Leica Warranty - transferrable?
The warranty you get on new items is solely between the person who bought the item and the manufacturer only - it is limited to the initial purchaser and vendor only and is not attached to the item itself.
So if you buy an second hand item still under warranty with Leica, the warranty itself will not transfer to the new owner. This is the reason why camera stores offer their own 3-6 month warranties on used equipment.
Strictly speaking, the warranty for Leica equipment here is between Leica and the person who bought the item from an authorised Leica Dealer, who in turn had sourced the item through an authorised Leica Distributor.
Break the chain at any point and the warranty goes.
However it is apparent that Leica will - at their discretion - make exceptions, especially for R8/9 users. But it is up to them.
Passport under another name
You've bought a second-hand Leica still under Passport warranty. After using it for a short while something breaks. Can you still send it in to be repaired under warranty? A few years back an "experienced Leica user" noted the following:
The standard practice among friends is, if the item needs passport warranty work, you simply send it to Leica under the original owners name. The address is immaterial as people do move and sometimes need service when on an assignment... It works. Same for Hasselblad.
Yes, well… this is fraud. When the camera was sold to you the "warranty-chain" broke and it became just another second-hand camera.
You might be able to get away with sending it in under the original owner's name to claim warranty protection, but you only have to be caught once to earn yourself an indelible black mark. You have been warned.
Cards not yet filled in
If however the warranty card has not yet been filled in, then practically you have no problems. In this particular case your warranty will most likely be valid. Just fill in the card under your name and address and mail it off to Leica. (This of course assumes the warranty covers an item only a few months old and some "new-in-box" 30 year old collectors relic!)
Hold back on immediately filling in your Warranty cards
You've just taken deliver of a brand new camera and realise you have to fill in the warranty cards and mail them off to obtain warranty protection. Thing is, don't do it straight away. Always wait until you've shot a couple of rolls and have confirmed everything works okay before filling in the warranty card.
Why? Because if there is something wrong, you can return the camera + packaging + warranty cards to your dealer and there will be less trouble getting the camera swapped for new one. Otherwise the dealer will have to send your faulty camera off for service repairs and then wait the weeks (or months) required for the problems to be fixed.
Keep in mind any camera swap is done completely at the dealer's discretion. You cannot demand they do it!
Time limits still apply!
Another thing to keep in mind is to not put off filling in the cards indefinitely. In May 2004 Anthony Oresteen noted the following warning:
I called Leica USA about a month ago. They informed me that you only get Passport warranty in the US if you register the item within 30 days of purchase from an authorized Leica dealer. If you fail to register the item within 30 days, then you only get the normal Leica warranty (no Passport).
In the USA you may have seen mention of a "MAC" warranty, espeically w.r.t. grey market equipment. What this means is that the warranty here is covered by Mack Camera & Video Service mackcam.com rather than the official Leica distributor.
Passport Warranties = Kaput 08
Passport Warranties were phased out on new equipment sold after 31 December 2007. Thereafter Leica offer a simple and straightforward 2 year international warranty — see the Dec 2007 discussion at <L-camera-forum.com: #41359>.
Of course existing Passport warranties will continue to be honoured until they expire. It is just that the Passport scheme was no longer available for new equipment sold after January 1st 2008.
USA Passport Warranties apply in Canada?
In June 2004 Emanuel Lowi sent me the following note confirming that they do:
Leica USA Passport warranties apply fully to new gear purchased in Canada. Kindermann Canada is the official Leica repair station in Canada and they will honour USA Passport warrantied gear too. All official new Leica gear sold in Canada is shipped to Canada from Leica USA in Northvale.
Leica USA Warranties
In Feb 2003, an authorised US Leica dealer wrote a thorough summary of what was (and wasn't) encompassed by Leica USA warranties. A lightly edited copy is reproduced below:
In response to recent inquiries, controversies, and/or questions about Leica warranties, I am posting the following info. This info is based on direct discussions with Leica USA top management, and on the actual texts of Leica warranties. […]
Leica provides full international warranty coverage for all its products as outlined in the warranty cards supplied with and specific to those products. Warranties are full and valid as long as the product is sold through an authorized Leica dealership. Each Leica product is shipped from the manufacturing facility supplied with an international warranty card that outlines the terms of the international warranty for that product.
Regardless in which country you purchased your Leica product, any authorized Leica dealership or agency, worldwide, is authorized and capable of taking in the product for warranty service. Any of those authorized dealers or agencies will consult with Leica to determine the best way to cover the warranty issue to best serve the customer, whose satisfaction is their first priority. Leica, at its discretion, will determine the best way to handle each warranty issue, case by case, but always with the customer's needs as the first consideration.
Only products imported officially into the U.S. by Leica USA carry the USA Passport Protection Plan (for M and R Cameras and Lenses) or the USA Lifetime Sport Optics Protection Plan for optics covered under that plan. USA Passport-protected products enjoy additional coverage over and above the warranty coverage offered by the international, or Leica factory, warranty. As you know, the Passport Plan offers three years of enhanced protection for your M and R cameras and lenses; for binoculars and scopes covered by the Lifetime Sport Optics Protection Plan, the coverage is, as the title of the plan states, for the lifetime of the user.
Though the USA Passport Protection Plan is not available for products purchased from non-U.S. authorized dealers, any Leica agency worldwide will help you if you experience problems with your Leica product, as all Leica products are covered under the international warranty. Again, how Leica handles the repair or replacement of the product under the terms of the warranty is at its discretion (where the equipment is sent for repair, which Leica agency defrays the cost, etc), but the customer's needs are again the first priority. For your own protection, while travelling, carry your warranty card or warranty registration (international or USA Passport) so that you can present this verification to the agency in question should you experience any problems during the warranty period.
The official texts of the USA Passport Protection Plan, Lifetime Sport Optics Protection Plan, and Leica extended warranties are all available at our Web site at this URL.
The bottom line is: As long as you purchase from an authorized dealer, Leica will support you, no matter where you are, and in the way that best balances your needs with their ability to provide the best repairs on the equipment in question.