Monday, May 14, 2007

Warranties

by B.B. Pelletier

We got this comment to last Friday's blog, and I couldn't resist making a post about it.

"i make alot of my purchases based on an airgun manufacturer's warranty. i always lean toward those that offer limited lifetime. i feel like this limits my perspective. are there any manufacturers you would recommend whose warranty period is generally moot, based on their reputation, workmanship, and longevity? even though they might offer 1year, i could expect to get years of uninterrupted satisfaction

Warranties are meaningless!
I used to do the same as this reader. Made my major purchase decisions on the basis of warranties. Then, I began to notice a pattern. When the time came for me to use the warranty, the situation often changed. The happy salesman with his confident words of comfort was replaced by a narrow-eyed bean-counter who thought my sole purpose in life was to put his company out of business. It started with a fishing rod purchased from Orvis.

The fly rod was their premium model. Top o' the line graphite rod when I purchased it, and I absolutely loved it. Then it broke. Snapped the top section. Oh, well. I figured Orvis, the company that touts itself as a flyfisherman's paradise, would break their backs making things right for me. That was the start of my first "lesson" in warranties. Seems my rod had only a one-year warranty, and I broke it well into year three. Okay, they got me. But surely such a premium rod as this had parts I could buy? Like a replacement top section? "No, we don't "make" that model any more.

Turns out they don't "make" anything but money! They "source" all their products from other countries, and when a product doesn't sell well or the real manufacturer in China doesn't want to make it any more, that's it! No more fly rods. They did give me a cheap pair of binoculars for being bold enough to question their warranty policy (i.e., I was a nuisance), and we parted company. I resolved to never trust warranties again, and I don't. And, Orvis, this story has been another installment on a lifetime of payback. You see, I am a writer.

That attitude served me well when Apple Computer tried to tell me my brand-new computer was out of the extended warranty eligibility period because it had laid in some musty warehouse for too many months before I bought it - AND the expensive extended warranty I had just paid for and was trying to activate could not be activated! To no credit of their own, they finally buckled when my wife ran the problem high enough on the Apple corporate flagpole.

Then there was the Chrysler minivan that the dealer assured me DID NOT have the problem of a weak automatic transmission that had been reported by so many consumer groups. So, when my transmission blew up one year out of warranty, I was able to look the dealership in the eye and scream their reassuring words back to them - which netted me nothing more than, I suppose, that they didn't try to sell me an extended warranty on the replacement tranny I had to buy!

You see, I've been bitten hard by the warranty bug.

On the other hand...
There was the time I broke a pair of Craftsman channel lock pliers and, when I took them into Sears, the salesman handed me a replacement - no paperwork, no questions asked! Sears doesn't make hand tools any more than Orvis makes fly rods, but they do know the value of an iron-clad replacement guarantee. Guess which brand of hand tools I've bought for the pst 40 years?

Land's End and L.L. Bean have the best product return policies I know of. Bean actually teaches their culture to other businesses, so they can learn how to improve both their operations and their relations with customers. And, neither of them makes all the products they sell, but they do stand behind them. There are other fine companies with super return policies that you could argue are better than warranties.

What am I saying? Just this - it isn't WHAT you buy; it's WHERE you buy it that matters, and the type of technology gets factored in. I bought an extended warranty on my iPod mini, but little did I know Apple was going to discontinue the model six months later. If I had to send it in for repair after that, they would have had to replace it with a completely different model, because the mini isn't just unrepairable - it's no longer made! Remember that when you think about that next gee-whiz Swedish PCP semiautomatic that promises the world. It's a long way to Sweden!

On the other hand, buy the same Swedish rifle from an American dealer with a good reputation for customer service and you are protected as well as can be expected.

Now, some airgun technologies are easier to repair than others. Spring-piston guns, for the most part, are simpler than pneumatics or CO2 guns. When they need fixin', the job is usually more easily done. The exceptions are all the Diana recoilless piston guns that have the Giss counter-recoil system. Those guns have two pistons that have to be timed exactly if they are to work at all.

Yes, you are limiting your selection by basing decisions on warranties. A strong dealer is just as important as a good warranty. In most cases, dealers are much more flexible. Plus, they're a lot closer to their customers. Consider that when you buy your next airgun. Know the dealer's return policy, because some dealers don't even offer that. Here's Pyramyd Air's.

34 Comments:

At May 14, 2007 6:53 AM, Anonymous Jay said...

I also buy Craftsman tools for the same reason. I had a good experience with Crossman earlier this year. Long story short I sent a Genesis 1000X back to them twice with a lose barrel and subsequent terrible accuracy. The first time they replaced the barrel under warranty and the second time they, at my request, exchanged it for a Benjamin 392 Limited Edition.

 
At May 14, 2007 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This doesn't have much to do with air guns but my credit card company keeps bugging me to buy their "protection" plan. For 96 cents a hundred my account will be wiped out if I die. Further reading showed unless I die from "pre-existing conditions". I think that anything that kills me would fall under that classification, according to them.

 
At May 14, 2007 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

greetings b.b.,

i do make my purchases at pyramidair. maybe i missed something, but there was a whole other part to my question:

"are there any manufacturers you would recommend whose warranty period is generally moot, based on their reputation, workmanship, and longevity? even though they might offer 1year, i could expect to get years of uninterrupted satisfaction?"

was the answer to the aformentioned "no"? are you suggesting that i stick with only the airguns that offer limited-lifetime warranty, and avoid all others?

 
At May 14, 2007 8:17 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

I guess I wasn't too clear. I meant to say just the opposite. Forget warranties. Stick with reputable dealers.

I can't give you a list of manufacturers whose guns are trustworthy because they keep changing who makes their guns all the time. Like Sears, who has Kenmore appliances made by many different manufacturers, Beeman sell guns made in Germany, England, China and Spain. Tomorrow they may buy from Turkey. Of course Beeman isn't a manufacturer, but many people think of them that way.

Daisy has their guns made in China and Turkey, besides assembling some in the U.S. And Crosman has guns made in China as well as the U.S. So do0n't trust the warranty - trust the dealer.

I meant to say that I have found the warranty situation to not protect buyers, other than those who are willing to spend an inordinate amount of time pursuing their case. But dealers with good return policies make up for faulty warranties.

Here is another example that should have been in the posting: RWS USA used to offer a lifetime warranty on all Diana guns they sold. Several years ago, they reniged on portions of this policy by stating that certain parts are not covered.

How is the guy who bougt a Diana 48 sidelever in 1995 under a lifetime warranty protected when the entity that calls itself RWS USA (a company that has changed hands twice since 1995) no longer honors the policy under which the rifle was purchased? Broken mainsprings used to be replaced for free. They no longer are.

That's not a lifetime warranty in my opinion, and it's just one of many I could point to in the airgun community.

B.B.

 
At May 14, 2007 8:22 AM, Anonymous Vince said...

BB, know it's off topic - but you might wanna point out to PyramidAir that the Storm does NOT have an adjustable trigger as advertised...

BTW - they made good on a purchase mix-up. I ordered a bunch of .22's, they sent me .177's. After a phone call, they shipped me the .22's, and told me to keep the others for my trouble!

 
At May 14, 2007 8:58 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Vince,

Good eye! The Umarex catalog shows an adjustable trigger for both the Storm and Storm Elite, but in fact they do not have one.

We will correct that one bad description on the Storm Combo. You just earned your free pellets!

B.B.

 
At May 14, 2007 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

B.B. Is marksman honoring the warranty from beeman?

 
At May 14, 2007 9:21 AM, Anonymous vince said...

BB, I'd suggest that Crosman might be something of an exception to the rule. I've had some warranty issues with Crosman products, and they've always been very good about it when I deal directly with them.

One thing I (personally) always look for is parts support - can you get springs and seals for the gun? Crosman is very good in that respect, at least for current products. If you want to buy spare springs and seals for a Quest or Legacy 1000, no problem... and atvery reasonable prices, too.

I tried to get those parts for a Daisy 1000 some time back, and was told that they don't want me taking the gun apart and hurting myself.

Gamo is almost as bad, but Crosman Quest parts work in those as well...

 
At May 14, 2007 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

greetings again bb,

thanks for the clarification. it shows another value to the blog,...for people to share their experiences, learn from others,...and hopefully become more savy.

thanks again

 
At May 14, 2007 10:04 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Marksman,

Can you please explain your question?

B.B.

 
At May 14, 2007 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: marksman/Beeman. I purchased a Beeman from Beeman in Santa Rosa before Dr.Robert sold to marksman. btw I'm savagesam but for some strange reason it won't let me log on.

 
At May 14, 2007 10:33 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

savagesam,

Deal directly with Beeman on this. Robert Beeman didn't sell to Marksman, he sold to S/R Industries, who also owns Marksman. They do some things together but a lot of things, like repairs, separately.

B.B.

 
At May 14, 2007 12:25 PM, Anonymous .22 multi-shot said...

Hi B.B.

I also have to put in a good word for Crosman. I've ordered a number of parts from them and when they made a mistake by sending the wrong part, they found the problem and sent the correct part after a couple of calls to figure out the problem.

A friend of mine purchased a custom 2300 from the Crosman custom shop. The LPA MIM sight was missing when he received it (it apparently fell out of a hole that formed during shipment). They immediately sent out a replacement sight.

They also have exploded views for a lot of their guns which makes figuring out replacement parts much easier. These and the manuals are available online.

Thanks,
.22 multi-shot

 
At May 14, 2007 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi bb
this topic seems to get lots of people fired up. a comment on the craftsman tools. they recently stopped covering the waranty. my dad is a carpenter. he bought 3 tape measures and has had them replaced hundreds of times. now they dont offer that anymore. however you can get a warranty tool repalced but they no longer replace the replacement. also my dad had a chair that broke. 10 years later he brought it back to ll beans and they gave him a new one. i guess it pays to stand behind your warranty.
Nate in MASS

 
At May 14, 2007 1:59 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Nate,

I wasn't aware Sears was ending the Craftsman support. If so, it marks the beginning of the end for them.

B.B.

 
At May 14, 2007 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I flyfish and like airguns.

Orvis does make their own flyrods, all in VT, even the bamboo. The shop is right behind the main store.

Can not say that for LL Bean.

LL Bean does do a great job on returns, even years later.
GG

 
At May 14, 2007 2:48 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

GG,

I have never been to the Orvis store, but the person who dealt with me on my problem told me that had sourced my rod from another manufacturer, which was why there were no replacement parts. It was a Green River brand, if memory serves.

B.B.

 
At May 14, 2007 4:05 PM, Anonymous dave (other cf-x guy) said...

BB,
I have to say I agree with the anonymous guy, Orvis is great. I have bought all the fly equiptment I have from them just because of that. The only thing thats not is my rod, that that's because my cousin made it for me from a blank. They were also great about a pair of sunglasses I had. I had them for maybe 3 yrs, then my mom had them for a lacrosse game I was in, and someone next to her sat on them and they broke. Orvis took them back and handed me a new pair of the same ones, no questions or paperwork.

Cabela's is also great on customer service and returns, just FYI. They have a huge selection of everything outdoors.

Im sorry you had a bad experience with a great company.

 
At May 14, 2007 4:09 PM, Anonymous lymon said...

Sturm, Ruger & Co. resolved this issue after the Magnuson-Moss act of 1973 defined "full" warranties in a very restrictive way that has effectively eliminated full warranties.
Bill Ruger chose to not provide a warranty at all, rather the company assures buyers that they are interested in customer satisfaction. AFAIK, they still repair any defective product ever made at no charge.

 
At May 14, 2007 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

B.B.,

1. The rod was probibly 600 dollars compared to the 5 $ plyers. its self explainitory.

2. one of my freinds had a 14 inch apple ibook g4 and broke it under a three year warrenty. The guy at the apple store said he could have a black macbook for free. Even that is superior to his old comp. He said he would prefer a computer with an = or larger screen. with no protest he has the macbook pro 15 in as a free alternative. He paid 750 $ and got the 17 inch pro. I am on my macbook pro 17 inch at the moment and i had to pay 3400 $. My point is that apple does take responsability in product failure.

3. i competely agree with the things you said about swedish airguns. I am waiting for the fx revolution to come to pyramyd air.

-sumo

 
At May 14, 2007 6:05 PM, Anonymous Airdog said...

BB - sorry for the off-topic question, but I've seen mention that it's good to always leave a pump or two in a Sheridan silver streak, but should one also cock the bolt? Thanks for your help.

 
At May 14, 2007 6:10 PM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Airdog,

Don't cock the bolt. Just leave the air in the gun.

B.B.

 
At May 14, 2007 7:06 PM, Blogger Dylan said...

on a benjamin 342 how many pumps should be put in the rifle? my dad seems to remember it being 10. What kind of velocity is this gun capable of using 14 grain pointed pellets?

 
At May 14, 2007 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bb,

i saw the fx revo on airguns airizona but i have no experiance with them. How long do you think it will be untill pyramydair gets one in stock?

Do you think the product and company are any good. I would love to hear your opinion.

As for your remarks on orvis. I am probibly going on a fishing trip this summer and plan on geting all new gear. You just got some revenge. I think i will go to sage.

 
At May 14, 2007 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was sumo

-sumo

 
At May 14, 2007 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if you are able to get service under warranty from RWS be prepared to pay $22 in shipping to get your rifle back, because that's what they charge you.

 
At May 15, 2007 1:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB,
My experience with Orvis has been the exact opposite. Twice, I have
sent them my broken fishing rods from Honolulu to New Hampshire or
wherever they're located, and both times they have sent me back brand
new rods, no questions asked. I also had a lens fall out of my Orvis
glasses when I was float tubing for bass in the middle of a lake, and
once again, they sent me a replacement pair of prescription glasses.
I've been going around thinking they're the best company in the USA in
terms of standing behind their products. It's BMW, by the way, that
seems to wriggle out of everything. A few months ago, they wanted to
charge me $9,000 to remove carbon from the smog ports of my S62 engine,
and I had previously had the heads off to have the carbon removed just
ten thousand miles earlier when the car was under warranty. When I
complained about the obvious design flaw in the engine's smog ports,
they offered a "goodwill, one time only gesture" of half off, meaning
I'd still be stuck with a $4,500 bill for their poorly designed engine.
How's that for a "wriggle out of your responsibilities to customer"
example?

 
At May 15, 2007 7:46 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Dylan,

If you don't have a chronograph to check velocity, stop at 8 pumps. With a chronograph you can check to see if additional pumps increase velocity.

A 14-grain pellet (the shape in immaterial) should go somewhere in the 600 f.p.s. range from a gun in good condition. 650-675 would be about the maximum.

B.B.

 
At May 15, 2007 7:53 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Sumo,

I have seen the video of the Revolution shooting. I have also heard the complaints of many owners whse guns had bad seals.

I believe this problem has now been fixed, but I don't know for sure. The gun certainly has a lot going for it, if it works as advertised.

I doubt Pyramyd Air will carry the Revolution.

B.B.

 
At May 15, 2007 8:03 AM, Blogger B.B. Pelletier said...

Well, several readers have said nice things about Orvis. That was what I expected when I dealt with them, too, but they really stiffed me.

The more I think about this situation, the more I remember that the rod I owned was NOT made by Orvis, though it carried their name. I think the brand, Green Mountain, was a codename for a "sourced" rod that didn't carry the same wonderful warranty that Orvis-built rods (I believe you that they make some) have.

This is an example of how a convoluted marketing scheme can backfire for a company. I will never forgive Orvis for ruining my flyfishing experience. I haven't picked up a fly rod in 15 years because of this incident.

B.B.

 
At May 15, 2007 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "lifetime" part of any lifetime warranty is that of the COMPANY, not the product nor the buyer.

Buyers of foreign products beware.

I'm surprised Leupold has not been mentioned as one of the very best companies to honor warranty claims. Perhaps there are not many serious firearms shooters on this blog.

 
At May 15, 2007 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn BB,
You gave up fly fishing to avenge a broken off-brand rod sold by Orvis?

I wouldn't let anything keep me away from the high mountain creeks, not even an infatuation with airguns! I'd tie a shoe string to a Gammo barrel before I'd let that happen.

 
At May 15, 2007 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB,
I googled the fx revolution and pyramyd airs site showed up and said it was coming soon.

Anonymous,
I am more into firearms than i am pellet guns. I have many more firearms than airguns. I am more of a swarovski guy. I have several leupod scopes but i havent payed much attension to them.


-sumo

 
At May 16, 2007 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bb et al

Pyramyd and Crosman have gotten Staten Island, Long Island, Iceland, Greenland, Finland, and France, and other localities confused regarding air gun rules. BTW-Locally Wal Mart in the past, currently, and probably in future has pellet guns, bb guns, ammo etc. on the shelf ready to sell, and yes, they do stock Crosman.. Crosman seems to be working its way away from adult airguns, but I digress. By the time Pyramyd figured out they were given wrong translation, of translation. Translating maps and air gun regulations should be left to those who are expert or at least who have not lost all common sense..

Figured I give airgundepot.com a try. Well, air rifle was not quite right from the first. Contacted airgundepot.com, as directed on material included, and also on their website. Response follows:

Hi Raymond,

There are two things we can do. First, you can just send it back to us and we'll send you a new one. The only problem is that the .22 850s won't be available until mid-June. If you want it sooner, you can send it to Umarex (importer of RWS) and they can repair it for you. Let me know what you would like to do.

Sincerely,

Mark
Airgun Depot Customer Care
http://www.airgundepot.com

I guarantee this will not be my last purchase from these folks. After purchasing from Pyramyd, and Crosman for years, I felt slapped in the face. Pyramyd has acted maturely and mended fences. Crosman is winding down all but toy market.

 

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