A few days ago, I snapped one of the picks in my Craftsman hook and pick set while I was trying to pry a 3D print apart. I didn’t apply what I thought was excessive force, but it broke right at the base.
This type of tool isn’t designed for heavy prying, but any decent tool shaft should at least stand up to moderate force, because it is going to be used that way at some point. I didn’t even get close to applying a moderate amount of force.
I had purchased the set a few months ago for $7, thinking that I’d give them a shot. At first glance, they appeared well made. I’d used them several times and they performed adequately. But after what happened, my first assessment might have been wrong.
Here’s a closeup of where the shaft broke. After seeing how easily the pick broke, I became really disappointed with the set. I decided to relegate them to the donation pile, but I don’t like donating broken or partial tool sets, and so I figured I’d try out the new Stanley Black & Decker Craftsman warranty policy.
According to the Craftsman Website, hand tools have a lifetime warranty. In the hand tool section they list these tool categories specifically:
- Hammers & Demolition Tools
- Finishing Tools
- Hex Key
- Knives & Multi-tools
- Nut Drivers
- Rachets & Sockets
- Wrenches & Wrench Sets
Here is the text of the warranty:
If the product fails to perform for any reason, we will replace it. Return damaged product to a stocking Retail Partner or call 1-888-331-4569 for details. No proof of purchase required.
Note: Same Warranty for all New Craftsman Models (Model # starting with “CMHT”) and older models (Model # starting with “9”)
Certain Exclusions: Warranty does not cover expendable parts which can wear from normal use (i.e. blade in a knife)
While the hook and pick set doesn’t technically fall into one of the stated categories, the part number is CMHT65073, and so it should be covered.
I collected the broken tool pieces, the rest of the set, and the receipt, and drove to one of the nearby Lowe’s hoping to exchange it for a replacement. When I got there, I only brought the broken pick to the customer service desk. The associate didn’t ask for a receipt, or even the rest of the set, she told me to go grab a similar tool off the shelf.
I mentioned to her that this particular tool came in a set and asked if I need to have the other pieces of the set. She said it was no problem, she’d remove the broken tool from the new set and just give me that one.
However, when I made my way over to the tool section, I discovered an empty peg where the hook and pick set should have been stocked. I took a photo of the tag and went back to the desk. The same customer service associate looked up the item number and verified they did not have any in stock. I asked if another nearby Lowe’s had any in stock and she told me they had three.
I grabbed my broken pick and drove over to the other Lowe’s. Let’s just say they weren’t as versed in the Craftsman return policy. When I walked up to the customer service desk and asked about exchanging my Craftsman tool, the person told me to go over to the tools section and find the “tool guy.” I started to get a sinking feeling.
I didn’t see the “tool guy,” but I found another person stocking the shelves and asked for the “tool guy.” She went looking and couldn’t find him, so she had to radio for him.
The “tool guy,” who wasn’t anybody I’d ever seen working in the tool section of this store, took my broken pick and went over to the correct Craftsman display and pulled out the new set. He then asked me if I had the rest of the set, because he couldn’t do an exchange without the full set. I lied and told him I didn’t, because I wanted to see what he would do.
My exchange request was elevated to the “tool guy’s” manager. She said there was nothing she could do because it was a set, and I only had one piece. I told her that wasn’t the policy of the other Lowe’s I visited, and she replied that it didn’t sound right, and that Lowe’s wouldn’t get credited properly for the return. She then asked me if I had my receipt so she could try to process it as a return. At this point I was getting frustrated with the experiment and pulled the receipt out of my wallet.
The manager and I went back towards the customer service desk and ran into the store manager. She talked to the store manager outside of my earshot for two minutes and then came back and told me it was my lucky day, she could run the return, credit my card, and let me have the whole new set with that credit.
My takeaway is that the individual Lowe’s stores are still trying to get a handle on the Craftsman return policy. The policy should be the same at every store, but they might handle exchange requests differently, depending on who is at the return desk and the manager on duty.
From this experience I have a few tips to offer if you want a successful exchange:
1. Check to make sure that the Lowe’s you are traveling to has the replacement tool in stock. You can usually check on the website, but those numbers are often wrong, so you may want to call ahead so you don’t make a frivolous trip.
2. Bring the entire set in with you, not just the broken tool.
3. If you can find the receipt, bring it with you. You shouldn’t need it, but at least that way they can do a return if they can’t figure out what else to do.