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Thinker

Is a Warranty Assessment Industry Standard?

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Not venting here.....just checking my calibration.

 

My light hiking boots were coming apart at the rand/welt in the same spot on each boot, plus the back loop/tab used to pull the boot on over my heel had started to rip out.

 

Armed with the receipt dated Aug 25th, the 1-year warranty statement,and the store's return policy I ventured back to the store last evening.

 

They wanted to send the boots to the mfr for a 'warranty assessment' before they would offer me any kind of decision on whether they would offer me a refund or exchange, something that would take 3 to 4 weeks.

 

I kindly explained that was unacceptable. I also noted that I moved to SLC shortly before buying the boots and preferred to support the small local retailers over the K-Mart of Kamping....but what could possibly make me ever want to make another purchase there if they insisted on leaving me without my favorite boots for a month?

 

The supervisor finally saw it my way and got a pair of boots off the rack for an exchange.

 

After chatting with a couple of people here in SLC the question has arisen, is it industry standard for a retailer to send a potentially defective product back to the manufacturer for a warranty assessment before offering any kind of exchange or credit? If so, is 3 to 4 weeks a reasonable amount of time?

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The store doesn't extend the 1 year warranty, the manufacturer does. All but REI will send it to the company first in most cases. The amount of time that it takes is up to the manufactuer. Most warranties I will send off the day, or maybe the day after, you brought it in.

 

Hope this helps

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I think it's pretty standard. The smaller the store, the less willing they will probably be to potentially get stuck with the product.

 

I think a lot depends on the relationship between the store and the company, but as was said, the warranty is from the company not from the store.

 

just my $0.02 as a manufacturer...

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Strictly speaking, it's up to the manufacturer or distributor to warranty product. They may opt to repair, replace, or refund at their discretion. Others have already pointed out the warranty agreement is between the consumer and the manufacturer, not consumer and retailer.

 

That said, we can usually tell with a reasonable degree of certainty if a product is going to be warrantied, and so we often will give the customer a replacement on the spot before sending the faulty product back to the manufacturer for replacement or credit. There are cases where it's a bit borderline, and on those occasions we will wait for the maunfacturer's decision before proceeding - otherwise we can and have been left holding an old pair of used boots after giving the customer a new pair only to find the manufacturer decided not to warranty them. We've also had pretty good results using a digital camera to take photos of suspect product and e-mailing them to the manufacturer. They will often make their decision on the basis of the photos rather than waiting for items to arrive in the mail, so we can resolve things for the customer faster.

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People complain about REI, but if you'd have walked in there and complained: you would have got your money back on the spot no argueing or whinning.

 

100 percent satisfaction is their goal, and they achieve it ...well, except for selection and a bunch of other things.

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Keep in mind that a Warranty doesn't always mean a replacement. They will sometimes opt to just repair the item depending on what is going on. Just because you warrantied a broken snowshoe doesn't mean you're getting a new pair. This makes it hard, even when it is cut and dry warranty, for a retailer to replace the item out of their stock.

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With most of our suppliers we already know whether they repair or replace stuff, and act accordingly. If they generally replace things (FiveTen, for instance, always replace faulty product or at least issue us a credit) then we just give the customer a new pair of shoes and send the old ones to California. But if the supplier generally repairs things and sends them back to us (La Sportiva, for instance) we explain that to the customer, and no-one has had a problem with it yet. When in doubt, we call them and ask - even though they won't "officially" do anything until they receive the faulty goods for inspection, we're often able to come to an informal agreement by e-mail or over the phone while the customer is still in the store. It's been a year or more since we last got surprised by used product being returned to us unexpectedly.

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