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I love my Dutch oven so much that it barely leaves my stovetop these days. From simmering Japanese curry and lamb stew to baking crusty bread, my Le Creuset can handle just about anything I throw at it.
Well, almost anything. You can imagine my horror when I discovered a chip on my Dutch oven's inner enamel. Did I not properly clean it? To this day, I still don’t know what happened.
Like most Dutch ovens, Le Creuset’s pieces are made of cast iron coated in enamel. Although enamel is known for its longevity and toughness, it can still chip. You might think to ignore a small chip in your Dutch oven, but if you keep cooking with it, it’s likely the chipped area will grow—and the small, sharp pieces of enamel have the potential to get into your food.
As I know absolutely nothing about re-enameling a piece of cookware, I decided to call my local Le Creuset store, hoping they’d give me answers. The store informed me that although they don't offer an enameling service, the lifetime warranty on their cast iron products means my Dutch oven may be eligible for a replacement.
I screamed. A lifetime warranty? It sounded too good to be true, but I began the process and was pleasantly surprised by the results.
What’s a lifetime warranty?
The Le Creuset website outlines their lifetime warranty, saying, "Le Creuset cast iron cookware offers a lifetime warranty guaranteeing products against defects in material and workmanship.” To be eligible for the warranty, the original owner must follow the use and care instructions provided with the product. The warranty covers normal household use and does not cover damage from use in commercial establishments, abuse, neglect, abnormal wear and tear, accidental breakage, overheating, or other uses not in accordance with the printed instructions.
Though I don’t remember the last time I read the printed instructions word-for-word, I still took good care of my Dutch oven—I washed it with soap and a sponge after each use, occasionally used baking soda to carefully remove the brown spots, and never used metal utensils in it. Since I didn’t do anything wrong, I thought I’d have a good shot at making the claim.
What's it like to submit a claim?
Despite having lost my receipt for the Dutch oven as proof of purchase, I decided to still submit a claim by calling Le Creuset's customer service. A representative quickly picked up the phone and wrote down my information. After the phone call, I received an email with my case number and a detailed explanation regarding the next steps: I would need to return the Dutch oven for further examination by Le Creuset to determine the validity of my claim. If my Dutch oven was eligible for replacement, they’d replace the product with one of the same or similar design and color.
While I was worried about not being able to provide the receipt from my initial purchase, the representative on the phone assured me that the receipt would not be necessary. The next day, I tightly packed my Dutch oven (in Caribbean Blue) and included a note with my name, address, email, and case number written on it.
The only cost involved in the process is shipping. As Dutch ovens are heavy, I paid roughly $25 for three-day shipping from Massachusetts to their U.S. headquarters in South Carolina. Though there’s no guarantee of replacement, any customer returning a broken Le Creuset cast iron product still receives, at the minimum, a 75% discount on their replacement purchase. This discount alone on a new Dutch oven is worth more than the shipping cost.
How long does the process take?
Once the Le Creuset warehouse received my package, they sent me an email letting me know that their staff had started examining the unit and the process would take roughly four to six weeks.
Three weeks after they received my package, I found a mysterious Le Creuset box on my front porch. There wasn’t a note telling me whether it was a replacement or a repaired product, but inside there was a neatly packed Dutch oven, in Blue Ombré. The ombré color indicates the Dutch oven is of the newer models from Le Creuset and therefore, I received a new Dutch oven at no additional cost!
If you’re still on the fence about investing in an expensive Dutch oven, this lifetime warranty policy may help you make up your mind. Ultimately, the quick turn-around and helpful customer service made it more than worth my time. Other popular Dutch ovens, like our winning model from Staub, also offer a limited lifetime warranty and will replace a defective Dutch oven at no additional charge.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.