I've thought through this on more than one occassion as well as read this editorial. A couple of comments:
- The author wants to sell more rods - no question
- I agree that the second hand rod market issue is certainly an issue for the manufacturers, but the level of which would be hard to determine and the fact remains that it still costs more to buy a second hand XP than a brand new Sage Approach, because I factor in the fact that I will have to pay for the repair when a rod breaks.
- The accusation/statement that original warranties tier down to 2nd, 3rd, and so on down the line buyers is not true of a lot of rod manufacturers.
What the author, in my opinion, fails to realize is that if I break a rod, I want to be able to repair it - just like I could get my washing machine repaired, or my car repaired. Not, and I quote
If the angler breaks it, the rod should either go in the trash, or it is going to be costly to get it repaired.
. I don't mind paying for a repair, but if I'm responsible for the full cost of a repair, I don't want to pay $790 for my new Sage ONE 990. You can not tell me that part of the cost of that rod. I'd gladly pay $600 for that rod, and if I break it, then I'll pay $200 to fix it. That $200 across my entire line up of rods would actually enable me to have more money to buy additional equipment. This statement the author makes I agree with
We believe selling the warranty independently from the sale would have a positive effect on our industry. It would reduce the price of the initial sale and afford the customer the option of purchasing the insurance independently, even giving the consumer more options.
The next one in the same paragraph is questionable coming from a retailer
Beyond the hype, the differences between rods are minimal in the hands of all but the expert. Itís the Indian, not the arrow, that most often makes the difference, and most anglers know that.
Really? Then the only reason ever to buy a new rod is if one breaks? I wonder how the rod designers feel about that sentence coming from their retailers? I'll agree that it's the caster, not the equipment. But the equipment upgrades over the years are real. Cast a Sage RPL and a Sage ZXL and tell me there are no real upgrades that have been made. Is the RPL or SP or any other line a great rod - absolutely. Is the ZXL a more refined casting instrument - absolutely. But I still fish a Sage SP and love it every time I fish it. But the ZXL's I own are definitely more advanced rods.
I will go on record as stating that I believe unlimited lifetime warranties on fly fishing rods is dumb. I can think of very few things I own with the same type of unconditional warranty. If I break something, I should pay for the repair - but I want the cost to reflect this fact on my purchase price. Lower the original purchase price, I'll pay for the repair if it's my fault. If there is a problem with the blank or components and construction - it's on the manufacturer to repair it - and not charge me the processing fee. That's fair in my opinion. I also don't see how they can go back and put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one.
I understand the frustration of these retailers. It's got to be difficult to continue to make a living in this specialty market, especially with the second hand market and the practices of a few that definitely have refurbed a rod then sold it at a handsome price. But it's possible that those that did do the aformentioned used those funds to purchase the latest and greatest in fly rod design. I know when I sell a rod, it's generally to fund another tackle purchase. I don't have 2,000 eBay sales though... And I am one who falls for the "hype" and buys the "latest and greatest." But I cast 'em, and they ARE different, and I like 'em, and I'm going to buy one. But using the authors logic, it's just hype so I really only should purchase one after I throw my broken rods in the circular file. Never mind the fact that I own multiple rods across the same line weights in different rods & tapers because they perform differently in different situations - but that's just hype.
As an aside, I recently broke both of my nets, a "low end" steelhead net, which I slipped in the snow and fell on, and my nice Brodin trout net, which I busted when I slammed a ladder into it in my garage. When I went back to my local shop to buy a new trout net, the owner laughed and said "finally, something that doesn't have a lifetime guarantee!" We laughed and I get it. And I've bought a lot of rods from him over the years. But I also paid for that guarantee and would have preferred to have the choice of buying that "insurance" or not.