Husky v. Kobalt v. Craftsman

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kaferhaus wrote:

Good for you, you allowed one bad incident turn you into a monster. Does what you are doing make you feel better about yourself?
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and the Sears high ranking officials wonder why Sears isn't viable anymore!
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On 28 Nov 2003 14:21:34 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (kaferhaus) wrote:

[Deleted Horror Story]
Thanks - you just helped me make up my mind. I was tempted to buy the Sears 122 piece laser-etched set that they have on sale right now... Compared to most socket sets they just look so easy to keep organized - clearly numbered, etc... Typically when I am doing work and I have a ton of sockets out, getting them back in order in the case can be a bit time consuming. And Sears seems to have improved upon that.
However - even though I do not expect to be breaking many ratchets in my lifetime, I cannot reward their shift away from hassle-free replacements. I mean what gets me is that these people were perfectly happy with you not having a ratchet for weeks.
Perhaps since this happened a couple years ago - when Sears was going trhough more difficult times, that was one of their extreme cost control measures?
I just don't forsee HD in near or semi-distant future being in an environment where they treat a customer the way (your) Sears treated you. The whole selling point behind their hands tools has been their quality and warranty. No longer it seems?
So I guess I don't know why I should spend about 30% more for a set that has fewer sockets (but does have additional un-needed tools), that seems to be of slightly lower quality, and with a warranty policy that has been slipping in the past few years.
Dirk
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Dirk wrote:

Do you always let one grumpy person influence your decisions so much?

And are you sure you heard the full story? Remember, there are some customers who just cannot be happy no matter what they are offered.

Or perhaps this person left out some important details which might make is anti-Sears message less dramatic?

They are already doing it. You should look around for some of the horror stories people have wrt HD. One of my colleagues has been fighting with them for over 6 months to have defective boards on her deck replaced. She also made the mistake of ordering kitchen cabinets from them. They told her the cabinets would arrive on a certain date. She arranged to have the existing cabinets removed just before this date. Date came and went, no cabinets from HD. She ended up going without a kitchen for 2.5 months before HD delivered the cabinets. Still think HD is so great? Go do some google searches to see the discussions in some other forums.

According to one grumpy person.

Weigh all the evidence and decide for yourself.
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I buy Husky because I don't like Carftsman's quality. When they shifted manufacturing abroad I noticed huge difference in the alloys and the tools became visibly softer. For me it started with screwdrivers when I compared an old "shiny" #2 philips which I had for 15 years with a new "matte" one which I replace every year because of wear. They both get used about the same. Husky tools are good enough for me and I have not had any failures since I started using them four years ago. The breaking point was when my Craftsman torque wrench broke. I had bought it blind without reading the warranty, which is three months. It broke after four months and raging at my stupidity I bought a Husky with 1 year warranty. Has been working for past four years. YMMV and all other disclaimers included.
EJ
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The whole "free replacements forever" or "for life" or "until ..." thing always makes me suspicious, because I'm suspicious of anything that doesn't seem to make economic sense.
For example, for all those years that Sears (at least in theory) just replaced tools, who actually paid for that? Some of those things would have been sensible warranty repairs, but lots probably weren't. And unless the sales of new tools (or sales of other random stuff generated on the get a replacement visit) generate an adequate revenue stream, anyone would eventually be driven bankrupt by this.
It's also a scheme that depends on people behaving in a particular way (most people buy lots of tools, use few, break them very rarely, so it works out. if everybody starts the "go buy old ones and swap them for new" gig, then the folks offering the replacement are likely driven under. I wonder if they ever promised or intended for their warranty to be transferable in this way?)
<snip lots of stuff>

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most economically viable=snap on
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wrote:

Actually I tend to make decisions after doing way too much research :)
The problem is that it isn't one person. There are a host of other usenet posts that suggest their replacement policy has changed... Whether it is giving people "rebuild kits" - or one sales droid actually trying to replace the craftsman with some non-craftsman (inferior) ratchet.
To be honest - if all things were equal, price, socket qty in their kits, etc.... I'd probably go with the craftsman, simply because of the laser-etched numbering feature for easy organization/storage. But in this case, I am really seeing that Husky tools are probably better than the newer craftsman ones, they have more sockets (in the sets I am comparing), and they are cheaper.

Very true.

Very true. However I'm not sure what exactly could be left out where three separate employees of Sears basically refused to take care of him with his immediate need to replace a ratchet. His option was to either wait - or buy a new one.

Great advice. Most of my usenet searches had dealt with Husky tools and in general I saw good or very good praise. HD is not without it's problems though. I have personally never had a bad experience with them - although by searching this morning I have read some interesting threads.
Dirk
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New question:
What is reasonable to expect from a lifetime guarantee?
Sears has been in my estimation very reasonable in their policies of exchanging tools until lately. This meant the guy who left it out in the salt water for three months. The guy who put a cheater pipe on a 1/4" ratchet. The guy who used a screwdriver for a pry bar. You know the types.
So, now, they have changed somewhat. You still get quality tools. Just because the source of free tools has dried up for the unscrupulous does not mean they are still not good tools. Maybe not as good as in the past, but hasn't everything slid down just a little? Plastic in cars instead of steel. You can see it in almost every product. There was no guarantee that the guarantee would last forever. And there are none now that offer a "lifetime" guarantee that can guarantee they will be around in 25 years, either. What ya gonna do? Get a lawyer and sue? Go for it.
In my estimation, for them to change a policy that was being abused is smart business. And don't blame the evil corporations. It was the ones who abused the policy that got it changed. Some of them have posted here bragging about how they screwed over Sears. They just got things changed for everyone. As always, the few screw things up for the many, including the guys who DO get a defective tool now and again.
Steve
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031129 1308 - SteveB wrote:

Lifetime Guarantee. Guaranteed for the life of the tool. You break it and bring it back, Sorry, its life ran out when you broke it. Guarantee's over.
Soooooo, how many tools would you like to buy???
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wrote:

Lifetime replacement. Watch out for those lifetime warrantee for other stuff that cover the *item's* lifetime, not yours.

They haven't changed much. All tools still have a lifetime warranty. You used to get a new ratchet. Too many folks stick a pipe on them and then return them. Sometimes you get a kit. Sometimes a new ratchet. Some stores seem to be giving rebuilts (probably because too many folks couldn't figure out the repair kit).
The store that would not give a replacement because they didn't have any new ones was wrong. Time to contact Sears management and the attorney general and explain the return laws to them - if the state has any.

Nope, not really. Just one stupid manager in one store.

Me, I'd just call the AG and contact management. I'm sure someone would take care of you and give that store manager a little advice about the law (again, assuming your state has some laws to protect consumers).

Yep, and just the ratchets.
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Dirk wrote:

Not to be a smart ass but the first problem with a Craftsman ratchet is it's a Craftsman ratchet.
Their Junk. Always have been. The only good Craftsman ratchet I've had is the one at the end of the 35 year old torque wrench. The only reason it hasn't fallen apart is it never comes close to being abused.
I've also had bad luck with Cornwell and Snap-On.
I'll do S-K or Proto for ratchets.
Ratchets aren't suppose to be used for high torque anyhow.
Far as the quality of their other tools, it sure has gone downhill. I remember it was about the time they announced they were dropping the tool line. This was years ago. They claimed it wasn't profitable enough. What stopped them, IIRC, was they had to honor the lifetime warranty. They had to keep making tools to cover the tools they had already sold. Within a few years the tools were, I want to say scrap but that would be a bit unfair. I haven't tried their 'Pro Line' tools. If I'm paying that much for a wrench I'm almost in Snap-On territory. Or close enough to think about spending the extra jing.
Sales staff? I remember going to Sears years ago. THeir sales people actually knew something. Try to return an abused socket or wrench and you were shown the door. Today someone can waller out a sockets drive end with an impact and they'll take it back.
I still buy Craftsman wrenches, I feel an incredible lack of guilt if I need to twist one into an application specific 'specialty tool'.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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I had a .5" Snap-on ratchet fixed with just a phone call. The wrench is about 40 years old and looks every day of it. I say 40 years...I don't know it could be older if Snap-on was around longer than that. It was my father-in-laws and was used in a machine shop and saw a lot of use. He gave it to me. It was missing the little ball in the "snap-on" part of the tool and I just called Snap-on and they came up to my office and fixed it without problem or comment or charge.
I also had a socket from Sears break and I took it back and the exchange was no problem. They didn't ask any questions just verified that it was a Craftsman and exchanged it.
Ron

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Dirk wrote:

I think it's a guy thing, my wife complains I do that too.

I see lots of people saying the policy has changed. When you ask how they know this I find very few who have actually experienced anything, it is mostly repetition of something they heard.

I haven't checked them out, but I would still wonder whether HD will stand behind the line for the long run. Only time will tell.

Ever see the kind of person who gets belligerant at the drop of a hat? Only highly trained sales people, or someone with a natural ability to deal with difficult people can calm them. Not the kind of skills you will usually see in the tool dept at Sears. Some people get so abusive that they end up closing off options that a more reasonable person would have available. I can't say about this situation, but it's certainly a possibility.

I spent some time looking too. It was interesting to find that most people complaining about Sears were repeating hearsay. Very few firsthand reports. I actually found many people posting their own positive experiences. I guess bad news spreads further and faster than good news.
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On 28 Nov 2003 14:21:34 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (kaferhaus) wrote:

when I had a problem returning something at Lowes. Apparently the returns person at the first Lowes I went to wasn't too fond of white boys.
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snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.com (Rob) wrote:

I've been returning busted Craftsman to the tune of anywhere from $10 to maybe $80 dollars worth a month for longer than I'll ever admit.
Go in with the busted stuff, pick out your replacements, then to checkout. Usually the warranty is on the packaging if there is a problem. If they should give you sass, just ask for a supervisor. In 'my' experience, it happens seldom to almost never... and when/if it does, almost involves a new Sears employee in the tool dept.
Good Luck!
Erik
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