Monday, September 26, 2011

Guaranteed best Warranties

Good warranties are not sexy.  They won't get you a booth review from Nutnfancy for his hundred thousand or so subscribers to see.  They won't get mentioned in a review.  But they are one of the reasons people become loyal to a company.  Recently I had the unfortunate need to use two different warranties and both companies came through with flying colors.

As I described here, I bought a Pathfinder Softshell Hoodie from LL Bean.  I got it at the outlet store, which was a mistake as it is not supposed to be there yet (I found this out later on).  I got mine for $85.  New it was $125.  Well, it didn't fit right.  But LL Bean has the best return policy in the universe: return anything at any time for any reason for an exchange or money back.  Can't get simpler or better than that, right?  Well it did.  See, the Pathfinder hoodie was newly redesigned.  Take a peak, I love it (simple, well-designed, no Mall Ninja issues):

As such, it should not have been in the outlet yet.  Nonetheless it was.  I called LL Bean to return it for a larger size and asked if I'd have to pay the difference between the outlet price and the new price.  After a great Live Chat session with a customer service person, I had a new Pathfinder hoodie on its way for no additional charge.  Amazing, right?

Then there is the epic saga of my G2X Pro.  It is an amazing light, a great buy for the performance, but the initial run, sold at $65, had some issues.  A hard knock would bump it from low to high.  Then there was a bit of level flash.  When you went from low to high, it was supposed to be two clicks (one for on, one more for high), but sometimes you'd need three and you'd get a bit of high before it fell down to low on that second click.  I called last year and they sent me a new tailcap, free.  That didn't work, so I sent it in.  That didn't work either.  This time I called and sent it in and two weeks later I got a brand new, still in the packaging with new batteries and everything G2X Pro.  That initial run clearly had something wrong with it, as evidence by all of the complaints on the internet, my experience, and the slightly secret price increase to $95.  That is the way a warranty is supposed to work.

Great show from two great companies.  I have always been a Surefire fanboy, but this just cements that fact.  LL Bean was never my favorite, but I am starting to come around.  And that return policy, well, I don't know how to make it better. 


  1. My experience is that companies with a real, true Live Chat option have good customer service. It's not a rule, but most cases it's true. If they have gone so far as to place someone available for Live Chat, they will usually also back the customer up...

  2. Excellent point Tony - I recently had a great experience w/ Benchmade and their lifesharp service. While warranties aren't always sexy it makes a big difference - especially when it comes to me being a return customer.