Is A Lifetime Warranty Really Worth Offering? One Company Thinks So…

This IS NOT a sponsored post. Yes I am about to talk up a company and how great their service is, but I am not being paid to do so, I have not been sent free products or services, and I have not been asked to write this. I just feel that this is the right thing to do seeing that I have this public platform where I can do it.

Back in 2010 I was down in Melbourne on an overnight business trip. Being an overnight trip all I had with me was my laptop bag which was big enough to hold a change of underwear, socks, a business shirt for the following day, toiletries, my laptop, and my diary/notebook, but small enough to be carry-on luggage so I could be straight on my early morning flight and I wouldn’t have to wait around to collect baggage.

Interstate business day trips with early morning flights and late evening return flights as well as single night overnight stays has become a common thing in this role that I took on in July 2009. Generally for these day trips and single night overnight stays I travel between Sydney and Melbourne where I have a few customers and Sydney and Brisbane where my head office is located. Before that, with the previous company I worked for I only went down to Melbourne each July for a single night to oversee the annual stocktake being carried by my company’s Melbourne warehouse.

As travelling via aeroplane wasn’t a common thing in my previous role, although I purchased a laptop/overnight bag from big name and therefore quality manufacturer, the bag that I bought didn’t have rollers or a handle which meant that I had to rely on the shoulder strap or struggling to carry it in my hand if it is full. I’ll admit that I can remember being jealous of those other passengers who literally rolled up to the gate, rolled onto the plane, and rolled the bag down the aisle to their seat.

My first laptop/overnight bag which only had a shoulder strap. I keep my guitar leads and pedal in this now.
My first laptop/overnight bag which only had a shoulder strap. I keep my guitar leads and pedal in this now.

During this business trip in 2010 the strap of my bag broke as I had it filled to the brim. My laptop back then was a rather heavy 15.6″ heavy-duty beast that weighed a tonne. It wasn’t like the light ones that we have six years later. To make matters worse, part of the reason I was down in Melbourne this time was to visit a trade show and I had picked up a lot of catalogues, industry magazines and brochures and collected a stack of pens, hats, stickers and squishy toys that the exhibitors were giving out (my kids love those squishy toys) and there was more than what I could fit in my bag.

It would have been rather awkward of me walking from my hotel room to wherever it was I was heading the next morning so whilst I was out for dinner that night I decided to pop into one of those late night office supply stores that we have all over the country. After checking out a few bags I finally settled on the Targus Overnight Urban Roller Notebook Case. It had all the features that I wanted and plenty of sections to put things in. But best of all, it has wheels and a handle.

The bag had a removable laptop inner bag as well.
The bag had a removable laptop inner bag as well which was helpful when needing to take the laptop out at the security gates.

That night I switched all my stuff over to the new bag and put my dirty laundry items and the catalogues and other things I collected in my old bag. Of course, as I now had two bags and was flying economy, as I do, I had to check my old bag in on my return flight, but that wasn’t a problem at all.

Since purchasing this bag it has accompanied me on flights to Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and back to its homeland of Melbourne (I know it feels a connection with the city I picked it up from), as well as Germany, China and Thailand. It has travelled in my car plenty of times when I have gone on overnight business trips that have been within driving distance but far enough away for me to need to pack a bag and stay the night. Although I’m not one to be pedantic about looking after things, as this bag has always been carry-on luggage and never checked in there is no way that it could have gotten damaged and become old. Heck, I even used it plenty of times as a footrest in the lounge at the airport.

The bag is sturdy enough to be a footrest
The bag is sturdy enough to be a footrest

It was about three flights after the one I took in the photo above that I found myself heading back to Melbourne, this time for a week long stay for a conference and exhibition my company was exhibiting at. As always my bag came with me and I used it as a day bag to take my laptop, tablet, chargers and diary as we were walking from our hotel room to the exhibition centre and back each day which was a 2km walk each way. During the week, once we had arrived in Melbourne, the handle of my bag had stayed in the fully extended position as I didn’t have a reason to put it down. It wasn’t until the last day when I was connecting it to my large suitcase to take it down to the taxi that was waiting for us that I encountered the problem; the handle wouldn’t go down.

After a bit of investigation I discovered that the button on the top of the handle didn’t work. I had to open the bag up and zip open the inside liner to get to the section where the poles of the extended handle sit when the handle is down. Although it wasn’t easy, I pressed the buttons that hold the handle in place when it’s in use and was able to put the handle back down. When I went to pull the handle out again, however, the button had completely jammed up which meant that the handle was now stuck inside the bag. I kept it like this until I arrived back home in Sydney and then checked it out to see if it could be fixed.

I don’t normally keep the merchandise tags on things that I buy, but as this one mentioned that the new bag had a lifetime warranty I kept it. I even filed it in with the warranty cards for all the household electrical items and electronic devices that I have purchased over the years. I never thought that I would ever need it, and I was very pessimistic about whether or not Targus would accept a warranty claim on this, but as the bag was in great condition and how this fault occurred was anyone’s guess, and wasn’t due to any negligence on my behalf, I called them to see if they could repair it.

20161014_105058.jpg
It pays to keep the warranty cards.

I was told by the customer service representative that this bag was discontinued in 2011 and replaced by newer models. I really didn’t care if they replaced it as the bag is still clean and looks good, but as they didn’t have the parts any more, this was not an option. But, before they could replace it they needed to see some photos. They wanted to make sure that the fault was something covered under the lifetime limited warranty, and like many of the products that I’ve sold over the years, a tell-tale way of seeing whether it’s something you should cover is the condition in which the user keeps it in.

The email from the company told me that the photos that I needed to email to them needed to show the condition of the bag, and also highlight the fault. My first email to them had two photos attached showing how good a condition the bag was in. The customer service representative wrote back telling how good the condition of my bag was for its age but still really needed to see the fault. As it was hard to take a photo of a button not working I decided to take a video instead. And as the file size on a video would be way to large to email, I uploaded it to my Instagram account and then sent her the link.

(If you can’t see the video below, click on the Instagram link and watch it there).

I love my carry on luggage bag but the button on top of the handle that allows me to walk with it broke. Lucky it has a lifetime warranty.

A video posted by Darrell Milton (@modernfatheronline) on Oct 6, 2016 at 9:42pm PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

On seeing this, they didn’t have an issue with replacing my bag and in less than a week the new bag arrived, delivered to my office. I guess the thing to take out of this anecdote that I’m telling is, keep your warranty cards, keep your items in great condition, and keep an open mind when it comes to reporting faults that may be covered under warranty.

If this was a cheaper item I expect that I wouldn’t have taken my own advice there, but as the Targus product is way more expensive than the laptop/overnight bags that you can get from the cheaper department stores, you know that buying a product from one of the big names in travel bags and computer bags, you get what you pay for. As my wife is now travelling to conferences herself for work and taking her notebook, tablet and chargers with her, and often staying overnight herself, she is now in the position to need to get a bag like this.

And I have no problem recommending her buy a Targus product. In fact, now they have me as a lifelong loyal customer, I’m going to insist on this.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not a sponsored post and Targus offered me nothing more than great customer service, but as a sign of my appreciation, I’m happy to promote their product and their company.

 

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