Monday, February 18, 2008

Products with Free Lifetime Warranties

Whether or not to buy extended warranties is a hot topic in consumer circles. Here's an even better approach: buy products that come with extended warranties or lifetime service guarantees at no extra charge.From backpacks to bedding, a variety of stores and manufacturers offer free lifetime guarantees. Here's a sample:
JanSport: Sally Parrott Ashbrook,, 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.


Fred Beiderbecke said...

Kensington backbacks stand by their products as well. I'd lost some pulls for the zippers and contacted them to see if I could order some new ones (the backpack was a couple of years old). They asked me what I needed and sent a brand new backpack. That is standing behind your product.

Anonymous said...

I actually just a few weeks ago returned a Lands End boys Squall jacket that had a zipper that gave out on it. The jacket had been purchsed new online in 12/05. I save all my receipts of retail purchases, so it was very easy for me to just return it for a refund at the Lands End boutique now located in our local Sears store. However, I did find out that if I didn't have my receipt, LE could trace back the date/price of purchase and provide me with a credit for an exchange a replacement item, if that is what I had desired. Now THAT is customer service!!