Opinion Needed-Sotar Warranty - Page 4 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-09-2016   #31
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,404
Originally Posted by Whoapiglet View Post
Wave destroyer and a no fault no bs 10 yr warranty for me.
End of the day that was my call too. I like how clean they repair too. Plus you can always buy a new bladder and carry it in your repair kit.

Not the lightest, sexist boats, but when shit does happen in the middle of no where, I hope its an aire boat that I'm working on if I have 30 more miles of hard water!

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Old 07-09-2016   #32
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
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This is interesting, I quickly researched warranties for the big 5 - NRS and Sotar explicitly state that the warranty is to the original owner only. Aire, Hyside and Maravia do not state that (implying that the warranty is transferable). I know his is how Aire works as I know several people that have warrantied second hand boats (as do most users of this site). And of course Aire has their no-fault language as well - unquestionably the best warranty in the industry. Nothing on Sotar's website indicates anything about prorating. Nor is it mentioned on any of the others above.

I won't mind stating that I'm damn disappointed in this revelation. I'm out of town, but if I recall i didn't get a written warranty with my boat. I even recollect calling Cheryl about it and being promised to get one in the mail (I've seen enough warranties change over the years to want a written copy)... but If I don't have one at home, then I dropped that ball and never checked back in with her.

I'm super happy with my boat, no issues what so ever but I have been hearing more and more disparaging remarks about recent operations... with that kind of press circulating (and by no means is that just through the buzz), I don't see sotar's future as particularly bright.

Regardless of what the written warranty has been over the years, I'd always heard that they were still very good about warrantying their products, even at times where they may have been justified to not. This particular situation, however really scares me, from the information presented by both sides, it's clear to me that this should be a warranty REPLACEMENT due to faulty fabric. The basic argument that if part of the fabric is delaminating, why wouldn't the rest?...is dead on. That's exactly how I'd approach the discussion. Sotar is setting a dangerous precedent in an industry generally known for taking care of it's customers. Unless there has been some significant information with held by the OP, this seems like a clear case and Sotar is really dropping the ball...right onto their own foot.
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 07-09-2016   #33
Merlin, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 5
elkhaven, Please e-mail me (hugh@sotar.com) with the Serial Number to your boat and I will forward you a copy of the Warranty that applies to it. HRG
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Old 07-09-2016   #34
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
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Originally Posted by HRGriffiths View Post
elkhaven, Please e-mail me (hugh@sotar.com) with the Serial Number to your boat and I will forward you a copy of the Warranty that applies to it. HRG
Thanks, but I'm not worried about it now... and call me paranoid, but I'd rather not supply you with my S/N so you can note in my file that I've criticized your warranty policy... Maybe I've watched too many Seinfeld episodes but that's just my feeling at this point. As far as warranties changing over time, I've learned from experience that they can incrementally change. If that has happened, it's already happened...and the new warranty is what it is. It's water under the bridge at this point.

My main problem is that I absolutely do not recall anything about prorating values from my discussions with sales staff at the time, that's what I care about at this point. It may very well have been written in the warranty, but I did not hear one story, from the net or Sotar staff that indicated it would work that way. For discussion purposes, I bought mine in 2013.

My rational is this: I recall that Redington had a no fault warranty (the best in the business at the time) on their rods, free- no hassle in store exchange (if the shop had enough in stock). That has now changed and you have to send them to Sage (new owner) and pay a $40 fee. I'm still happy to have said warranty but that's a big change over the past 10 years... It's that and other lesser changes I've run into that made me want to get a copy (which I may have, I'll have to look but at this point I don't remember getting one). I don't blame you, Cheryl or anyone for not having a copy if in fact I do not, at this point I dropped the ball by not following through.

I'd rather you address (with your management first) the rest of my concerns. I love my SL and hope to buy another some day, but given your current stance on warranties I'm unlikely to do so. Warranties are important to me, especially on a $6500 boat. I believe this harder nosed stance on warranties is a huge mistake in a community as small as this, especially when their is such a discrepancy between various manufacturers stance on their warranties. It's really a no-brainer.

I don't intend to offend you or anyone at Sotar, I'm just deeply disappointed in what I perceive as a huge shift in stance - regardless of what your actual warranty stated over the years.

edit to add: This is something I think you need to do for yourselves, not for me by any means... if you go with this stance, you'll lose sales, probably a lot of them. I'm saying this as a consumer and as a fan of your products...
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 07-09-2016   #35
Nye, Montana
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 256
I bought a legend this year. Pretty good cat. But looking back I should have seriously considered others viewpoints. I think everyone said to go with a wave destroyer, but my oregon roots told me they just have a monetary reason for pushing aire. Had I known sotar doesn't have a transferable warranty I would have bought aire. Grrrr. Lazy. Oh well a 156r and a 13 ft wave destroyer is my next purchase.
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Old 07-09-2016   #36
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,385
Count me as another Sotar owner (I've bought two) who is highly disappointed in this response. You sold a boat with defective material- you owe him a boat with material that is not defective. You can stop counting pennies- this is costing you customers, "business guy".

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Old 07-10-2016   #37
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Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by salmonjammer View Post
Just got off of the middle fork. They have put in new beams on parts of the ramp. Thought they were slick enough but the cat got down between two and as we dragged it out it did this. sent photo to Sotar to get there thoughts on how to best protect the exposed threads. Two days and no response. Sure hope to hear something. Anyone have thoughts on how to protect the thread that is exposed??
If those tubes are holding air, I am damn impressed. I have a 2008 ST round boat I bought used, and it's yellow. When I got it there were a few abrasions that showed the top of the fabric layer and almost every little spot leaked from those abrasions. I glued every one of them and even patched one, and thank God none of them leak now. Luckily, I haven't had any fabric issues. The boat gets used year round and stored inflated. I like how light it is, but frame chafes would have been nice. I have cam strap bite marks on both sides from previous users pulling straps out from under the rails.
I don't really care what the written warranty says now. I don't care what the next company's policy is. Sotar, Maravia, and Aire all command a premium in the market as innovators with quality product. The problem is, I can go buy two drop stitch floor RMR rafts with similar build techniques for what one Sotar will cost me, and I don't see a double the price increase in value if I can't expect the Sotar to last 20 years.
HRGriffiths, how would YOU FEEL about purchasing a six thousand dollar raft, get a few years use out of it, and then start to see the material it was made from degrade before your very eyes? Do you really think making a repair to a material that is visibly degrading will result in a raft with 20 years of reasonable service?
Your customer is faced with a hell of a decision, either get a free repair that could very well last only until the warranty is out and then you can tell him to pound sand. Or, does he pay an additional 4000 dollars to hopefully ensure that his next boat from your company might actually last 20 years? Then he'll be out 10,000 dollars in purchases to get what he really wanted, a quality raft from an innovator in the industry that he expected to last 20 or so years.
We all understand it was never written or promised that your company's rafts would last 20 years or more. However, that is what many of your customers have come to expect. It would be a really good time to look at the market shift that is going on right now. I'd rather take a 3000 dollar risk on a new Rocky Mountain Raft made in China instead of buying a Sotar for double that and get no benefit from paying the premium. I could buy the RMR and destroy it in 2 years and get another one full price and be money ahead. My buddy who bought his RMR raft two years ago seems to be having just as much fun as my family in my expensive American made boat.
Here's another thing to chew on. I have had relatively good success getting friends into rafting. They look to me to help them make their first boat purchases. I have people ask me about my raft on the river, at the gas station, wherever I go. "How much do those cost, where is it made, do you like it, blah blah" I am pretty honest, level headed person. When I read posts like this, they will get an honest answer on what I've seen and heard from Sotar's warranty.
Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 07-10-2016   #38
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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I was really close to buying a Sotar IK this summer. Now I never will because they won't stand behind their product. You owe this guy a boat, not a repair, HRG.
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Old 07-10-2016   #39
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 132
My first raft was a 14' Sotar, and I loved it. When it came time to replace it, I went with a new aire, because the sotar warranty was only 6 years at the time and they did not seem very interested in fixing the blown out i-beams in my floor. As others have stated, the aire warranty is 10 years, no fault. Best decision I have made regarding boats. I love the sotar designs, but the price is not justified by the company support, and the boats are not nearly as tough as what aire builds in my experience. In my opinion Sotars are for people who value the brand name and color choices over other boat characteristics. I will say that my old boat was lighter, but I would add another 20 lbs for more durability any day. The support I have received from aire has been excellent, and I highly recommend them to anybody who asks.
It seems to me with most high end products, a lot of what you are paying for is the warranty, and the way the company stands behind its products. Take Patagonia in the clothing market, or Snap On in the tool market. Both demand a premium for the products that they produce, and both have excellent post sales customers support and service.
If a company refuses to stand behind a product that it produces, it says a lot about the person managing the business at the top. The short-sightedness of denying warranty claims when boat owners run into obvious manufacturing problems that have compromised the structural integrity and air holding ability of the boat is alarming to me. I would not doubt that the loss in sales due to the way this situation has been handled will be a bigger hit to the bottom line than just replacing the boat as sotar should have done as soon as they determined that the fabric was failing.
I concur with the statement about rocky mountain rafts, and the shift in the whitewater market over the past few years. The market competition is only getting stronger, and differentiating features fewer and further between. Just look at what has happened to the paddlecat market in the past few years.
I seriously hope that the higher ups at sotar re-evaluate how they handle warranty claims going forward. On the other hand, if they are having to resort to this kind of business practices to deal with warranty issues, it kind of seems like they don't expect the boats to last 10 years in the first place. I have herd of aire replacing a ducky that was run over with a lawn mower. How is that for contrasting customer service?
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Old 07-10-2016   #40
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
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Another thing to think about is I bought a used Maravia 18 years ago. It already had 6 years on it of hard outfitter use (12 to 15 Middle Fork trips per year). I have put another 2-3 Middle Fork trips year on it plus several Selways, a couple Bruneaus and several Main Salmon trips plus tons of day trips. I did replace the floor five years ago but it is just now starting to tell me to start looking for another raft. The material is becoming thin in places from years of grinding on the low water rocks. These babies are tough.

To me, even at full price, I am considering another Maravia. Just because they are so damn tough. Most likely I will buy another used one. Maybe with warranty left or maybe not but that is a bonus in this situation. And for my smaller raft I am running a drop stitch floor RMR which I love. If you want to play in the premium market you gotta step up.
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