Harbor Freight’s bold, boasting that they sell the same Floor Jack as Snap-On except they’re legally allowed to thanks to a settlement between the two parties.
Crack open a recent Harbor Freight mailer and you’ll see a several paragraphs long message (longer than most of my blog posts) from the founder Eric Smidt boasting how their Daytona Super Duty 3 Ton Steel Jack is 99 percent the same floor Jack as Snap-On’s FJ300 for, at $203, literally just a quarter of the price compared to Snap-On. Well, it’s true. Every word. It’s so true that when Snap-On initially found out about the price discrepancy and design, they straight out sued Harbor Freight, discovered some facts, and then settled. Everyone knows that Harbor Freight won that case.
Here’s why Snap-On hates this Harbor Freight’s Floor Jack.
According to BizTimes, back in 2016, Snap-On sued Harbor Freight for selling the Daytona FJ3000 alleging that Harbor Freight copied a patented design of their FJ300.
Snap-On sought an injunction from a California Court to stop the sales of the alleged copied design.
Harbor Freight filed a counter lawsuit that they were misleading consumers, heavily leaning on advertising from Snap-On that their jack is American assembled when, while true, are ultimately assembled from parts sourced from China.
The ruling judge ruled that there was enough advertising and visual differences between the two designs that wouldn’t fool a regular purchaser into thinking both floor jacks were exactly the same.
In the linked article above, while the terms of the settlement aren’t disclosed…
“While the settlement “is confidential, what we can say is that we’re pleased with the outcome. We’re continuing to sell the Daytona jack and did not have to make any payment to Snap-On,” said Karen Denne, a Harbor Freight spokesman.
A Snap-on spokesman said the company had no comment on the settlement.“
Presumably, “Continuing to sell…” means putting out a blanket statement from its Founder that “spills the beans” on what’s really going on, Both Harbor Freight and Daytona get their jacks from the same factory, the only difference is how they’re advertised and the country where they’re assembled. Other than that, the Harbor Freight FJ3000 and Snap-On FJ 300 are essentially the same jack but having enough differences to be sold at the same time.
Pre-internet, presented with a known to be “Made in China” floor jack and one made from Snap-On, the consumer would probably think there’s a good reason Snap-On’s jack cost four times more.
Thanks to the internet, the speed of information, and getting over one mind on an issue even before it’s court precedence that Harbor Freight can do what they do, consumers know the truth.
It has to be difficult for the American manufacturer to compete against a juggernaut like Harbor Freight who can take advantage of inexpensive parts and labor from the source and doesn’t have to dance around that fact.
Then again, it’s only fair that the consumer get’s the final say. If you want us to spend $800ish on a floor jack, you’re engineering and marketing department sure as heck have to do better than different colors, American assembled, and slightly different advertising to win me over.