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Retailers, Consumers Don't Always Agree On Definition Of "Lifetime Warranties"

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- When you buy something with a lifetime warranty, you might expect it's going to last a lifetime, but customers and retailers don't always agree on the definition of "lifetime."

Jimmy Ip didn't expect his blinds to last forever, but he did expect he'd be able to get them fixed as long as he owned them. After all, they came with a limited "lifetime" warranty.

"When I saw 'lifetime',' I thought, hey, this is a great deal," said Ip.

But when Ip contacted "Just Blinds," he got a surprise. That "lifetime" warranty was only good for five years, or as this email explains: "The lifetime of the average blind." He'd had his for seven.

"It was kind of deceitful to me," Ip said.

"A lifetime warranty cannot mean just five years because that would be a five-year warranty, not a lifetime warranty," says Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate.

Dworsky, a consumer advocate and former Massachusetts assistant attorney general, says if they use the term "lifetime," the company has to define whose lifetime they mean.

The product warranty on "Just Blinds" website says they're covered if "service is ever needed."

But when CBS contacted the company, they pointed us to a second three-year warranty description, buried several clicks deep in every product description.

Ip says he's now "looking" more carefully at warranties to avoid being blindsided.

"Just Blinds" says it wants nothing more than for him to be "satisfied," and has now agreed to replace the blinds.

FTC regulations require online stores post warranty information in or near their product descriptions.

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