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Who has actually USED the LC "Guarantee" for a cracked pan? Results?

kaleokahu Jan 17, 2011 07:32 PM

Since folks here have been bragging up LC's "Lifetime Warranty", I thought I'd ask...

I have had a LC 5.5Q DO now for going on 25 years. Somewhere about at the 3-5 year mark, it developed a large (about 2 sq. inches) chip, at the outside rim. Shortly thereafter, I noticed a vertical crack in the INSIDE enamel and iron at the area of the chip, and this crack has VERY slowly propagated downward. There is no rust and no internal chipping or leakage, although the crack is clearly translated all the way through the pan wall.

Now then, I happened into an area LC outlet this weekend and asked about the "Lifetime Guarantee". I was given a very lawyeresque (I know, I'm one) form that supposedly explains the guarantee policy. Frankly, it's clear as mud. Among other "outs" LC gives itself is that one must ship the pot to South Carolina for evaluation, and that LC will then determine whether or not the pot was used:

"...in commercial establishments, abuse, neglect, abnormal wear and tear, accidental breakage, overheating or any use not in accordance with the printed directions."

If any of the above is determined by LC to apply to your pot, you get a letter, not a replacement. Moreover, if the pot is judged to be "broken", you don't even get the pot back!

So I'm asking... Has anyone under similar circumstances (i.e., a crack through the pot wall) sent in their pot, risking losing it entirely trying to obtain a replacement? What was the result?

Frankly, if the answer will come back that all I can expect is a 40% Off (MSRP) coupon, then I'd be better off buying a discounted replacement and keeping this old pot.

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  1. Jay F RE: kaleokahu Jan 17, 2011 07:40 PM

    I have one that cracked around one of the handles when it was dropped this year, and LC in S. Carolina told me I could send it back and get 75% off list price on a replacement. I was actually able to get a replacement at a LC Factory Store for only a little more money, so I didn't have to go to the expense and trouble of shipping it back.

    They told me if the damage had been cooking related, I would've gotten a new one for free. But since it dropped, 75% was as high as they could go.

    Why don't you call them? 1-877-273-8738 x6.

    Or write them? cservice@lecreuset.com.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jay F
      kaleokahu RE: Jay F Jan 17, 2011 07:55 PM

      Thanks, Jay:

      I would not be able to say, under oath, it WAS cooking-related; all I know is that I never dropped it. But perhaps the ex did and wouldn't own up to it.

      I'm not saying this guarantee policy is a deceptive practice, it's just a very dissuasive reason to return the LC product with a pig-in-a-poke chance of getting it--or anything--back. And certainly an important qualification to the "lifetime guarantee". I mean, any exterior chip could be "accidental breakage", and what's the consumer going to do to refute that without the pot?

      1. re: kaleokahu
        Chemicalkinetics RE: kaleokahu Jan 17, 2011 08:12 PM

        "what's the consumer going to do to refute that without the pot?"

        take a lot of photos before sending the pot back. :)

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          Jay F RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2011 05:11 AM

          Yes, I e-mailed them photos.

        2. re: kaleokahu
          I used to know how to cook... RE: kaleokahu Jan 17, 2011 08:16 PM

          Hi Jay and Kaleo,

          First off, I don't own any LC. Last pot I had similar was Descoware (circa 1965) which I guess is a similar product.

          I wonder if LC would consider a picture or two as an adequate representation of the damage...

          At least then you wouldn't have to spend the money to send them the pot. And if they went sideways on you, you would still have your pot.

          Worth a shot?

          Lucy

      2. Chemicalkinetics RE: kaleokahu Jan 17, 2011 08:10 PM

        Kaleo

        You are a lawyer? I thought you are a knife maker. I guess being a lawyer is your day-job then.

        Anyway, my impression is that the Le Cresuet Lifetime Warranty has been toughen up in the last decade. Now, you rarely get a full replacement, rather you get a discount replacement. MSRP is pretty much the "high" price. Even Amazon sells at 26% below MSRP:

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

        Therefore a 40% off from MSRP is really a 20% off from a store like Amazon, and you are losing a semi-functional pot in the process. Like you said, if all you get a 40% off from MSRP, it may be better off to buy your next LC in a discount store like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx.. or just buy another brand like Staub. For some reasons, I read a lot of less compliants for Staub. Now, it is entirely possible that there are simply fewer people own Staub and therefore fewer compliants.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          i
          iyc_nyc RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 17, 2011 08:13 PM

          I just complained about Staub (in a reply to Kaleo in another thread..) :-)

          I complained about inconsistent thickness of the Staub's CI ( in this case, very thin sides - seems at least 2/3 thinner than my other Staub, which is half the capacity!).. .. but also uneven and sloppy enamel, with CI showing; and wobbling lids. These aren't even seconds, but full price items.

          1. re: iyc_nyc
            Chemicalkinetics RE: iyc_nyc Jan 17, 2011 08:17 PM

            "at least 2/3 thinner than my other Staub"

            How is that possible? You mean the wall is actually thinner. This would mean the cast iron is thinner too. How is that possible for a "cast" cookware.

            "with CI showing"

            Was it showing the first day or was it being scrubbed many times and it starts to thin out?

            Finally, can you and did you return your Staub?

            P.S.: I remember you posted about pinhole in your Dutch Oven, but you said that one is a LC.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              i
              iyc_nyc RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2011 09:27 PM

              Yep, pinholes are in LC interior - LC just wrote me back and said it's fine to keep and use with pinholes, but I'm going to confirm that this won't cause rusting or chipping in future esp since pinholes are in interior.

              The wall thickness discrepancy is with my Staubs (My LC is fine in this respect). I promise you the walls of one Staub (white 5-3/4Q oval cocotte from Cook's Warehouse via Amazon) is significantly thinner than my other Staub (2.5Q round from WS) and even thinner than my LC, all brand new - at least at the rim where i can measure w/o a caliper (which is on my to-buy list thanks to Kaleo). I can try to take a photo and upload when I get a free moment (prob over the wkend).

              When I saw this, I googled and found others have found certain staubs to have uneven casting, specifically thickness. See, for example: http://www.amazon.com/Staub-Quart-Rou... ("Item is satisfactory it doesn't seem as heavy as LeCreuset and the edge around the pot is not consistent and becomes thin in places.").

              "with CI showing" - yep, just got this white Staub set (5-3/4 Q + 2 mini cocottes), and metal is showing on the underside of the large one's handles - it looks like it was sprayed only part-way - and a lot of metal is showing on the minis, including on the upperside of the handles. This guy had a similar complaint with his two Staubs and was convinced the subpar one was counterfeit or seconds (and I could see why, as I had the same huge quality difference b/w my two large Staubs - my 5-3/4 looked like a truly cheap poorly manufactured thin pan, while the 2.5Q from WS had a wobbling lid problem, but was otherwise beautiful, well-finished, thick, well enameled, etc.): http://www.amazon.com/Staub-Quart-Rou....

              Some more quality complaints, but on the wobbly lid reported on CH earlier: http://www.amazon.com/Staub-6-75-Quar....

              2/3/09 review on Staub QC issues (I have the same gashes, etc., but don't care as much about those as I do about side thickness): http://www.amazon.com/Staub-Quart-Rou....

              Yep, I also had problems with De Buyer cracks on the handles -- bad karma, bad luck, not sure what the problem is with all these products I'm getting, all from reputable retailers! But have no reason to make this stuff up and wish it weren't true, b/c these (LC, Staub, and De Buyer) are the supposed best-in-class.

              Edit: BTW, Bakedeco has been super responsive on the De Buyer. I sent them the same photos I posted here with the cracked handles, and they then went back to look at their pans in inventory and said all in their current batch had the same problem with cracked handles, so they can't replace mine now. They even went so far as to contact De Buyer who acknowledged the pans shouldn't be that way. Am still waiting to see if De Buyer can replace, since Bakedeco seems to have a bad batch and aren't getting any new ones in for another 2-3 mths. So, maybe it's just my bad luck -- don't want to dissuade folks from buying these brands as mine might be outlier case and I still haven't given up!

              1. re: iyc_nyc
                Chemicalkinetics RE: iyc_nyc Jan 18, 2011 09:49 PM

                Thanks for the information from Amazon.

                "LC just wrote me back and said it's fine to keep and use with pinholes"

                Why? Tell LC that you don't want it. I returned my Lodge L Dutch Oven for exactly the same reason. That said, I return it to the retailer, not Lodge. That Dutch Oven looked very beautiful -- really beautiful. I seriously considered keeping it despite the two pinholes. At the end, I knew having the pinholes on the interior surface will constantly annoy me.

                I simply gave up on enameled cast iron cookware. Beside the Lodge L series I mentioned, I own a Lodge Color series Dutch Oven and it has been idle for two years. It has no crack, no chip, no nothing. I just cannot deal with the fact that it gets stains and I need to spend time after each cooking session to bring the surface back to white. Of course, I also have to be gentle with it because it is enameled. Now, I just like my bare cast iron Dutch Oven because I can be very rough with them and I know I can fix 99.9% of its problem. In fact, I re-did the seasoning on my Dutch Oven this weekend because the seasoning on the lid was flaking off. So I burned all the seasoning off, and then re-season the cookware.

                You really need to return that DeBuyer pan if you have not. That kind of crack is unacceptable. I hope you get a perfect DeBuyer pan because I know you will like it.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  i
                  iyc_nyc RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2011 09:58 PM

                  Hey chem, i just edited my reply to add DeBuyer status.

                  Thanks for looking out for all of us. I swear, I'm spooked with all these bad products! I am almost done outfitting my kitchen so hopefully I can now focus largely on cooking!

                  1. re: iyc_nyc
                    Chemicalkinetics RE: iyc_nyc Jan 18, 2011 10:09 PM

                    Just read your edited response. I guess it is both good and bad. Good because this happened to an entire batch, so Bakedeco knows for sure it is DeBuyer's problem. You will definitely get a replacement or a refund. Bad because I cannot believe it happened to an entire batch and DeBuyer did not catch this. We are not talking about 1-2 pans. An entire inventory at Bakedeco.

                    If you can't wait, then ask Bakedeco if you can get a refund or store credit. 2-3 months is a long wait. Good luck.

                    1. re: iyc_nyc
                      kaleokahu RE: iyc_nyc Jan 19, 2011 08:49 AM

                      iyc_nyc: "I'm spooked with all these bad products!" I don't blame you.

                      Three possible solutions: (1) Buy new at brick-and-mortar stores so you can inspect the goods; (2) Buy high-quality vintage on eBay; (3) Buy new online from a retailer such as Fantes, and have THEM cherrypick/flyspeck your merchandise before shipping.

                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: kaleokahu Jan 19, 2011 09:43 AM

                        Kaelo:

                        I agree with you. Sometime there is just no subsitution for "inspecting" the product on site, especially for certain cookware like enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens or wood cutting boards... That said, I bought mine enameled Dutch Oven online from Amazon.

              2. re: iyc_nyc
                hobbybaker RE: iyc_nyc Jan 18, 2011 07:41 AM

                iyc. When I bought LCs, I always thought about Staub. However, I cannot find a store selling them locally other than WS and its outlet. I am an old-type person who want to see what I am buying to hold it in my hands and make sure I like it. So it is impossible for me to go to one of the online retailes. Also, I can not afford to pay full Staub price either. Evem without seeing it in person. No way. Someday, I want to stop by at their outlet shop in Alsace in France and buy one after checking it by myself :)

              3. re: Chemicalkinetics
                kaleokahu RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 17, 2011 08:27 PM

                Chem: Shhhhhhh on the lawyer thing. I'd rather be making wine and knives full time.

                Yeah, that's the rub, isn't it? CH is full of raves about LC's no-questions-asked policy, but the fine print says otherwise. At $315 MSRP (or $235 on sale), I'm going to put the extra money into a premium-grade vintage copper marmit.

                1. re: kaleokahu
                  k
                  KailuaGirl RE: kaleokahu Nov 15, 2013 03:37 PM

                  Kaleo,
                  I'm a lawyer, too. :-) There are a lot of us who love cooking at least as much as, sometimes more than, the law.
                  Aloha,
                  KG

              4. hobbybaker RE: kaleokahu Jan 18, 2011 07:24 AM

                If any problem, going back to the same route first is always better based on my experience.

                I brought itback with the original receipt to Bloomingdales after a year or so use where I bought it at a very competitive price during their sale (maybe I paid $10 or more so compared with the price of online retailers or outlet stores). It was replaced by them on spot. I did not send it back to LC by paying shipping out of my pocket. It was more than 5 years ago, though. That is why I think it might be a good idea to buy at Bloomies during their sale (especially if it is the first DO) IF the difference is not much. I can make sure what I buy at a store, too.

                I would recommend to contact the retailer who you bought yours from, assuming they are still in business (If you still have a recipet, even better.). You must have bought from a traditional retailer and paid close to MSRP if it is 25year ago?

                20 Replies
                1. re: hobbybaker
                  Chemicalkinetics RE: hobbybaker Jan 18, 2011 07:26 AM

                  Most people who are happy with the return policy are actually dealing with the retail stores like Bloomingdales or Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    kaleokahu RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2011 08:32 AM

                    Chem: No original receipt. This was a wedding present if I remember right. I'll call LC and see what they say.

                    Edit: OK, so I called. In a nutshell, I was told they will not accept photos, and the only way for them to determine what they'll do is for me to ship it across the country, for "QA" to look at it. The process takes up to 4 weeks excluding shipping to/from. On the positive side, I was told I could designate that the pot be returned to me if not replaced, which is contrary to their written guarantee's terms.

                    1. re: kaleokahu
                      C. Hamster RE: kaleokahu Jan 18, 2011 08:59 AM

                      How could they NOT return it to you? It's yours.

                      1. re: C. Hamster
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: C. Hamster Jan 18, 2011 09:15 AM

                        I think it is kinda of a legal/lawsuit issue, which kaleokahu probably knows. If Le Cresuet deems the pot is broken, then it cannot release the pot back to the owner, because if (I mean a big if) something bad was to happen to the owner, then Le Cresuet is responsible for sending the broken pot back.

                        Imagine the extreme case where Le Cressuet finds the enameled surface are readily chipping off and that there is a high chance someone will ingest these sharp pieces. Can Le Creuset release the pot?

                      2. re: kaleokahu
                        hobbybaker RE: kaleokahu Jan 18, 2011 09:08 AM

                        Kale- I don't find such WRITTEN gurantee terms you mentioned - (They do NOT return your pot if the pot is judged to be broken ) in their small orange booklet I have.

                        1. re: hobbybaker
                          kaleokahu RE: hobbybaker Jan 18, 2011 09:45 AM

                          Hi, Hobbybaker:

                          Here is the boilerplate from the return instructions that I was given at the LC store 3 days ago (emphasis added):

                          "If our Quality Control Department determines that there are no manufacturing defects in the returned cookware, a letter stating that fact will be mailed to the owner. At that time we offer to replace the cookware at half the suggested retail price. The replacement cost will be stated in the letter. We also offer to return the damaged cookware to the owner, IF IT IS NOT BROKEN. FOR SAFETY REASONS WE DO NOT RETURN ANY BROKEN ITEMS."

                          Also responding to your post below, the manufacturer's guarantee is what it is. LC reaps the advertising benefit and goodwill about SAYING they have a lifetime guarantee, but unless the consumer is willing to sue them, it's all completely discretionary on LC's part. Made enough of a hassle, claiming on a guarantee is pretty meaningless.

                          But Hamster is on to something: the pot IS mine, and their failure to return it (even if broken) is probably what the law calls a conversion (civil theft). That's probably why they WILL return it if specifically asked.

                          Makers of medical appliances also frequently have a "no return to customer" policy, but the customers agree IN ADVANCE to this policy, and doing otherwise would violate FDA regulations. LC's approach is strictly back-door.

                          1. re: kaleokahu
                            hobbybaker RE: kaleokahu Jan 18, 2011 09:52 AM

                            Thanks Kaleo. so it is the safety reason as CK suggested, too.

                        2. re: kaleokahu
                          Jay F RE: kaleokahu Jan 18, 2011 10:06 AM

                          The people at LC must have read all the **** you've posted about them here over the years, kaleokahu.

                          When my oven got cracked, I e-mailed them photos, and was given a RA# within two days, as well as an offer to send a check for 25% of the list price of the replacement oven, i.e., a new 5.5 qt for a little more than $75.

                          1. re: Jay F
                            kaleokahu RE: Jay F Jan 18, 2011 10:20 AM

                            Jay: I specifically asked the CS rep if I could send them photos, and was told "No".

                            They give you the RA instantly over the phone if you call them, but that doesn't mean they'll do anything but accept the return delivery for evaluation.

                            So let me get this straight... You got a check from LC within 2 days just by sending them photos via e-mail? It's worth a try if you can share the e-mail address you sent to.

                            BTW, the "****" I have previously posted about LC has all been completely accurate.

                            1. re: kaleokahu
                              Jay F RE: kaleokahu Jan 18, 2011 10:52 AM

                              Sorry. I wasn't clear.

                              I didn't _get_ a check. I was told to _send_ a check for 25% of the list value of the 5.5 qt oven. The pictures told the story. BTW, I didn't ask if I could send them photos, I just included them in my first e-mail.

                              Today's list price on Amazon is $315. If I were to send the oven in, I'd pay $78.75 for a new one, plus ~$20 for shipping. I decided in December to buy a brand-new one I saw at the nearest outlet store for $129. Less hassle, and it was a color I really wanted, Indigo, which is currently retired, and unavailable through the Customer Service Center in SC.

                              I am still eligible to send in the old oven and the check, incidentally, even though I've bought a new one.

                              1. re: Jay F
                                kaleokahu RE: Jay F Jan 18, 2011 11:05 AM

                                Jay: Maybe I'll try that. What e-mail address did you send to, and how long ago was this?

                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                  Jay F RE: kaleokahu Jan 18, 2011 12:34 PM

                                  It's the same e-mail address I gave you in the first post: cservice@lecreuset.com. I first e-mailed them sometime in November or December.

                                  1. re: Jay F
                                    kaleokahu RE: Jay F Jan 18, 2011 01:23 PM

                                    Jay: Sorry I missed it the first time. Thanks.

                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: kaleokahu Jan 30, 2011 08:26 PM

                                      Hey buddy,

                                      How is it (LC customer service) going? Get any favorable response?

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        kaleokahu RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 30, 2011 09:00 PM

                                        Hi, Chem: I confess I haven't yet sent off the photos as Jay has suggested. A good reminder, though, to get them off tomorrow. Thanks.

                        3. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          hobbybaker RE: Chemicalkinetics Jan 18, 2011 08:59 AM

                          CK - I guess there is no free lunch. You get what you pay for. I don't expect the outlet stores to provide the same service from Bloomies and WS for two of LCs I bought for much lower prices.

                          1. re: hobbybaker
                            Jay F RE: hobbybaker Jan 18, 2011 10:16 AM

                            hobbybaker, I can't say enough good things about every single person I talked to at the LC outlet stores in December, in particular those in

                            Grove City, PA
                            Flemington, NJ
                            Los Angeles Citadel, CA

                            1. re: Jay F
                              hobbybaker RE: Jay F Jan 18, 2011 12:22 PM

                              Jay, I had good experience at outlet stores and as a result bought two of my LC there. However, I don't expect them to provide the same service. When I bought one of mine at the outlet, I asked what they will do if my pot is damaged. Their answer is I need to contact LC and send it by paying shipping. I guess the same thing for the LCs bought at TJ Maxx etc.

                              1. re: hobbybaker
                                Jay F RE: hobbybaker Jan 18, 2011 12:40 PM

                                Oh, I wasn't suggesting using them as a return site for damaged goods, or anything you didn't buy there. My experience, thankfully, has been limited to buying at the outlet Stores, with one perfectly smooth return.

                                During December, I was calling all over the country to find different things for gifts, and every single LC employee was just so nice. It was like being back in the 1960s. Finally, an LC employee in LA offered to locate everything for me on his computer, but I really don't regret the time I spent making all those calls myself.

                                1. re: Jay F
                                  hobbybaker RE: Jay F Jan 18, 2011 12:59 PM

                                  Yes. LC people are very helpful. I decided LC based on customer service and accessiblity over Staub. I was kind of scared off by reading how staub customer service is when I made a decision. Hope things has changed and curious about what they would do.

                                  People at my local Bloomies are very nice, too. They will let you know when to buy (next sale) if you ask.

                      3. amyzan RE: kaleokahu Jan 30, 2011 09:09 PM

                        Wow, I guess I've been lucky! LC replaced a cracked lid to a dutch oven for me years ago, and just a year or so ago, replaced a multi function pan set (2 qt. saucepan with nonstick coated small skillet "lid") at no cost to me other than shipping the old pan to them. The interiors of both parts of the multi function set had become so crazed or peeling, they were unusable. In both cases, I followed the instructions on their website, and had no problems.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: amyzan
                          kaleokahu RE: amyzan Jan 30, 2011 09:29 PM

                          amyzan: Glad it worked out for you. If you've read this thread, you've seen that the issue is whether to risk being given bad news (no replacement AND no return, at LC's whim of finding "accidental damage") in the case of a cracked (through the wall) pot. In case of such a finding, the best one can expect is a discount off the MSRP, which these days is not a bargain and about what one would pay on a mark-down. In the meantime, the pot is going to/from a monthlong vacation in South Carolina. So, despite your good experience with which is more unambiguously a manufacturing defect, you can understand my trepidation.

                          Nevertheless, another poster here (Thanks, JayF) has given guidance about a way to avoid taking that risk. Which I will try.

                          1. re: kaleokahu
                            amyzan RE: kaleokahu Jan 30, 2011 09:56 PM

                            The cracked lid may or may not have been a defect of manufacture. I had a roommate at the time, and explained to them that I hadn't dropped the lid, but didn't know whether or not my roommate was telling me the truth when she said she hadn't. (I'd seen her using metal utensils in a different nonstick pan. She moved out three weeks later.)

                            Yeah, I see your conundrum. It's not a quite satisfactory policy, at all. But, I thought I should share that I have had positive experiences. I wish you luck, and please post back!

                            1. re: amyzan
                              hobbybaker RE: amyzan Jan 31, 2011 04:36 AM

                              amy, thank you for sharing your experience. how old were the multi pot when replaced ?

                              1. re: hobbybaker
                                amyzan RE: hobbybaker Jan 31, 2011 02:56 PM

                                Good question, and I have to honestly say I'm unsure. I bought most of my LC back shortly after college, so it was likely to be nearing 20 years old.

                                1. re: amyzan
                                  hobbybaker RE: amyzan Jan 31, 2011 04:51 PM

                                  ca. 20 years use. Pretty good. Thanks!

                              2. re: amyzan
                                kaleokahu RE: amyzan Jan 31, 2011 03:17 PM

                                Hi, Amy: Thanks for sharing your good experience. Yours is one of many, enough for me to conclude that LC has good customer service overall, and that their lifetime guarantee is not an outright sham.

                                It sounds like our circumstances (we didn't drop the pan, but someone else may have) are close to the same. Still, I'm going to send them photos first, because I can't afford right now to replace this pan even at a discount.

                                Your input has helped. Thank you again.

                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                  o
                                  olympia RE: kaleokahu Mar 18, 2011 04:44 PM

                                  Sp, what happened with this? Is this the infamous piece?

                                  I think my beloved braiser which is very gently used and maybe 2 yrs old seems to be developing some pinpricks in the enamel. I'm very disappointed. I'm not sure if LC would replace though. *sigh*

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