When we broke off from our Sears Craftsman warranty saga last Friday, Brian had been told there were no replacements on tools that have rust on them, which wasn’t what Sears told us the last time we had warranty questions. Over the weekend, Brian found more evidence that Sears can’t get its warranty language straight. But there’s some good news, too: he dressed up a little, cleaned off the sockets, and went back to Sears. This time he got a different associate who seemed to have no problem swapping out the tools, and who never mentioned the supposed “three per day” rule.
While Brian was looking for warranty information online, he came across this email from a Sears rep in 2005 who states that “The guarantee is not limited to the original owner.” This is not what Judy, the woman he spoke with last week, told him.
One of the many times I was on the phone with Sears, I was told the reasoning behind their policy on rust. They said that customers were buying Craftsman tools at flea markets and returning them for new ones, which isn’t allowed. They told me that the warranty was not transferable (this was Judy).
So now we have conflicting information on two different topics: whether or not rust invalidates the warranty, and whether or not the warranty extends beyond the original owner. In both cases, the more consumer-friendly version is from the past, which may indicate that Sears has decided to retroactively change the terms of its “lifetime warranty” without announcing it officially.
On Saturday, Brian says he received an email from Sears that told him “to clean the rust off of the sockets, and then they will be acceptable under the warranty.” He did that, and brought them back to Sears later that day, and it worked:
There are a lot of factors to consider: I was dressed nicer, I got a different associate named Bill, I had cleaned off some rust, they were busy, or it could have been a corporate memo defining “Lifetime,” but regardless, today I successfully exchanged 5 of the 9 sockets for new replacements. Bill didn’t even bat an eye, even considering there was still rust on the inside of the sockets. No mention of the three per day limit either. Could it be I just got the Sears version of Adolf the first time around? Either way, I still think I’ll stick with another brand next time I need a tool.