December 3, 2013

When They Say "Limited," They Mean It

So I finally did the research into bike lock anti-theft warranties I promised back in "Interview with a Bike Thief." Here's the dirt:
  1. It is not true that all Kryptonite warranties are void in the Big Apple: While OnGuard's "Limited Anti-Theft Program" is void in the entire Empire State—way to ruin it for everyone, insatiable NYC bike thieves—Kryptonite does cover a selection of its products even within crime-ridden Gotham.
  2. Act fast: This much seems pretty standard. You need to purchase anti-theft coverage within 15 days of purchasing your lock, and, should attack on said lock result in the loss of your bike, you'd better file a police report within 72 hours and mail the lock manufacturer the required evidence and documentation within the week. 
  3. Pray the thief doesn't take the lock, too: Lock manufacturers would go bankrupt if they reimbursed every bike owner who locked his or her ride to something insufficiently anchored, or only secured the front wheel, or left the U-lock at home and trusted his or her (in this case her) 29er to a flimsy cable. To prevent paying for the mistakes of others—as opposed to failure of their product—then, the likes of Kryptonite and OnGuard require claimants to ship them the compromised lock. Makes sense, but what if the thief makes off with the lock, too? It's also interesting that OnGuard includes in the terms and conditions of its anti-theft program what amounts to an admission of its locks' vulnerability to the tools of the more tricked out thief: The manufacturer is not liable if "torches, battery operated tools or power tools were used to open the lock."
    The owner of this lock would be out of
    luck warranty-wise. 
  4. Bye-bye upgrades: Master Lock offers an anti-theft guarantee—in one case up to a not-to-be-scoffed-at $3500—on some of its products, but know that it's essentially only the purchase price that's covered: the "purchase price of the stolen bicycle including manufacturer’s original equipment and excluding separately purchased accessories or taxes," as Master Lock puts it. Considering that many if not most bicyclists upgrade their ride eventually, seems to me there ought to be a provision for reimbursing them in the event that a their stolen bike was sporting a pair of none-too-cheap but oh-so-functional aftermarket BB7s.
  5. One lock, one bike: It strikes me as entirely reasonable and responsible for an individual to have, say, two bikes and one bike lock. You can only ever ride one bike at a time, after all, and if you leave the unridden ride behind the locked door of your apartment while you're out on the other, you should be good, right? Well, not if you registered the unridden bike with the lock and then the ridden bike gets stolen while under its (apparently inadequate) protection. Only "one vehicle may be registered per lock," says OnGuard. Sorry. (Apology mine.)
  6. Term limit?: I can't quite figure out if three years is the longest you can get anti-theft protection on an OnGuard or Kryptonite lock. I get that, as outlined in this document, I can extend the initial one year term, but can I do so indefinitely? Do the one-, two-, and three-year prices just mean that I can only extend my coverage in one-, two-, or three-year increments? OnGuard's initial statement seems clear enough (parenthetical numerals, for pete's sake!)—"the limited anti-theft program offer applies only to the original purchaser for a period of at least one (1), but no more than three (3), years from the purchase of your OnGuard lock"—but then they go confusing me: "To purchase additional coverage, enclose a check (USD) made payable to Todson, Inc." Huh?
The bottom line? If you're considering purchasing anti-theft coverage, read the small print. All of it. And carefully. 

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