Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lifetime Guarantee

Lifetime guarantee. That seems like an overstatement. Is anything really guaranteed? And what is a lifetime? Is it my lifetime, or the life of the product I bought? Is the company still going to be around if something goes wrong and I want to chat about that guarantee? Will I be able to prove that I bought the thing?  Why should I buy an extended warranty? Doesn't the company think the product is going to last? It's brand new!

There's a company that does have a lifetime guarantee, and they stand by their founder's words. Eddie Bauer's company creed, stated nearly 100 years ago, still holds true today.

"To give you such outstanding quality, value, service and guarantee that we may be worthy of your high esteem.™"

I bought a small red canvas duffel bag in the early1990's and I've used it for the gym, for weekends and as an airplane carry on.

I started noticing that the rubber coating inside was rubbing off on my clothes...and the rubber bits were hard to brush away. The bag is 20 years old, it was getting grody and I thought it wouldn't do well in the washing machine. I was going to toss it, when I remembered the "lifetime guarantee."

It doesn't look too bad here, but the entire inside was peeling. I had a hard time getting the rubbery stuff off a black velvet turtleneck...whaaaa!

Just for yucks, I went online and started a realtime (text) chat with customer service. I explained the situation, told her I bought the bag on Third Avenue in NYC (the store has since moved), and I said that I didn't have the receipt. She advises customers to keep Eddie Bauer receipts indefinitely, because of the lifetime guarantee. Note to self!

Customer service was coming at me left and right, and I liked what she was saying. "I'm sorry about the problem you had with the bag. We know things will have some wear over time, but we don't ever want someone to look at an Eddie Bauer item and be unhappy with it."

I was given a few options, and I chose to go online to order a new bag. I was sent a return sticker via e-mail so I could ship the old bag back to them at no cost. A merchandise credit would be sent in 10 days.

They no longer make the duffels in canvas, and they didn't have I ordered the small bag in nylon, in the red, black and gray plaid. The fabric is hefty, it has roomy pockets and it came with a roll top ditty bag, which is great for camera stuff, makeup or other loose items. The plaid complements the red rolling bags I have from LL Bean (another company that makes good stuff.)

Today I received a merchandise credit for $21.45. Not sure how they came up with that figure...but I'm happy with it. The new bag was $40 + $5 for a 3-inital monogram. May as well live large! I probably paid $30 for the original duffel in 1991, I used the heck out of it, and it didn't cost me anything to send it back.

Eddie Bauer, you are a man of your word. It's nice doing business with you.

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