JanSport: Sally Parrott Ashbrook, http://www.danandsally.com/, left me this comment about the JanSport backpack she purchased in the eighth grade for $50. ''Years later, it's still going strong,'' says Sally. JanSport's Lifetime product guarantee for its backpacks, bags and luggage covers manufacturer defects, but not damage from accidents or normal wear-and-tear. However, the company will repair broken zippers free, regardless of fault.
Lands' End: This product line of clothing, linens and home furnishings comes with a generous return and product guarantee, clearly spelled out on the company website: ``If you're not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.''
Hammacher Schlemmer: This 160-year-old catalog company backs its products with a generous lifetime warranty in which the company will either replace or refund a product. The accepted reasons for product returns include: unwanted gifts, shipping damage, ill-fitting merchandise, wrong color, defects and late arrivals. A company representative said Hammacher Schlemmer will replace or provide a credit for merchandise -- ranging from Turkish bathrobes to electronics -- that breaks or wears out.
Tweezerman: The manufacturer will sharpen its tweezers free of charge, including shipping. The service is part of the Tweerzerman's lifetime guarantee. The company will repair or replace items that malfunction because of a manufacturer's defects.
Other companies with lifetime product guarantees, mentioned in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine, include Tiffany & Co. (a guarantee on the appraised value of its diamonds), Zippo (will repair broken lighters), Vermont Teddy Bear (will replace or repair its stuffed bears) and Victorinox Swiss Army, which offers a lifetime warranty on its knives, tools and luggage.
Bottom line: Before spending money, research a company's return and warranty policy, usually posted on company websites and in catalogs.
_______This is from my latest column in the home & design section of the Miami Herald.