
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:59 AM
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I don't think anyone really knows. On the one hand, we have consumers who will try to exchange a pair of socks will a hole in them after 10 years, on the interpretation that it means the buyer's lifetime. On the other hand, we have sellers who interpret it to mean the product's lifetime, defining this as the time until the product breaks.

I think the only reasonable interpretation is that the seller stands by the product for the entire duration of the expected lifetime of such a product under normal use. That length of time is something about which there may be no exact consensus, but it rules out the extremes.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-12-2019 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:13 AM
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It's basically meaningless. You're completely dependent upon the goodwill of the seller/manufacturer.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:39 AM
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It's basically meaningless. You're completely dependent upon the goodwill of the seller/manufacturer.
Concur. "Lifetime warranty" means the thing will live until it dies.

Barring a document that spells out in detail what the warranty entails, the party making the warranty will find a way to screw you over, including things that on their face sound like they wouldn't be subject to such, like 5-year warranties on car batteries which when you look into it, you find out are pro-rata, decreasing the value of the battery by 20% a year over the 5 years. Woo. Hoo.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:32 PM
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Lifetime warranty means that when it breaks, someone from the manufacturer shows up and kills you!
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:53 PM
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Craftsman, Snap-on, Matco, and other mechanics' tool companies' lifetime warranties mean that if you break or wear out the tool, they'll give you a replacement free. I used the Craftsman warranty and they replaced the ratchet. However, these warranties are only as good as the company making them, and I believe Craftsman weakened its warranty on certain tools (screwdrivers among them) some years ago.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:38 AM
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TiVo has lifetime subscriptions (not warranties) for their DVR schedules.

As long as the devices works, they'll provide schedule data ... until they don't.

So Series 1 and Series 2 schedules were dropped at various points. TiVo gave out either a rebate ($100 or so) or a newer lifetime machine at a discount price.

ReplayTV was an early competitor to TiVo that also offered lifetime subscriptions. It didn't last all that long. It's remnants were sold off and sold off. But the company allowed free upgrades to lifetime service and schedules for an amazingly long time. I bought one at a thrift store, upgraded it to lifetime (so it would work at all) and then used a script to provide schedule data for it. Oh, and I increased the HD size. But the cable company dropped analog support, OTA went digital, etc. so I stopped using it. It would still work now if I got a D-A converter.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
Concur. "Lifetime warranty" means the thing will live until it dies.

Barring a document that spells out in detail what the warranty entails, the party making the warranty will find a way to screw you over, including things that on their face sound like they wouldn't be subject to such, like 5-year warranties on car batteries which when you look into it, you find out are pro-rata, decreasing the value of the battery by 20% a year over the 5 years. Woo. Hoo.
Even better: You get store credit toward the purchase of a replacement battery (why would you want to buy another of their batts if the first one crapped out within a year?) to the tune of 50% value; your $200 batt gets you $100 credit within the first year, $50 credit within the second year, etc.. You're NOT getting Walmart cash to go buy a batt at Schlep Boys. Plus, the price of batts will have gone up by the end of the first warrantied year, so (well, you do the math).

As Unca Cecil says, Pardon me while I grind my teeth.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:28 AM
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Even better: You get store credit toward the purchase of a replacement battery (why would you want to buy another of their batts if the first one crapped out within a year?) to the tune of 50% value; your $200 batt gets you $100 credit within the first year, $50 credit within the second year, etc.. You're NOT getting Walmart cash to go buy a batt at Schlep Boys. Plus, the price of batts will have gone up by the end of the first warrantied year, so (well, you do the math).
In defense of (old) Walmart - my wife bought one of their batteries back in the 1980's , with a 5-year warranty. They'd crap out after 2-3 years, but it was non-prorated so they just kept giving her new ones (or possibly the clerks didn't know they weren't supposed to do that). She finally replaced the car after 20+ years and didn't transfer the battery over (although in hindsight, she probably should have).
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:15 PM
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When I bought my piano back in '76, the salesguy told me that Kimball used to offer a lifetime warranty but they changed it to 75 years, figuring the buyer would be dead in that time. So, what are the chances I'll still be alive in 2051? I turn 97 that year.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:03 PM
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I don't know what it means nowadays.

But back in the 1940's my grandfather bought a set of kitchen pots and pans, from a door to door salesman. Dude must have been good, Grandpa was not an easy person to get to spend money. There was a warranty that if they ever broke they'd be replaced free.

Anyway, fast forward forty years, and the handle on one of the pots breaks. Just for fun they wrote to the company(still in business) explaining the break, and asking to buy a new handle. They got sent it for free. No wonder they were still in business.

I remember those pots Grandma had. Talk about heavy duty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
When I bought my piano back in '76, the salesguy told me that Kimball used to offer a lifetime warranty but they changed it to 75 years, figuring the buyer would be dead in that time. So, what are the chances I'll still be alive in 2051? I turn 97 that year.

You need to live until that time, just to have the fun of calling them on it.
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Last edited by Baker; 10-13-2019 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:24 PM
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It's basically meaningless. You're completely dependent upon the goodwill of the seller/manufacturer.
That's true of almost all warranties. Exceptions are things worth enough to sue over, or with sufficient regulatory framework around them (cars come to mind) that there's a non-lawsuit path to getting the warranty validated.

I assume that a warranty covers the thing working correctly, but not necessarily looking new. It's silly to give a lifetime warranty on a pair of socks, because socks nature is to wear out. A pair of socks doesn't last a lifetime. But there are plenty of durable goods that should outlive me. Hand tools come to mind. A screwdriver or a hammer with a lifetime warranty should last forever, and I'd have no problem returning it for repair 50 years later and expecting/hoping the warranty would be honored.

I've had numerous items of clothing from high-end outdoorsy companies like Patagonia or Marmot repaired or replaced years later.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:54 PM
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I had a brake job done at a nationwide tire shop. They had a special deal going for LIFETIME of the car replacement, both labor and parts. Wow, since I planned on keeping the (classic) car forever, I figured it was a no-brainer.

Five years later, it needed new brake shoes. A different shop in another state refused to honor the warranty after the work was done. They said they never heard of such a thing, although I had the paperwork in his face.

To get my car back, I had to pay the bill. Then contact Corporate HQ. Turns out they have both "Franchise" and "Company Owned" stores. After arguing with them, they refunded the full amount.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:27 PM
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Oh, yeah. "Lifetime" brake warranties. Only have to pay parts for future brake jobs, not labor. Cool.

Found out:

1. The parts price for the next job was incredibly inflated. Just having a regular sale-price brake job was cheaper.

2. A nut was put on wrong and that required extra work that wasn't covered. "But you guys did that! It's covered by the warranty." "Nope, we only cover that sort of stuff for a short time and it's past that." "What does warranty mean????"

So buh-bye Mannie, Moe, and Jack. I do my own routine brake jobs now. And I haven't put a nut on wrong yet.
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:07 PM
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2. A nut was put on wrong and that required extra work that wasn't covered. "But you guys did that! It's covered by the warranty." "Nope, we only cover that sort of stuff for a short time and it's past that." "What does warranty mean????"
OK, this is perfect! So, I did not add in the second half of the story. The same shop I argued with was the only one in town. After the brake job saga, I later returned to have my tires rotated (Also free!) "Mr Campp, all your studs are ruined because someone over torqued them".

So Argument #2 was to convince them THEY ruined the studs. Again, called my contact at HQ, and they FedEx'd a set of new wheel studs for my 1968 Mercury Cougar.

I probably should have gone into litigation, but I had a great career in purchasing. Same thing really.
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