Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby ironhanglider » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:11 pm

People considering buying a Cannondale bike are pretty quickly told about the ‘Lifetime Warranty’. If it was true, this would be a substantial selling point.

However if you actually try to claim on this warranty they tell you that the normal ‘life’ of a bike is 5-7 years. They even state that ‘fatigue’ through normal use is not covered at all. It gets worse, “lightweight and carbon frames usually have shorter lives.” (not defined) Anything that has exceeded the life expectancy is not covered.

It would seem that this warranty is of little worth.

I have pasted extracts of the relevant parts of the current warranty document below. Unfortunately my friend (see below) doesn’t have his original manual but I wouldn’t be surprised if the wording of the warranty that he thought he bought was actually more generous.

FRAMES (frame, fork structure, swing arm):

Cannondale frames (except frames for Freeride, and Dirt Jumping bikes, see below) are warranted by Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, 16 Trowbridge Drive, Bethel, CT 06801 against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner.

…snip…

Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, including the results of fatigue, is not covered. Fatigue damage is a symptom of the frame being worn out through normal use. It is one kind of normal wear and tear, and it is the owner's responsibility to inspect his/her bicycle.

A case in point:

A friend of mine bought a nice Cannondale bike in 2001. He says he only rode it approximately every other week for 3 years and then only rode it about 10 times since then and not at all for the last 3 years for a total of about 100 rides.

He was going to lend it to another mate of mine to do some big events like RTB and the Hartley Life Cycle challenge. I was servicing the bike to make sure it was road-worthy and noticed a crack in the right chainstay next to the bridge. Disappointment all round, but hey this should be covered by the ‘lifetime warranty’ shouldn’t it?

Here is the response from Cycling Sports Group Australia.

From: Terry Freshwater [mailto:[email protected]] 
Sent: Wednesday, 24 October 2012 12:04 PM
To: 
xxxxx

Subject: RE: Warranty details for WID31186


Hi xxxxxx,

The Cannondale warranty covers the life of the bike. That is not to suggest that your bike will last forever but that is has a use full life span. The life span of a frame is dependant on many factors such as amount of use and riding conditions. Obviously a frame that undergoes heavy or even just regular use will not last as long as a frame hung up and never ridden. So, rather that set a specific time line, Cannondale tries to allow for individual differences. Even so, with normal use, our experience suggests that an aluminum frame will last 5 to 7 years before metal fatigue and the pressures of normal wear and tear take their toll. Lightweight and carbon frames usually have shorter lives.
At 11years old your frame is well outside normal expectations and is no longer covered under warranty.

Cheers
Terry

Terry Freshwater
Manager
Technical Support and Service
Cycling Sports Group Australia
Unit8 31-41 Bridge Rd.,
Stanmore NSW 2048
Australia
T: +61 2 85954444 F: + 61 2 85954499
E:[email protected]


Note that this response was provided before the owner provided any input in terms of usage. The only response so far has been a re-statement of the policy above.

Whilst Cannondale make some fine bicycles, it appears that the warranty is not something that should count in their favour in your purchasing decisions.

Cheers,

Cameron
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by BNA » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:11 pm

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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:11 pm

ironhanglider wrote: for the lifetime of the original owner.


That sounds pretty damn clear to me, i reckon they're drawing a long bow to say that means 'life of the frame'. I wasn't keen on a cracknfail before but this really puts me off.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby silentbutdeadly » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:00 am

C'dale do have a bit of a history in this regard. But in all honesty...if I got five years out of a modern frame (particularily an MTB frame) I'd be pretty happy. I own a 2011 C'dale Trail 29er and give it a reasonably frequent hammering. If it broke within the next couple of years I'm not sure it's actually a decent enough frame to make it worth chasing a warranty for!!

Warranties themselves are only as good as the distributor that offers them or the LBS that honours them. The major manufacturers suggest they offer lifetime warranties but in reality there's bugger all in them. Especially if you race since that immeadiately reduces the warranty to zilch. I know a few people that have had some succes with warranty claims from Giant but they've all been frames only a couple of years old.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:29 am

Racing only voids warranties with certain manufacturers.
I can only say good things about cannondale warranties... I had one bike replaced under warranty with in a year no problem... Another after 3 years in another continent with no issues at all.
Yes I think they should explain the "lifetime warranty" a bit better in the shop. But you will find even at 5-7 years that is more than many other names offer.
11 years to me seems like a pretty good run, no surprise they aren't covering it... They used to but cannondale did change hands a few years back do maybe they are tightening up.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby Nobody » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:52 am

This might be fine for the racers, but many people buy their bikes to commute. Some wouldn't even know their C & Al frames and forks have a fatigue life and wouldn't be happy to find they need a new bike in 5 years if they ride it enough (which is likely). I think it was Queequeg who cracked two Al Trek frames commuting before moving to Ti and steel.

Other than racing, I don't think frames and forks should be disposable items. Not only for financial reasons, but also for safety. Unfortunately because most cyclists are preoccupied with weight, this situation is unlikely to change for mainstream bikes.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:03 am

I am trying to find a copy of an original handbook which explains the warranty limitations since that is the only thing relevant here. The warranty that applied in 2001 is what my friend bought.

The current warranty policy cannot be applied retrospectively. My friend bought the bike with the understanding that the warranty would cover this situation, any subsequent changes only apply to bikes bought after the change.

Even though company might have changed hands the new owners would have bought all the assets and all the liabilities of the company.

I'm old enough to remember discussions in the 80's when Aluminium frames were the latest thing. The retro-grouches would say that since aluminium has no fatigue limit, all aluminium frames are bound to fail from fatigue sooner or later. The counter argument from manufacturers like Cannondale was that an aluminium frame could be designed and built such that with normal use the frame wouldn't fail for decades. I suspect that it was precisely this reason that Cannondale offered their "Lifetime Warranty" as a means of re-assuring potential buyers that there bikes wouldn't spontaneously destruct. They also would have calculated that most bikes will get excluded from warranty by being crashed, sold, stolen etc. before fatigue failures become apparent.

The current philosophy seems to have a shorter design life (as a trade off for performance) and consequently a shorter warranty period. I have no problem with that per se but I think that it is dishonest to contiue using the phrase "Lifetime Warranty" since the wording now excludes fatigue failures.

I'll go back to my point that my friend bought the bike believing that he was also buying a genuine "Lifetime Warranty" which is what I suspect will be shown by the original paperwork. Past stories of Cannondale honouring warranty claims of older bikes than this would support this theory too.

The current warranty policy isn't something that would persuade me to buy a Cannondale.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby macca33 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:04 am

If it says 'Lifetime of the original owner,' then that is what it should be. If not, then state a timeframe and don't advertise a warranty which may not be ratified at a later stage, in order to get that sale. It seems that many distributors / importers specify their own 'circumstances' when it comes to manufacturer warranty and often, going to the actual manufacturer can result in reasonable outcomes..

I'd be seeking advice from Consumer Affairs over this one.

cheers
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby cyclotaur » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:26 am

"Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick any two." - Keith Bontrager

Adapting what are essentially lightweight racing bikes aimed at 60-75kg riders (or designs derived from them...) for use as all-round commuters which may carry extra loads is probably not a recipe for a long frame life. Better off getting a bike designed for the purpose.

As a former commuter who used 1) old steel-framed SS in '70s/80s, and then 2) early steel-framed hybrid from '90s onwards, I still can't bring myself to buy carbon framed bikes, though I have ridden a few. I'm just on 80 kgs.

My current all-purpose bike is an Alu framed CX which is relatively light (9.5kg) compared to the older bikes I rode, but still pretty rugged especially with the solid CX wheels and tyres on board. It's done 12,000 kms in just over a year on all surfaces and in all conditions - no issues so far. If it lasts 5 years (which I fully expect) I will have put at least 50,000kms into it. It won't owe me anything at that point. I doubt I could put the same work through a lighter carbon or Alu 'race' frame and not risk, or even expect, fatigue failure problems.

Oh, and it's a Cannondale.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:44 am

cyclotaur wrote:"Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick any two." - Keith Bontrager


I would hardly consider Cannondales to be cheap though.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby Nobody » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:57 am

cyclotaur wrote:"Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick any two." - Keith Bontrager

I don't think light and strong go together even when expensive. For bikes, usually no stronger than their heavier (moderately priced) counterpart. In the end you can only push materials so far. Diminishing returns are at play.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby find_bruce » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:16 am

A dramatic discconect between what the salespeople promise - warranty for the life of the original owner, and what the warranty section will actually honour.

Unfortunately I am not surprised & it is not just cracknfail - avanti are the same & I am sure there are others.

There is a very circular argument about their current warranty - the frame is guaranted for the life of the bike, but the life of the bike is determined by the frame.

Whichever way you cut it calling it a lifetime warranty is misleading where the reality is they will only honour the warranty for 5 years or so. The more difficult question is whether anyone wants to take them on in regards to it.
cyclotaur wrote:"Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick any two." - Keith Bontrager

It's funny I thought he was refering to cyclists, not the bike - I will leave it to others to speculate which 2 I am. :)
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby cyclotaur » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:32 am

Nobody wrote:
cyclotaur wrote:"Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick any two." - Keith Bontrager

I don't think light and strong go together even when expensive. For bikes, usually no stronger than their heavier (moderately priced) counterpart. In the end you can only push materials so far. Diminishing returns are at play.

Yeah, I tend to agree, especially for the average (?) person.

We are generally heavier and rougher on any bike than a 65kg whippet on a lightweight road-race frame. So I tend to opt for strong/cheap and I take whatever weight my budget gives me. Therefore I'm loath top pay more for 'lighter' at the risk of losing any the 'strong' part of the deal.

Materials and marketing these days means that as bikes go up in price they don't actually get any stronger, they just get lighter. If, like me at 80kgs, you are looking for a 5+ year/50,000 km life for the bike you may well be wasting your money chasing 'light' if your budget is limited.

All this applies to components as well as frames. eg. today's Tiagra/105 stuff is very solid gear for most purposes. Apart from race versions, most CX bikes are specced with Tiagra/105 or lower-range SRAM because of the beating they expect to take.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby Oxford » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:54 pm

You'll find with some/most/all MTB duallies that only the forward frame triangle is considered the frame and the rear suspension frame components are not covered under the frame warranty.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby wombatK » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:35 pm

Cannondale, like other suppliers who have a similar lifetime warranty, have no
way of verifying usage claims that a customer might have. So it's pretty reasonable
for them to set a limit based on average uses. They're pretty right about the
5 to 7 year average lifetime - so your friend got a better than average life.

On the other side of the balance, there's riders (like TLL) who put in really high
mileage and break bikes well before any time limit's kick in. Cannondale get caught
on the down-side of that.

If that doesn't cheer your friend up, let's imagine your friend had insured the bike,
and someone just nicked it.

Most insurance companies would discount the initial value of the bike by around 20%
per annum.

So after 11 years it's worth less than 10% of what he paid for it - irrespective of
how much he's ridden it. If he'd put it on ebay, he might have struggled to get even
that.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby Comedian » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:49 pm

A little while ago I had a discussion around this with Winstonw. He said he was worried about carbon breaking and I said giant have a lifetime warranty.

Now since then I've had some issues with my frame. It's only a couple of years old - but it's done about 18k. They are just general wear and degradation... But given I'm usually doing at least 1k per month I can't see this bike lasting more than 4 years at most.

Giant it would appear to me will warrant catastrophic failure. However the general degradation that occurs with use is your own issue. What's more carbon appears quite prone to impact damage etc.

Then I started looking around. In the circles of people I ride with most people replace bikes within 3/4 years. There are very very few older bikes.

I'm pretty sure that's what the plan is within the bike industry... Customers should replace every few years.

Kinda makes you think about other options.
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:05 pm

Buying a nice Cannondale 11 years ago... Can we ask what it is?.
I have heard of people having old bikes replaced after fairly long periods.
Yes will all depend on what the original warranty says on paper, not what was interpreted to be meant by lifetime when be told by a salesman.
Something like a CAAD ( which of course we all know gave cannondale their nickname ) I would not expect to last for ever as IT IS a lightweight race bike... If he bought a heavy weight commuter then I would expect it to last a long time. I myself still have my Ribble winter bike after 4 winters now ;-) .
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:08 pm

Oxford wrote:You'll find with some/most/all MTB duallies that only the forward frame triangle is considered the frame and the rear suspension frame components are not covered under the frame warranty.

I am glad that hasn't been the case for me after destroying quite a few swing arms and linkages.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby SpinninWheels » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:15 pm

ironhanglider wrote:
FRAMES (frame, fork structure, swing arm):

Cannondale frames.....are warranted by Cannondale.......against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner.


Sorry, but if I was told this I would consider the frame to be warranted against defects for as long as I owned it, not limited by time.

If they want to be fair dinkum, state a 5, 7, 10 year whatever warranty and stick by it.

In regards to the email from the Aust distributor, refer it back to Cannondale USA and ask them why their appointed representative is failing to uphold their written warranty statements. Seems to me the cheap skate is just protecting his profits and shunning his responsibilities.

I was considering buying one of the Supersix's that are on special at present..... not any more, they've lost my business.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:32 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Buying a nice Cannondale 11 years ago... Can we ask what it is?.
I have heard of people having old bikes replaced after fairly long periods.

I've heard this too I suspect that in the past they did have a warranty that meant something and honoured it. Now the warranty as written is worthless as they have moved more towards performance and away from reliability.

Hi TLL, the bike is a RT1000 Road Tandem. The description in the 2000 catalogue includes
Cannondale wrote:...stuff about the 3 Mountain Tandem models... For high performance road riding or sport touring, choose between the RT3000 and the RT 1000. All 5 tandem models are perfectly suited to long distance cruising with signature touring features including beefy rack eyelets and multiple water bottle cage mounts.


toolonglegs wrote:Yes will all depend on what the original warranty says on paper, not what was interpreted to be meant by lifetime when be told by a salesman.
Something like a CAAD ( which of course we all know gave cannondale their nickname ) I would not expect to last for ever as IT IS a lightweight race bike... If he bought a heavy weight commuter then I would expect it to last a long time. I myself still have my Ribble winter bike after 4 winters now ;-) .


From anyone else I would just shrug, from you that is a ringing endorsement of the Ribble bike. :)

Tandems don't typically see as much use as single bikes because of the logistics of getting both riders in the same place and time and with an appropriate window of time to ride in, even if they live together. If my friend is right with his estimate of use this is frankly not up to snuff for a touring bike. I continue to look for an original manual which might have the actual words.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:02 pm

Comedian wrote:A little while ago I had a discussion around this with Winstonw. He said he was worried about carbon breaking and I said giant have a lifetime warranty.

Now since then I've had some issues with my frame. It's only a couple of years old - but it's done about 18k. They are just general wear and degradation... But given I'm usually doing at least 1k per month I can't see this bike lasting more than 4 years at most.


18,000km is probably more than 5 years worth for an average person. It would clearly not be covered by Cannondale's current warranty policy if it broke tomorrow from "fatigue". I wouldn't be happy with that.


Comedian wrote:Giant it would appear to me will warrant catastrophic failure. However the general degradation that occurs with use is your own issue. What's more carbon appears quite prone to impact damage etc.

Then I started looking around. In the circles of people I ride with most people replace bikes within 3/4 years. There are very very few older bikes.

I'm pretty sure that's what the plan is within the bike industry... Customers should replace every few years.

Kinda makes you think about other options.


This crack would have led to catastrophic failure if ridden. People replacing bikes by choice is fine for them, it keeps people employed. Crash damage keeps the trade functioning too. My racing bike is now 22 years old although the bits that move are from 2006. It gives away a bit of static weight compared to newer frames, but I give away a lot more. Apart from weight my bike matches up well against anything else, I see absolutely no reason to change it.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby Kenzo » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:31 am

wombatK wrote:Most insurance companies would discount the initial value of the bike by around 20%
per annum.

So after 11 years it's worth less than 10% of what he paid for it - irrespective of
how much he's ridden it. If he'd put it on ebay, he might have struggled to get even
that.

rubbish! Insurance on contents is "New for Old".
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby queequeg » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:03 am

I have heard of this rubbery definition of lifetime. It is why I ruled out cannondale when looking for a new commuter bike.

I busted two Trek alloy frames in two years from normal use. Seat tube was sheared off just above the bottom bracket shell. Clear signs of fatigue due to the thin tubing and high stress. As I was the original owner, it was covered under warranty, which says that lifetime = lifetime of the original owner, not the lifetime of the bike (which is what? Covered until it breaks, at which point it is not covered because it is now dead???).
Bonus with the trek was that warranty is for frame only, but they gave me a whole new bike. When the warranty bike broke 12 months later, they gave me another whole new bike! I sold that last bike, at which point trek's obligation to warranty ended.
I am sure the bean counters did their homework. Not too many people do 10000km a year on a bicycle, so they don't build them to take that kind of punishment. It's cheaper to simply warranty replace the small number of frames that people like me break. The same bike for a recreational rider would last a lifetime.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby rkelsen » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:40 am

It's a bit dodgy if they're using the warranty as a selling point. I'd be taking them to VCAT if they tried it with me.

ironhanglider wrote:"The Cannondale warranty covers the life of the bike. That is not to suggest that your bike will last forever but that is has a use full life span. The life span of a frame is dependant on many factors such as amount of use and riding conditions. Obviously a frame that undergoes heavy or even just regular use will not last as long as a frame hung up and never ridden. So, rather that set a specific time line, Cannondale tries to allow for individual differences. Even so, with normal use, our experience suggests that an aluminum frame will last 5 to 7 years before metal fatigue and the pressures of normal wear and tear take their toll. Lightweight and carbon frames usually have shorter lives.
At 11years old your frame is well outside normal expectations and is no longer covered under warranty.

Cheers
Terry"

I'd be forwarding that to the nearest "no-win, no-fee" lawyer.

ironhanglider wrote:Whilst Cannondale make some fine bicycles, it appears that the warranty is not something that should count in their favour in your purchasing decisions.

Thanks for taking the time to highlight this Cameron. It will be part of the decision making process in my next new bike purchase. I wouldn't have thought about it previously.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby Nobody » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:52 am

queequeg wrote:The same bike for a recreational rider would last a lifetime.
I suppose it comes down to how you define a recreational rider. If you mean someone who rides around the park once a month with the kids, then yes. However there are many on here that would be classed as recreational (people who don't race or commute) that would easily ride more than 6000 Km a year.
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Re: Cannondale Lifetime Warranty ? – No 5 years, maybe.

Postby Comedian » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:38 am

Nobody wrote:
queequeg wrote:The same bike for a recreational rider would last a lifetime.
I suppose it comes down to how you define a recreational rider. If you mean someone who rides around the park once a month with the kids, then yes. However there are many on here that would be classed as recreational (people who don't race or commute) that would easily ride more than 6000 Km a year.

I know heaps of people who do 10k a year.

So is what we're saying here that these companies will warrant their frames for a lifetime as long as you don't use them?
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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