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Does Warranty exist on fly rods?

Broken fly rods are upsetting for anglers and tackle stores. Fly rods are a delight to use, but lend themselves to being easily broken, because they are long, fragile and often jammed in a door, overhead fan, stepped on in a boat, caught in a tree, eaten by the dog, sucked up in the vacuum cleaner and many more incidents. In our shop we have heard every story on how rods are broken. Sometimes we hear 'it just broke when I was casting'. Maybe?, but usually there has been some damage already delivered to the rod. It may have been hit with a bead head nymph, clouser or just pinged with the point of a fly. Rods are fragile - especially when nicked, scraped, jammed or squashed. Often you will not even know until it gives up. Some anglers constantly break rods, whilst others never break a rod.

Warranty is a couple of things: If it breaks first use without the angler's intervention it will generally be replaced as faulty. After that 'warranty' usually means the manufacturer will replace the part or rod at a cost, which varies between brands. It is not a warranty or lifetime guarantee, but replacement part you pay for.  

Some years ago SAGE introduced a 'lifetime warranty'. It was a dumb thing to do as it turns out. It did give them an advantage for a while. Now SAGE have changed that to 'Current, Recent, Legacy and Unrepairable'. Rods before 2004 are generally Unrepairable. Sage rods can be sent through any dealer, or direct to Sage. The broken part must be sent and Sage make a new part and return it to the customer. This can take 3 to 12 months. Redington are part of the Sage group and they generally replace the rod for a fixed price. 

Scott, Orvis and other top end USA made rods often also want rods returned to be repaired. However the new Orvis Helios (4) has announced a fast turn around for new parts without anything needing to be returned. In Australia that will probably be around 4 weeks. Primal also like rods to be returned to ensure parts fit.

Douglas, Hardy, Hanak, Pisces, Echo and a few other manufacturers offer replacement parts that can be replaced in store quickly or often within a couple of weeks. GLoomis often has tips available, but other parts can be an issue. 

Somehow it does not make sense that the more expensive a rod is the longer it takes to resolve a broken part. It also makes no sense to me that a rod should be covered by any guarantee past - say 10-15 years.

Some manufacturers will offer an upgrade to a new model at a highly discounted price if your rod can't be repaired. This is usually a very good deal. 

I understand rod makers want a marketing advantage, but their simple words of warranty and guarantee are not so simple, and certainly more complex when delving into what you are covered for, and should expect, when you present your broken rod to the retailer.

Warranty and Guarantee - in general do not exist and those words should be scrapped in favor of Replacement Guarantee or similar. Ask your dealer when you buy a rod exactly what to expect if you break it. We can be remiss at not explaining the Replacement Part arrangement fully. We are not hiding anything, but mostly we are not asked and it never comes up until a break occurs. It can be upsetting for all parties if expectations differ. 

If breaking rods worry you, ensure you know what to expect. Your household policy may cover replacing a broken rod too - and with some rods over $2000 now it is a serious investment.