I’ve launched a mini crusade on rod warranties. The manufacturers are charging you for them, whether you want to buy a warranty or not. The fly shop people hate warranties, because they sell fewer new rods when people are able to replace their old ones. And most manufacturers actually dislike warranties too, because they would rather sell new rods as well. (Sage’s repair department, for example, is the second-largest fly rod manufacturer in the world… behind Sage’s fly rod manufacturing operation.)
Rather than continuing to smear lipstick on this pig, I think it’s fair to test what anglers actually get when they buy a warranty. So I have rods of various makes and models being sent back to companies as we speak, and I’m going to tell you, honestly, what the warranty service is like. How much does it really cost for the “handling” and all that? How long does it take? Do you get what you wanted in terms of the rod repair?
First into the barn is Scott Fly Rod Co., which handled a return of a F652/3 (a 6-1/2-foot, 2-weight, 3-piece fiberglass rod). Now, that was admittedly a real curveball—an older model, fiberglass, 2-weight. And I might have given Scott a re-do with a more standard, graphite, 5-weight if they needed it. But my thinking was, yes, Scott handles fewer returns than some of the big boys, so let’s throw them something tricky.
Scott kicked butt. Repair, shipping, and handling cost was $50 all-in (after I spent @$10 to mail it back). Return time after rod was sent in was three weeks. It’s the exact same rod, with a new tip that fishes exactly the same or better as the old one. No questions asked, no hassles. Boom. Done.
From my knowledge of how this industry works, and my experiences with repairs and warranties in the past, I’d say this earned an “A” grade.
There’s the bar that’s been set. Now let’s see if any of the other rod companies can climb over it.