Gamers from yonder years may still recall quite a few companies that offered lifetime warranties on graphics cards (in some cases, double-lifetime), but everyone knows such agreements have become harder and harder to find as companies either exited the business or changed their warranty terms to stay competitive.
With the defection of XFX to the red–err, darker green camp, EVGA has become the sole company to still offer lifetime warranties on NVIDIA graphics cards. Such a position offers quite a feather in its cap, but the lifetime warranty wasn’t without a few caveats. Under the previous arrangement, to obtain the lifetime warranty EVGA graphics cards had to have been registered within 30 days of purchase and from then on were tied to the user that had registered them. If the cards were not registered in time, they reverted to a 1-year warranty, and still required proof of purchase. To make it worse, not all new, boxed EVGA graphics cards were eligible for a lifetime warranty either, which led to some customer confusion as well.
As of April 1st 2012, (exact dates will vary for regions outside the US), EVGA revamped its warranty policy with some admittedly welcome changes.
“All products purchased ON or AFTER July 1st, 2011 include a 3 year limited warranty from the date of purchase with a valid invoice. For users without a valid invoice, or users that have not purchased from an authorized reseller, the warranty begins from the date the product was shipped from EVGA’s warehouse”
To claim the lifetime warranty on EVGA graphics cards, the product must still be registered within 30 days from date of purchase. If the card is registered outside this window and the user has the purchase invoice, a 3-year warranty will still begin from the purchase date (up from just a single year). If a purchase receipt can’t be provided, then EVGA will fall back onto the date of original shipment of the product. Previously, users wouldn’t even have this option to fall back on so it is a very welcome improvement.
The biggest point to take away is that the warranty is now tied to the product or graphics card itself, not to the original buyer or the account that had registered the card. This means secondhand owners of EVGA cards can receive a 3 year warranty from the date EVGA shipped the card to the reseller or original buyer, regardless of if the card was ever registered previously or if record of purchase is unavailable.
The warranty process overall is more straightforward and will benefit not just second hand users, but original owners that don’t register the card within the original month of purchase. Even better, fewer EVGA buyers will fall through the cracks, for instance if they moved across borders and would’ve previously had to deal with needless international RMAs. Originally, even buying a new, unopened EVGA card on eBay would result in zero warranty without the required proof of purchase from an authorized reseller. Also, as a small nod to its own loyal customers re-certified products will get a full one year warranty, up from just 90 days.
To clear up any lingering confusion, still not all EVGA cards will get the full lifetime warranty. As before, models that end in RX, BR, and TR designations have separate warranty periods and so won’t include eligibility for the lifetime warranty. Easiest to distinguish are –RX, or re-certified parts, while -BR is reserved for stock sold to system builders and would therefore already be covered under the system builder’s own warranty anyway.
The only tricky spot are -TR SKUs which can still be found lurking around in-store and online shelves. These models tend to offer a flat two year warranty and a lower price to match, although reportedly EVGA hasn’t been shipping as many of these as they used to. Of course if all else fails just remember to read the box, all –TR cards will mention the specific warranty on the package, but it is something to be aware of.
All-in-all, EVGA’s revamped warranty policy is definitely a step or two closer towards the ideal, and it is great to see a company striving to improve its customer relations even when there wasn’t market pressure to do so. As long time user of EVGA graphics cards myself these are welcome changes, but even more importantly it is welcome to see EVGA recognizing it is a global company, and working to take better care of all its customers regardless of where they might reside.