Report: #936334

Complaint Review: Harbor Freight Tools

  • Submitted: Mon, September 03, 2012
  • Updated: Sun, March 10, 2013
  • Reported By: Ex Harbor Freight Customer — Stockton California United States of America
  • Harbor Freight Tools

    Oxnard, California
    United States of America

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Harbor Freight has begun placing signs in their stores and claims in their advertisements that they have a "lifetime warranty on all hand tools."   I recently purchased a battery terminal cleaner, which is most definitely a tool, and is hand powered.  (It can't be considered a power tool.)  It broke the in the first few seconds of use, due to poor design.  However, when I returned it to the store, I was told by the cashier that "it is not a hand tool." 

I contacted corporate via e mail, and was told that the only tools covered by their supposedly all-inclusing warranty are tools bearing their PITTSBURGH brand.  Thus, the majority of their stock is not covered by any sort of warranty, despite their clear misrepresentations to the contrary. I'd thought their tools had improved enougn in recent years that it would be safe to purchase something relatively simple, but such is still clearly not the case! From here on out, it's purchase something at Sears or a reputable auto parts store and pay a little more for something which will last.
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/03/2012 12:48 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 UPDATE Employee

Deceptive Warranty?

AUTHOR: Razz300 - (United States of America)

Most tools in the store carry a Life Time Warranty.
but, the tools that do say it on the tool, either in the box, on the tag, ect...
everything else has a 90 day return policy...
but in both cases you still will need a receipt in order for them to accept a replacement, return, or your money back.
I also argue the fact that they really need to advertise the Life Time Warranty on the tools that are a little better, but in the same instance the store classifies a hand tool as a basic tool (Hammer, screwdriver, wrench).

I also agree that it is hard to keep a receipt for more then a week at most but, if you know you are going to use the product for more then 90 at extensive use it would be a smart idea to keep the receipt in a file someplace.

I have dealt with a customer in the past with the same issue you have had and I explained the return policy more in depth to him. he was a little upset about it. but at the time the same battery terminal cleaner was $0.99 and he was more then happy to by a new one, but when he walked out he then took my advice because a week later he brought it back and like all our products we accepted his return and gave him his money back "no questions asked" because he had his receipt  
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#2 Consumer Comment

More Harbor Freight Warranty Information

AUTHOR: tila - (United States of America)

Even if they had considered the battery terminal a tool you would have needed the original receipt.  Harbor Freight requires an original receipt for ALL returns, including their brand of hand tools (Pittsburgh etc.) with a limited lifetime warranty.  Who can keep a receipt for a $10.00 item for over a year?  This make their warranty useless.

Another near useless (fraudulent?) warranty is for power tools.  Most of their power tools have a 90 day warranty.  At the register they try to sell you an extra cost 2 YEAR WARRANTY.  You buy the warranty thinking you will have a working tool for at least 2 years.  This is not the case.

The extra cost extended warranties are good for ONE use only.  If the tool breaks on the 91st day of ownership, it is a 1 day warranty.  Only if the tool never breaks or breaks at the end of the 2 year period is it a 2 year warranty.

HF totally misrepresents their warranties.  It either is, or borders on being fraudulent.

In many cases HF sells enough quality for the dollar that I continue to buy from them.  I am more selective than I used to be, because I know they really don't have warranties.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Agree with OP

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

This is from the Harbor Freight web site:

Lifetime Warranty on Hand Tools! We guarantee our
Hand Tools to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the
life of the product. Limitations apply.

It sure seems to me like a terminal cleaner is a hand tool.

I don't see any explicit exceptions and I don't see any definition of what they think a 'hand tool' is. They state that Limitations apply, but they don't say what the limitations are.  Pretty nebulous and they really need to a better job of this verbiage. 

I agree with the OP on this.
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#4 Author of original report

Definition of a Tool

AUTHOR: Ex Dish User - (United States of America)

Free online dictionary:  A device...used to perform or facilitate work

Merriam Webster New Collegiate Dictionary:  1) An instrument used or worked by hand.  2) Something used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation.

Free Online Dictionary (an Encyclopedia Britanica Co.):  A handheld device which aids in accomplishing a task.

And though I've seen battery terminal cleaners last for years, the fact that a tool may eventually wear out does not change its definition.  An example would be a tap or die, or a cutting tool for a lathe. 

Do you work for damage control at Harbor Freight?
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#5 Consumer Comment

Definately NOT a hand tool.

AUTHOR: Ceadda - (U.S.A.)

A battery terminal cleaner is NOT a hand tool. Hand tools are things like hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and sockets. Things that you use over and over again and expect not to wear out or break under normal use.

Battery terminal cleaners would be the same as wire brushes, sandpaper, files and saw blades. You expect them to wear out and be replaced. Yes, they should have done a "you just bought it and it broke here's another" swap with the receipt.

No, it should not fall under any warranties.
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