Warranties, Raymarine (FLIR) goes to three years

Raymarine_3_yr_warranty_collage_by_Panbo.jpg

Nice!  As of New Year’s Day all new Raymarine products are eligible for a free extra year of warranty as long as the owner registers them online (always a good idea anyway). And that’s not all: Raymarine has also instituted a “Rapid Care” feature, which means that if your product (excepting radar and sat TV antennas) is in its first year of warranty and needs repair, Ray will ship you a “like-new remanufactured” unit within two business days of receiving the broken one. This strikes me as a smart way for FLIR — which might be called Raymarine’s thermally-obsessed sugar daddy) — to express its longterm commitment to the company and its customers, but does it also mean that Raymarine now has the best warranty program in the business?…


I don’t know the answer to that question and suspect it’s more complicated than it sounds.  For instance, I believe that some companies (Raymarine and Garmin come to mind) already offer extra warranty time — or at least extra onoard warranty service, as opposed to ship-in service — if a product or group of products is installed by a NMEA- or manufacturer-certified professional. And of course there are the details of how a warranty is administrated.  Can you even get the company on the phone?  Do they take forever to fix and return a product?  
  It might be useful to all if readers shared their warranty knowledge and experience.  Like what sort of warranty did your gear come with, did it make difference in your buying decision, and, if you had to use the warranty, how did that work out?

Raymarine Rapid Care logo.jpg

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

19 Responses

  1. Roy M says:

    West Marine’s PLUS PLAN just got a big hit.

  2. JohnD says:

    I also did the Plus Plan on a few items. Price was pretty good, not expecting to need it, but hassle free is worth a lot to me even though I know it’s a profit center. I don’t get the extended warranty stuff though at places like best buy as the pricing is crazy there ($10 on a $25 item).

  3. I hand it to Furuno. They replaced a differential GPS antenna from an out-of-warranty unit that I admitted was damaged by my own carelessness. I sent it in for repairs and got back a new unit for free. That is my idea of great customer service.

  4. Bob Mueller says:

    I had a Garmin USB bluechart card reader that was out of warranty and quit working. Tech support walked me through driver re-install that I had already attempted myself a couple times. Nothing got it working, so they offrerd to send me a new unit. They did not want the original one back and never even asked for an original purchase date. I was probably 2-3 years beyond warranty. After that experience, I can’t imagine owning another brand.

  5. Peter says:

    Garmin replaced a 4212 @ 2 years out of warranty due to peeling paint. They were great to work with and did not even bring up that the unit was currently out of warranty. It was a no fuss exchange.

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Installer Bill Bishop has some nice things to say about Raymarine tech support (and several other majors):
    http://themarineinstallersrant.blogspot.com/2010/12/tech-support-kudos-2010.html
    I asked, and Bill uses the same phone numbers as everyone else (so do I, usually).

  7. Raul says:

    I do not like the idea of manufacturers pushing consumers to use a NMEA or manufacturer-certified professional for installations by dangling an extended warranty in front of them. There are many consumers that are more than well qualified to perform a top notch installation, just as there are certified professionals that do sup-par installations. The extended warranties should not be tied to who performs the installation.
    Raul

  8. Quitsa says:

    Marine electronics seems to be an industry in which written warranty policies tell only a small portion of the story. Having had Garmin, Simrad and Furuno equipment over the years, my own experience would put Furuno in a completely different league. They have repaired or replaced every piece of equpment with which I have had a problem at no cost without regard to whether it is still in warranty. If that were not enough, the items have been turned around in 24 hours and shipped back to me FedEx one or two day delivery — also at no cost to me. Garmin has not been nearly as helpful. I had a handheld that was killed by leaking batteries while still under warranty and was offered a small courtesy discount on a refurb unit. Certainly Garmin had no legal obligation to repair or replace the unit since the battery damage was specifically excluded from the warranty. But it was quite a contrast from Furuno replacing the entire 10″ display and control panel on an out of warranty NavNet VX2 that I had sent in because the trackball did not work properly. All done a no cost because the display “did not look perfect” due to some water spots.
    The old Simrad honored the warranty fully, but not an inch more and made me pay for shipping. Not sure how the post-acquisition Simrad behaves.
    As for tech support, Furuno is also in its own league. Always available on the phone and always incredibly helpful and willing to spend however long it takes to identofy and solve a problem.
    So I guess I don;t really care what Raymarine or any other company puts down in their written warranty when I know from direct experience that Furuno will go far beyond the legal language to keep customers happy and keep equipment in service. My new boat has all Furuno electronics even though I might have been able to save a little with one of the other brands, though Furuno radar and sounder performance is the benchmark as far as I am concerned.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Raul, I agree that some boat owners can do perfectly fine installs (and enjoy doing it), but I still think the extra warranty for a certified installation makes a lot of sense. For one thing it honors the folks who’ve made a profession of marine electronics and went to the trouble of getting certified (and in many cases the yard or dealer employers who footed the bill). And it makes economic sense as I’m sure gear installed by certified techs has less problems on average than devices installed by owners or installers without formal training. Besides, it’s quite possible for a good self-installer to pay a pro to inspect and sign off on an installation in order to get the extended warranty.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yes – but in some other cases you are just reusing existing wire and plugging in a new ST-60 instrument head. Not sure how that benefits from a certified installer. I don’t think I should lose a year of warranty for that. Way too many times folks at the vendor try to use this certified maintainer training as an additional profit center for sales of training services and the like. The interesting thing is that carried to an extreme it does a disservice to both the technician and to the customer by driving folks out of the hobby into other hobbies which are not so restrictive or expensive, and can be the last straw for some customers when combined with high fuel costs.

  11. Rob Beebe / SY Acorn says:

    I’ve had very good warranty and service response from Raymarine through many years of using their products, though the actual contact has usually been done for me by Hinckley Service. The Raymarine people were helpful, and once even sent out a replacement unit before we could get the problematic display back to them for analysis. I’d give Raymarine high marks.

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Well, I guess an appropriate expression is “The hand that feedeth can also taketh away”! I’ve heard from sources in both Europe and the U.S. that on January 1 Raymarine also raised prices to some degree.
    I don’t understand the nuances of the various sales channels very well, but what I understand is that there was both a small across-the-board price increase and also an end to certain incentives for large distributors. The word is that retail prices will have to go up once current inventories need to be replaced. If you were planning to buy something in Ray gray, now may be the time.

  13. Gary says:

    In Australia at least Raymarine support an “in the boat” warranty if the installation is performed by a Raymarine service dealer. If not then the warranty is a return to base scenario.
    This is an added benefit when customers purchase from a service dealer and have that service dealer do the installation. This means that in the case of a fault, the service dealer has the opportunity to debug the gear in place. In many case, the unit is OK but the fault has something to do with the environment – for example faulty power wiring. Raymarine actually pay a dealer to attend the vessel.
    I did not read that the extra year of warranty was dependent on being installed by a professional or dealer – only that the gear is registered with Raymarine.

  14. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry if the entry is confusing, Gary. You’re right; Raymarine’s extra (third) year of warranty has nothing to do with who installs the product.
    Extra benefits offered for a certified install seem to vary, but mostly involve onboard servicing, as you mention. I had no idea until today that anyone resented the certification extras (which usually also involve a certain dollar value of product, I think). To my knowledge these programs have always been about extra service and never involved taking away existing warranty rights. So how did anyone “lose” something?

  15. Igor says:

    Ben, B&G has been offering 3 year warranty ( Gold Card ) since the last 8 years. If installed by B&G trained tech and registered with them.

  16. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Standard Horizon also offers three year warranties, without install restrictions, and there may be others. I didn’t mean to say that Raymarine is the best, but rather to ask a question that prompted a discussion. There are obviously many factors to the whole after-sale service nut.

  17. ScottD says:

    Standard Horizon has a really good warranty and the Tech guys are really cool as well. I have had to call in for advise with a NMEA issue i had with a radio and DSC. They were really patient with me and help me great. I had a older radio about 5 years old that i totally ruined with water. I knew that i could not fix it, but the Standard Guys said to send it in and they would give me a LOYALTY COUPON to buy a new unit. How great is that? I doubt there is any other company that will give you $25 rebate to buy another one of there products even when i did the damage and the old product was rusted. I really have enjoyed the products and the 3 year waterproof warranty is one of the best in the industry.

  18. Thomas says:

    I guess this means that Raymarine VHF products can be extended to a 4 year warranty being they are already 3 out of the box. That’s pretty attractive IMO.
    I doubt this extends the standard 1 year provided on ducers and consumables though.
    Knowing *a little* something about Raymarine warranty repairs myself, I can say I am very happy to see this as life is good when the customer has registered their gear and Raymarine can verify warranty status. Then I don’t have to deal with fake POPs, getting credit card statements, ect…

  19. Jim McGowan says:

    Just want to provide some clarification to the last comment.
    Raymarine’s new warranty policy does not extend VHF radios out to 4-years. Rather, it extends the coverage on the rest of the line to 3-years, matching the coverage of VHF radios.
    Online registration of products is required within 90-days of purchase to claim the 3rd year of coverage.
    Jim McGowan
    Raymarine, Inc.

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