I purchased a Parker Duofold Ball Pen in 1990. I've used
it nearly every day since then - right up until the end of October 2007 when the pen broke into two pieces as I
was using it.
Thankfully (I thought!), the pen came with a LIFETIME UNCONDITIONAL WARRANTY
from Parker (see below; emphasis added), so I sent it back to Parker with a request to have it repaired.
A couple of weeks later, I received the following letter from the After Sales Service department
at Parker (now a Sanford Brands company), stating that my pen could not be repaired. Unbelievably, Parker admits
in its letter that it ran out of the parts required to repair this model of pen - and not recently, but,
rather YEARS AGO!!
Does LIFETIME WARRANTY have a different meaning at Parker?? Where I come from, running
out of parts for a product in the first few years of a LIFETIME WARRANTY on that product would be called negligence!
Astonished to have received the above response, I e-mailed Parker and reminded it of what
it had stated in its LIFETIME UNCONDITIONAL WARRANTY and the pledges it made to its Duofold customers. I concluded by
asking Parker to honor its warranty. Parker's e-mail reply was just as shocking as the letter
I had received two weeks earlier.
Here is my e-mail to Parker (lower half) and Parker's "response" (upper half):
On December 10, 2007, I wrote a letter to the Board of Directors of Newell Rubbermaid, extending to its members the opportunity
to review the accuracy of the information contained on my web site and/or rectify this situation.
To its credit, the board forwarded my letter to the supervisor of service and repair at Parker, Mrs. Mary Boufford, who
in turn called me. On December 21, 2007, she and I talked for several minutes. During the course of this conversation, several
interesting items were revealed by Mrs. Boufford:
1. She stated that Parker didn't calculate correctly the number of parts they needed for this model - the number of pens
requiring repair exceeded the number anticipated!
2. She emphatically stated that NOTHING can last a lifetime.
3. She attempted to reconcile the previous statement with Parkers warranty by stating that the warranty on my pen was
"...really a conditional unconditional warranty!"
During the conversation, Mrs. Boufford disclosed that she was given the OK to offer me the opportunity to buy a Parker
Duofold Check pen at a discounted price. Nevermind that this may be the ugliest pen ever made, I am not interested in giving
Parker any more of my money and kindly shared that with Mrs. Boufford.
During the second week of January, 2008, I received the following two-page letter from Parker's Director of Global Service
After Sales, Everett Hutt.
Like all previous correspondence and conversation with Parker, Mr. Hutt focuses his attention
on only certain sections of Parker's warranty, and glosses over the fact that the warranty starts off with the exceedingly
confident claim that
"EVERY ONE OF THE DUOFOLD COLLECTION OF WRITING INSTRUMENTS IS MADE AND GUARANTEED TO LAST A LIFETIME."
It doesn't take a logician to figure out that you can't make such a claim if you know that the twist mechanism that you have
incorporated into the pen is certain to wear out in less time than the average human lifespan. If the pen was designed, made,
and guaranteed to last a lifetime, but the twist mechanism subcomponent has a far shorter lifespan, and its failure renders
the pen unusable, then, by definition, the twist mechanism is a faulty material (or made from such)!
It would appear that someone at Parker is aware of this fact, as I could not help but notice that Parker is
now offering only a two-year warranty on its Duofold pens. This new warranty includes terms and conditions not found in the warranty that came with my pen.
Nevertheless, it is abundantly clear that Parker has applied these terms to the service and repair of MY pen!
This new warranty begs the question:
If a pen that is made to last a lifetime lasts only 1/5th that long,
I would sure be upset to spend $220 - $1,000 U.S. on a pen only to find out several months later that my pen is broken due
to wear and tear!
long will a pen last that is only guaranteed to last 2 years???