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How important is warranty when buying equipment

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I was wondering how important warranty is when buying ski equipment... I can understand it`s nice to have good customer support for companies, but I see that as a big factor on softgoods when you most of the time have lifetime warranty support for waterproof, and things like that, as an example the OR warranty and Osprey packs which will fix the stuff for you no matter when the problem happens, most of the others will probably do the same or might charge a small fee but still reasonable, in another thread I`ve just seen someone saying that Marmot offered a $270 towards a new purchase because they can`t fix a 10 years old goretex jacket and that`s nice!

 

Now, how about hard goods? Skis and bindings... I`ve seen people saying they destroyed bindings and got replacements or broke toe piece and got a new one, sometimes were offered a superior binding as a replacement. I haven`t heard much about skis though.

 

So how important is warranty for hard goods? How important is to aim for a 5 years warranty binding from salomon compared to a 1 year warranty from Look depending on the vendor? 

 

Also, what kind stuff could happen to skis for one to call the company for RMA?

post #2 of 12

For soft goods, I'd say durability is more important than warranty. 

For skis, .........Not sure what you mean.  I haven't had skis long enough to use the warranty. 

post #3 of 12

Ya, if a ski delaminates or blows apart halfway in to the first season I'm pretty sure any vendor would replace it.  I don't know of any ski manufacturers that would warranty/guarantee against core shots or wear and tear the way some luggage vendors might repair/replace airline damage.  There are some gear retailers that claim to back the products for your lifetime.  REI is one I believe.  Anybody ever trade in old skis there??

post #4 of 12

Lots of skis come with warranties.  But a few facts.  Skis do wear out, they are like tires for your car.  They dont last forever.

 

Typically warranties for skis explicatley exclude damage caused by hitting rocks etc.  And most damage I have seen on skis come from hitting rocks etc.

 

Having said that, I have had many covered warranty jobs on skis over the years.  Things that have happened:

 

  • Delamination ( a few pairs)
  • Ski physically cracked just in front of, or under the toe binding (Volkls, lots of guys had this problem)
  • K2s vibration light stopped working (this was a good one)

 

I agree with Treckchick, thou, if you need a warranty that lasts longer they a year or two, you need to spend more time getting your priorities in order so you can ski more!

 

And bindings only need to last as long as your skis.  I have had one or two bindings replaced over the years for cracking, but not in a long time....

post #5 of 12

What Skidude said.

 

I had one pair replaced due to delamination.  I friend has his replaced because they cracked at the shovel (WC SL ski became and Early Rise ski) the first week or two out.  Also remember the warranty is from date of purchase.  I bought brand new 2003 Elans in 2009 and they came with a full one year warranty.  Buying used from a shop is different. 

 

If you are skiing hard enough to be stressing your bindings in 5 years, you'll have already gone through two pairs of skis or any manufacturing defect will show up right away since most do.  Delamination is the exception.  It is easier to sell used skis with the bindings so the bindings will go with the skis anyway.

 

For soft goods, I've had the best luck with Eastern Mountain Sports.  I brought one of their jackets back to get the zipper fixed.  I had the jacket for a couple years, had it modified and repair for damage I caused.  They said the zipper shouldn't have done that, grabbed the newer version of the jacket off the rack and gave it to me.  I actually tried to talk the guy out of it because I felt guilty since I had abused the jacket (excessive wear and tear). I was perfectly fine with paying for the zipper repair but they insisted.  That's why I like that store.  It's local and they are great at customer service. 

post #6 of 12

Well, since I'm the guy with the $270 credit...

 

I think the warranty is the price of admission to the serious market.  I don't think it needs to be a lifetime warranty, although the trend in outdoor products is in this direction.  I don't expect a difference between soft and hard goods.

 

Imagine a product sold with absolutely no warranty (i.e.: as-is).  Would you buy it?  Could you inspect it well enough to be comfortable?  Certainly, the price would have to be low.  Over time, the product might gain a reputation, but it would take a while if people had to take a big risk buying the product.  What if quality were inconsistent?  Would people mail-order such a product?

 

Frankly, the strong warranty is there to remove doubt.  There are enough barriers to purchase already.  I don't want to be stuck with something that blows up after a week.  The warranty is also there for good will.  Brands like Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, etc. get points for how well they stand behind their products.  And, a sufficiently long warranty is necessary if the up-sell from a $300 jacket to a $400 jacket involves "more durable materials".  How else can the manufacturer prove such a claim at the point of sale?

 

I think one reason generous warranties are so ubiquitous is that they don't actually cost that much.  Consider how few people actually seek out warranty or repair action on these products.  Also consider the fine print of most warranties.  Most exclude normal wear, accidents and misuse.  Frankly, there's not much left and it's within the manufacturer's control to minimize.

 

Consider my case.  I got a $270 credit, allowing me to buy a $500 Silverton jacket for $230.  While that's quite cool for me, I suspect Marmot wouldn't take a loss on the jacket.  Even if I got a lower cost jacket for free, you could chalk up Marmot's loss (of their production cost) to marketing and claw-back of some of the profit they made on the original jacket sale to me.

 

Some warranties are even less than they seem.  I bought new tires with a 6-year, 50,000 mile warranty.  The thing is, the warranty is pro-rated.  If I have a problem after 3 years and 25,000 miles, they'll basically rebate me 50% of my purchase price towards new tires.  While it's better than no warranty, it locks me into another purchase of that brand and doesn't compensate for the hassles involved.

 

Anyway, I like that lifetime warranties have become the standard in outdoor products.  I think they give consumers a good feeling without actually being exercised very much.  If I were starting a new company in this space, I'd start with a lifetime warranty, too.  And if the warranty ended up costing too much, clearly I'd have messed up and should get out of the business.

post #7 of 12

Any thoughts on if the ski vendors will ever go the way electronics vendors went with warranties?  i.e. if you want anything covered for over 90 days you have to pay extra for itrolleyes.gif  Even my last Subie car purchase only came with 2 years factory, had to antie up more cash to extend it to 5 years.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Any thoughts on if the ski vendors will ever go the way electronics vendors went with warranties?  i.e. if you want anything covered for over 90 days you have to pay extra for itrolleyes.gif  Even my last Subie car purchase only came with 2 years factory, had to antie up more cash to extend it to 5 years.

I don`t think that`s a workable model for this type of market. Like said, outdoor stuff is moving towards a lifetime warranty instead of reducing the period, I think this kind of thing will get people upset, but what can we do about it? :-(

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post

I don`t think that`s a workable model for this type of market. Like said, outdoor stuff is moving towards a lifetime warranty instead of reducing the period, I think this kind of thing will get people upset, but what can we do about it? :-(

 

I would guess it's easier to just raise the cost without mention it's to cover a longer warranty period.  People opt out of an extended warranty if given a choice but if it is built in to the cost, the Manf are garranteed to get the money (unless they price it too high).  The easiest thing to do is life time warranty for the original purchaser.  That way only 2 to 3 years are covered because of re selling which is what they currently cover.

post #10 of 12

Warranty is way down on the list for ski goods for me.  Like, non-existent.  If I tear a jacket or break a ski, there's usually operator error or bad karma involved.  I'm not going to bitch and whine my way into replacement equipment.

 

Caveat emptor.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post

Warranty is way down on the list for ski goods for me.  Like, non-existent.  If I tear a jacket or break a ski, there's usually operator error or bad karma involved.  I'm not going to bitch and whine my way into replacement equipment.

 

Caveat emptor.

Agree.  However, sometimes stuff breaks when it shouldn't and that shouldn't be on you.  As I write this, I'm thinking about the T shirt my wife bought me "I Void Warranties".

post #12 of 12

In the 1990s Volkl had a ski called the RaceCarver (orange colour) which came with a standard one year warranty that would normally not cover a bent ski. However a lot of these skis were bending, a very big lot, so Volkl extended the warranty to 2 years but kept it secret and only told their dealers. That way they kept customers happy and loyal and got no bad publicity. I had a friend who was a Volkl dealer, so I knew about the problem, skied them hard for 2 years without bending them and then sold them.

 

Back in the 1970s the Graves Ski Company came out with a lifetime warranty and shortly there after went out of business. So it turned out to be not much of a warranty but then again it was not much of a ski unless you liked to ski on 2x4s.

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