Briggs & Riley: the best warranty in the world

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Back in 1999, I bought a wheeled carry-on bag for a little less than $200. I’d liked the design (it came with a built-in garment holder inside) and could tell it was built better and sturdier than several of the other brands that the luggage store carried. What really got my interest, though, was their warranty, which stated that they would repair, free of charge, any damage to the bag caused by anything, be it the airlines or your dog for the lifetime of the bag. Thinking it was some nice marketing, but never expecting to use it, I bought the bag.

Since it’s been my only carry-on bag, I’ve used it to go everywhere in the last 7 years: all over the US on domestic flights, Taiwan twice, all over Europe from the UK to Spain to the Czech Republic, Peru, not to mention innumerable cross-country road trips. You name it, and it’s been there. Unfortunately, it also managed to get worn and torn throughout this time by cabbies and baggage handlers. Last week, I decided to make the 40 min drive to Moss Bay, CA to drop off my bag at their repair center.

The building was a little non-descript warehouse save for a sign that pointed out “Briggs & Riley Repair Center” and an arrow showing the driveway where cars could turn in. I walked in with my bag, no receipt, no “proof of purchase”….and no problem. The warehouse was filled with Briggs & Riley suitcases and luggage ready to be repaired or sent back to their owners. A nice man at the counter greeted me with “Ah, got an old model here!” and helped me fill out a simple paper form showing all the things that needed repairing: a zipper pull had fallen off, there were some seams starting to come apart from my overstuffing the bag so many times, and there were two large gashes in the rubber bottom that was causing the bag not only to have holes but to fail to stand up properly. He tested the wheels, saw those were fine, and then asked if I would like them to ship it back to me for free instead of making the drive back out. “There’s no charge” he said. I told him “Sure!” and he filled out my shipping address, said they were looking at about a 2-week turnaround unless I was in a rush, which I wasn’t.

Well, UPS delivered the bag yesterday and everything had been completely fixed. They’d actually replaced and bolstered the bottom rubber portions with new feet and “bumpers” from their current models, but it’s completely unnoticeable. The zippers were replaced with new ones and all the seams sewn. The fact that the bag was 7 years old and no longer a model they carry, that it was fixed and shipped back for free, with no required paperwork or documentation, and done with such friendliness really impressed me. You just don’t get see sort of service anymore. As far as I know, not even , an even higher line of baggage, offers this warranty. If they hadn’t repaired my bag, it was getting to the point that I’d have had to spend another $150-$300 buying a new carry-on, but with their warranty, I’m sure I’ll be able to put this bag into another decade or more of good use, worry-free about baggage handlers the world over. Sometimes, it just pays to buy quality!

So, any other incredible warranty or service stories out there? I’d love to hear ’em!

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