Here’s a topic that we have been thinking about quite a bit lately after seeing different people trying to call out brands on Instagram for not replacing their broken frames and parts. In a perfect world, it would be amazing if you could go out and ride hard, break a part, then hit up the brand and get a replacement for free, right? Well, unfortunately that’s not the real world and it seems like a good number of people don’t understand just what a warranty actually covers. This post is for all the brands, shops, distributor, and social media managers that deal with these requests, sometimes from very rude and angry people, on a very frequent basis. So, What does a warranty cover? Let’s talk about it…
Limited Manufacturer Defects Warranty
There are a few different styles of warranties that are offered in the BMX industry. One of the most common is a warranty against manufacturer defects. What does that mean exactly? Well, it’s actually pretty obvious. If you buy a product and it comes out of the box with issues like crooked tubing, improper welds or something that prevents the product from functioning like it was designed for… Then you have an issue. Let’s say for example, you order a frame and it shows up on your door step with dropouts that don’t line up, making it impossible for you to put your rear wheel in centered. That’s a manufacturer defect. Or, for example from experience, you get a frame and the seat tube diameter is too small and you can’t fit the standard style of post in it… That’s a manufacturer defect.
If you’re trying to warranty a frame with a dented or bent tube or something caused by riding or improper installation like stripping the threads on a stem or wheels, this isn’t something that is covered. Why? Because it was caused because of riding or some other force outside of the control of the brand who created the product. It’s not their fault you beat your bike up or didn’t know how to properly install something. This is why it’s highly suggested you have anything installed on your bike by a trained professional. Given, working on a BMX bike is about as simple as it gets, we’ve seen people really mess things up by doing it wrong.
What about cracks on welds? This is something that can be looked at in a case by case basis because SOMETIMES a bad weld or materials could have caused the damage. We say sometimes because 9 times out of 10 it’s because the person riding was hard on the product and caused the damage that even the strongest of welds wouldn’t have been able to handle.
Most warranties that cover manufacturer defects only last 30 to 90 days and sometimes up to 1 year. You MUST be the original owner (No, you can’t warranty something you bought second hand off a friend even if it was like new) and most of the time they require you to have that fancy warranty card that comes with most higher end products like frames already sent in. It’s your responsibility to follow the guidelines, since most of the time if you have failed to produce proof, it won’t be covered.
Lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship
Similar to the Limited Manufacturer Defects Warranty, some brands offer a lifetime warranty in the same fashion. No, this doesn’t mean you’re going to get a replacement if you hit up the brand 2 years later because a “defect” has been discovered after beating the crap out of the product. It’s the same thing as the limited version above, but you don’t have a set time frame to get your claim in. You must be the original owner and have that proof of purchase and warranty card to make this one work in your favor.
Limited “crash replacement” warranty
Here’s one for those of you who are fans of taking advantage of warranties after beating down a product. Some brands, for example Sunday Bikes on a few of their items in their product range, offer a limited “crash replacement” warranty that will cover bends, cracks or breaks caused by normal riding conditions… Not because it fell off the bike rack going down the highway, your buddy dropped a hammer on it or you were hit by a car and then a tornado came and sucked it up into the sky launching it a mile down the road. We’re talking you crashed riding your skatepark, trails or a street spot and it was damaged. Things some what normally caused from the style of riding that we do on a BMX bike. Once that happens, then you need to have proof of purchase, that warranty card and a little cash because this warranty doesn’t give you a new replacement for free. It’s going to be a replacement for a reduce cost than buying it new.
Ah, the good old fashioned LIFETIME WARRANTY that everyone wished (or assumes) was available on every single part on their bikes. For example, Odyssey offer a lifetime warranty on their 41-Thermal heat-treated products. This warranty will replace broken products that have bends, cracks or breaks caused from normal riding conditions 100%. In some cases they will replace it with a newer version or a different product that is more suitable to what you should be riding. Similar to the crash replacement, this is damage caused by riding and not outside forces. This also requires you to have a warranty card filled out and you being the original owner. This is also one of those warranties that will be looked at in a case by case basis.
So, that wraps up the different warranty options that BMX has to offer. Obviously these different tiers have their own advantages and flaws that may benefit somebody that doesn’t deserve a warranty or may burn somebody that has a product that is truly covered in a warranty.
A few things to note:
– When you’re in the process of starting a warranty claim, be as polite and friendly as possible. Sometimes that will help you out even if your warranty claim is beyond what is normally covered and they will do you a favor… If you’re demanding, rude and impolite, you’re on the fast track for getting denied… Even in some cases when you actually have a real qualified warranty.
– No, you won’t receive a brand new replacement in a day or two. Warranties will take time and sometimes it can take a week or two to actually get you the replacement. If a company based in the U.S has to ship a product to Australia for example, you can expect it to take a few extra days since shipping overseas will take time.
– Want to avoid that wait time? Take the product back to the shop or contact the mail-order you actually purchased the product from. They will verify if the product is covered and then get you another replacement from their stock or the brands distributor which will save a lot of time. Going directly to the brand can cause delays since they will most likely have to reach out to the distributor and shop you purchased the product from anyway before they can do anything.
– KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS! Some places will have your order history saved, but most of the time it’s on the person who purchased the product to keep the receipt to have proof they were the original owner. Without this, it’s highly unlikely you will be able to get a replacement.
– Fill out the warranty card! It takes a minute and can save you a lot of headaches if you’re trying to get your product replaced. Sure, you lost it, accidentally threw it away with the boxes or your dog ate it… A few brands even allow you to register your warranty card on their website. Don’t be lazy if you want to make sure you’re getting the full value of the product you’re buying.
– Understand that you aren’t the only person in the world who needs attention. A lot of brands are smaller operations than they may seem, so sometimes it might take a few days to get a response from them, so don’t freak out! Which leads to my next point…
– Talk to the place you purchased the product from or get the warranty information on who to contact direct from the brands website (Most have a link at the bottom of their website) to EMAIL them. Reaching out on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook is usually not the best route to go to complain or ask for a warranty. Some brands have thousands of followers and get a lot of messages and things can get buried, so they can get missed, especially if you just mention them in the description without actually tagging them. General questions will get answered, but warranty questions will 9 times out of 10 lead to a response asking you to email the brands warranty address.
– Don’t be stingy! If you got a lot of use out of a product before it had issues, save yourself the hassle and just purchase a new product – Support the brands you believe in. If you were unhappy with the result of a product you rode, try something else from another brand. If brands had to give out a replacement for every single warranty people try to make claims for (most of which are pretty boarder line in my opinion), they would go out of business. Every sale counts in this industry and most brands are re-investing that money into better products, supporting more riders, events and scenes.
Alright, well, I hope this helps clear up some of the questions people have about warranties in BMX. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!