The lifetime warranty: scam or real bargain?

This is one of the most enticing claims you can make about buying a new product –  the lifetime warranty.

Today, to deal with accusations of planned obsolescence, brands are increasingly relying on sustainable marketing and promise durations of longevity unbeatable for their products.

From pens to DIY and gardening tools, to camping equipment, bicycles and even underwear, a wide selection of products and items now benefit from the “lifetime warranty” label.

Find out all you need to know about this new sustainable warranty system … and how to avoid pitfalls.

What is the “lifetime guarantee”?

The operating principle of the lifetime warranty is simple. The products that you buy are then of unlimited duration, and your salesman undertakes to repair them or to change them in case of problems.

If for companies the goal is to attract and recruit new consumers for their brand while enjoying a positive image, the ecological point of view is also very important.

The products guaranteed for life promote better respect of the environment, limit the waste and thus help preserve the planet. The minimalist lifestyles rely more and more on these durable guarantees by offering to buy fewer products but of better quality.

How does it work?

The lifetime warranty is often reputed to be more of a marketing argument than a true promise of product sustainability.

Yet, many brands really play the game by promising exchange of your used products in case of wear or failure without limit in time.

In fact, the big question is usually whether or not to deal with what is called ”  normal wear and tear of the product “. If your items are damaged gradually over time without manufacturing defects, a replacement will it be possible?

Some brands like Wusthof knives will cover this kind of classic wear, while others will refuse the exchange. Hence the interest of systematically reading the conditions before buying your product.

The common limit for all brands will be “abnormal use of the product”, which will systematically result in a denial of care (for example, if you damage the tip of your knife by using it as a screwdriver).

Attention, moreover: the “guarantee for life” is a term that can lead to confusion. The products are said to be guaranteed for the life of the object or product purchased, not for your “life”. An ambiguous term that leaves room for often erroneous interpretations.

What types of objects can be guaranteed for life?

The lifetime warranty can cover all types of products and non-consumable items, generally a minimum “solid”, extremely resistant and specially designed to last.

The fact that manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty implies that the object is the basis of sustainable design (they would have no interest in offering this kind of deal on an object that should need to be replaced after 2 months).

Some examples of brands offering a lifetime warranty

Several DIY brands offer products guaranteed for life, like the famous brand Facom, which sells mixed toolboxes with the mention “guaranteed for life”. A significant added value that distinguishes the seller from his competitors.

Decathlon, the French large-scale sports and leisure group, also sells BTWIN bicycles with a lifetime warranty. In case of breakage, the damaged parts will be repaired or replaced if necessary. If the bike no longer exists, the seller offers an equivalent product in the current range.

Other brands also offer a lifetime warranty system such as:

  • Darn Tough  socks
  • Dr Martens  shoes
  • Sloggi EverNew underwear 
  • Eagle Creek  suitcases
  • The kitchen instruments Le Creuset

What about boundaries?

You could not believe it: the lifetime warranty necessarily has some limitations, such as the normal wear and tear that is not systematically taken care of, or the ability to prove that the object was not damaged by you but was well defective at the time of purchase.

If we have the advice to provide you, it is to systematically check exclusions and read your contract at the time of purchase. Be as vigilant. While the limits are numerous, the benefits of the guarantee remain, for their part, largely important, for solid products, which generally last about ten or twenty years.



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