There is Money in the Lifetime Warranty

lifetime warranties

A number of companies provide lifetime warranties for their products.  Penny Hoarder made a list of 43, ranging from Vermont Teddy Bear to Jansport backpacks to Zippo lighters to Manduka yoga mats.  You need to look through the list and make sure it includes normal wear-and-tear and/or accidents, and not just manufacturers defects.  In addition to these consumer products, there are car dealers that offer lifetime warranties on particular new or used cars.  They will keep fixing the car at no cost to you, as long as you own it.  I once had a business professor that kept his 30+ year old Volvo that broke down constantly because of a lifetime warranty — he was willing to accept the inconvenience of the breakdowns and lost days of use because the repairs were completely free to him.

Someone who owns an old torn up Vermont Teddy Bear that has been chewed on by a dog may not realize that it is worth money.  They might sell it to you at a garage sale for a dollar or less.  Because of the lifetime warranty, you can send the bear to the company and they will either repair it or more likely, send you a brand new bear, which might be sold brand new for $50 or more.  Obviously you can’t command the retail price if you turn around and re-sell it, but it is possible you could get $10 or $20 on Craigslist or Ebay.

Even if you don’t plan on flipping the item for more than you paid, you can use the lifetime warranty to avoid paying full price for a working, new item.  Just buy the inferior damaged or non-working item, then exercise the lifetime warranty.  As long as the lifetime warranty is transferable, doesn’t require you to show a receipt that proves you were the original buyer, and doesn’t limit the warranty to “manufacturer defects,” then you have something.

As with any warranty, it is only as good as the company that offers it.  If the company goes out of business or no longer has the financial capability to live up to the warranty, then the warranty has no value.  The company needs to have a good reputation and a long track record of living up to its word.  Obviously a low dollar product produced by a national company that has been in business for 75 years is a much safer bet then someone like a no name local car dealership that has only been in business for 4 years.  Another concern is to make sure the product is authentic.  The manufacturer knows better than anyone what is authentic.  They are not going to repair or replace a cheap knockoff product — it had better be the real thing.

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