Q&A: 937-640-1040 Mon-Fri 9:00am-5:30pm EDT

Unlimited “No Fault” Lifetime Warranty??

There’s been a recent trend in the binocular industry to offer a “lifetime warranty” or “no-fault” warranty. Let’s think about that. What other products do you buy that come with that kind of warranty- cars, computers, televisions, cell phones, home appliances? Of course none of these come with lifetime warranties, it would be ridiculous to expect that! Why should binoculars be any different? Depending on how well you take care of them, they might last a couple years, or the rest of your life- that’s up to you. The implied message of the lifetime warranty is “our binoculars are so well made that they’ll last forever”. That’s nonsense of course. Speaking as somebody that’s been repairing binoculars for 24 years- no matter how well a binocular is made, it’s a precision instrument, and owners will find ways to break them. The question is, do you want to pay extra up front to cover the cost of an insurance plan, or would you rather pay the lowest-possible price for your binocular, take good care of it, and if you do happen to break it at some point- just pay the cost to repair it, or possibly replace it depending on how old it is, and perhaps upgrade to a new and improved model?

The first step in analyzing a warranty is to read the fine-print and know what’s covered and what’s not covered. Some manufacturers offer a ridiculously-long warranty period- 10 years, 20 years, even “lifetime”- but then exclude anything that’s not a “manufacturer’s defect”. The truth is “manufacturer’s defects” will usually be obvious on day one, and will certainly show up within the first year of usage. So it doesn’t matter how long the warranty period is, if it’s only covering manufacturer’s defects, it’s not likely to cover anything after the first year. After the first year, there are only a few things that can go wrong-

  1. The number one answer- the binocular was damaged from a hard drop
  2. The binocular was left outdoors 24/7 and now there’s internal fogging or water intrusion
  3. The dog chewed-up the rubber parts

If the warranty does not exclude accidents or abuse of product, then you have to ask- who’s really paying for that cost? Is the manufacturer eating it, just because they love their customers? Or did you pay for an insurance policy in the price of the binocular when you bought it? If you’re a manufacturer, and your cost to build a binocular is 30% of the selling price, you could probably afford to replace a binocular for any reason- and still be profitable. If your cost to build is more than 50%, replacing a binocular will make that sale a loss. Oberwerk’s cost to manufacture averages well above 50% selling cost, with higher-end products above 60%. With our thin margins, Oberwerk products can only only sold direct, and not through resellers. We do love our customers- so we offer to them great products at lowest-possible prices. Because of that, we simply can’t afford to replace binoculars that don’t have manufacturer’s defects. What we do is thoroughly inspect each and every binocular, to be sure it doesn’t ship with a defect, and to be sure the alignment is as perfect as possible. We then offer a 15-day satisfaction guarantee, where we’ll replace or exchange for any reason, and completely at our cost- or we’ll simply accept a return. We include a 2-year or 3-year warranty (depending on product) to cover any possible defects that don’t show up right away, which is probably more generous than the warranties on most other products that you buy. Beyond that, if something goes wrong- sorry, you broke it. We’ll take care of it, but we’ll charge a reasonable price to do so. We could change our warranty to a “lifetime limited warranty”- but that would just be a marketing gimmick as there will be no manufacturer’s defects discovered years after the purchase. You’d still pay for breaking it. Alternatively, we could mark up binoculars by an extra 30-50%, and then cover accidents like some manufacturers do- but do you really want to pay a higher price to cover the costs for customers that don’t take care of their things? Or would you rather pay a lower price, knowing that if you break it, you’ll need to cover that cost? If you’re the type of person that buys extended warranties, then perhaps a “no-fault unlimited warranty” is for you- because you’re paying for an extended warranty in the price of the binocular. If you appreciate a good value, and you take care of your possessions, then you might want to avoid paying up-front for “unlimited no-fault warranties”.

One Reply to “Unlimited “No Fault” Lifetime Warranty??”

  1. Jose M. Edwards says:

    While it is true that products like cars, computers, televisions, cell phones, and home appliances typically do not come with lifetime warranties, it does not necessarily mean that binoculars should be treated the same way. Each product category has its own unique characteristics and requirements, and it is up to the manufacturer to decide what kind of warranty they want to offer based on their understanding of the product and the market. Binoculars are precision instruments that are designed to withstand outdoor environments, varying conditions, and potential accidents. However, they are still susceptible to wear and tear, accidents, and component failure over time. By offering a lifetime warranty or a no-fault warranty, manufacturers provide reassurance to their customers that they stand behind the quality and durability of their products. Just like any tool or equipment, binoculars can benefit from a warranty that covers potential defects in manufacturing or material, or even accidental damage that may occur during normal use. Having a warranty in place can save customers from the unexpected expenses of repairs or replacements, providing peace of mind and ensuring long-lasting satisfaction. While it is true that individuals need to take good care of their binoculars to maximize their lifespan, accidents can happen despite our best efforts. In such cases, a warranty can provide protection and save customers from incurring additional costs. I respectfully disagree with the notion that manufacturers cannot afford to replace binoculars that don’t have manufacturer’s defects. While I understand that costs play a significant role in business decisions, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to provide a warranty that covers potential issues or damages that may occur during normal use. It is unfair to assume that customers who seek warranty coverage for accidents or misuse are “not taking care of their things.” Accidents happen, and customers should not be penalized for seeking assistance when a product they purchased fails to function properly, regardless of the cause. While offering a satisfaction guarantee and a 2-year or 3-year warranty is commendable, it is important to acknowledge that other manufacturers in various industries provide more extensive coverage for their products. This is not necessarily a marketing gimmick but rather an effort to build trust and provide peace of mind to customers. It is not fair to suggest that customers who appreciate good value and take care of their possessions should be burdened with the additional cost of covering potential damages. A more customer-eccentric approach would involve being understanding and supportive of customers who encounter issues with their purchased products, regardless of the cause. In conclusion, while I appreciate the transparency and clarity of the warranty policy mentioned, I believe there is merit in considering more comprehensive coverage for all customers, promoting a stronger relationship between manufacturers and their patrons. A lot of companies big or small already provides “No faulty” warranty. How about yours?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *