January 18, 2013

With the riding season fast approaching, the crew at Full Spectrum Power is working overtime to get ready for the frantic rush of production, orders, shipping, and…lightweight battery warranty calls.

When I tell people that we get the majority of our warranty related calls and emails at the beginning of the year, they usually give me a strange look, and ask why they happen now, instead of during the season. The next question they ask is usually about the cause of warranty issues with lightweight batteries, and how we deal with them.

Well, let’s look at lightweight battery warranty issues, and how they are handled.

To begin, let’s agree that a product warranty is a promise by a manufacturer to a consumer, that the product they are purchasing will work as designed, and be free of defects in workmanship for a given period of time.

In more simple terms related to our products, if your battery fails as a result of something that we did improperly during assembly and manufacturing, or if a component in your battery fails as a result of a defect, we will repair or replace the battery for a period of up to 2 years. You can read our warranty in its entirety here.

On the other hand, a warranty is not an insurance policy.

So, what is the reason for the large number of calls right after the new year? In the overwhelming majority (95%) of cases, the call is a rider saying something like this:

“I put my bike away for the winter in November, and when I went out to the garage in January to start my bike, the battery was dead. I don’t understand why the battery is dead if I didn’t use my bike for 3 months”
Well, I have discussed this issue extensively in blog posts, manuals, interviews and in person so I wont repeat the explanation here. Suffice to say, this is not a warranty issue- you have drained your battery and possibly killed it.

In my 5 years of running this business, I have seen very few warranty claims. I like to think that because we try to educate our customers about the proper handling and care of these batteries, that we have avoided the problems that other companies seem to have. Of those that we do see, there is always an interesting story about how the battery was damaged:

Drilled hole in battery while mounting license plate.

Caught battery on fire after crash and fuel tank rupture.

Crushed battery during crash.

Stripped terminal using electric impact wrench to tighten cable.

Vented cells by jump starting bike with truck battery.

Battery drained to 0.4 volts after leaving key in “on” position for entire winter.

As you can imagine, none of these “warranty issues” are actually related to the battery, or are the result of a problem with our manufacturing. These are all problems that are outside of warranty status, because they were not a result of something that we did wrong, but were instead the result of something that was outside of our control. These would be issues considered to be covered by an insurance policy, not a warranty.

If you crash your car, it is not a paint warranty issue. It is an insurance policy issue.

If you drain the oil out of your engine, and then run the engine and destroy it, it is not a warranty issue. It is an insurance policy issue.

If you drop your iPhone in the toilet, it is not covered under warranty. It would be covered by your insurance policy.

So while these things may fall under an insurance policy, they are not covered under a warranty. Maybe we should offer battery insurance.

One last point about lightweight battery warranties, and about our warranty policy in particular. As riders and racers, we are here to help you when you break something and need help. We are generally available by phone, M-F, 10-7 EST. If you have an issue that you need help with, call us directly. That is the best way to reach us. We don’t spend all day on the computer, and we probably wont return your email within 20 minutes. So, if you need to talk to someone who knows about batteries and battery issues give us a call.

Next week we are going to post part 2 of our lightweight battery comparison, so have a good weekend, and see you next week!