I have some Craftsman tools, and I am wondering what will happen to the lifetime warranty when Sears goes out of business. Will it be voided? If someone else buys them out, do they have to honor it?
Some states may have laws pertaining to the specific questions.
Lifetime warranty under Federal law has no requirements. Companies usually honor warranties as a long term business strategy but have no legal consequences for denying them.
IIRC (IANAL) when bankruptcy happens, that voids all previous obligations, including “lifetime warranties”. After all, when a company goes bankrupt, the company-as-a-person’s life is over. Presumably in this case someone will wait for the bankruptcy and then buy the carcass - they get the distribution, name, etc. but none of the outstanding obligations.
I know this doesn’t help you, but with the decline of Sears, I’ve switched to Kobalt for my hand tools. Lowes has the same warranty (and I’ve used it a few times). I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised of Home Depot has a similar warranty on HDX tools.
I’ve heard of people getting hassled trying to swap broken tools at Lowes, usually either because they don’t have their reciepit (years later), being told they used the tool wrong or Lowes no longer has that exact tool. That always bugs me. At Sears it was always no questions asked. Bring something in and you’ll walk out with a new one. If they don’t have the exact one, you’ll have a close match. They don’t have the 6 inch screw driver…they’ll give you the 6.5 inch one, not just tell you to pound pavement. I’ve brought hoses in that have leaks and gotten new ones. They don’t even ask where the leak is, they just give you a new one. It’s especially nice to do right at the end of the season so you it’s all wound up and dry and you can store it until next year.
Anyways. From what I’ve read the Lowes issues are just issues with individual stores or managers that shouldn’t be declining returns. Hopefully they get it cleared up.
ETA, as for a WAG, I wouldn’t be surprised if both Home Depot and Lowes offer to replace broken Craftsman tools with their house brand just to get you in the door. Even if they give it to you have half off, it would still be a deal.
The good news is that Craftsman (along with Kenmore and DieHard) is now owned by KCD ID, LLC, so if Sears stores go bankrupt, it won’t affect Craftsman.
The bad news is that KCD IP, LLC is 100% owned by Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears, Kmart, A&E Factory Service and some other miscellaneous businesses, any of which could drag the whole enterprise into bankruptcy.
But if there’s no Sears stores left, where do you take your broken tools? I mean, I’m sure you could mail them in, but short of a handful of people, I’d guess that most people would just toss them and go to Lowes or Home Depot (or Menards)…which is kinda the reason there’s no Sears stores left.
There’s a Sears store in the mall about 15 minutes away from my house, but if I broke a $5 screwdriver, I’ll just get a new one next time I’m close to the Lowes that’s 5 minutes away and doesn’t involve dealing with a mall.
Same with Mag-Lites. They have a lifetime warranty, but it costs more to send them to the factory than it does to buy a new one.
This is (or was) absolutely true, and it’s the main reason I used Craftsman tools for decades.
They weren’t the best tools in the world (although they were pretty good). They weren’t as nice as Snap-On tools, or SK. But they were more than good enough for this amateur mechanic.
And they always, always honored the warranty. More than once I brought tools in there that I had clearly abused (like using screwdrivers as pry bars). No problem, they just gave me another one without any hassle, without asking for a receipt, without asking a single question.
But who needs a $40 snap on screw driver when I can get a $10 Craftsman screw driver that will last forever. I mean (at the time) I was at Sears at least once a week for one reason or another. It was no big deal to just bring the screwdriver or ratchet or hose or whatever with me.
Ok, the hose was kind of annoying, it was dirty and wet and heavy and made a mess, but still.
Having said that, I still like those rubber Craftsman hoses.
Ace Hardware carries Craftsman. I also purchase Craftsman tools from several vendors on the GSA Advantage website. If they’re selling them, they must have some way of dealing with the warranty.
yes, in theory, if Craftsman keeps on going… but since Craftsman sells predominately via Sears retail stores, if Sears stores shutdown, Craftsman will close down too ? That would seem likely… They might have had ideas of running them separately, but did they get the required market share outside of Sears outlets ?
If you are going to buy a cheap power tool from Home Depot, Rigid has a lifetime warranty that is supposed to be good, and the tools are generally decent. HDX is just store branded flotsam; sometimes you may get a reasonable tool for the price but much of the time what you get is basically disposable.
As a professional I do not care much about warranty. Taking a tool in for even a free repair costs me a lot of lost time. I want a quality tool that is reliable and does the job well. I usually buy high end brands, whatever brand has the best tool for my purposes. Some brands slide. I do not buy Bosch or Bostich anymore after several expensive and terribly unreliable tools from both of those makes.
Just so you know, Craftmans lifetime warranty does not apply to craftman branded power tools. I had a motor burn out on a craftman shaper after less than 10 (total) hours use and they basically told me to go pound sand. This was about 20 years ago and I have never shopped at sears since.
This attitude may have something to do with their decline.
Just to be clear, I was specifically talking about hand tools. I don’t think I’ve seen HDX branded power tools.
KDC is structured as a “bankruptcy remote” subsidary, meaning it is intended to survive Sears’ (inevitable) bankruptcy.
One of my uncles once found a decades-old rusty remnant of a hammer in the dirt in the backyard, and the Craftsman name was just barely still legible on it. Yup, they honored the warranty there, too. I guess that Sears decided that the good publicity they’d get from “always means always” is worth more than the cost of a few hammers.
It depends on where you are, who you are, and the salesperson you are dealing with at any given time.
I had a simple return at Lowes - the cashier called over a manager who tried to deny it by telling me their return policy was 30 days - when I pointed out it said their return policy was 90 days right on the back of the receipt (as well as in big writing on the wall at the entrance to the store) he scrutinized it as if he were looking at one for the very first time, and grudgingly allowed it…
To the OP: if you are looking for a legal standing on the “lifetime warranty” of Craftsman tools guaranteed over your lifetime, you can forget about it. The warranty on their tools doesn’t exceed the legalspeek of their Corporate charter at any given time… Meaning the lifetime warranty on Craftsman tools could disappear tomorrow if they so choose.
Many years ago a coworker told me he brought a pair of pliers back to Sears because it was rusty and was not functioning well. The clerk initially objected, pointing out that it was old and not properly cared for, but eventually giving him a replacement, throwing the old pair in the waste basket. My coworker said. “As long as you are throwing that away, can I have it back too?”