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)
Read Also: Craftsman Hand Tools Warranty Information Update
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.
This is standard Lowe’s customer service in my area. Each and every Lowe’s around here treats returns, price matches, and other manager escalations differently.
The Home Depot’s in my area are generally more “in line” with each other. Not that they all handle everything the same way, but at least I feel like I’m dealing with the same store when I move from location to location.
Agreed. I was about to comment on how that confusion seems par for the course at Lowe’s in my area. I cringe when I have to ask any employee a question.
As a walmart employee for a year (I’ve now decided on a major and go to school full time in order to avoid further trauma), I was pretty familiar with how we handled our returns.
If a package is broken in the truck, we usually sell the remaining pieces as long as they aren’t hazmat (that includes shampoo and dish soap for those of you non-retail people)
If the package is returned with only part of the original contents, depending on how anal the returns associate is, it is usually taken if there is a decent excuse. I’ve seen tire chains returned as unopened that, upon further inspection, had been ziptied closed with an orange zip tie (not the right color) to make the box look like it hadn’t been opened. They still had salt stuck to the rusty spots….
Stolen stuff is usually taped back closed and given a 50% discount. Seriously people, a $10 mini, detail vacuum nozzle kit that had ONE piece taken. It was like a 15pc kit, and the guy stole 1 of the pieces that doesn’t even fit on a normal vacuum….
Lowe’s is a very incompetent chain of stores. Unfortunately one store may out perform another store in stupidity. They seem as though they will not hire and pay good employees, and their culture of training is nonexistent. Lots of potential that they rarely live up to. I think they have the doors open to collect home improvement and do-it-yourselfers until a Costco or Amazon can take over. Home Depot is not much better.
I could not agree more. I attempted to exchange a Craftsman tape measure that developed a sharp edge from use at Lowes, and was told to call the number for Craftsman even though Lowes had the same size tape measure on the shelf. This never would have happened at Sears. Craftsman tools have been available for purchase at Lowes for over 2 years now. I understand there is a learning curve at the get go of anything new, but at this point, Lowes lack of understanding and implementation of the Craftsman lifetime replacement warranty is inexcusable.
Agree. Wanted to do a Valspar Love Your Color return before purchasing the replacement and $750 more to psont putside of my house. The manager said they never heard of such a guarantee and told me the dealer just happened to be in the store and he said he never heard of any such thing. Meanwhile there are signs all over the store about that. I asked was it worth it to give up a customer who has a $10,000 credit limit because they wont honor the warranty. Finally discounted each of the additional paint cans to make up for it. But I still felt like a con artist from the way they treated me. I have two other stories about products but it’s similar.
I AGREE 100 PERCENT,
SOMETHING SHOULD BE
DONE IN REGARDS THE
WAY LOWES DEALS WITH
IN REGARDS TO TOOLS.
I TRIED TO GET A REPLACEMENT FO PLIERS
THEY HAD THE SAME PLIERS,
JUST DIFFERENT COLOR HANDLES.
LOWE’S REFUSED TO REPLACE
THE PLIERS, JUST HANDED ME
A 800 NUMBER.
LOWES SHOULD BE ASHAMED,
SEARS ALWAYS REPLACED HAND TOOLS WITH A SIMILAR
IM IN THE PROCESS OF WRITING A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF LOWES.
Please refrain from all-caps.
If you comment here again, please adhere to conventional paragraph structuring.
i had the same problem when i exchanged a rachet that broke i had i about ad long as kobalt tools started theg said that one did not show up and didn’t want yo replace it i called corporate thes said ask for manager and have them call if they didn’t replace it i got a new one but she didn’t want to.ar coporate its says replace witout receipt no questions asked wrong
I love you for that Stuart. Hate that annoying nonsense. Cman is basically dead to me. I genuinely like kobalt better.
BECAUSE IT’S VERY DISRUPTIVE AND HARD TO READ AND COMES ACROSS AS “SHOUTING.”
But really, it’s just hard to read and lowers the reader experience. All-caps can be used for headings or for EMPHASIS, but entire paragraphs in all-caps is just unproductive.
On someone’s first offence, I will shrink their all-caps comments.
The second store process was correct. If the item came out of a set, the whole set would need to be brought back in order for the store to receive proper credit.
John, I disagree. They can take the unbroken one out and put the broken one in its place.they fill out their papers to get credit for the set . I don’t think they even send it back .the broken piece goes to the trash
I agree with this 100% give him the new single piece he brought in, put the broken one with the set and return that.
Yes sir correct it gets tossed in the trash these days
I worked at Walmart for 7 years back in college. although the official policy stated the entire set should be brought in and the entire original set should be sent back for full credit. Often in cases where we had the identical item on the shelf we would just swap out the broken part and return that package. It was often much more convenient for the store because then the complete packaging was incl uded instead of a handful of loose tools.
That is how my Walmart did it. If it was really valuable, MAYBE someone would care enough to send it back. Most of the time, our returns department just taped up the package and sold it for 50%off. They still make more than sending it back to the manufacturer.
That might be correct for Lowe’s standard returns, but that is not a hassle free no questions asked lifetime warranty like Craftsman has had in the past and claims they will honor in the future.
If you buy a 500 piece socket set and one piece breaks in 10 years, do you want to inventory 499 other pieces and the blow molded case so you can swap your broken socket out?
It sounds to me like Lowes is not set up or stocked to facilitate the craftsman warranty like Sears was in the past. For that matter, it doesn’t sound like they’re set up to match the same level of warranty service they did for Kobalt.
Actually Lowe’s Does carry All the individual Sockets and socket accessories just for that situation, you can also just buy one wrench or socket as well, they are kept large pull out drawers in the tool section.
If Lowe’s does not have a part they can order it for you.
John W Hart
They are not so nice in Williamsburg. I took in a standard 1/4 drive ratchet and was told they couldn’t return it because it had the wrong number on it. I also had a 1/2 drive swivel head ratchet with a very long handle that the pin had worn the handle out into a egg that is not safe to use. They had one in stock but would not exchange that either because it wasn’t broke. I tried to explain that it was unsafe to use because it was very close to breaking and was going to hurt someone. They didn’t care it wasn’t broken. I also had a 3/8 drive little slide breaker bar that was bent from trying to turn a stuck bolt. They said it was not broke just bent. I showed them it wouldn’t slide any more but that didn’t matter… no exchange. I am not very happy because its going to be hard to get craftsman tools replaced there. I am going to find out about there phone service tomorrow but not expecting to be treated any better
That’s not possible on a 500 piece set sears never needed that just bring the tool and get new one.
It’s unfortunate that the stores don’t have a way to just order the individual tool for you. I own a Sears Hometown store and because of the size of those store we obviously can’t carry everything. Any craftsman tool that is not carried in stock is ordered and sent directly to the customers home. Hopefully something like that is added to their process.
Lowe’s in my neck of the woods is head and shoulders above HD, in every single way.
This warranty does not cover power tools, electric or battery. I’m opting out of all craftsman stuff and lowes… the guy behind the return desk asked me if my driver’s license was used excessively to return stuff cause it was flagged… what does that even mean ? Is the govt now tracking our drivers license? And if they are I barely ever return stuff unless its broken.
Stores use 3rd party services that tie returns to driver’s licenses. From what I’ve seen, any more than one receipt-less return, and it will flag you and cause problems.
They do this because people do shady things with returns, such as buy low and return high, or steal and then return products back to retailers for gift cards they can sell.
Thanks for posting this. I was curious what the policy would look like in action at Lowe’s. I think I will wait for a while and see if things improve in another year or two. Hopefully US made hand tools will be back on shelves by then too.
Craftsman has only 2 US made products available, a tape and a knife. They aren’t going to be making anything in the US anytime soon.
New US factory for Craftsmen tools: https://toolguyd.com/craftsman-hand-tools-usa-factory-news-052019/
I was completely prepared to read a great satire piece.
“Here’s what happened when I tried to exchange a broken Craftsman hand tool at Lowe’s.”
They gave me a new one.
Stuart, you made me laugh like crazy when I saw you explaining this “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.”
I would add this also on it: ” also depending on who is going to be the customer!”
If I were the customer I would solve the issue in a few minutes, showing a bit of Turkish aggression would solve the issue very quickly, I can not handle two different laws about the same issue in the same country, the country has one law!
You mean Benjamen.
Oh, sorry, you are more active here and sometimes I forget to check that Ben and Benjamen do some post also. Thanks Benjamen, I like this style, please try to be a little bit more tough next time.
We have a saying says “being drunk with no alcohol” Today I was…
I’d rather spend $20+ (or whatever) for a set that will still be earning their keep for my heirs someday than $7 for junk no matter what is the warranty policy. You usually get what you pay for.
So they end of giving you another one–still junk; it’ll break, too. And what you need it for remains undone while you’re wasting time, energy, fuel, etc, getting a “free” replacement.
Here’s the deal: their crap is marketed to consumers (pros have long-since learned their lesson)- they are still ahead giving away a new piece of crap once in a while after someone actually USES the tool and it breaks, since most just sit in a drawer in a garage and aren’t used anyway. Unused crap doesn’t break……
“New” Craftsman= junk. Their price point tells you that, even if you don’t look closely at their quality–(you do and then you REALLY know…) $7/4 pc set=$1.75 each, what do you expect?
I agree with you 101%.
If I don’t automatically get an emailed copy of receipt, I snap a picture of it with Google Drive’s scan feature on my phone. This creates a cropped and de-skewed PDF of the receipt. On the server side, Google performs OCR on the PDF, allowing you to later find the PDF by searching for text it contains (i.e. an item SKU number). I’ve had great success using these scanned receipts for returns, and it’s much easier than tracking down the original receipt. Another benefit of this is that I always have the receipt “with me”.
On Android phones you can create a home screen shortcut allowing you to scan your receipt with a single tap.
More on topic: the failure mode shown in that pictures tells me everything I need to know about the new Craftsman. Given enough abuse, even a well made tool will fail, but better tools should bend, not snap.
You are absolutely correct. As an ASE automotive mechanic I found that the better the quality of tool the least likely that it will snap as oppose to bend. It has something to do with the forging process. That is why you pay a bucket load of money for the higher quality tools. When you have your hands in the engine and you’re working with less than 10 mm of free space the last thing you want is a tool to snap in your hand. This is the result of a poorly forged tool that you can pick up for a couple of dollars at these big box stores. Always use extreme caution when using these tools that you buy at deep discount prices.
I was just thinking if it is possible to make these tools (pick/hook) with E6.3 1/4″ hex shank then I thought it might not work well and I also thought I have become obsessed with E6.3 1/4″ hex shank :)))
I had to exchange at lowe’s and was given a 1 800 #to call and they(sears/craftsman) sent me a new screwdriver
Situations like Ben is describing or yours would both seem like bad practice in my opinion. It would be better to establish easy and painless warranty service early on to help build the reputation of this re-started brand. Instead these sound like examples of what I worry about when processing a warranty exchange.
I suppose it’s somewhat understandable since it’s SBD offering the warranty but Lowes who is conducting the transaction.
It’s not like it’s a machine he was trying to replace, just a single simple hand tool. How hard is “It’s got a handle and no cord, swap a new one!” to administer?
It’s really only difficult in operations where unnecessary difficulty is expected and the norm.
The picks are made of hardened steel so they won’t bend. It’s not as much a case of quality is using the right tools for the job. Craftsman honors their warranty regardless of how you broke it. Other tool manufacturers do not honor “misused” tools. Craftsman has a great warranty it’s the employee where you take it that doesn’t understand that. Don’t blame craftsman. Try returning tools made by other manufacturers and see what happens. I’ve been using craftsman tools 45 years and will still buy craftsman tools.
Yeah, a lot of potential customers have already been turned off the brand by Sears in the past. If someone takes a chance going back to the brand after the ownership change and then has an experience like this it’s going to be pretty hard to get them back. No one wants to deal with a lot of hassle in the store, or wait for a replacement to be shipped to them. Especially if they can just go down the road and buy Husky or Harbor Freight and have an easier time swapping out tools.
Another thing I wanted to ask was the red dye on your fingers, is it from the 3D printing or the handle of the Craftsman tool? Tbh it looks like it is from the handle.
Red Dye? You mean in the close-up of the broken shaft? There’s nothing there, I think it’s just the color balancing from the camera with my pink fingers next to a bright red object. Or maybe a JPG artifact.
Sometimes in photos of my hands, I’ll have red marker lines all over, but that’s from the RevMark marker I use for marking steel.
Hi Benjamen, I thought it was from the handle as they can use cheap plastic sometimes.
Interesting. I wondered about this type of scenario too. I.e. where a tool is part of a set.
I’m curious if they would treat the issue any differently depending on the contents of the set. In your case, one pick is arguable one-quarter of the set. What if , for example, you bought a bit ratchet set and lost one of the bits. I don’t think the ratchet is sold all by itself – you have to buy either the ratchet plus screwdriver bits or ratchet plus bits and sockets. Are some Lowes going to demand that you find each ancillary piece in order to process your return?
From what I heard from many readers looking to have broken Kobalt tools replaced, yes.
If the store doesn’t have the set in stock to exchange, the associate should direct you to craftsman customer support 888-331-4569.
When you go for warranty you have to have the whole set with you.
I would have thought the scenario in the first Lowes would have been standard practice regarding their warranty i.e. the tool is not sold individually hence they have to break up a set to warranty the one tool for you. This seems standard Craftsman warranty in the Sears stores of the past. They (Lowes) can than get their credit by returning the new opened package with the broken tool and the customer gets their replacement. Not that tough to understand. I agree however, Lowes needs to become standardized in how they issue replacements. I think SBC was so eager to get the Craftsman into the stores for $ales, they dropped the ball on training the employees how to warranty the product. I would think they would have SBC Representatives visiting the stores and having meetings with all those involved in the tool and returns or at the least set up some online training videos for those involved in the process. Only takes 1 bad experience for a customer to dump a particular brand.
It’s easy to forget that Lowe’s is a large corporation and I’m sure their employee turnover rate is pretty high. My expectations in terms of customer service at stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot and Sears is pretty much zero.
It’s really a bummer because these stores have the potential to be so much better.
Not a true statement. Although I understand your frustration, I can guarantee that from prior experience that not everyone is perfect but I have been delighted by great customer service from them and go back because. Not everyone is the same and I’m sorry you have experienced less than best service.
Try to picture doing this if you were running a business and the tool failed in the middle of a job. The amount of time wasted could be worth more than the cost of the tool and lost time on the job would likely be frustrating to both us and the customer. That’s why I looked to buy tools from manufacturers with reputations for quality – rather than look at “lifetime” warranties as the sole determinant of what to buy.
BTW – we carried Ullman swinger picks in the plumbing trucks:
– made in USA – and only $4.49 at Zoro
In my experience, Craftsman returns were always subject to the experience level (and autonomy of) the employees. The last time I made a fairly major exchange was at a Sears, probably around twelve years ago. I carried a punch, ratchet, and a few other tools. The employee working the register had an extremely laissez-faire attitude, giving my a chisel and punch set as they lacked single punches, and a new premium ratchet for an older-style pear-head version. At the time everything was still mostly made in the US, so I didn’t mind trading a ’70s era ratchet for a nice polished one.
I can’t say I’ve returned much to Lowe’s though, so I guess my opinion is a bit misguided.
Another thing they know is that 9 out of 10 people won’t bother returning a broken piece of a 7 dollar set . Just not worth it. So when someone does they just “ grin and bare it” .
Thank you Ben for sharing your experience and tips. This is helpful.
I really like the email option for receipts at Home Depot, as a lot of receipts fade after a while, even if stored in a folder. If you use My Lowe’s card, purchases are supposed to be stored as well, although one time my experience with a return was less than stellar as the associate had a hard time finding the transaction even with My Lowe’s card. Like most places, It’s probably lack of proper training. But, I can go online and find my purchases.
From the crystalline structure of the break, that is the wrong steel + heat treatment for that kind of tool. I would have expected to see this on hardened tip, but not at the shank
Sears themselves never made anything. They had people who specified what was to be made by outside contractors. If a company that made things under their own brand got a Sears contract the two products might look similar but the one made for Sears (Sears, Kenmore, Craftsman, etc.) might be better due to different specs.
As far as Craftsman hand tools sold at Lowes the specs are now written by SBD. It would be interesting to compare something like a socket set and screwdriver set from Lowes (SBD) and Sears (original Craftsman).
Glad to see it mostly worked out. might be worth remembering which store is the better and only shopping there.
Also surprised the pick broke like that too wonder if it was a bad batch.
The few Craftsman tools I warrantied at Sears several years ago, I would go into the store and pick the replacement tool off the shelf, then I would go up to the desk and hand the broken tool and the new tool to the cashier and tell them I would like to warranty my broken tool. Usually I didn’t get any questions and the cashier processed it as quickly as possible.
My logic was this… make it as easy as possible for the employee and less risk of getting hassled about the warranty.
I have no idea if you can do this at Lowes, but it’s worth a try.
Mike (the other one)
The red/black handle tools are made in China, and it shows.
My thoughts exactly. Harbor Freight quality.
I purchased a 3 piece pry bar set from a now closed Sears store. The largest pry bar broke the first time I used it. I tried getting an exchange from another Sears store and a Lowes and was just told to call the same 800 number in the post.
Looks like a brittle fracture. I would not have expected that failure mode.
Maybe they have the same policy but not same level of employee education
I have found that this is not exclusive to Craftsman, but more of a general way in which Lowe’s handles warranty service. The surge strip on my Kobalt tool chest died. So I took it in and asked for a replacement. My experience was exactly like Ben’s second store. “take your receipt and go find the tool guy”. Well, not to be rude, but i knew a lot more than the tool guy. I had pulled up the item on the Lowes app and it said they had none, but there was an identical Craftsman one. You would have thought I was trying to trade my broken surge strip for a car. Eventually I got a manager who just gave me the Craftsman version because he had no idea how to process that sort of warranty.
The problem is, I don’t have a receipt for my surge strip. So if it dies, I have to buy a new one.
That break displays what would be called ‘white metal’, very brittle and not reliable for torquing of any sort. Pulling a ring seal or spring from a tight space is about all it’s good for. Sad that we are now getting bargain basement tools under what used to be a reliable and trustworthy brand name.
Looks cheap for sure and brittle. I think its a delicate tool. I can’t get the scale of this. I Wonder if the gear wrench hook and picks look better. I wonder if they are better…
This was the same discussion I had 12-15 years ago when asking a Lowes employee about a hand tool return. “If I buy a set of wrenches and break one, how do I get it replaced?”
I got different answers from everybody I asked – sales clerk, store manager and tool guy.
There never has been a reason to buy decent quality tools from Lowes – *nobody* there knows how to deal with an exchange. It hasn’t changed in over a decade, and I still won’t buy tools from them.
There’s no excuse why Lowes has failed to train their staff on how to honor a lifetime tool warranty. It reflects how incompetent management is and the staff that they hire and how serious they take their jobs. How hard is it to train someone to grasp the simple concept of what an exchange is? I also think that part of the problem is that people aren’t going to Lowes to swap out their broken sears craftsman tools because nobody wants the sbd version of craftsman tools that Lowes has. It’s awful that sbd craftsman doesn’t even know how to temper steel for a simple hook and pick set. There’s no excuse for that either.
You are right about the management not providing the best training for the new Craftsman Reset. The Lowe’s Store that I work at has a Management Team that is big into training. The Store Manager set up Group meetings to discuss the New Craftsman Reset and the Craftsman Warranty. Everyone that works in the store had to go though the training including the Delivery team and The maintenance department. Our Store manager wanted Everyone ready for the Craftsman take over. Benjamin I am Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with your Craftsman Warranty Exchange.
Craftsman’s warranty instructions are very specific that you have to exchange the entire set. So no exchanging an item out in a new set like you can do with many other items. The second store was right, even though they executed it poorly. It sounds like the manager made a decision to take the loss.
If the busted item is available singly, replace the single part.
If the busted item is only part of a set, replace the single part, keep the rest of the new set.
Why look for unnecessary complications? If employee empowerment is too risky, employ actual robots.
The goal, I believe, should be satisfied & returning customers – other concerns should be behind the scenes.
Where does it say that?
I can not find any such language in either Craftsman or Lowes pages.
That is a massively stupid decision for Lowes.
If I have a socket set and lose one piece, my warranty is void? What if I buy the super jumbo 1,600 piece combo set and break a screwdriver – I have to replace the entire set?
James L Morrison
I have always had the best customer service at home Depot and Lowe’s. If didn’t have a recipt. They just took my license and give me a store credit. I love both the stores and as a contractor it’s great to not get a hunch of hassle or slack over returns. But some places it’s like an act of Congress to do a return but not h d or Lowe’s they always been great.
I got grilled by a CSR she told me that I couldn’t return a dolly because SHE thought it was used. When I purchased it the advertising wrap wasn’t on it the funny part was it was still dusty AND was wrapped the same way they do from the company. I was behind a guy that was returning blinds that were loose and he didn’t have any wrapping or box and she took them no ??’s asked.
There is a simple solution to the refund/exchange problem.
Print out a copy of the warranty policy from Craftsman. Show it to the person at the refund counter.
If he or she balks, merely say “I’d like to speak with the store manager now!”
You’ll get your refund without question. If they say “we need the whole set” then take the set in the store, open the package, remove the tool you need, put the broken one back in the package and say “here you go,”
Don’t tolerate incompetence. Don’t accept incompetence.
Preface. Cooper Tools was an excellent tool manufacturer, based in the USA. (Tax and Spend Politicians may have put them out of business.) Many (most?) of Cooper-made tools were “re-branded” (eg, ACME, SKILLMAN, etc). Maybe “Old School” Craftsman Branded tools were made by Cooper. I never heard of or saw a Craftsman Tool Factory. Cooper-made might explain why, 40+ years ago, Crafstman was synonomous to Quality.
Observation and Personal Opinion. Like 99.9% of items made in Communist China, “Craftsman Tools” are of very poor quality. I consider them a waste of my money and my time. Whenever possible, I avoid buying items that quickly deteriorate, fail to perform, disappoint, etc. Quality has value and may be worth investing a few dollars more. I inherited a large tool chest from my father, filled with Very Old, USA-made hand tools. Yhey still work very well. Many were “Old School” Crescent, Stanley, etc.
About Warranties (aka, Free Replacement): “Free” warranty replacement isn’t free! Our time is very valuable, non-refundable and better invested; Every mile traveled to replace a failed items costs money; When an inferior tool fails, it adversely affects efforts and ability to complete task(s); and so on.
The new owners of “Craftsman” apparently agree. They have publically stated that plans are being developed to restore “Value” to the Crafstman Brand. This means tools will be made in the USA and/or other Countries recognized for Quality and Value. There are many.
Vaughan makes Sears Craftsman hammers. Western Forge now ideal made Sears screw drivers and pliers. Dahner which was absorbed into apex made Sears craftsman sockets. Screw drivers, pliers, and sockets now made in China.
Daniel S Luckham
So what you did was be deceitful from the get go. You had the set but chose not to take it in with you, you lied and said no receipt and you didn’t use the tool as intended. Try being honest, do you lie to yourself? Everyone else you encounter?
You’re way off base to call Ben’s playing the role of uninformed customer “deceitful.”
The policy says “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.”
No receipt is required.
I have received a lot of complaints over the years – a LOT – about unsuccessful hand tool warranty and replacement attempts. Some of those times the customer expectations were too high, other times there were obvious failings of the store’s customer service policies, practices, or associate training.
Ben’s aim was to replicate the conditions for the average customer return experience. If a user breaks a tool, they bring it to the store for a replacement. Most customers expect a streamlined return process, and that’s what he hoped to see.
A few years ago, I had a broken Craftsman wrench. I brought it to Sears and they replaced it on the spot with something similar since they didn’t offer the exact SKU in-store. I had a Craftsman Phillips screwdriver with deformed tip after the first use. It was part of a set, and they replaced it on the spot with open stock. I had pliers from a set with very stiff pivot. They replaced it on the spot with open stock.
Lowes might not have the product selection and open stock tool availability to do that, but customers are already expecting the same ease of replacement as they had with Craftsman tools at Sears.
My thoughts exactly. Ben wasn’t running a scam. If anything, it’s a matter of investigative journalism. Judging by the number of comments, it was something many of us were curious about too.
Correct. It is simply unreasonable for a consumer to be expected to keep receipts for low value items.
When consumer A19 LED bulbs first came out, I bought a bunch of them. That particular brand had a 25 year warranty (using the bulb 3 hours a day). About a year in, I had several failures, so I wrote to the manufacturer. They said that they’d be happy to replace the bulbs if I had proof of purchase as the 25 year warranty may actually expire sooner if the bulbs were used more than 3 hours a day.
I responded with a couple of simple questions for them to ponder:
When did they begin to manufacture these bulbs? (about a year and a half prior to the date of failure)
How many hours of runtime is 3 hrs a day for 25 years (about 27000)
How many days is that? (about 1140)
How many years is that? (about 3.12)
If you began manufacturing a year and a half ago, and continuous usage of the light from the moment it left the factory would be over 3 years, then why do I need a receipt?
They sent me a whole box of replacement bulbs.
I have not seen, on any of my tool sets a wording in the warranty statement to bring back the whole set for warranty purposes. If that is what they intended, then they need to word it that way. God knows how many lawyers they have pouring over their warranty statements anyway. Most of the times, it is a training issues and failure to disseminate the proper info down the chain of command or post it were it can be found easily enough by employees. Training is the biggest issue we see, not just at Lowe’s, but with all of our suppliers and partners, and even at our own factory: No body wants to do it anymore.
I recently dealt with a kitchen product that arrived in not so perfect condition. It cost many more times than the pick set. I called the parent company. They told me to send a photo of the product to verify the model. They did not ask to see the defect or receipt or to send back the defective item. They just asked were I bought it from (it was actually Amazon 3rd party). Within two hours of my email, a new one was shipped. I have had similar experience with other companies, such as Meon and Delta.
I broke an hex head Allen wrench when I went to lowes they told me to call the 1800 # for guidance. So I just went to Ace hardware and they exchanged it with a new set no questions asked.
I have always had a great experience at Lowe’s. I am glad they have Craftsman tools. Hope my exchanges go good.
The other problem is that the “Craftsman” Lowes sells is actually a rebrand Black and Decker
If a retailer expects a customer to return an entire set of tools to warranty a single tool from that set, then what is the customer supposed to do when they need to warranty the 3/8″ ratchet from a 200 piece tool set that they’ve removed from the bulky plastic case that it came in – find all of the pieces and put them in a box to return to the store? That’s not good product/customer support at all.
Your experience sounds about average. As a former inside sales rep at a company who stocked SB&D, I can tell you the absolute best way to claim a warranty item on anything of theirs is to simply call the 800 number. They’ll take care of your claim right away and you’ll receive your replacement item, most likely, within a week.
From the look of the broken stub thy are using the same garbage metal I found in the 3 way valve on my air compressor….which broke and was a devil of a job to get out without damaging the thread on the tank. I hope I get more than 4 years out of the new one!
I know there’s a big trend to “buy cheap at first, then only replace it with a good tool if it breaks.” It’s really a nice way to save a few bucks for things you don’t use frequently.
Until you realize….you’re rewarding *junk* in the most important way — with your wallet. You’re rewarding “Made in China”, race-to-the-bottom, poor production value tools.
“Free Lifetime Replacement!” means they suckered you back into the store. It means that you were thinking about “Lowes” instead of anything else. They’ve succeeded in their marketing goals.
It’s not worth my time or patience. Buy cheap, buy twice. And things will fail at the worst possible moment — Murphy’s Law.
One should not be disappointed in lack of training – rather, be disappointed in poor hiring practices or our education system in general.
Anyone with an ounce of common sense just takes the broken item, takes the replacement out of the set, and puts the broken one back in thus returning the “whole” set – all without inconveniencing the customer.
You probably shouldn’t try to pay for a $7.17 purchase at that Lowes with a $10 bill, a dime, and two pennies…
It’s not about common sense. Some retailers and businesses allow their associates to solve problems creatively. But at most retail stores, doing things your own way is a sure way to get written up or fired. Policy must be adhered to, that’s just the way it is.
If they stock the broken tool, just buy it again, replace the broken item with the one from the store and return the just purchased set within the return time limit, You’ll have the receipt, get a refund and all you really got was the expected replacement item. When stores act like you are a criminal, don’t disappoint them, act like one!
I had some smoke detectors that were acting up, and they had a lifetime warranty. The company said they would be replaced for a $20 ea. handling fee.New they were $18.95. I bought new ones and returned the old ones….
Xcelite gave a lifetime warranty, but only if the tools were returned to the factory. The dealers could not replace them, For years I sent several broken and worn tools from my large Xcelite tool inventory, back to the factory. Within a week new, or comparable tools were always received, no questions asked.
Recently I did the same thing again but this time I got nothing. Xcelite claims they were trashed since there was no return authorization issued? The new policy is one year warranty, with receipt and a prior return authorization . I asked about the ‘lifetime’ part of the warranty. The agent I was talking to, who has been breathing less time than I’ve been spinning 1/4″ nut drivers, said ….duhh.
After a long one-sided conversation, they did replace the items but probably I am sure in their database there’s a red mark in a box in their database next to my name. Today, a lifetime warranty is a thinly perceived value/
Had a very similar experience with the Craftsman Micro Slotted and Micro Philips screw driver set for computers. (Three Micro Slotted + Three Micro Philips). One of the slotted screwdrivers chipped a corner.
Like the poster here I took the screwdriver to the store (had no receipt) but I did bring the rest of the set as well in case.
I discovered the particular slotted screwdriver that broke (the 9-45xxx number) was no longer made or available. It was not available in open stock and the older set was discontinued. However there was a new craftsman set same sizes that had changed stock numbers.
I was offered either the one screwdriver size that broke from the new set, or a complete swap or the entire set swap. I accepted to swap the entire set. I am a bit OCD and like all things to match and be in their place.
My example was from Sears about 12 months ago, so I agree with the policy of the second Lowes. A single swap of the broken item from a new set or a full swap of the entire set is a very similar warranty experience for me. If I was offered that today I feel that is a very similar Craftsman Warranty experience.
Now for socket sets, wrench sets, screwdriver sets etc, of course you cant bring back 500 pieces. However most of those parts at least with Sears were open stock in the store or available from online stock as well.
In speaking with Lowes yesterday, they indicated that within 2 weeks (from July 13, 2019) they will have open stock Craftsman tools including sockets screwdrivers wrenches etc. Our store already has rows of Craftsman sets power tools etc. This is in the Denver, CO area so we will see. I also assume the selection and options will get better over time.
As for the quality of my Craftsman tools many are 30+ years old made in USA working fine. I am not a professional mechanic, but I do a lot of my own work and I produce community shows at large venues assembling and moving lighting structures etc. with my tools.
I have found the Craftsman quality and warranty excellent. I purchased most of my craftsman tools when working at Sears to get through college.
Very glad to see Craftsman Tools will survive for now and the Craftsman warranty being honored by Black&Decker.
Sears was/is not always the best at this return policy either. I own a whole chest full of Craftsman tools. Some I bought, some were gifts and some were inherited. I must swap a ratchet every 6 months. Often times the exact replacement is not available and a substitute is provided. These are often rebuilt units. Most recently a 10″ locking pliers I had broke 1/2 way down the handle. I brought it to Sears and they did not have in stock, the associate looked online and found it, but it was unavaiable to be shipped or picked up within 100 miles! Thet were able to issue a gift crd for the amount. I was ok with that as I did not need the replacement immediately. There have been many times a specific socket or size of scewdriver was not available for immediate replacement at Sears. I think it is encouraging that the same no receipt, replacement procedure is available at Lowes. It is good news for a Craftsman owner. I have Kobalt air tools and their lifetime replacment has been reduced to 3 years last time I checked. Hoping the traditional Craftsman replacement policy continues.
Just tried to return a almost new Craftsman rachet to the Waco Lowes.
45 minutes of my life wasted. 1st was told to grab a simular one. THEY HAD NO single WRENCHES!!! After having several employees called, and patienly watching them search for wrenches. A manager finally informs me that I must call an 888 number for authorizations to return tools.
The rachet was almost new! I doubt I will buy any new Craftsman Tools. Theyre quality has obviously suffered the transition. Rather buy Huskey and leave Lowes out of my life.
It was a broken ratchet I attempted to return, not Wrench.
What a coincidence!I just remarked that it was really strange to see that our Lowes doesn’t have any of the ratchets either. I checked their website and no matter what zip code I typed in a did not find a SINGLE store in Texas that had more than 2 different ratchets, although you can’t really trust those numbers anyway.
What kind of ratchet was it? It’s pretty sad that it could break so quickly.
Currently going through an exchange saga of my own. A 1/2″ Drive, 9/16 6-Point socket. Tried Lowes and after being sent back and forth from customer service to tools to customer service to tools, was told to call the number on the Craftsman website as they don’t stock it in the store. Called the number and went through a maze of button pushing and talking to the wrong people as any time I indicate I bought the socket at Sears I am sent to the appliance repair department. Finally, one of the Reps told me to indicate I bought it at Lowes. When I did that, it seemed to get me to the right place (according to the recorded message), but after 35 minutes on hold I elected to use the call-back feature that saves your place in line. Now, two-hours and no call-back later I called back and they are closed. At 3:00 Pacific time during the week. This is definitely not the lifetime warranty of the old days…
Low and behold- just after posting this (now 3 hours after I called), I got a call back. Supposedly a new socket is on it’s way set to arrive in 7-10 business days. We will see. Progress for sure, but still not the same as the old days.
I dont remember ever returning a tool in the old days.
Right at the end (maybe a year before they closed the store) I had a defective 12pt 1/2 drive, 9/16socket. I mean the bolt end was rounded over and wouldn’t turn nothin’ much less a lug nut. Slipped by their quality control crew and into my socket set.
I took it to the tool department and the guy (who’d worked there for a while) hemmed and hawwed and finally let me pick one off the single parts shelf where they had hundreds of sockets just hanging there.
I mean, it was like pulling teeth to get him to let me have it. It’s like, let me walk over there, take one off the shelf, bring it here, you check it’s the same and we trade. I guarantee those things walk out the door more from kids wanting them than people buying them.
Today I went to Lowe’s to get a screwdriver replaced. Service desk required a drivers lisence in order to get the replacement. I said no and will call corporate office tomorrow. Why does Lowe’s need to build a database on people to honnor the lifetime warranty.
When you return items to a retailer please be honest and fair about your return and don’t try to take advantage of a retailer! When enough people take advantage the retailer will start seeing loses and when they see loses they will clamp down on the return policies and they will start getting harder. Cheating the retailer only hurts all of us in the end! To many people trying to get stuff for free!
Reading some of these comments, I can’t help but yearn for Sears/Craftsman customer service of 30 years ago. All my mechanics tools were Craftsman and I religiously worked out with free-weights. My vocation back then was “steamfitter” where I regularly twisted 5/8 inch stainless steel bolts in-two just to show off. I got in the habit of over- torquing everything so I regularly had to replace my hand tools. Every single time I walked into Sears carrying a broken tool I was approached by a store representative before I even made it to the desk to inquire about a replacement. He/she would accompany me to the tool department, hand me an identical but brand- new replacement, right off the shelf.
No receipt necessary, no store paperwork to sign and best of all…no questions asked !
Went to lowes to get the basic $129 Google nest thermostat. Could get it on Amazon with next day delivery but wanted to put it in today. Went to where they are displayed, not in display, only the learning one which is more than $200. Clerk took us to 2nd aisle, not there either. He said they were at the check out. Went there were hundreds of items are locked up and have numeric identifiers. Clerk had no idea, finally I spotted some Google boxes at very top above the cage, 20 feet up, those were charcoal color, then some more with no tag those were white. This was after the clerk moving sloth speed moved the steps. Nothing like directing her from ground level to the correct item (no more to left, no back to right). Then lowes wouldn’t take my $50 american express gift card (Aldi’s did). Then the receipt was barely legible, so don’t know if I’ll get $50 Ameren rebate. Bought a second for upstairs unit, used Amazon. Lowes wonders why they will lose to Amazon.
Be prepared to know more about this replacement procedure and policy than the random Lowe’s employee you encounter in the store. They likely won’t know or are lazy.
I had a legit broken allen socket that broke on the very first use without even tightening to full torque. It was from a set purchased at Sears a couple of years ago.
My local Lowes showed the socket as being in stock.
First response from Lowes employees is “call the toll free number.” I told them that the Lowe’s web site states that they perform warranty replacement of Craftsman tools.
Then it was “we’re not sure if we have it.” I had to request that they actually LOOK for it since I had already verified that they both carry it and have it in stock.
They found it and swapped it out. I’m not sure about their actual policy. You will have to insist and demand because they are not out to help you.
i went to the store to swap a tool bc it broke on me and they charged me taxes bc i didn’t have the receipt who keeps the ****** receipt🤔 never again will i buy anything from you Lowes
I have and old Craftsman scroll saw Model 315-26710. The plastic knob on top of the saw disintegrated in my hand as I tried to use it. Lowes store in Honolulu told me that I needed okay from Craftsman with a return authorization. I called the 1888 number and is unable to speak to someone. Love the tool, hate the return service.