Re: Warranty system
I read that as well and also disagree with much of it. This article in my opinion is the other end of the extreme. I believe that if there were changes that needed to be made, the solution is somewhere in-between. I'm not a shop owner or employee but a consumer, so I may not be as qualified to offer an opinion on that end.
I certainly understand that fly shops are struggling and certainly believe in supporting them. I don't believe that doing away with Lifetime Warranty with repair/replace option is a way around the 2nd hand markets, or custom rod builders, or small batch builders for that matter. If I'm buying a new flagship model, I want to know that I can keep it around for a while, have the option to have it repaired or replaced and don't mind paying a premium for it. If a flagship model has a lesser warranty, in my mind, there isn't much difference in that than an imported rod other than the Made in USA price tag and a few more $$'s. Note that I prefer to buy US or UK made tackle but don't have issues with quality gear of any origin or those that prefer it.
Orvis is as close to a tiered structure as I can think of. Loomis offers replacement/repair for the lifetime of the rod. Sage & Winston are Lifetime to the original owner of the rod. You can get repair work done if you're not the original owner, but it will cost you. What's the problem with that? Warranty service is different for a reason. Some companies that have the means to do so offer repair--but that comes with a cost. Others who feel it's easier to replace the rod, get you fishing and give an angler a new rod is cheaper in the long haul and better for business. There are advantages of each depending on prerogative. In both situations, there will be folks that as fred mentioned--toss the warranty in the round file and do not act on it. The manufacturers are hedging their bets that some consumers will do this.
Defective rods are an entirely different issue, I'd expect resolution of some sort with any company.
Perhaps one thing a shop could offer is a replacement/repair service done IN SHOP or sent to a repair center. Much like Best Buy does with their electronics, warranty is good for X number of years. You have the option of buying an extended warranty from manufacturer or the option to take the product to Best Buy to have repaired/replaced.
I'd have to believe there's a limited market for a fly rod that you can expect 1-3 years of service from and then toss out when it breaks. If everything was "disposable" at least for me, it would devalue anything other than the lower end offerings from these premium manufacturers. At that point, I'd look at building my own rods or buying more imports.
~*~Leave only your footprints~*~