Thanks for opening up this thread. I will speak from a shop that warranties (at least I think) more product than any pro shop in the country and offer my perspective as a shop owner.
First and foremost: I agree with everyone here that my first wish is to have product that holds up. Obviously there have been issues with every companies boards and boots...as well as everything else. Better quality products mean less warranty equaling happy customers.
TYPICAL WARRANTY POLICY: As I know it warranty for most companies (on wakeboard and boots) is 1 year from the original date of purchase to the original buyer when sold by an authorized dealer for that company. It covers defects in workmanship and quality and upon inspection, if deemed warrantable they will repair or replace it at their (the manufacturer's discretion) You are expected to provide proof of purchase for warranties. You are suggested to go through the dealer you purchased it through.
CHALLENGES WE FACE: First and foremost...we deal with alot of riders who ride EVERY DAY for 10 months out of the year. They stuff tricks, beat their gear to bits and when it breaks they bring it to us and expect us to warrant it on the spot. At some point.....like running shoes, or a car for instance.....if you use the gear EVERY day...you are going to wear it out. If something breaks that truly is defective, we should and will facilitate a warranty. Where we have problems is when guys simply wear out their gear from excessive use and blames the product failure as warranty...when it really is fatigue from overuse. When you buy a car...theres a reason they set a mileage limit to the warranty. Wake gear for alot of customers should be the same. A good example of this is one customer of ours....who bought a pair of 3DS boots from us about 4 year ago, which there have been issues with...who has not purchased a new set of boots in over 4 years because the factories have "warranted the boots" despite him riding 300 days a year. About 14 pairs of boots later, he was in the shop last week to get ANOTHER pair. Is this fair?
Another issue or trend we see...anytime there is a new "boot" or board coming out....there is all of the sudden a huge spike in warranty items. Some so blatantly self inflicted its almost comical.
Others downright ridiculous. But as there are lenient companies who will take the items back...they sometimes get away with it.
COSTS WE FACE: I'm not sure I am the one to say...but for a shop....a warranty is ALOT more than just swapping boots. To Warranty a board or boots we have to:
1: Stock enough boots TO warrant the items
2: Do ridiculous amounts of paperwork to send the items back: problem / size / model, when it was purchased and from who
3: Get Return Authorization...arrange shipping / pickup of defective product...or even send photos / proof of destruction simply to get authorization of warranty
4: Track down Replacement / Credit: Verify we DID get a replacement or credit in a timely manner. And that this credit is the right amount.
5: Re stock (manage inventory) or re order items so you have product to sell.
This is typically a 3 week process....with ALOT of people involved in it. And if we don't stay on top of it...it can be a MAJOR loss for the business. A good example is when I had a warehouse staff member quit who oversaw my warranty...and I thought he did his job...only to find out that I had about $50,000......yes thats right about $50,000 of outstanding or under credited goods we were owed by companies. Yeah....It got my attention....and my customers got taken care of....but we had to fight just to break even recoup some of our money.
EBAY / CLOSEOUT HOUSES / BRO DEALS etc...: Part of the language of most companies have written into their warranty documents is that you need to go through an authorized dealer for warranty issues. EBAY transactions typically aren't that. Unless you know the dealer and they agree to warrant the items bought off ebay....do not expect one. If you buy from a closeout house....take the defective closeout item back to them. Theres typically a reason they have excess items they are selling really cheap. They can and should handle your warranty. If you can't / aren't willing to do this, at a minimum, when you bring it to a local shop....have a receipt....be straight with them about where you purchased it....and ASK for their help. Don't assume they HAVE to do it. A little honesty will go along way. And I would be lying if there isn't a part of me (I am human) that says...."If you'd bought it from me in the first place, I'd take care of you right now...why should I take care of "their problems"...that said, I won't say that to you...I'll bite my tongue and hope I can win you as a customer by offering some customer service / help you with this problem. But I am going to ask for some form of proof of purchase as I will need to provide this to the manufacturer per my agreement with them.
WHAT WE THINK SHOULD HAPPEN GOING FORWARD: First and foremost...if you bought the gear from us...we will have a record of it...and will work with you to resolve a legitimate warranty issue. If theres problems...we want to help you solve it. I do feel that the manufacturers are moving to a 12 months from the original date of purchase on wakeboards and boots. Some items (skates / etc will be 30 days). Again, if there are legitimate issues of quality...I am confident manufacturers will stand behind it....but abuse / overuse / neglect has to figure into this. Right now, these are issues that get abused. There really shouldn't be a "new 12 months" every time you warrant an item....it should be 12 months from the original date of purchase. Liquid Force has implemented this. The other companies are going to follow. This is happening because there are those out there who have worked the system for years right or wrong to never have to buy new gear. For those guys...the free ride will end. That said....for customers who work with shops and support local shops.....you will continue to get the level of service you deserve...warranty issues will get resolved and you will be on the water.
But for you as consumers...you HAVE TO support shops that handle warranties...take care of their problems. When you simply shop for the cheapest price irregardless of service...guess what, you'll probably think its a great deal till you need some service and a shop to help you resolve the problem.
I'm sorry for rambling...this is a HUGE issue for our store. We have a strong warranty policy and work extremely hard to help our customers resolve these issues as easily as we can. However we also see a tremendous amount of people who bring us their defective items and just presume we will swap them out because we did it for their buddy...not even considering whether they buddy bought the items from us, had a receipt, etc...etc.... All I can say is support your local shop......be straight with them.....keep your receipts. When people shoot straight and are honest....these issues will get resolved. For those out there that abuse it...STOP...you are screwing it up for the good guys and girls!
Thx for the soap box.
Performance Founder www.perfski.com