Does “Lifetime Warranty” Mean You Have To Keep The Receipt For A Lifetime?

Yesterday, we told you about what an easy time one Consumerist reader had when trying to get a replacement part for his 7-year-old Kohler faucet. Unfortunately, not every company is as generous when it comes to lifetime warranties.

Consumerist reader John says he has both Kohler and Delta fixtures in his home and until recently he’d never had a problem with getting either company to honor the lifetime warranties on their products.

But when he noticed that his Delta shower head, which he’s had for more than a decade, was leaking even when the water was fully turned off, he thought it would just be another quick call to Delta to get the replacement part(s) he needed.

Alas, writes John:

I was told I would have to “prove” I was the original owner of the product before they would send the free part.

I told him I have requested parts for over 10 years for this shower and various sinks in my home and have never had to send in documentation to prove I was the original owner first.

He said those parts were probably sent out “of courtesy” and their policy is for me to send a copy of the original bill of sale of the unit, or a copy of the purchase of my home, or a copy of the work order from the contractor that installed the Delta products.

To make matters worse, he also said I had to take a picture of the shower showing the Delta product and to include that with the other documentation. I told him if he thinks I’m going to go to all that trouble for some ‘O’ rings or housing assembly he was nuts.

A rep for Delta tells Consumerist that the policy has been in place since 1995 and is spelled out on the company website. She adds:

In some instances, a Customer Solutions representative may request a photo of the product if the model number or another form of proof of purchase (such as a receipt) is not available. Ultimately, proof of purchase helps ensure the product in question is, in fact, a Delta product. Furthermore, because many Delta products look alike, proof of purchase helps the Customer Solutions team confirm the model number and ensure the correct replacement part is sent.

“Forcing me to track down documentation from 10 years ago and take pictures for their product guarantee, which they always honored in the past without question, is a new low for such a long established company like Delta,” says John. “It’s nothing but Kohler for me from now on.”

While we don’t understand why no one at Delta has enforced the receipt requirement for John until now, it never hurts to have a file folder with all the receipts from purchases — especially things like water fixtures that can take a beating over the years.