The deal of a lifetime?

The definition of a lifetime guarantee may be shorter than you think.

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From the November 2013 issue of the magazine.

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MONY06_SP_LIFETIMEMERGEWhen you buy something that comes with a lifetime warranty, it means if it breaks down, you can get it replaced for as long as you live, right? Unfortunately it’s not that simple. It turns out the term ‘lifetime’ can refer to the buyer’s life or the life of a product as determined by the manufacturer, which could be as little as one year. “There’s no uniformity and there’s no regulation on that term,” says Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. “It could mean anything. We believe it shouldn’t be something you take into consideration when making a choice.” Instead, he recommends consumers try to get a discount up front in place of the warranty. At the very least, don’t pay extra for one as they don’t have any real value, he adds. —Vanessa Santilli

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