When Buying a "Brand" Pays


I know that Making Cents of It is a blog dedicated to finding stuff cheap, but is cheap always the answer?  Today, I would like to discuss with everyone the value of buying from companies that stand behind their products.

Surprisingly, many store brands offer 100% satisfaction guarantees.  If you purchase a product and don't like it you can just bring it back.  If it breaks, they'll replace it.  It's really that simple.  Next time you're in a store check their policy.  If they'll replace an item that breaks from use, it will save you money.

Sometimes, it's worth buying the name brand.  Here are three examples of different types of warranties.  I have had good experiences with other brands and stores as well, however to write about every experience would take a while.

Although I probably could have purchased a raincoat cheap somewhere else, I decided I didn't want to look like a rubber ducky and instead purchased a nice waterproof windbreaker with a hood.  Recently, I noticed that my jacket's layers were peeling at the seam.  While most people would say "well, the jacket is six years old.  I guess it lasted a long time."  I knew better.  When I had originally purchased the jacket, I purchased from a brand that is known for quality.  The North Face stands behind their products so I went on their website and looked at their warranty and repair policy.  The policy states that they will cover defects in workmanship and materials regardless of the age of the product, but not normal wear and tear.  Before mailing my jacket in, I called the 800-number and asked if the problem I was noticing was wear and tear.  The woman was very polite and told me it sounded like a defect in the material but that she couldn't be positive without the repair center looking at the jacket.  I sent the damaged jacket in and four weeks later they mailed me a replacement since the issue was covered but could not be repaired.

Not every warranty will replace an item.  Replacing an item only happens when it cannot be repaired for some reason.  As everyone knows, high school students are not known for light backpacks. When I was in school, I overstuffed my Jansport bag with textbooks everyday and eventually the seams just couldn't take the weight and began to split.  I mailed the bag into the company and they reinforced the seams before mailing it back.  I would like to point out that seams were covered, however if the books had caused the actual material to rip, that would be considered wear and tear.

Another great company when it comes to repairs is Vermont Teddy Bears because even if the damage is your fault, their Bear Hospital will fix your teddy.  I love their policy:
Every once in a while a tragedy will strike - a dog attack, a chance meeting with a lawn mower. When this happens it is very easy to become upset, lose your cool, maybe even freak out! But NEVER FEAR, health care is here, and we are not just talkin' any old health care, we are talkin' FREE, full coverage health care for your Bear's entire lifetime. 
They can make any bear (purchased through them of course) brand new again.  I had a bear that has sentimental value to me from my childhood.  When I was moving out of my parent's place, my teddy had an accident involving a scissor opening the box he was in that went into his paw and pulled stuffing out.  I was devastated until my sister reminded me he was from Vermont.  I mailed him in to the hospital and a few weeks later, he returned to me in perfect condition.  I know it was still my bear and not a replacement because it still had its matted fur from years of being slept with, but his paw pad was carefully replaced.  The fun part was he came home in a hospital gown and was wearing a hospital bracelet.

I could go on telling you stories about how warranties have saved me money and stress in the long run, but I'd rather hear from you.  Leave a comment telling about an experience where you had a warranty and it saved you money, or you purchased a "cheap" item only to end up spending more when it broke.  What companies do you recommend to other Making Cents of It readers?

Disclaimer: No company mentioned in this post compensated me in any way.  This post is completely 100% my point of view and experiences.


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