Thursday, June 24, 2010

On warranties

Use them if you can. A sign of a good manufacturer is if they both include a decent warranty, and if they honor that warranty. It has to be both, or the warranty is crap.

Car manufacturers are the perfect example of what not to do.

They may advertise a good warranty, but they try as hard as possible to not honor it. I've had every type of warranty known to man from car manufacturers, and at the end of the day they are going to screw you, so don't bother. They make their money on repair work, not the car itself. I've had car manufacturers consult with lawyers; take apart pieces of my engine and take pictures of it to send to HQ for an opinion; send experts to the dealership to look at the repair, all in the name of doing whatever it takes to make money.

There are companies that make other products that do whatever it takes to make their customer happy, and thus spend more money on buying more of their products. T.A.D. Gear is a good example of this: remember the jacket that I bitched about this past winter? They sent a pre-paid shipping label to my house so that I could send the jacket back to them. Turnaround time was about a week, and I had the jacket back, good as new. That's good service. I can't wait to buy more of their stuff, comfortable knowing that when I break it, they will stand behind their gear.

I'm going to test the customer service of another company that I have thus far held in high regard: Suunto.

Waaay back at the beginning of 2006, I bought one of their Vector watches for my all expenses paid vacation to beautiful Ramadi, in sunny Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Good times. Good times.

Since then I have replaced a couple of batteries, and one wrist strap. This is one tough watch, and I love it dearly, but yesterday the pin hole for the wrist strap broke, which leaves me checking my wrist for the time. I feel like I lost my hand.

It's out of warranty, and I don't have the fundage at the moment to buy a new watch, so I've been kinda bummed. Checking out the comments on the Suunto website, the company responded to a customer who had some negative things to say about a broken watch out of warranty; they said that for a nominal fee, the watch could be sent in for a facelift where they replace the housing and band and basically give you a new watch. That's fantastic service right there! Other commenters speak highly of this non warranty warranty, so I gave Suunto a call and they confirmed it.

Using their handy dandy website, I got a FedEx label printed up, the watch boxed up, and the whole shootin' match in the mail. The friendly lady on the phone also informed me that there was no wait time at the moment, so my watch should be back in a jiffy. I'm happy cos' it saves me several hundred dollars to replace an expensive watch.

Here is a pic of my watch shortly after I got it:


Notice the temperature reading on it says 122 degrees F.

Here is a picture of it before going into the FedEx package:



It's pretty beat up. This watch has been through hell for sure, and it's lasted this long. A facelift will be nice. I'll give an update with details when I find out how much it's gonna cost, and what they're going to do.
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