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Rod Warranty (Insurance)


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  • Super User

I've posted below a quote, from a reputable company, giving the manufacturer's view of rod warranty.

This is a quote. I've changed only the company name, at the end of the quote, to XYZ.

We often get the question of what warranty do you have on our rods. We want to take a moment to explain the facts about warranties, and draw a clear line between warranty and insurance.

Imagine two guys buy an identical rod. Jason treats his rod like his first born son. It has a special case and never goes anywhere without being in the case. He catches hundreds of fish a year, never over lines the rod and knows how to get the most out of the stick. He cleans it with furniture polish, and washes the cork.

Jack throws his rod in the back of his pick up. He overlines and throws a lure double the rod’s rating. He also catches a ton of fish, but he high sticks them and tries to lift his fish in the boat like he’s on the bass tour.

Jason will be able to pass his rod down to his son. Jack will be back asking for a new rod in the first six months. Jason and Jack pay the same for the rod.

For a company that offers an unconditional warranty to stay in business, it has to charge enough to both Jason and Jack to cover Jack’s return. Jason should be ticked off at Jack because Jack is costing him money.

Rather than raise the price of an already serious investment to cover an angler like Jack, we offer a warranty for manufacturing defects only. Most rod companies offer the same language, but don’t tell you what “manufacturing defect” means.

Manufacturing defect means a guide ring pops out, a guide comes loose, a tip top comes off, a handle breaks free, a part of the reel seat breaks or a blank breaks on the first couple of outings.

Manufacturing defect does not mean: slamming the rod in a car door, house door, cabin door, etc.; jamming the rod tip into the ground or other large, immobile object; cracking the rod over a tree limb, gunwale, overly excited dog, etc.; using the rod as a step to enter or exit a boat, float plane, helicopter, etc.; high-sticking or reefing on the rod while hung up, on a sounded fish, and so on; and any other abuses, as well as normal “wear and tear.”

What most anglers want is insurance. No one after getting into a car accident calls up Ford, Chevy or Dodge to ask why they don’t warranty a dented quarter panel. Yet the first thing that people do after a rod accident is call the maker and ask for warranty replacement.

Now accidents happen to most of us, even to guys like Jason. Accidents, while not the fault of the rod, must be handled in a way that makes anglers happy yet keeps us in business. The key is to work together and be honest. I can tell you that it is easy to work with the guy that says, I broke this rod, it was my fault, I love your products and I’m just sick about what happened, what can you do to help me out? We want to help this guy get back on the water. This guy has integrity and we want this guy to use our rods.

Last fall I had a guy call and ask me to replace a rod made by XYZ. He told me it was a defective rod and that we should stand behind it. XYZ was four companies and 20 years ago. It’s hard to want to help this guy.

In most cases, we work with the angler to repair the rod at a cost that covers shipping, materials, and labor. If you break a tip, you’re probably looking at $50-$75 plus shipping. If you break a handle, it might be $75-100 plus shipping.

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  • Global Moderator

Timely topic for me...

Last week I smashed a Legend Elite in transit to Guntersville. Yesterday I talked with

Customer Service at St. Croix. The representative was very pleasant and I told her exactly

what had happened. No problemo, no excuses required.

Their replacement program is called the Gold Star Plan. I am required to mail the rod to

Wisconsin, including a check for $75. I download a FedX shipping lable for another $10.

Upon receipt, a new rod is shipped back to me. My rod is an original Legend Elite 70MF,

probably 7-8 years old. My new rod is the 2012 edition! So, for $85 all-in, I get a brand

new rod.

Simple and sweet.

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  • Super User

Right on the money John.

The quote is from Gary Loomis.

I'd say he knows a thing or two about the rod business.

Kent, yours is a story with a happy ending. What I wanted to point out is the other side of the story. Every person who buys a St Croix LE pays something extra to cover the cost of replacement for whoever breaks a rod. It's insurance, not a warranty.

I think we will see this practice go away in the very near future. What I would like to see is this type of coverage offered as an option, not as it is now; a built in cost to everybody.

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  • Global Moderator

I have a 14 year old Demo model Avid, bought 2nd, 3rd, 4th hand - who knows. I bought it in 2005, I think. No receipt. I sent it back to St. Croix with a missing tip top, couple of guide rings smashed out, and a cracked reel seat. Dan from St. Croix called me, and informed me that he'd do the repairs for $75 - same price as Gold Star Service. Got the rod back, newly wrapped guides, new tip top, and brand new from the reel seat back. Now that's pretty sweet. Especially since I love the thing.

The problem I see with offering it as an "option" is making a claim. I especially see it as a problem, if it's offered through a 3rd party vendor. I've purchased so called "protection plans" for electronics in the past. Try getting reimbursed in a timely manner. Good luck. I'm ok with plans like Saint Croix's Superstar program as is.

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  • Global Moderator

I agree...

I want a 1 year "warranty" for defects, not accident coverage. However, since I have already paid for "insurance",

I'm glad to get a replacement at a reasonable cost.

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  • Global Moderator
Every person who buys a St Croix LE pays something extra to cover the cost of replacement for whoever breaks a rod. It's insurance, not a warranty.

I agree. Here's the thing, I don't care if you call it a warranty, insurance policy, or the Mickey Mouse Plan.....it's pimped on the hang tag, and it's a big reason I pay the price of admission. That policy adds value to the rod, and therefore, I'll pay more.

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  • Super User

I agree. Here's the thing, I don't care if you call it a warranty, insurance policy, or the Mickey Mouse Plan.....it's pimped on the hang tag, and it's a big reason I pay the price of admission. That policy adds value to the rod, and therefore, I'll pay more.

And I would prefer to pay less. Actually, I would prefer to not pay for somebody else's mistakes.

I know I am not going to:

run 80 pound line on a rod rated for 17.

high-stick while fighting a fish.

use the rod to get free of a snag.

use a bait heavier than the rod's rating.

throw the rod into the back of a pickup truck.

"set" my reel's drag with a pair of pliers.

lift a fish into the boat with the rod.

put 18 rods in a rod locker made for 8.

etc, etc, etc, .......

All the above constitutes abuse. Why should I have to pay for something I will never do?

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  • Super User

I agree with you .ghoti. I think while replacing or rebuilding a damaged rod for substantially less than the cost of a new one adds value to the the cost of ownership for some, it also adds cost to those of us who don't want to pay more to cover the cost of replacing rods broken or damaged by neglect or abuse. I think Gary Loomis's view is exactly right. Whether I spend $50 or $500 for a rod I expect it to be free of defects and to perform exactly as advertised; if I do something boneheaded and break that rod, replacing it is the cost of ownership in my opinion.

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  • Global Moderator
Actually, I would prefer to not pay for somebody else's mistakes.

I haven't broke a rod in years. I broke three last week. Seriously. All my fault. Ow well. Gonna cost me $225.

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I agree with K_Mac. I snapped the tip of my "trunk" rod during Spring Break trying to free my lure from a tree (don't ask), and even though the rod was under warranty, I opted to replace it out of pocket instead of sending it back to St. Croix. I screwed up, and I wouldn't feel right asking for a replacement.

I think a rod should come with a one year warranty against manufacturing defects and any problems after that should be handled on a case by case basis. If your well-used four year old rod snaps on the cast, it's highly unlikely that there was a manufacturing defect and it should not be replaced by the manufacturer, but if the reel seat of that same rod breaks loose and starts to rotate round the blank, that's a defect that should be covered.

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  • Super User

I don't care to deal with any warranty that isn't over the counter, it isn't worth my time and effort to send it back. If it's a simple repair my local tackle shop can fix it quickly at a nominal price. If it's a major repair costing over $75 plus shipping, I'd toss the rod and buy a new one, not wanting my old rod back, but if the money went for a replacement I would spend the time and money.

This "insurance" program is no different than auto or healthcare (let's not make this political) it's a pool, those that don't need repair or replacement help defray the costs of the ones that do.

I've broken few rods, all my fault and the mistakes I made don't happen anymore, those rods were replaced at my own cost. The rods I use now, have exceeding the lure recommendation all the time, I use the line of my choice, have lifted fish out of the water, have flipped fish up to a jettie, like 8' high. The size of the fish is almost irrelevant, very large fish have been landed on very light rods.

I do not mamby pamby my rods, I use them hard and they don't break.

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  • Global Moderator

Stupid question time, ghoti.... Why do you own St. Croix rods, if this is a policy you don't agree with?

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I agree with JFrancho on this as far as being willing to pay a little more for a rod with a replacement policy. However, if the rod is supposedly costing more up front and you still need to pay $75 for the replacement, it makes me wonder how much of a savings there would really be on the MSRP if the policy wasn't included in the initial price, as it seems like most of the cost of the replacement would be included in the $75 (I'm talking manufacturing cost here, not retail price. I realize that even if they're giving out replacements at cost, they're not making money on the replacement). Also, I want to know what the heck he or the previous owner did to that Avid for it to have a cracked reel seat, no tip top and several broken guides. Did your wife get mad and try to recreate the ugly stick garbage disposal commercial? :eyebrows: I'm surprised a rod in that condition didn't have any blank damage that caused breakage.

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  • Super User

Stupid question time, ghoti.... Why do you own St. Croix rods, if this is a policy you don't agree with?

Stupid answer time, John.

I like them. I like them a lot. I have several Avid and LTB rods, and will no doubt buy more before I'm through.

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  • Global Moderator
Also, I want to know what the heck he or the previous owner did to that Avid for it to have a cracked reel seat, no tip top and several broken guides.

It's an AC62MXF that I use for topwaters, jerkbaits, and short spinnerbait work. I don't know why the reel seat failed. The tip top smashed out, and broken guide inserts....well, that's all me. I had no problem paying $75 for the repairs. I gotta say, they did a great job.

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Stupid answer time, John. I like them. I like them a lot. I have several Avid and LTB rods, and will no doubt buy more before I'm through.

Me too, lol.

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I think that rod companies realize that there are going to be people that prefer both. A high quality rod, and a rod with a warranty. We have some guys that like that warranty, or insurance, and thats a big selling point. Also, we have some guys that don't care about the warranty, but buy a product because its a good product. Sounds like the company can sell more rods and their asking price by offering both options to fit all anglers needs. I can't see how they would ever want to change that.

Also, I don't know how many rods are actually marked, but every rod from Bass Pro has a mark...S8, K10, or whatever. Its not noticable as anything to most people, but they know that the rod model was a 2008, or a 2010. Bass Pro will not usually let you exchange it after one year. I think 1 yr is a fair enough time to find any defects.

*Sorry- I didn't mean every rod FROM Bass Pro. But the Bass Pro line does have this on their brand of rods, and stickers on their reels.

Edited by bigbassctchr101
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Other companies have date of manufacture codes in their serial number. Doesn't mean it didn't sit on the shelf for three years before it sold.

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I want to argue that I do not want to pay for others mistakes as well- however i do own a couple of glx's and would love to think that at least i have the option for a fix- albeit I may never need to.

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  • Super User

I haven't broke a rod in years. I broke three last week. Seriously. All my fault. Ow well. Gonna cost me $225.

OUCH! There's no denying accidents happen. I broken a few in my time, and not one of them was due to a manufacturing defect. Every one was my fault entirely.

Glad to hear you have the Mickey Mouse Plan John. LOL

Seriously, I brought this up because I see a trend. Loomishimano took a ton of flack when they modified their expiditor program. We all heard a lot of people say they'd never buy another Loomis rod. Next on the bandwagon was Kistler. They went even farther, and took even more grief about their new policy.

Lately Powell came out with a budget line of rods with no replacement policy at all. Just a short term, defect only replacement policy, and no insurance program. And they would decide what was a defect and what wasn't. Their marketing baldly stated that this was to get the price point down. This didn't cause much of a stir at all, compared to what happened when Loomis and Kistler got real. Granted, this is a budget priced line of rods, but I think we can all see where this is going.

I think we're in for a lot more. And we'd best get used to idea, because it's not going away.

I would be willing to bet that, in the very near future, only the highest end rod lines will feature an insurance policy.

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  • Global Moderator
OUCH! There's no denying accidents happen.

The worst one was sitting on my son's brand new rod. Nothing feels so stupid as thinking, oh man, I'm gonna break this.....too late.

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The worst one was sitting on my son's brand new rod. Nothing feels so stupid as thinking, oh man, I'm gonna break this.....too late.

At least you didn't get trebel hooked in the back side. Nothing is funnier to a kid than Dad wincing in pain Ex: stubbed toe, hammered thumb, T-ball in the sweets.....

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