Lifetime Warranties, What a Crock!

 I recently had a 1/2" drive flex bar "go south" on me and, after some investigation on line, found out that the tool in question had a lifetime warranty on it!  In this day and age there are many companies that offer such a warranty and MOST of them are a no hassle "just bring it in" type of thing and you get it replaced on the spot.  I know that Canadian Tire brand and Craftsman do this and is one of the reason I have switched almost exclusively to their tools.

This recent "breaking" involved a tool that I had bought many years ago and damned if I could remember from where but I believed it was from NAPA in Winfield.  I called our local NAPA dealer and they ran the number that was embossed on the  handle but could find nothing in their inventory to match it.  So, I went back on-line and found out that Rona deals with this particular brand name, which is Uni Tool.  If you go to the Uni Tool website you'll find that it's been around quite a while and, is Canadian!  I tried calling Rona to see if they had the tool in stock, that in itself was an ordeal as at every store I called from Kamloops to Kelowna I was put on hold for up to 15 minutes without anyone helping me!  Thanks for nothing Rona!

I figured the best way to get this warranty issue resolved was to just email the company and let them know about the problem.  Here is their response to my enquiry:

Dear Mr. Sherman, Thank you for your response.

The UT5070 is a repairable item covered by our lifetime warranty. However, our products are guaranteed against defects in workmanship or material. Any tool failing to live up to this guarantee, under normal use, without any abuse, will be replaced or repaired free of charge, provided it is returned transportation charges prepaid. This warranty is void if there is evidence of misuse, abuse, alterations or normal wear and tear. For more information of warranty, please go to our web site at http://www.unitool.com/hottools.cfm 

Regrettably your UT5070 cannot be claimed under warranty because after verification of the second picture that you sent us, we see evidence of misuse on the bottom part of the handle.  You may contact Mr. Jacques Makarian in the repair department at 1 800 361 0417 for further explanationWe thank you for your understanding. Best regards, UNITOOL INC  Customer Service

Here's a pic of the tool in question:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, no warranty because they saw abuse from the picture I sent them?  Like I told them in a follow up email, they must have some special wizard's that can look at a picture and tell that the tool was abused!  A crummy $30.00 tool and they can't replace it, guess what brand I won't be buying in the future and guess what brand I'll be recommending others don't buy either!  With so many other companies offering hassle free replacement I can't see companies such as the one above lasting long.  Who cares how the tool broke, if you offer a lifetime warranty then don't start putting conditions on it that the consumer is not aware of, after they bought the tool!  Long live Mastercraft!    Sherm

UPDATE:  Canadian Tire had a sale on their 24" flex handle, lifetime warranty, $14.99 regular $43.99!!  Now this is a flex handle: