Cautionary Tale - Extended Warranties and design for obsolescence

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UKW Supporter
26 Dec 2017
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United Kingdom
Heads up to those who are shopping for new power tools and I'm curious to know if this scenario has caught anyone else out.

Extended warranties do have an influence on the decision when I buy a new tool. I like to buy good stuff rather than the cheapest and when parting with the cash I figure that in the worst case at least I'll get 2, 3, 5 years use for my money.
All too often though the extended warranty isn't automatic, you have to go online and trade your personal details to bump the warranty up from a basic 1 year to whatever.
Equally often, getting around to the admin of registering for that extended warranty - finding the website and the login details you previously set up - is a pain and easy to forget.

Today I got caught.
I have a top of the range Bosch cordless drill. About 18 months old. It's a brushless combi. It's comfortable and has been working great.
Today I noticed that the LED worklight is failing - one LED no longer lights. Slightly bad sign - LED's should last for tens of thousands of hours so either supplier quality control is substandard or I just got unlucky
3 yr warranty I thought, I'll just check it out before it packs up and ask them to mail me a spare part so I can fit it myself as and when

Oops - I have most of my Bosch kit registered but I've forgotten to register this one so I'm now out of warranty

Oops 2 - BIG SURPRISE - the LED isn't an individual replaceable part. Bosch have combined all of the electronics into a single composite piece - brushless motor control, trigger, LEDs, everything into one big assembly that fits inside the grip and includes the battery connector down bottom. £123 plus VAT ! if I wanted to fix a failed 5p LED. It actually costs more than I paid for the bare tool in a case.

Ooops 3 - now that I'm looking into warranty details, in passing I notice that bosch-professional are rated as BAD (1 star) by 76% of reviewers on trustpilot. I don't read review sites like trustpilot but if I was Bosch and my customers were crucifying my reputation in public, I'd surely be trying to do something about it.

Lessons learned:
  1. Register your kit when you buy it - don't leave it for later and forget or you'll regret it
  2. DO take time to check out the review sites. They might not push me towards a brand but they surely will make me cautious about one that is receiving such widespread criticism for product quality and aftersales service
  3. If it's a big purchase, download the manual first and look at the parts diagram. My drill is a stunning example of a tool made for cheap manufacture but awful design for maintenance and repair.
  4. Bosch used to be great tools for longevity and easy to maintain. This is the second time in a year that I've looked into repairing one of their current tools and found it a total bust. I like (most of) their ergonomics. I like their battery tech. But the built in obsolescence has reached new heights here and ain't something to be encouraged ....
Sorry to hear that. Just darn luck. That reminds me I have something I need to register! I've gone down the mikwauke route so far not had to claim any warranty although the chuck on the combi drill is a bit iffy sometimes. Are Bosch just not having it at all? Rules are rules but if you are loyal customer.
You could try to see if Bosch might be sympathetic if you have lots of tools registered?
Probably not worth the effort, but surface mount LED's can sometimes be replaced by someone with the right equipment and sometimes with just a good soldering iron. Depends if they are mounted on an aluminium base plate. Some low wattage ones are just surface mounted on a flexi and easy to remove, but taking these things apart/re-assembling can be a nightmare.
At least the drill still the moment...get a head torch and everything will be fine!! :)
It doesn’t always help if you’ve registered things, the good lady wife is at present at loggerheads with Samsung who tell her she didn’t register our microwave as they have no email, not surprising as she registered it over the phone!
They want proof of registration & even though she has given them the reference number they gave her at the time they still want further proof, how do you prove a phone call almost two years ago :rolleyes:

All I know is making porridge in a saucepan is a PITA compared to the microwave.
Hmm. I always intend to do the registration stuff and always forget. I had to send a dewalt gun back for a fix within a few months and it was pointless dealing with dewalt. I took it to a registered dewalt service centre. They fixed it under warranty without me struggling to pin dewalt down
Similar with makita and my jigsaw.

Most things last a few years of site use 🤞