I'm pretty surprised by how many conversations I have with people expressing their disbelief about the legitimacy of FCP Euro's Lifetime Guarantee. In fact, to this day, I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one within my circle of car friends that uses the guarantee regularly.
In short, FCP Euro offers a lifetime replacement guarantee on just about everything they sell. If you can repackage the used item and return it back to them, they're going to take it back and credit the original purchase price back to you. That means as long as you bought the part from them, and it has reached its usable lifespan, you can repackage old wiper blades, used oil, brake rotors, spark plugs, head gaskets, and all sorts of parts to send back for a credit after you've purchased the new replacement item. The only real exceptions seem to be stuff that you can't repackage, such as aerosol sprays.
They even explicitly state (and encourage) that this program can be used for track cars.
I've been using this program for about 5 years now, and I find it to be fascinating, both as a consumer, and as a business owner myself. FCP Euro says they can do this because they sell only reputable, high quality parts (OE/OEM is most cases, and even Genuine parts if you want to pay the premium). They are also up front in saying that they consider it a cost of doing business in order to cultivate loyal, life-long customers.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that FCP Euro is not the lowest price option on the market. Almost anything that they sell can be found cheaper, although their prices are still competitive, and the pricing is certainly fair considering what they are offering as a whole. You're paying a little bit more for their service, the quality of the parts, and the lifetime guarantee. It's kind of like paying for an insurance of sorts. Pay more now, but save in the long term when the part fails again.
Besides the lifetime guarantee, FCP also offers very fast and accurate shipping, helpful customer service staff, and a lot of shipping service options (which can be helpful when you're in a pinch). Free shipping is available for orders over $49, and I've found it to be quite fast, almost always arriving before their quoted date.
When I first learned about this program, I thought it was clearly a play at expanding market share in a highly competitive industry. I didn't think that the program would be around forever, which is why I wasn't surprised when they announced a major change to the program back in October 2022.
The basic flow of the program works like this:
Buy Part -> Use Part -> Buy New Part -> Return Old Part -> Get Credit
They have a lot more info on their web site here if you want to learn more.
Up until November 2022, they would give you a full cash refund during the last step of the process, in the amount of the original purchase. That means that even though you'd have to re-buy the new replacement part up front, after completing the return, they'd give you a refund right back to your original form of payment, and you'd be made whole again.
I was thus surprised that the major update to the program was simply that they are issuing store credit now, and not refunding your original purchase back to the card. It seemed innocuous enough.
In typical fashion, the comments on Facebook and the forums made it seem like this change was the end of the world. How dare FCP Euro be so callous?!" "This is a bait and switch!"
It really is a genius move, though. It is more sustainable for the company to issue store credit rather than cash refunds, and it stays true to their goal of creating long-term customers that continue to purchase from them over the life of their European vehicles. With store credit to spend, the customers will be more locked into their eco system.
For somebody like me that regularly uses the program, and fully intends to continue buying from FCP Euro going forward, the change is a nonfactor. In some ways, I actually prefer the store credit. Now when I place a new order, I don't even need to have a new cash outlay hit my card – chances are I have several hundred dollars in credit waiting for me to use on whatever brand new or replacement parts I may need.
I often wonder what percentage of their customers even take advantage of this program. Because of the quality of parts that they sell, many of them will last long beyond the customer's ownership of said car, and they will never need to be replaced again. And not many people are going to bother to go through the returns process, as simple as it is.
For myself, I have found it well worth my time and effort. I tend to let parts batch up on my shelf, and then I just knock out a bunch of returns together to save on shipping and effort.
Last month I sent back a bunch of Redline motor oil, wiper blades from my X5, an M20 valve cover gasket, and an M20 timing belt tensioner. It cost me about $35 to ship everything back, but within a week, I had a $410 store credit in my account.
How great is that?
This may read as some sort of ad, but rest assured, I am just a lowly consumer that is happy with the parts, service, and warranty program that FCP offers to everybody. I have no affiliation to them whatsoever, and received no compensation for writing this article. In fact, I wondered if I am somehow exposing myself by writing it, but after re-reading their policy, I rest easy knowing I am using the program exactly how they intended it!