There is no such thing as a "lifetime"

Do you know there is no such thing as a lifetime? I am not talking here about human life but a lifetime of material things, like a subscription to a service or even a warranty.

Many companies offer us a deal of a lifetime subscription to their service or brag about their products with a lifetime warranty. Sometimes it sounds generous but the devil is in the details.

The problem is that a lifetime doesn’t always mean what we think it is. A lifetime doesn’t mean forever, but more likely a life of service, or even the company, which can go out of business even the next day.

The most prominent lie began a couple of years ago from TomTom, who offers lifetime map updates, which people think will be forever, to discover later, it’s a lifetime until the device is offered on a market (or supported). After the device stopped being supported there were no more map updates and we were forced to buy a new device with the same or a bit redefined promise.

Total nonsense, but if you look at the lifetime offerings, from the business point of view doesn’t make sense. How it shall make? The lifetime offering pays (earns) one time only and does not pay for future bills and employees’ wages. Lifetime is only for getting a one-time cash injection for struggling businesses, but what about the future?

Companies that build devices that last for ages go quickly out of business. People not buying new devices as current ones are fine. If they not breaking and companies not offering service plans, there is no chance of long-term survival. It’s like a lifetime offering, an injection of cash today without a chance to survive the tough future ahead.

It is no surprise that currently, new creations last a limited amount of time so we will be forced to buy new ones. Without going into the IT industry with this though, where technology changes rapidly and the need for an upgrade is obvious, there are things like, for example, furniture.

You will notice that old wood tables will last 20 years, when handled properly, whereas these freshly purchased from a cheap shop will be a useless couple of years.

But even the IT industry is offering us lifetime deals, but that’s another nonsense here. For example lifetime VPN subscription will just work as intended for a year or two whereas later on, you will discover that it got some limits applied, countries reduced, and if you want something more, you will need to pay again.

The perfect example is FastestVPN which lifetime subscription I received when I purchased a bundle of apps, from which I just wanted one at that time, so getting something that will offer me “lifetime” service was good. When finally I need to use it, I found out that things changed and are not as they were. A joy of “lifetime” offerings.

I understand the business behind it, but it’s better to offer a licence for the specified version of the software and when a new will be released, offer paid upgrade, than offer something for a lifetime until the customer discovers that is conned. If I will purchase the FastestVPN lifetime licence intentionally, now I will be very annoyed. After being conned I would never trust that company again.

I am not a fan of subscriptions. Some of them make sense, but others don’t. Like for example Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe software.

Removal of the ability to purchase software with a licence in favour of a monthly subscription was total nonsense for customers. The new approach implements better control over the software but some customers not using it often so they cannot afford to pay monthly. In that case, a one-time purchase would be much better with a paid option to upgrade when needed.

But this one-time purchase, if not done correctly will sound like another lifetime deal unless things change. Like OS updates that braking compatibility with “old” software. The blame game continues. One company will say that it will work for a lifetime with Operating system X, but when system Y will be released, you need to purchase again, an upgrade, to get it working well.

Same as a like change in architecture, from Intel to Apple Silicon, brakes some software when people tried to install them on the newest machines they need to think about purchasing a “compatible” version.

Nothing lasts forever, and not a lifetime, at least not our lifetime.

Next time you will hear about a lifetime deal, please think again.