25 year warranty – thoughts invited


I've often wondered why despite mega-bucks and assuming mega-reliability why warranties on audiophile gear are so time limited. Surely if the maker, or more relevantly the dealer had true confidence in both the brand and the model they’d be keen to offer something exceptional. However, they rarely do.

So I was surprised and pleased to spot this morning that one of LFD Audio’s retailers is at no extra charge providing a 25 year parts and labour warranty to buyers of new amplification and phono stages. http://lfd4u.com/our-2-service-levels/our-prices-gold-standard/

Apart from Bryston (I think) no one else is offering this. Isn’t it time they did? So why aren't they?

LFD don’t produce anything with movable parts so I guess they wouldn’t get snookered into a 25 year warranty on a laser assembly. Also, if I've read the text correctly the warranty is transferable to each new owner in the 25 year period. Is this a new paradigm, an offer too good to be true – or what? Thoughts invited. Thanks
bigaitch
I've got a couple of Decware amplifiers that have a lifetime warranty to the original owner. I think after a certain point though, super long warranties are a little suspect. With the comings and goings of many manufacturers, there's a chance that if you have a product that breaks down 20 years in the future you might not have anywhere to send it to for repair or I suppose there could even be parts issues as well.
You tend to get what you pay for in this world. If paying for a long warranty is your "thing", by all means go for it. For me, this hobby is more about sound, which means that I've never owned Bryston gear despite their wonderful warranty program. The reason being that their gear never sounded good to me, it always left me with a cold, sterile feeling.

So I would prefer that the company I invest in spend their budget on better sounding parts than on a better warranty program (yes, warranty programs are an expense), but if a great warranty makes you happy, and allows you to sleep better at night, than I would say go for it. Whatever floats your boat!
Most Audio firms don't last that long?
LFD is a boutique company; therefore, one’s greatest worry would be their ability to survive for 25 years in an ever changing marketplace.
Hmm. Curiously un-positive responses so far. The warranty being offered cost the end-user nothing. How bad is that? Mind you, as apparently LFD gear never goes wrong plus the fact that other than laser mechanism, they keep parts for every model they have ever made must surely in these cynical and sceptical times be a positive? One perspective on the responses so far might be that unreliability is to be expected and that a less than positive response by makers just isn’t worth a candle?

Now then, my 25 year old Longines wrist watch went back to the makers who quite clearly in my case didn’t give a damn about service nor repeat business as they had no parts for this ‘old’ analog watch and to build the tiny bit would cost at least $1,200! The message was clear – customer loyalty; who needs it? So I bought a Skagen.

Moreover, surely it makes sense to have a warranty transferable to each subsequent owner in the 25-year period? This must reduce financial depreciation or if you prefer, boost resale values? Am I missing something here?

Incidentally, Jmcgrogan2 I agree that a warranty of any type is no substitute for an unpalatable sound. I wasn’t making that point because as far as I can tell, LFD owners worldwide, if fora are to be believed, are rather content with the sound. Meanwhile ebay appearances of used LFD gear must mean something.
Actually Brf, I disagree slightly. My concern, if I had one (which I don’t) is that a parts makers might cease production of a specific electronic component and that there was / is no similar-sounding substitute. I asked Dr. Bews about this. He has stockpiled quantities of the most characteristic parts inc. tantalum capacitors. Mind you, he also has 6 tonnes of green granite in the factory. My guess is that he’s (a) considering mass-loaded isolation systems or (b) is anticipating nuclear fallout. Finally, his PhD is in loudspeaker design – but he doesn’t market speakers.
+1 to Jmcgrogan2, Schubert, and Brf.
IMO, transferability is more important than 20 or 25 yrs.
Hello Swampwalker – I agree. Did BMW (in the UK at least) show the way here? Odd then that so few upscale audio makers are not of a similar opinion. As an aside, years back when I was more affluent I owned a used BMW 850CSi. V-12. I took a chance because the previous owner had taken out the BMW transferable warranty. I had the car 18 months and depreciation was only 12% from what I paid. The next owner bought from me, at this highish price because I transferred the warranty to him. Great car incidentally – but needs 2 parking spaces ‘cos of the vast doors.
If the members of Audiogon are a reliable sample, then most audiophiles do not hold onto equipment long enough for a 20 year warranty to be a high priority. Still I applaud LFD for making such a strong commitment to their buyers. It's refreshing especially compared to what many companies do with older equipment in need of repair.

Jmcgrogan2, I think you're being naive to think that the money not spent on long-term warranty service is instead spent on better parts.
11-12-13: Onhwy61
Jmcgrogan2, I think you're being naive to think that the money not spent on long-term warranty service is instead spent on better parts.

Possibly.....or perhaps you are naïve as to the cost of prolonged warranties. There is no free lunch Onhwy61. Sure, the manufacturer could choose to simply pocket the extra money, but those that wish to survive in this business for 25 years will build a better boat with the extra money. ;)
I applaud gear makers who would invest and put forth the confidence in their product with a longer warranty. Yes, the sound must be there of course. Products with a strong warranty I feel are probably made a little stronger too boot. Longer warranties take the sting out of higher priced goods. For myself, warranties are something I consider in a purchase.
When I bought my JBL L-65 (Jubal ) speakers in the late 70s, JBL at that time had a lifetime warranty. They changed it few years later to 5 years. Luckily for me, I kept the documentation I received with the speakers.

I needed to have them repaired and the repair facility tried to tell me that they were no longer "in warranty". I replied, "Au contraire, mon frere, *my* speakers will never go out of warranty..." And then I showed them the documents - they (grudgingly) fixed the speakers under warranty...

-RW- Keep yer documents!!
"Hmm. Curiously un-positive responses so far."

I've seen many times where well respected audio brands fix problems that were defective long after the warranty has expired. In each case, though, the problem was clearly a defect and not something the user did. It does make sense. No company wants to see people having problems with their gear.
Jmcgrogan2....better parts does not always ad up to better sound. Have you opened up a Bryston amp lately and looked inside? I would guess that the parts quality is just as good if not better than most gear costing considerably more.
11-12-13: Bigaitch
Hmm. Curiously un-positive responses so far. The warranty being offered cost the end-user nothing.

Obviously, this is not true. You must have no accounting/business background. There is no free lunch in the real world. The warranty does have a cost, and it is passed on to the consumer. All manufacturing costs are passed on to the consumer, and that includes repair costs. So it's like you paid an extra surcharge on the unit's purchase price for insurance purposes. Look at this warranty as a communist proposition. You are paying the costs for repair work being performed on others gear, so that in the event that someday your unit needs serviced, it will be done for no charge.

Maybe the fact that my 18 windows lifetime warranty had no value, since the company that I purchased the windows from went out of business has something to do with my faith in long term warranties. I just had to replace 10 new windows, since 10 of the 18 went bad, and the warranty no longer has any value. FWIW, my 10 new windows also have lifetime warranties. That's the kiss of death for that company. LOL!! ;)
Thor Audio offered a lifetime warranty. Unfortunately the buyers did not know that it was for the lifetime of the company, which was blissfully short. Caveat emptor.
One other thought on warranties. Lots of the gear being bought and sold on this site operate at the "bleeding edge" and thus may be considered, like many high performance items, more prone to failure. Not all, of course, but high performance usually comes at a price; durability, cost, ease of use, availability of replacement parts, etc. For example, the 2004 Honda F1 motor reved to 18,500+ RPM; my 2004 Honda Pilot motor is red-lined at around 5500 RPM. But my Pilot's motor just passed 180K miles and has never had anything beyond routine maintenance (oil changes, 1 serpentine belt/water pump, and one tune-up). I bet Honda never got 1K miles on one of their F1 motors.
"The warranty does have a cost, and it is passed on to the consumer. All manufacturing costs are passed on to the consumer, and that includes repair costs."

Every expense the business has must be passed on to the consumer regardless of what it is. The business wouldn't be able to survive any other way.

"So it's like you paid an extra surcharge on the unit's purchase price for insurance purposes. Look at this warranty as a communist proposition. You are paying the costs for repair work being performed on others gear, so that in the event that someday your unit needs serviced, it will be done for no charge."

I agree, but what other choice is there?
Like roof's, a warranty is really useless unless it comes with a 'bond' issued by an insurance company. Companies come and go, but an insurance company tends to last a 'lifetime'.
Gentlemen: Perhaps this thread could benefit from a bit of mid-course correction? So if I may, can we re-visit the initial thought and correct a few misinterpreted facts:

1. It’s not LFD audio who are offering the 25 year warranty. It’s their (apparently) principal retailer LFD4U doing this. Logically there’s no reason why another retailer for this brand or indeed any other brand doesn’t do likewise – unless of course that brand sees end-users as ‘walking wallets’ through the deliberate policy of not keeping spares for discontinued models. Incidentally this retailer offer an alternate no-frills service with the standard 24 month warranty at a discounted price. Better to have a choice than not I guess. Right?

2. Really – does it matter who pays for the extended warranty? Look at it this way; an extended warranty from a retailer selling at RRP i.e. not bigging-up the sale price can only mean good for the end-user by reducing depreciation during resale.

3. The key element is surely the transferability of that warranty to subsequent owners?

4. A ‘communist proposition – surely some kinda joke, right?

5. Any maker viewing the responses so far, which (a) might not be representative of forum members and / or (b) not representative of the upscale target market might erroneously conclude that encouraging their retailers to offer zero-cost extended warranties is a fruitless pursuit. If so, then this is a retrograde step. Buyers bang on about demanding better customer service. Looking here though one might conclude that there’s no sincerity behind the much repeated mantra.

6. Much has been made here of the ‘business case’. However a point overlooked so far is this. No intelligent maker will want the parts and labor cost of repairing work under warranty – especially a 25 year one. Thus, as far as I can see, LFD build to last i.e. they get it right first time and so far one, just one dealer has translated that fact into a tangible buyer benefit. Any guess how many more will follow? I'm not holding my breath.

7. In conclusion then, either bash the maker or the retailer or preferably both merely for (a) having the temerity of being in business (b) looking at the world through buyers’ eyes.

Next?
You are paying the costs for repair work being performed on others gear, so that in the event that someday your unit needs serviced, it will be done for no charge.
That's the basis of the insurance industry, not communism.
It’s not LFD audio who are offering the 25 year warranty. It’s their (apparently) principal retailer LFD4U doing this.

I like having options, but I wouldn’t pay extra for an extended warrantee from a third party online retailer who has no skin in the game and has less of a chance than the manufacture of surviving 25 years in the audio distribution space.

This is not a reflection on the quality of LFD products, it a comment on the marketing strategy employed by LFD4U.
So BRF - it seems you want massive discount PLUS 25 year warranty. Are you serious? How long would such a retailer stay in business if adopting your approach? Not long I guess. So where would you be then, once your short-terms aspirations were met and, err .. there was no mid-term let along long-term support?

Yes indeed, a brilliant strategy for any Kamikaze-like retailer. There must still be a few around. Shortly, if such a process were continued then we’d all be left with Amazon, WalMart and not much else. Not a thought I relish. I congratulate LFD4U for pointing the way. Clearly you don’t. Fortunately, despite appearances to the contrary, not all specialist retailers are re-born market-traders.
Bigaitch, you pursue this ideal so passionately that I thought for sure that you must have some skin in the game. Clicking on your moniker reveals that you do have an affiliation with LFD via your Stereo Now business. It is proper on these forums to disclose any such affiliations during the original post, so that the potential for bias may be noted by the readers.

Just to set the record straight again, once again in your post on 11-13-13 you mention in point 5 about "zero-cost extended warranties". Once again I must point out that realistically these do not exist, much like the tooth fairy and pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. You are welcome to believe whatever you want to believe, but we try to keep it real here. In the real world, all business related costs are passed on to the consumer, whether these costs are itemized out or hidden is up to each individual businessperson's marketing strategy.
Perhaps we can ask Audiogon to open up a Fantasy Forum for threads such as this. ;)
So BRF - it seems you want massive discount PLUS 25 year warranty. Are you serious? How long would such a retailer stay in business if adopting your approach?

Read my post again…. what I am saying is that I wouldn’t pay extra for a 25-year warrantee from a third party online retailer with no skin in the game and no track record.

LFD4U offers two-tier pricing. If you pay full MSRP, you get additional benefits such as a 25-year LFD4U warrantee OR, you can pay a reduced MSRP and receive the manufacture’s standard 2-year factor warrantee.

I see no value in a 25-year third party warrantee; therefore, I won’t pay a premium.
Jmcgrogan2, or should I call you Sherlock, you are correct, Bigaitch is Howard Popeck, owner of LFD4U.

Howard, a dealer disclaimer is required.

http://lfd4u.com/where-did-stereonow-go/
"Companies come and go, but an insurance company tends to last a 'lifetime'."

Yes, and so do the premiums.