When discussing Product Guarantees/Warranties, I am often reminded of the scene from Tommy Boy. The prospective customer feels it is necessary for the brake pads to have a guarantee on the box. It makes his customers feel all warm, fuzzy and secure. Tommy explains to his customer that the only thing they sold you is a guaranteed piece of you know what. Tommy explains, rather than buy a product with a guarantee, why not just buy a quality product for your customers sake. Tommy is not as dumb as one might think.
The Ugly Truth
Look before you leap into a target purchase with a guarantee. Now by no means am I suggesting that target manufacturers with warranties/guarantees are making bad targets. I believe a target purchase should be made on the quality of the product, rather than the warranty it provides. Targets with warranties are only telling you part of the story when you look at the fine print. Let’s look at some as they exist today.
Rhinehart 18-1. I can personally attest that the Rhinehart is a fine target. I have used one for broad head shooting myself. But, the 1 Year limited warranty is with its flaws. It requires that EVERY one of the 18 spots must be shot out with a 3” arrow grouping with arrow penetration to the nock for the target to be replaced. Does that seem reasonable? Also, at what lengths are you going to shoot your target to be sure you will qualify for a replacement? I know for a fact, I am not going to shoot my $20.00 arrow and broad head into a target that is at the point of failure, just to get a new target. How many arrows/broad heads will I have to go through? Also, I don’t want to take the time and money to package and ship the target back to the factory. All the while waiting to see if I qualify for a replacement target.
Morrell Bag Targets 2 Year Warranty. Once again, I can attest to the Morrell targets as being in my opinion the best cheap bag style target on the market. As a former Archery shop owner, I can say that we sold several of these targets to customers who would shoot occasionally. We never sold these targets based on the warranty of the product, because we thought it was a bit misleading. According to the warranty, Morrell will replace any target that has been consistently shot through on all the spots on both the front and back. The warranty DOES NOT apply to the cover. In the event a claim is filed, one is required to ship the target (at customers expense-$40.00 estimated) to the factory. The question remains, if the target qualifies under warranty, who pays the shipping back and will you have to purchase another new cover ($20.00). Seems like a lot of time and money to replace a target that is worth around $70.00.
Bulldog Targets Lifetime Warranty. According to them, the thing that breaks down the most is the facing. They will send you a Free Kit when the face is shot out. You only pay $12.95 for the shipping of the kit. While they explain that the inner core will not need replacement or repair, I find that to be misleading. Any time one shoots in a concentrated area for any length of time, the inner components of the target will be displaced or broken down,and thus create voids and soft spots. Keep in mind, the inner core is what is responsible for stopping the arrow and will need to replaced at some point. They do mention that if this occurs, you can ship the target to them (at your expense) and they will make it good as new and ship back (at your expense). No mention of Free Shipping. Once again, seems like a lot of time and shipping expense.
SpyderWeb Targets Warranty. A company should stand behind its products in the event of failure as a result of manufacturing defect. Over the last 10 plus years, we have replaced defective targets on multiple occasions. Although our defect rate is less than ½ of 1%, we do not require the customer to pay the shipping to or from. We feel that is our responsibility. Also, we believe that it would be very misleading on our part to provide you with a guarantee policy that would require you to package the target (good luck finding a box that will work) and to pay the shipping fees. Call me old fashioned, but if you have an issue, you call me directly and we will solve the problem.
Final Thoughts: When you start looking at warranties and guarantees, always be aware of the fine print. Once again, I am not here to suggest that companies mentioned above are substandard. As Tommy suggests, base the merits of your purchase on the quality of the product, not a warranty/guarantee.