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Warranties compared for scope manufacturers

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 15:25
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After the discussion we had on the Swarovski warranty, I built a spreadsheet for myself that shows all warranties compared for the US. I thought I might as well share the data. My info may be out of date or incorrect, so if you find an error, please let me know, I will edit when facts are wrong. The companies whose names are not here - I just don't know enough about them. The global ratings are, of course, mine, and rate warranty, downgraded by lack of support if the company does not fully support the warranty in practice. They do NOT rate the quality of support itself, only the lack thereof when it impacts warranty service (edited for clarification).

Please note that the following information applies to scope optics and mechanicals, not to accessories, and not to scope electronics.

5-star warranties (corrected by support)
  • Leupold: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnaround. Great online reputation for support.
  • Vortex: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnaround. Great online reputation for support.
  • Sightron: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnaround.
  • Burris: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnaround.
  • Minox: lifetime, transferable, no questions asked. Easy to reach support, turnaround is fast and repairs are done in the US (scopes are assembled in the US also).
  • Zeiss: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnaround for US repairs, slow for Euro repairs.
  • Hensoldt: lifetime, transferable., Easy to reach support, quick turnaround for (small) US repairs, fairly quick for Euro repairs.
  • Nightforce: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, reasonable turnaround.
  • Redfield: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnaround.

4-star warranties (corrected by support)
  • Nikon: lifetime, transferable. There are a lot of bad (and also good) stories about support.
  • IOR: lifetime, transferable. Easy to reach support, slow turnaround (Europe repairs). Opinions are divided on the quality of service.
  • Meopta: lifetime, transferable, but registration must be sent within 30 days of purchase. Right now Meopta CS in general waives the registration requirement even if scope was transferred. Easy to reach support, fast turnaround for US repairs/ in general fast replacement for Czech Republic repair.

3-star warranties (corrected by support)


  • Weaver: lifetime, not transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnaround.
  • Trijicon: lifetime, non transferable. Easy to reach support, reasonable turnaround.
  • Schmidt & Bender, 10-year warranty, transferable. Easy to reach support, fast turnaround when US repairs (since Jan 2010), slow when Germany repairs.

2-star warranties (corrected by support)
  • Bushnell: lifetime, not transferable. Easy to reach support. Many mixed stories about the realities of Bushnell service.
  • Kahles: lifetime for "optical systems", 5 years labor/ 10 years parts for others, not transferable. Easy to reach support, slow turnarounds (Europe repairs).
  • Swarovski: lifetime for "optical systems", 5 years labor/ 10 years parts for others, not transferable. Easy to reach support, quick turnarounds (repairs now effected in the US). In practice, their warranty service has largely exceeded the terms of their warranty. Many positive stories about their support.
  • USO: lifetime, not transferable, does not cover dust in lenses. Warranty service requires original packaging and original receipt. Easy to reach support, fast turnaround (in the past 3 years). Some mentions of refusal to exchange irreparable scopes. Many positive stories about speed, quality and extent of support.

1-star warranties (corrected by support)
  • Steiner: 10-year warranty, non transferable. Easy to reach support, turnaround unknown.
  • March: 5-year warranty non transferable. Hard to reach support, slow turnaround (Asia repairs)

0-star warranties (corrected by support)
  • Falcon: no warranty in the US. Dealer provides dealer warranty if any. Typically dealers provide 5-year non-transferable warranty.
  • (waiting for you to send me some names:-)

Important Edit Note: there has been some mention of subjectivity. Therefore, I should be very clear on how I created my ratings (that's what I use on my spreadsheet, for my own use). There is NO subjectivity on the warranty section. There is ONLY subjectivity on the Downgrades, which may only remove 1 star, no more.
- 5 stars = lifetime, fully transferable warranty, covers all (except usual negligence, mistreatment etc.): only the best
- 4 stars = 5 stars minus a downgrade (see below for downgrades)
- 3 star = lifetime + non transferable, or transferable + non lifetime
- 2 star = lifetime warranty does not cover all systems, non transferable
- 1 star = warranty limited by a number of years, non transferable
- 0 star = really crappy warranty

Downgrades ONLY by 1 star to the scale above:
- if there are many stories of support problems
- or if there are restrictive clauses on the lifetime warranty

How I got the warranty info:
For most companies, I actually have a copy of the actual warranty document. For some, I do not have a copy (like IOR), but I described what retailers described as the warranty. If you have a recent copy of the document, and I am wrong about the data, simply post the data and I will correct it.

This is NOT evaluating service or quality but warranty:
This is focused on warranty, and SLIGHTLY corrected (by up to 1 star down ONLY) for significant service issues when servicing the warranty.

I am simply sharing my data, as a service to the community. If this is going to turn into an ugly thread, I'll simply delete the content. I am not looking for a contest - just sharing what took me a lot of time to research for my own use... I know it is very valuable to me, I am assuming others would like the information.

Link of interest: Eagle Optics warranty summaries across the industry primarily for binos/ spotting scopes. Their info is slightly outdated.

(1. edited for specific warranty information)
(2. added rating explanation)
(3. corrected USO rating)

(4. edited paragraph titles)
(5. updated Zeiss, Swarovski, Bushnell, USO entries)
(6. clarified further purpose of the spreadsheet)
(7. added S&B, Hensoldt, slightly updated 3* criterion)
(8. added Meopta)
(9. added Minox)
(11. added Falcon)


Edited by WestOfPecos - October/26/2010 at 23:38
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 15:49
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Originally posted by WestOfPecos WestOfPecos wrote:

1-star warranties and support
  • USO: lifetime, not transferable, does not cover dust in lenses. Warranty service requires original packaging and original receipt. Easy to reach support, fast turnaround (in the past 3 years). Some mentions of refusal to exchange irreparable scopes.
 
Where did you get this information? 
 
I personally have owned a brand new, USO SN-3 that had debris inside the lens when I received it through a group buy on Snipers Hide. I sent it back to USO and the situation was resolved immediately, with no questions asked.
JW3 answered the phone when I called about it.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 15:55
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IOR gets a 4 star and USO a 1?? Laugh
Boy, I could run with this one, but I won't.  For now.....Big Grin
 
I think you'll find peoples CS experience with the various optics makers is going to be VERY, VERY subjective, to say the least.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:04
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Great concept but I agree with Mark...very subjective indeed. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:06
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

Originally posted by WestOfPecos WestOfPecos wrote:

1-star warranties and support
  • USO: lifetime, not transferable, does not cover dust in lenses. Warranty service requires original packaging and original receipt. Easy to reach support, fast turnaround (in the past 3 years). Some mentions of refusal to exchange irreparable scopes.
 
Where did you get this information? 
 
I personally have owned a brand new, USO SN-3 that had debris inside the lens when I received it through a group buy on Snipers Hide. I sent it back to USO and the situation was resolved immediately, with no questions asked.
JW3 answered the phone when I called about it.  

Hi Cheap trick -

I did not mean to get your temper up. This is where the info comes from:

- their warranty docs say exactly what is listed above. I quote:

"When this Custom Made Scope is presented to U.S. Optics, at its factory or Authorized Service Centers, by the original retail purchaser, in original packaging with the original purchase receipt. U.S. Optics will at its option repair product, replace components of product, or replace product with like product, available at the time of service. U.S. Optics will provide warranty service free of charge only if product is found to be defective in material or workmanship, if it has been purchased
directly from U.S. Optics, or, in some cases, our authorized dealers. This limited warranty does not include scratching of lenses**; dust on the glass reticle (see U.S.O. Catalog section "fogproofing and dustproofing") etc.."

- they have had great service for the past 3-4 years, as per online reports (before it was terrible). But I have also read about times when they did not replace a scope that they had not been able to repair. It is remotely possible that all the stories referred to the same incident. But there is one such incident reported on Opticstalk, about 2-3 years ago.

I don't have an agenda. If my facts are wrong - please correct me. I don't really care who rates first or second - I am only sharing my data.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:19
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Oh, I'm not mad at all. Carry on.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:21
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Originally posted by WestOfPecos WestOfPecos wrote:

 But there is one such incident reported on Opticstalk, about 2-3 years ago.

 
Are you referring to Mike McDonalds USO experience? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:25
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Sorry - it took me a while to find it again. Yes, Mike McD. Similar stories have shown up on other forums in the past few years - but it could have been Mike under a different handle there, or other people talking abt it.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:32
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I just added a couple of paragraphs in the original post to explain how I rated warranties.

I am glad to share what I found, but,  if it creates too much turmoil, as I am not looking for grief or disagreements, I'll delete out the content of the original post.

My goal for the spreadhseet I created was to be able to quickly compare, at a glance, how manufacturers' warranties compare, and if some corrections are needed due to practices that cheapen the warranty. It helps me compare offerings. I have no brand loyalty to uphold. I have no agenda. I am simply gathering facts and putting them together. All the ratings come directly from the warranty language, except for a possible 1-star downgrade for service practices that lower the value of the warranty in my eyes.


Edited by WestOfPecos - September/29/2010 at 18:15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 16:36
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Originally posted by WestOfPecos WestOfPecos wrote:

Sorry - it took me a while to find it again. Yes, Mike McD. Similar stories have shown up on other forums in the past few years - but it could have been Mike under a different handle there, or other people talking abt it.

Yeah, Mr. Mike had a less than optimal experience with USO, as I recall. My experience was terrific, others have had negative things to say about USO.
 
Some have had a stellar experience with IOR and I was so mad at "Val" I wanted to drive to Colorado and beat him with the scope I bought. Hence my smart ass comment earlier.  Wink   
 
I JUST had a slightly negative experience with a well known weapons accessories manufacturer, who shall remain nameless, but others have raved about them. Good days, bad days. Chocolate, vanilla. You know what I mean.   
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 18:09
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

Yeah, Mr. Mike had a less than optimal experience with USO, as I recall. My experience was terrific, others have had negative things to say about USO.
 
Some have had a stellar experience with IOR and I was so mad at "Val" I wanted to drive to Colorado and beat him with the scope I bought. Hence my smart ass comment earlier.  Wink   
 
I JUST had a slightly negative experience with a well known weapons accessories manufacturer, who shall remain nameless, but others have raved about them. Good days, bad days. Chocolate, vanilla. You know what I mean.   
 

OK my turn to OOps - I mislabeled USO with the wrong label. Per the criteria, it should have been 3* less 1* downgrade for warranty limitations, in the same way as IOR was 5* less 1* downgrade for slow repairs... I am amending the form to show USO at 2*... Sorry:-)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 18:29
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I don't see how Zeiss can have quick turn arounds when they too have to send the scope back to Europe.  In one instance for me I was quoted 6-weeks, minimum.
 
It's a shame Swarovski is the way they are non-transferable warranty (unless its thru an authorized dealer).  Wonder why (gray market, keeping their distributors happy, who knows...)?
 
Jim
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 18:44
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Originally posted by tjtjwdad tjtjwdad wrote:

I don't see how Zeiss can have quick turn arounds when they too have to send the scope back to Europe.  In one instance for me I was quoted 6-weeks, minimum.
 
It's a shame Swarovski is the way they are non-transferable warranty (unless its thru an authorized dealer).  Wonder why (gray market, keeping their distributors happy, who knows...)?
 
Jim

Zeiss: I could be wrong. I read somewhere that they are now doing their warranty work in the US, and that it dramatically shortened the waiting time. Maybe wrong info? If so Zeiss should be downgraded. Does anybody have recent info on this?

Swarovski: oh so true:( If their warranty was better I would already have pulled the trigger. I was so close to buying a Z6i last week. But, after checking the warranty, I stepped back to think it through a bit longer. This is actually what caused me to put the spreadsheet together.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 21:16
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Swaro does not send their scopes back to Austria for repairs for US customers.  They are done in their Cranston, RI facility, and their turnaround is pretty fast.

I've heard multiple troubling stories about Nikon's CS.  In contrast, Swaro has a proven track record of treating their customers very well and taking care of any problems quickly and without questions or conditions, regardless of what their warranty says.

A buddy of mine would strongly disagree with Bushnell being placed so high.  He ended up sending the same trail cam back 3 times because it wouldn't work -- after they supposedly "repaired" it.  They made him pay for shipping both ways -- for repairing their brand new, defective product.  Bushnell doesn't actually manufacture anything; they outsource all manufacturing and put their name on the product.  In my opinion, based on no shortage of evidence, I believe Bushnell has become so large and diverse that providing good customer service has crept lower on their priority list.

Many of the Euro optics have a shorter warranty period because of the European laws limiting warranty periods.

Warranties are only as good as the companies backing them.  If a company doesn't have a strong customer service philosophy to begin with, the warranty terms don't mean a whole lot.


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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Swaro does not send their scopes back to Austria for repairs for US customers.  They are done in their Cranston, RI facility, and their turnaround is pretty fast.

I've heard multiple troubling stories about Nikon's CS.  In contrast, Swaro has a proven track record of treating their customers very well and taking care of any problems quickly and without questions or conditions, regardless of what their warranty says.

A buddy of mine would strongly disagree with Bushnell being placed so high.  He ended up sending the same trail cam back 3 times because it wouldn't work -- after they supposedly "repaired" it.  They made him pay for shipping both ways -- for repairing their brand new, defective product.  Bushnell doesn't actually manufacture anything; they outsource all manufacturing and put their name on the product.  In my opinion, based on no shortage of evidence, I believe Bushnell has become so large and diverse that providing good customer service has crept lower on their priority list.

Many of the Euro optics have a shorter warranty period because of the European laws limiting warranty periods.

Warranties are only as good as the companies backing them.  If a company doesn't have a strong customer service philosophy to begin with, the warranty terms don't mean a whole lot.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 21:45
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What are you defining as a quick turnaround, and what percentage of customers have to fall in the category to be considered quick?
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Swaro does not send their scopes back to Austria for repairs for US customers.  They are done in their Cranston, RI facility, and their turnaround is pretty fast.

I've heard multiple troubling stories about Nikon's CS.  In contrast, Swaro has a proven track record of treating their customers very well and taking care of any problems quickly and without questions or conditions, regardless of what their warranty says.

A buddy of mine would strongly disagree with Bushnell being placed so high.  He ended up sending the same trail cam back 3 times because it wouldn't work -- after they supposedly "repaired" it.  They made him pay for shipping both ways -- for repairing their brand new, defective product.  Bushnell doesn't actually manufacture anything; they outsource all manufacturing and put their name on the product.  In my opinion, based on no shortage of evidence, I believe Bushnell has become so large and diverse that providing good customer service has crept lower on their priority list.

Many of the Euro optics have a shorter warranty period because of the European laws limiting warranty periods.

Warranties are only as good as the companies backing them.  If a company doesn't have a strong customer service philosophy to begin with, the warranty terms don't mean a whole lot.



I had already read a lot of mixed feedback on Bushnell - so, Ted, based on the assumption that you feel there is "no shortage of evidence", I am downgrading Bushnell (-1 star).

Swarovski: I agree with you on excellent CS from them. I will add a positive comment. I will also remove the slow turnaround comment, snce they are now processing warranty returns in the US.

Euro optics: their US operations are not subject to European law - it is their choice only. Btw, these laws show how much industry influences consumer legislation, in a really bad way, in many countries.

I agree with you abt the fact that the practice of warranty service must be good too. But I do not agree that the warranty content does not matter. It creates a legal obligation. Both warranty doc and practice need to be good:-) Having seen it from the inside, I can guarantee that a good warranty pushes a CS group hard in a good direction every day. The matrix is:
- Great CS group/ practices + Great warranty = superlative support
- Great CS group/ practices + Poor warranty = good support today (maybe not tomorrow)
- Poor CS Group/practices + Great warranty = decent to good support eventually
- Poor CS Group/ practices + Poor warranty = definitely don't buy


Edited by WestOfPecos - September/30/2010 at 00:56
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Originally posted by helo18 helo18 wrote:

What are you defining as a quick turnaround, and what percentage of customers have to fall in the category to be considered quick?

Helo: I call quick turnaround 10 days to 4 weeks, depending upon gravity of problem. Imho, for service to be called quick, you have to have the very large majority of support cases resolved quickly as defined above.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/30/2010 at 07:23
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Originally posted by WestOfPecos WestOfPecos wrote:

  But I do not agree that the warranty content does not matter. It creates a legal obligation. Both warranty doc and practice need to be good:-)


I'm not at all suggesting that warranty content doesn't matter.  I'm saying that product quality and the company's actual demonstrated practices matter more.  Some of those with excellent warranty terms don't have the product quality to match their warranty, or good customer service in practice.  If you buy a high quality product, you are less likely to need a warranty, and just because a company says their product is covered for life doesn't mean they do a good job of service, will actually repair things to the customer's satisfaction, or won't give you the runaround when you are trying to get something repaired.  Or, they make the warranty repair process a hassle. 

I would much rather buy from a company who has proven to demonstrate great CS than one who merely says they do, but their practices don't match their rhetoric.  Sure, it's best to have both great customer service and a great warranty, like Leupold and Vortex, but I would much rather deal with a company with a proven track record of great service and a mediocre warranty than one with a great warranty and mediocre service.  I feel like I can reason with the former.

Another example... ask around and do some searching on Burris and Swarovski and then tell me which one treats their customers better.  Then, tell me if they are in the correct order on your list. 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/30/2010 at 07:25
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What about SWFA's SS warranty?  Chris doesn't really list one but everyone knows if something is wrong he replaces it.   nothing written down but Its a 10-star warranty in my eyes!  And I know i won't have to use it either.Big Grin
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Bushnell fixed my banner for me. Fairly quick turn around. THis is the only experience I have had with bushnell cs. The only complaint I have is that they claimed the scope broke due to improper mounting, but I think it was due to not being able to withstance the recoil of the gun. It worked for a while then crapped out. From taking apart my eurolux scope, and taking the lenses off of two simmons, I dont see any reall way that mounting a scope would cause it to break premature after seeing how the internal workings are. They are much simpler than I had thought. ist basically a smaller tube inside the larger tube with a spring and the two adjusters pusing against that tube in a way that will angle the tube in the x and y axis. the other end is fixed with a spring washer and lock ring that holds it steady but allows for adjustment movement.
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:


Another example... ask around and do some searching on Burris and Swarovski and then tell me which one treats their customers better.  Then, tell me if they are in the correct order on your list. 

Ted: for clarification, they are in the correct order:-) This is why - my spreadsheet is evaluating the warranty, slightly corrected by the service, if the service did not properly implement the warranty. I tried to define that as clearly as possible in the original post. Burris has a lifetime transferable warranty, and implements it in practice. Swarovski doesn't have a warranty that is lifetime on the whole scope, and the warranty they have is not transferable. You are discussing Swarovski's service, which is top notch - nobody is denying that. But this is not what I am evaluating. I am evaluating their warranty, which is wanting.

I do understand that you put service quality ahead of warranty quality. If I had to make the choice I would probably do the same. But I don't want to have to make that choice. I would like a good warranty and good service. I don't really want to sacrifice the warranty - my choice. As SVT was writing, Vanilla, Chocolate... :-) This is why I put this spreadsheet together for my own reference.

I truly don't mean to pick an argument - just sharing facts. I have learned a lot from your many posts on OT - they are always cogent and dense with information. I am not looking forward to giving the impression that I disagree with you - and, in fact, I actually agree with 95% of what you wrote in all these posts. I also don't want to leave the wrong impression on the subject at hand. I do know about warranties, their implementation, and the problems around them, and I certainly feel that my point of view on them is as good as the next man if not better:-)

Btw, Burris, from what I know, would also rank high. I have read very few complaints abt them, and the people who write about hem typically say good things abt their service from what I have read. Anecdotally, I actually have some Burris gear, and my interactions with Burris CS have always been outstanding. If they always treat their customers like they treated me they have first class service.


Edited by WestOfPecos - September/30/2010 at 11:40
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Joined: September/08/2010
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Points: 239
Originally posted by SVT_Tactical SVT_Tactical wrote:

What about SWFA's SS warranty?  Chris doesn't really list one but everyone knows if something is wrong he replaces it.   nothing written down but Its a 10-star warranty in my eyes!  And I know i won't have to use it either.Big Grin

I could not find a written warranty, although I am sure there is one somewhere. But I would only publish a rating if it rates really high, it is their site after all:-) I know their service is really good.
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