My manual can opener stopped working a couple of weeks ago. The gears no longer meshed, and the handle wouldn't turn. Although I didn't think it was that old, I just went to the store and bought a new one. As I was taking the new one out of the package, I noticed that it had a "lifetime" warranty. It made me stop and think about all the inexpensive doodads I buy that have a guarantee-until you read the fine print and discover it's not worth doing anything but tossing them.
I'm sure the companies who offer doo-dad warranties don't expect many people to cash in--what are the chances that someone would keep the receipt and documentation, and jump through all the hoops to mail something away for replacement? I usually just toss the packaging and receipts for things I buy, unless it's a big-ticket item, but I randomly keep receipts for small things. We have a bulging file cabinet downstairs that's become the repository of all types of paperwork. That worked to my advantage today when I was able to find a warranty and receipt and return an inexpensive gadget to the manufacturer that was under warranty.
I decided to wade through the warranty file in the cabinet. It was a mish-mash of paperwork for big-ticket items and little devices. I tossed several sets of papers associated with long-gone electronics and household gadgets. However, close to the bottom of the file, I found the packaging (more like a hang tag) for the old can opener with the receipt attached to it. The receipt indicated I bought it less than a year ago. The opener had a "one year hassle-free replacement" warranty, WHICH HAD NOT EXPIRED! What are the chances of that?
I put the broken can opener in a box with the receipt and took it to the post office. I declined to insure my broken can opener. If it makes it there, fine; if it doesn't I'm ok with that too.
Note--On October 10th we got a package from the UPS man. Inside the package was a replacement can opener. It's good to know that the company stands behind its guarantee.