Yep, Bob's right. Usually a high influx of broken rods dictates the high price. Just think of it this way. I know it costs to design rods. No doubt about it. But most is refining work now. Most of the main process were developed years ago (mandraling process, resin factors, etc). The pure cost of alot of these rods really don't factor into the price. I know some componnets cost more, but at their wholesale price, which I'm sure they buy in bulk, cuts down costs. I know, I've done some pricing on components for starting up my tackle business. I'd say there is a price cost there, but I'd say they're making some HUGE markups to up profit vs. loss on warranties.
I know one thing. And this is about most of the rod companies out there. They are usually pretty good about judging how rod broke vs. how you say it broke. I've been very honest on the few rods I've broke, or dealt with that have been broke (I've done alot of returns for friends). I've found that most are good about not dinging you, even if it's YOUR fault. I know with Sage, I snapped the tip on my RPL+. It's my favorite rod. I was fighting a steelhead around my friends' driftboat, and I do believe I hit the gunnel playing the fish around the boat. Sure enough, next fish I had on snapped right at the same place I thought I'd hit the gunnel. I sent in a letter with my shipping money. I told them what happened, and to let me know what it would cost for replacement tip and would send extra $$ to fix it. All I know is a couple weeks later (I was amazed by posts I've seen, only took just under 3 weeks to get my rod back) I had my rod delivered UPS, and no charge added. But I was honest, and I don't send a lot of rods their way.
Now, the jackass who purposely abuses rods, then resends over and over again are the one's who screw it all up for everyone. I have a friend who works for a higher end custom rod building company in SW WA (they custom make your blanks for YOUR casting style, then build rod up for you as well). They had a customer who kept bringing rods in (limited lifetime warranty on rods). Finally had to refuse customer after finding out what he was doing He was overlining rod, then using way too big of flies with barbell eyes. The flies kept hitting the blank and damaging it. Guy had tip replaced like THREE times. He was actually ticked that wouldn't be replaced.
Personally, I feel it should be taken away. I like the Loomis mentality actuall. Pay $40 and we'll fix no questions asked. Probably costs that much to rebuild/ship (I know they're shipping costs are almost NIL since they pay for bulk shipping). I feel that would be best way, but up price a bit. I take very good care of my tackle, and have only broke a couple rods. Two were blank imperfections (they exploded on hooksets), one was my mistake (the sage), I had my reel set too tight (lol that's what you get for forgetting to check your drag before you fish, I only did it once and cost me)