Lifetime guarantee question in a world with fewer lifetime guarantees
July 29, 2018 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I've read this question (2011) and this question (2013) and now it's time to ask again. What products or retailers in 2018 actually have lifetime warranties or guarantees?

L.L. Bean no longer guarantees its products for life. Neither does REI.

I'm talking about the kind of guarantee that these places had once upon a time, like when I bought an L.L. Bean backpack in 1989 and took it back to them in 2008 after nearly two decades of use and they simply just replaced it.

It would help when you answer if you've had experience with the warranty or guarantee in the last year or so or if you can link to the policy itself since it's feeling like places that used to offer these types of things just don't anymore.
posted by MoonOrb to Shopping (15 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Darn Tough socks indeed carry a lifetime warranty, even for wear and tear. There are many forgeries out there though, so buying direct from them is advisable.

At the prices they charge it’s more like a subscription to a lifetime of sock, but I’d rather have that than just hundreds of shitty socks.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:07 PM on July 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Darn Tough:

Cabela's also has something called a lifetime guarantee sock, but I can't find the specific guarantee:

I will note that a lifetime guarantee only makes sense for mature technologies which you are confident you will continue to use for the rest of your life. If you had paid for a lifetime guarantee on, say, a down sleeping bag before they came out with hydrophobic down, you might be a little sad right now.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 12:09 PM on July 29, 2018

Briggs & Riley does (details here). I don’t have any experience in making use of the guarantee, though.
posted by sueinnyc at 12:10 PM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

This Anker cable:
The lifetime warranty is available for Powerline II Dura Lightning Cables sold via and Amazon (except Amazon JP). If the cable fails due to a manufacturing defect, we will replace it at our cost.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:28 PM on July 29, 2018

Maglite - pdf do it in the US for some products - "for the lifetime of the original owner, so you need to register you purchase". I've owned a magite when I worked security, the only torch I ever owner that could be used more-or-less as a hammer, was very waterproof and a definite turnoff to problem people (alone on a large dark industrial site). I also carried a garden fork as backup as it was &*^ing dangerous.
posted by unearthed at 12:45 PM on July 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

LL Bean's can still be read as guaranteeing the product and workmanship as being free from defects indefinitely, which is still better than a lot of places do. I think sensible people always read their guarantee that way, not that things should never wear but that they should not wear out faster than a product of its type should wear? That's definitely sometimes hard to prove, but like... if you got twenty years of use out of a backpack, did you honestly not consider that to be satisfactory? Really? My family stories about the LL Bean return policy were stuff like rarely-used outdoor gear that failed years later but had only been used a handful of times that really was defective, not that anybody thought LL Bean made shoes that would never wear out.

Eddie Bauer's guarantee still says lifetime, but please, don't abuse it to get replacements for things that you should not have reasonably believed would last longer than they did. Like, I'd 100% go back to them if one of my t-shirts falls apart the year or two after I bought it, but I'm not going to expect a $20-on-sale tee to actually make it for the rest of my life. I'm expecting to be happy with it for the rest of its life. Eddie Bauer is actually most of what I buy for basics though and I will say that I do definitely have tees that are several years old and have only yet gotten rid of any for stains that were my own fault. My one return to them in the last few years was no-fuss.
posted by Sequence at 1:03 PM on July 29, 2018 [10 favorites]

Osprey will repair any damage or defect no matter how old it is in the USA. It's called the all mighty guarantee. I think the rules vary outside the US though.
posted by Aranquis at 1:23 PM on July 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Tom Bihn also does the "lifetime for stuff that's our fault" thing, and clarifies:
Repairs due to normal wear and tear or due to other things that are not our fault will be performed, when possible, at a reasonable charge. Keep in mind that daypacks, messenger bags, and briefcases are often subject to extreme wear in everyday use: do not expect them to last forever. Only true love lasts forever! You can expect a TOM BIHN product to give years of hard service.
Which I think is a good middle ground, but YMMV.
posted by Sequence at 1:28 PM on July 29, 2018

The local company who put the windows in my house does, the Aluminum Company of North Carolina. They came out and replaced one for free even though they were installed 13 years ago by a previous owner of the house.
posted by something something at 2:45 PM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it was in the previous threads, but Jansport still offers a lifetime warranty on their bags.
posted by hydra77 at 3:23 PM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had a bad catch on my lathe and the small tool rest I had bought from Robust cracked in half. I just mailed it to them and they mailed me a new one.
posted by Poldo at 3:40 PM on July 29, 2018

Macpac in NZ used to offer a replacement for damaged goods - no questions asked as long as you were the original owner. A mate took his rucksack in, it'd had 5 or more rough years including a K2 ascent or similar abuse ... he took it in for repairs ... and they gave him a new one. They've since closed their repair shop and moved production to China unfortunately.
posted by unearthed at 4:19 PM on July 29, 2018

Yeah, came here to say Osprey. Their guarantee is pretty unconditional and solid.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:26 AM on July 30, 2018

In a recent discussion on a sailing board, posters noted that two brands of foul weather gear offer lifetime warranties: Helly Hansen and Gill. However, it was also noted in the same thread that the fwg market is in a consolidation stage with at least one company in liquidation, and another bought up in a takeover. So the underlying industry is not stable enough to allow one to take lifetime warranties too seriously.

I'm not a gun owner, but I do know that most of the large manufacturers have a lifetime warranty, though it may be somewhat informal. It makes sense as a malfunctioning gun could be the cause of an expensive lawsuit.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:58 AM on July 30, 2018

One of four wheels just broke off my Briggs & Riley suitcase that I've had and used extensively for... 5 or 6 years? I found an authorized repair center near me, brought it in, and ten minutes later left with a repaired suitcase. I paid exactly $0.
posted by Grither at 8:38 AM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

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