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We received a press release a little while back announcing the 10-year anniversary of Bosch’s RapidRepair service, a “network of over 700 service locations throughout the US, making it easy and convenient for Bosch customers” to get their tools repaired. Bosch defines “easy and convenient” as a five-day turn time. Please note that we’re not making fun of the RapidRepair service. Honestly, this isn’t that much different from what you’ll find from most other pro tool manufacturers, and it’s not exactly breaking news. But it did get us thinking about how exactly various return and repair policies work and how they affect the buyer.

We’ve long held that warranties are only as good as the fulfillment system supporting them. Take, for example, the famous/infamous Craftsman warranty. (Please, please don’t email us with complaints about your Craftsman tools. We can’t help you. Call Sears.) What makes this warranty so popular among DIYers is the idea that you can simply walk into your local Sears and swap out the tool for a new one — or more likely for a repaired one. Stanley also offers a similar warranty on their (much less expensive but not that different in actual quality, at least in our opinion) hand tools. But the swap process is a bit more cumbersome and involves contacting Stanley directly and shipping the product back. Because of these differences, most folks don’t consider the Stanley warranty the same kind of warranty. From what we can tell, it’s not that Stanley doesn’t want to swap the tool. It’s just that because Stanley doesn’t own a department store chain like Sears, they don’t have the realistic option of swapping the tools in-store.

Pros seem to think a bit differently, especially when it comes to power tools. No one will simply replace power tools at the store, so in the pro power tool game, it’s all about repair. Hence the importance of dealer networks and approved service centers. So while RapidRepair may not sound particularly interesting, it’s a critical part of the system that differentiates Bosch from more consumer-oriented brands, like their own Skil brand.

Note as well that the Craftsman warranty simply doesn’t apply to power tools.

We need to dig into this a bit more to give you a fuller picture of how the return/repair landscape looks, but in the meantime we’d love to hear from you in comments about your own return/repair experiences. What worked, and what was a PITA?

Oh yeah, and happy b-day RapidRepair.

Tool Service Options [Bosch]


7 Responses to Bosch RapidRepair 10-Year Anniversary

  1. Jerry says:

    Ah, yes, the Craftsman warranty. I personally have returned broken/damaged tools to them and they were swapped out without question – even those that were obviously abused. But, if we gotta mention those pricey Craftsman, we should also note that even HF offers a lifetime replacement on all hand tools. Almost all manufacturers offer the lifetime replacement so my opinion comes down to convenience. Convenience is not packing and mailing a broken tool.
    I should add that the lifetime replacement thing really don’t get me too fired up anyway. I have some extremely cheapo tools that have been used and abused for many years and still work fine.
    This should, however, be an interesting discussion.

  2. SteveH says:

    I was not aware that Stanley did this…heck didn’t they bail their HQ to an offshore company to avoid US taxes a few years ago (something of a big scandal that was even taken up in Congress for a short bit)?

    I do still buy Craftsman hand tools for that warranty, especially now that they can be bought at Kmart and Osh hardware too. I kinda am dreading that Sears goes belly up in the near future, as they are not doing tooo well and may be doomed to follow in JC Penny’s footsteps at some point. Home Depot’s Kobalt tools are supposedly exchange replaceable at any Home Depot, but I’ve never done it nor been too impressed by those tools either.(but I have seen worse).

  3. James says:

    Kobalt is the Lowes store brand. Husky is the Home Depot one. I only point that out because I would love to know which store (or maybe both) have that policy.

  4. Slow Joe Crow says:

    In the dim and distant past I was a Makita repair tech. At that time we didn’t have a repair speed guarantee, but we did have a policy that limited repair costs to a set maximum per tool after which Makita ate the cost.
    We service techs tended to be skeptical about warranty claims, since we had cut power cords submitted as warranty work along with a lot of burnt up motors. On the other hand returns from big box stores indicated a much more flexible approach.

  5. Dave D says:

    The Fein HEPA vac I bought a couple of years stopped working after a couple of weeks of use. It took took two trips (via UPS at my expense) to the closest service center and a total of three months to get it repaired properly. It’s a well designed and built tool (as it should be for what it cost), and works great since the last repair. I know failures can happen with any power tool, but doggone it, Fein should have properly trained service techs with adequate parts on hand to avoid such a ridiculous delay. I don’t expect to buy any more Fein tools.

  6. Don W. says:

    Let me help clarify why the Bosch Rapid Repair program is significantly different than the competition. With the 700+ Rapid Repair locations in the USA, the end user drops off their Bosch tool for repair – The Rapid Repair Partner ships the tool to a Bosch Factory Service Center the same day – Once Bosch receives the tool, 98%+ are repaired by the next day and returned to the Rapid Repair Partner in 5 days or the repair (PARTS & LABOR) is FREE to the end user. Bosch has skin in the game to deliver a fast quality repair. No other tool manufacturer guarantees the repair in a defined time frame along with the FREE component if they do not perform or keep their promise. Bosch is committed to deliver great customer service every time! Bosch also pays the shipping to the Factory Service Center to make it easier and more cost effective for the Service Partner and the end user. There is no other offering in the industry that comes close to Rapid Repair from Bosch.

  7. fred says:

    We buy many of our power tools from a local industrial distributor in NJ that also runs a repair shop for many brands of tools and equipment. I’m not sure that they have any more of an inside track on getting oddball parts than any of us would using internet sources like ereplacementparts.com or toolbarn – so turnaround is not allways as great as the Rapid Repair advertising – but they stand behind their service. For long leadtime critical tools taht are not stocked locally we keep spares in inventory so we can tolerate some downtime for repair. We have not tried the Bosch Rapid Repair service yet – but I see that our distributor is one of the Rapid Repair centers – so I may inquire.

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