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]