All Rod Guarentees Going? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: All Rod Guarentees Going?


striblue
04-26-2003, 12:52 PM
I took a trip to see Nat Moody up at First Light Anglers today to shoot the breeze and pick up some tying material and he told me that very soon ALL rod manufactureres are going to do away with the lifetime or time frame guarentees on All Rods... he said it was making things too hard for the manfacturer and the Retailer... so what you will see is the price of high end rods going down ... To have a rod repaired will cost extra... Not sure how much the higher end will go down..but this would not effect those rods in circulation right now.... so I guess if you were thinking of a high end rod... better buy it now..while the guarentee in in effect or wait for the price to go down... but you will not know by how much for a while... For example ...The Winston BL-5 or only droping about $150... from $695 to $550...

tonyd
04-26-2003, 10:12 PM
I have been saying for years that companies will get away from the "unconditional" warranty and go with a conditional one.Loomis charges a replacement fee,as does TFO.Redington has just changed to a small fee as well.This makes much more sense IMHO as it cuts down on the rod abuse problems and fraudulant claims and often leads to a faster replacement time.

I think paying a $25 fee is more than fair,especially since companies with "unconditional" warranties,still charge you for shipping(which is close to the others replacement fee).

As for rod prices going down,I know that they certainly SHOULD go down as a result in warranty claims,but I seriously doubt they will.Why?Because people are still willing to pay the rediculous prices as they are.The Sage TCR has been a big success,despite it's $700+US price tag.Rods like the Winston WT,as great as it is,is still old technology and IM6 material,yet costs as much as their most technicly advanced rods.

What I see in the future is companies making better rods for lower prices(like TFO does),rather than lowering the prices of their current models.I don't think a Winston BL5 will ever drop from $695 to $550,but,you may see more new rods(like the IBIS) come out and offer near high end performance for a mid range price.

NrthFrk16
04-27-2003, 12:04 AM
I think the total abandonment of Lifetime Warrantys is a doomsday prediction!!

We have over the past couple years seen certain manufacturs inact policies that let them recoup the losses they suffer due to the Lifetime Warranty. These charges do little more then cover the fees of shipping a reparied rod to a customer/dealer.

Sage first placed a $20 handling fee that in the last month was raised to $30. Powell charges $50. Other manufactures such as Winston and Scott charge shipping fees to the dealer to recover their shipping costs. Most dealers in turn pass this fee onto their customers. These charges are generally small...$10-$15.

GLoomis inacted the GLXpeditor program which is often misinterpeted as them not warrantying their rods. You can, in fact, send your broken rod into GLoomis and they evaluate the damage and decide if there will be a charge to fix/replace the rod. If there is a charge, it is in general the wholesale value of the broken rod section. The GLXpeditor program provides the customer with a brand new rod for $55 that is delievered in a couple days time...I consider this service to be a warranty service and a very good one at that!

It is in my honest opinion, that manufactures need to start enforcing the origonal purchaser clause in their guarentees. I give both Winston and Scott credit as they are both sticklers when it comes to one registerting their rod. They will repair a broken rod if the current owner is not the first owner of the rod, but the current owner of that rod will have to pay a nice little fee!

Sage could care less who owns the rod at the time of warranty service...Hell, with Sage, you have no need to send in your warranty card.

By warranting only the orginonal owner of the rod, they would for one sell more rods because people would be much more leary about purchasing a rod secondhand (EBAY!) and secondly, they would save an incredible amount of money. With Sage, I would say 25% or so of the rods I send back for warranty repiar are on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. owner!

I also believe, that as consumers, we are very lucky to be able to send back broken rods for repair with little or no cost to us even after extensive use!

The vast majority of rods I send back for repair (90-95%) are broken not due to manufatcutres defect but due to stupidity, people not understanding the capabilities of the rods etc. etc.

I would be all in favor of the manufactures that carry Unconditional Lifetime Warrantys to dump the 'Unconditional' wording in that phrase such as Loomis has! If Loomis decides the rod was broken not to due to manufactures defect but due to fault of the consumer, they will charge a hefty fee for repair/replacement!

Greg Pavlov
04-27-2003, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by NrthFrk16
It is in my honest opinion, that manufactures need to start enforcing the origonal purchaser clause in their guarentees. I give both Winston and Scott credit as they are both sticklers when it comes to one registerting their rod. They will repair a broken rod if the current owner is not the first owner of the rod, but the current owner of that rod will have to pay a nice little fee!


I sent a Scott in for repair recently. The company did not
ask whether the rod was registered and simply told me
to include $20 for shipping and handling.

I wouldn't mind it if rod companies did away with lifetime
warranties and replaced that "system" with a realistic
flat replacement fee. But I would be very much against limiting
warranties, however they are otherwise constrained, to
original owners. As a customer, I do not see a single good
reason for purchasing a rod from any manufacturer who
reestablishes such a policy and I most certainly will not buy
a fly rod from such a company. I do not see a single good
reason to support a company that willfully imposes a warranty
policy that flat out destroys the value of my rods for its own
financial benefit.

flyfisha1
04-27-2003, 07:57 AM
Originally posted by Greg Pavlov
...But I would be very much against limiting
warranties, however they are otherwise constrained, to
original owners. As a customer, I do not see a single good
reason for purchasing a rod from any manufacturer who
reestablishes such a policy and I most certainly will not buy
a fly rod from such a company. I do not see a single good
reason to support a company that willfully imposes a warranty
policy that flat out destroys the value of my rods for its own
financial benefit.

I was at a fly fishing show a couple of years back and was in the Winston booth, looking at a few rods just out of casual interest. The salesman was telling me about the benefits of owning a $675 rod, how smooth it was, the quality of construction, the fact that this was a rod that was handed down from generation to generation... I think my wife was terrified that I was even considering buying a $675 fishing rod! No way.

Greg raises a very good point: if the warranty service goes away completely, or is even limited to the first-owner of the rod, the market value of that rod drops the instant you sign the registration card and receipt. This is, of course, in the event that the warranty service is so valued by fly fisherman in general that they will dicker about the re-sale value of that rod should it ever see the market as a second-hand (or third-hand) rod.
Am I incorrect in thinking that there is some margin built into the prices of these rods that enables the manufacturer to repair and/or replace a damaged section without burdening themselves? Some of the graphite rods on the market for $600+... give me a break (no pun intended). It doesn't cost that much to build a high quality rod! I suspect that the reason these rods persist at such high prices has already been mentioned in another post: people are willing to pay it, and this is, I would imagine, due to the widely-held perception that fly fishing is an expensive sport; St. Croix and a few others have made great rods affordable, and have large followings which I suspect will continue to grow. What I'm saying is that the margins on some of the really pricey rods are very fat, I'm sure of it! That being the case, the manufacturer of such a rod isn't likely to lose anything by repairing a damaged rod, particularly when shipping is paid by the fisherman. So getting back to my original point, where's the sense in buying an "heirloom rod" if the warranty isn't there to support the tradition?

One last thing: while some of the super high-end manufacturers such as Sage and Winston might consider abandoning the warranty service, there will always be others that carry it on and retain sales as a result.

Eddie
04-27-2003, 10:28 PM
First off, these are really more like insurance policys than warrentys. The prices reflect the potential replacement costs. As long as they honor the contract established when you origionally buy the rod, all's fair. Loomis went from the worst warrenty to the best.
Second, calling a graphite rod an heirloom is laughable. That's like heirloom skis or tennis raquets or computers. Give me a break!
As for the prices, St. Croix rods are cheaper, because they are cheaper to make. They cast fine for the money, but no one will confuse them for a more expensive rod. Not every one thinks a high buck rod is worth it. To each his own. I think Harley Davidsons are $20,000 two wheeled tractors. Others wouldn't eat Caviar if it was free.
I don't see how the retailers are burdoned by the warrenties. I know that the "life time" warrenties make a lot of sales. I wonder what the guy at First Light was talking about.

striblue
04-27-2003, 10:35 PM
I was just repeating what he told me ...Not sure about all the details... buthe did say that one of the manufactureres, which I will not mention . buIlds rods fOR a cost of $35 dollars and sells them for $500. The repare service is what is keeping new rod prices high..

flyfisha1
04-28-2003, 07:18 AM
Hmmm... interesting. $35 cost in the rod, sells for $500 retail... those are good margins indeed, even better than I previously thought. I would imagine that many of these rods go from the manufacturer to the distributor, or even to individual retailers in some cases. Not sure what the percent mark-up is, but I'd be willing to bet that the manufacturer would sell such a rod for somewhere in the realm of $250-$350. So if the manufacturer of such a rod happens to be one that drops this "free" warranty service, everything above the cost is gravy. I can see their POV; these are lean times for some, and everyone is looking at ways to save money.
FWIW, the Winston guy was certainly trying to push one of their graphite rods on me as the "rod that you'd hand down to your grandchildren". No, my grandkids won't need to fish with a rod of that value to enjoy themselves... if I learned on an inexpensive rod and graduated to moderately-priced models and can catch fish as well as the next guy with an outfit that costs four times as much as mine, I can't personally justify it. The thing is, what's your point of reference? I've never fished with a rod that cost more than $350, and probably never will, but I can put a fly on the money at quite a distance all the same. Honestly, I understand that some rods are cheaper to make than others... but then there's also a perception that high-dollar rods are pricey for a reason... that may not be as true as we once thought.

BobK
04-28-2003, 08:10 PM
Read the annual catalogs of major rod manufacturers, especially high end, and you will notice a lot of older rods being replaced by new models. You see the hype - higher modulus, newer exotic metals added, ad nauseum. You know, planned obsolesence. In other words, why would I want to pass an obsolete rod onto my grandkids (except sentimental value!). I'd much rather buy them a good one for a lower price, teach 'em not to abuse and care for it, and do away with the prices jacked up for "so-called free replacement insurance".

Yeah, some guys appreciate fine bamboo rods. I can't recall a major manufacturer back in the '40s and '50s when they were factory produced that offered anything more than a spare tip as a "warranty".

I think that some of us that do dumb things and break rods maybe just ought to be forced to go out and buy a new one, or pay the freight for their carelessness with a reasonable replacement part for the broken section. Makes sense to me!

To me, when I shop to buy an appliance and the dealer speaks about extended warranties, I always say, "Why do I need that. Was this made so it will break? What kind of company would do that?"

You should see the hemming and hawing that goes on then!

The problem is simple. If we accept junk and low quality, then that is exactly what we will get. And if we want to do dumb things to our rods, and break them, then we will pay for that, too - one way or another!

Okay - off the soapbox. :devil:

BobK

Greg Pavlov
04-28-2003, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by Eddie
First off, these are really more like insurance policys than warrentys. The prices reflect the potential replacement costs. As long as they honor the contract established when you origionally buy the rod, all's fair. Loomis went from the worst warrenty to the best.
You're right that these come closer to being insurance policies than warranties.

The prices may reflect the replacement costs. Then again, there are also relatively inexpensive rodswith identical "lifetime warranties." Cortland, for example, gives such warranties on rods it lists for less than $200.

My suspicion is that actual replacement cost for the top half of a $600+ rod is in the neighborhood of $40 - $50. This doesn't mean that the company makes high percentage profits: most of these companies are relatively small with rather small production volumes, have to spend a fair amount on advertising, have to keep sufficient staff to give warm & fuzzy feelings to people who call up, design ever-newer and ever-"better" models, etc. So my assumption is that the actual cost of producing one rod is quite low but the sum total of the expenses of one of these companies is quite high relative to total sales.

striblue
04-28-2003, 11:16 PM
Greg..I think that's it.. I do recall Nat talking about expense ratio's....

BobK
04-29-2003, 08:40 AM
You may call it expense, burden, overhead, and other names, but here are a FEW of the costs -

- Cost of the factory building(s) and repair/maintenance;
- Cost of the equipment;
- Cost of deterioration and replacement of the equipment;
- Cost of maintenance;
- Heat, ventilation, air conditioning;
- Environmental controls;
- Labor costs; (they need raises, too!)
- Scrap and Rework costs;
- Quality tracking costs;
- Employee Benefits costs; (they need vacations, health care, etc.)
- R&D costs (and employees to do it);
- Manufacturing process upgrades (equip. and process);
- Learning costs for new process upgrades;
- Administrative costs;
- Advertising and publicity costs;
- Distribution costs;
- Nonlabor (management, environmental and engineering) salaries and benefits
- Nonlabor (management, environmental and engineering) expenses
- etc.

On top of this, they have to provide the rod to a wholesaler at a very low price so he can make a buck, and he sends it to a retailer who has to tack on more so he can make a buck.

A $20 to $50 dollar nominal charge for a new rod section would be CHEAP - it only covers replacement costs of the material and the labor required to make it - NOT all of the items covered above.

I don't doubt that rods can be made for very low prices - IF you don't add in the costs above. That is probably where the confusion comes from.

And if they DO make a buck, the government is there to get more than their "fair share" for doing nothing.

(Any volunteers who want to get into a major rod business - or any business???):hehe: :hehe:

BobK

flyfisha1
04-29-2003, 09:06 AM
Speaking as one that works in a small company started in a garage 14 years ago, and is now on top in our industry, I agree: there are many costs associated with production of any good, however I also know from first-hand experience that the key to success is efficiency and getting the most out of your employees; everyone has to wear different hats at times, and that's part of what streamlines a company and enables it to be profitable. I don't doubt that many fly rods cost oodles of cash to produce, and that the margins on these are smaller relative to some lower performance rods by the same manufacturer... in most cases, you're paying for the name, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, because so many of these companies have great customer service and they have built that reputation over many years; they can charge, of course, whatever the market will bear. Still, the margins have to be good otherwise these companies would cease to exist.
I think that in retrospect, I'd much rather pay to have the rod repaired if and when I actually break it rather than up-front and based on the assumption that I'm going to break this rod one day, if it's going to save me some $$$. For one thing, if a rod comes down by $100, that probably puts it into the price range of many more anglers that can't bring themselves to pay whatever the current price of that model is... hence, potential increase in sales.

JDJones
04-29-2003, 02:14 PM
My .02 for what it's worth.

IF a hi dollar rod can be built for $35, it would be much more cost effective for the manufacturer to replace it outright rather than repair it. This is what Redington was doing when they started out.

I am amazed that I can send in a rod that has been out of production for a number of years and still have it repaired, at any cost. I wonder how much longer this can continue? It must be a manufacturers nightmare to come up with a blank section for a rod like that.

Perhaps the value we place on Grand Dad's rods is not due to it's performance characteristics, but rather the quality craftsmanship that went into building it and the mere fact that it has survived all these years.

Hang onto your old rods. Even the glass ones. Give them to your grand kids and teach them to fish with them. No, they are not the latest hi-tech tools, but they don't know that,,,,yet.:hehe

Greg Pavlov
04-29-2003, 10:39 PM
>
>On top of this, they have to provide the rod to a wholesaler at a >very low price so he can make a buck, and he sends it to a >retailer who has to tack on more so he can make a buck.
>

To the best of my knowledge, "high end" fly rod makers sell
directly to dealers at something in the range of 35% discount
from list.

>A $20 to $50 dollar nominal charge for a new rod section would >be CHEAP - it only covers replacement costs of the material and >the labor required to make it - NOT all of the items covered >above.
>

I agree and I tried to make that distinction as clearly as I could.

BobK
04-30-2003, 07:57 AM
Just another thought, and looking from another side of the equation,

If you buy the rod only on the basis of warranty, you must be either:
a. Clumsy
b. Accident prone
c. Careless
d. Awfully unlucky
e. Dumb.

I don't think that is the major reason for selecting a rod. I think it is other "intangible" reasons, like action, feel, etc.

BobK

JDJones
04-30-2003, 01:52 PM
I know for a fact that Sage sells to a local rep who then sells to the dealers. I suspect that there is some relationship between some of the manufacturers and the rep that he cannot also rep the competition. One rep that I know of represents Sage, Billy Pate, Tibor, Bauer, Action Optics and maybe Scientific Anglers. These are often, not always, the guys you see working the booths at the trade shows.

That is not to say that some mfr's have not eliminated the local rep concept and gone to selling direct to the dealers. Everyone is looking to cut expences and increase profits the best they can.

Eddie
04-30-2003, 02:40 PM
JD, Sage sells ONLY direct to dealers. As does all the others mentioned except SA. Reps get a % from the manufacturer.
Anybody who thinks that the huge margins translates to big profits, should put their business acumen to the test and give it a try. I suspect that any of the top brands could be bought for next to nothing compared to other top business.
I have broken a bunch of rods. Befor the good warrenties, that was expensive. Without raising the prices, the warrenties were added, and I think that they are great. Those warrenties DO sell rods. I forget the numbers, but Sage gets at least 30 rods a day during the summer. They have only had the warrenty for about eight years. I can't see a rod company dropping the warrenty, and trying to compete with the others. That would be suicide.
Instead, rod companies will follw the lead of Redington, Orvis, and TFO and move much of their assembly and manufacture off shore. Then the margins will skyrocket.
When you compare fly fishing gear to conventional, it's like night and day. Walk into a convetional tackle shop and how many rod and reel makers are there? How many premium makers? Only a handfull of each. Flyfishermen have so many choices, it's really amazing. On top of that, some one can buy a fly outfit within almost any budget. Nobody complains that they can't afford an Austin Martin.

JimW
04-30-2003, 03:53 PM
I think making the warrantee optional (read as costs extra) might work out. $25-$50 extra for the coverage. I'd pay it on a $400+ rod. The rod companies would have to cover the existing merchandise at the dealers and in the field but newer rods could be serialized or identified in some other way. You've gotta figure they're already talking within the industry. I won't use a term like PRICE FIXING but a $600 rod no warrantee, they won't get my biz. Anybody want to split a mandrel ;)

Greg Pavlov
04-30-2003, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by BobK
Just another thought, and looking from another side of the equation, f you buy the rod only on the basis of warranty, you must be either: .....a

I haven't seen anyone here say that. Have you ?

BobK
04-30-2003, 08:24 PM
I thought THAT post and its reasoning ought to wake some people up, and maybe start some discussion! Apparently not. Oh, well!:rolleyes:

I tried.

BobK

2HandTheSalt
05-01-2003, 07:51 AM
Does anyone really think that fly rod manufacturers can indefinitely repair or replace broken rods forever?

It is fiscal suicide, and many of the biggest manufacturers are very near to diving on their swords already. Something has to change.

As one who has never broken a fly rod, I am in favor of reasonable warranties, and much lower prices.

flyfisha1
05-01-2003, 08:15 AM
Originally posted by 2HandTheSalt
As one who has never broken a fly rod, I am in favor of reasonable warranties, and much lower prices.

I second that...

Eddie
05-01-2003, 04:35 PM
I want a new Ferrari for $30,000 too.

It's funny, but when the rod makers added the warrenties, prices didn't really go up (so margins went down?).
A buddy and I once gestimated that Sage probably repairs about 5% of the rods they sell. The only way out, would be to sell the company, and the new owners refuse to warrent the old rods. In a way, it is like a pyramid scheme, where you just don't want to wind up holding the bag when 5% adds up, and discounting becomes the norm. That will be a sad day.

Smolt
05-01-2003, 08:52 PM
How many really believe that if the warranties were significantly limited or done away with altogether, that rod prices would come down? Do you remember what happened to coffee prices when there was a major shortage in the early 1990's? The price of premium coffee increased about 40% at retail. When supply normalized, the retail price of coffee came down about 10%, but did not come down anywhere near 40%.

The only reel reduction in fly fishing rod and reel prices that has occurred recently, of which I am aware, was made by Abel. I would venture a guess that the price changes were the result of competition, i.e., better high-end rods and really fine high-end reels, at better prices.

If all the companies change their warranty policies, I doubt there will be any significant change in prices -- just like coffee. We are used to paying the high prices asked for high-end rods and the manufacturers know that we wil continue to pay them, even if grudgingly.

Just my $0.02.