I have a Lamy Safari fountain pen that I’ve been using without incident for about seventeen years. Yesterday the Phillips-head screw-top button that holds the clip in place broke in two. I’ve seen it happen to other people’s Safaris, and it seems telling that newer Safaris have a redesigned button, without the Phillips-head design.
Here is how the Lamy USA website describes the company’s warranty:
Do Lamy Pens carry any sort of warranty?I called Lamy this morning to see if I could get a replacement cap. No. I could send the pen with $9.50 and pay $20 for a new cap. Or I could order a cap from The Pen Company, a British online retailer. I looked up the cost with shipping: $15.75. For a few dollars more, I can buy a new Safari on Amazon.
All Lamy pens sold in the US carry the following warranty:
Lamy pen warranties its writing instruments for the life of the product**. If repair is required other than from abuse or misuse, then for a small handling and return postage charge of $9.50 per pen, Lamy products will repair, refurbish, and return any Lamy instrument. If other parts have been abused, there will be a special charge. Otherwise, there are no labor or parts charges.
**The Lamy warranty does not cover damage caused by misuse, abuse, unauthorized service and the use of other manufacturers refills or inks.
What I found more interesting than the $29.50 cap was the company attitude — or, at least, the attitude expressed by its representative, who immediately spoke of damage caused by “abuse.” As I told him, I do not abuse my pens. (This Safari still looks virtually new.) He also called attention to nineteen (I had said seventeen) years of use. I reminded him that the warranty is supposed to be for the life of the pen. But he was adamant: no replacement cap. I guess this pen’s life came to an end when the button broke. Lamy, you’ve lost a customer.
Contrast Pelikan and Sheaffer, companies that, in my experience, are happy to honor their warranties and make things right.
[A pen-discussion thread calls attention to the fragility of the Phillips-head screw-top: “The problem with the screw is that the screw head is thin and the slots are deep and fairly wide. That just doesn’t leave very much plastic actually connecting between the head and the threaded shaft. I think that’s why the newer pens just have a single slot in the head, so that the screw can be a little stronger.” My Safari fell apart on its own: no disassembly required.]