Thursday, November 5, 2020

Light Bulb Warranties and Other Warranties that are Useless

A few years ago, I bought a pack of LED light bulbs. On the front of the package it says they last for 13 years*. On the back it says they have a 5 year warranty (based on 3 hours of use per day). That right there is already a big discrepancy, but that's not even the issue I have with it.

I figured the bulbs should last at least 5 years and if they didn't then I would be able to get a replacement. So I kept the receipt just in case. Sure enough, 3 years in and one of the bulbs is not working. I pull out the box that I had been saving and review the warranty information.

It says if the bulb does not last 5 years you can get a replacement bulb by sending them the proof of purchase and shipping them the light bulb. Here is the problem, the bulb itself is only worth about $1 and shipping a light bulb across the country is going to cost more than $1 so if you wanted to claim the warranty, you would actually end up losing money.

Because of this, the warranty is essentially meaningless. They say they will replace the bulb but if it is going to cost the consumer more money in the process than the bulb is actually worth, no one will actually claim the warranty. I think this is poor practice on the part of the company. If they are going to offer a warranty like this, it should not cost the consumer money to claim it.

I had a new box of LED light bulbs from another brand and they have the same kind of warranty where you have to ship them the bulb in order to get a replacement. This returning defective items by mail may work on high value items, but for low value items like light bulbs, it simply does not work.

I would not be surprised if there are other warranties out there like this where the cost to process them is more than the item is worth. Have you found any other items with warranties like this? 

Update 11-17-20:

I ended up contacting the manufacturer by email and was able to submit a claim without sending in the bulb. About a week later I got a letter back that included a coupon for a replacement! I am pleased they were able to honor the warranty without having to mail the bulb back.


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