Opinions Wanted: Lifetime Warranties w/ Outdoor Gear - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-10-2016   #1
 
nessles's Avatar
 
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Opinions Wanted: Lifetime Warranties w/ Outdoor Gear

Hey Buzzards,

Just put up a post about lifetimes warranties with outdoors gear. It's based on some recent experiences I've had, and meant as a reference to get through the fine-print and see how companies (Kokatat, REI, Patagonia, etc.) really handle their lifetime warranty policies - luckily most the results are good!

Give it a read, and I'd love to hear your experiences with these companies & others - post in the comments (Buzz or blog) or email me to have these experiences included in the post!

Enjoy and hope it's useful.

Lifetime Warranties: Personal Stories with Outdoor Gear

- John

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Old 02-10-2016   #2
 
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I worked as a warranty manager for a major archery manufacture back in the day. We had a no fault warranty. We where selling 200 bows a day! We were considered one of the best at the time. If you mailed back a bow I'd go to the shelf and put a new one back to ya in the mail that day. If I had a bad day, I might try to charge you.

With that said 8 out of 10 bows left the shop defective. It was impossible to get a good tune on the bows and limbs were cracked going out the door. I went round and round with the owner. His reasoning was that 90% of all the ppl that buy our products really have no idea how to use them and owning a"_____" bow was really all they wanted." Customers really could not even shoot a bow in his mind. Also the markup was soooo high that in his words, "I can replace this bow 3 times and still make money."

20 years later this company is still in business and bow hunters are lining up to buy them and he still operates under the same business model.

I think if you get in the back door of many of the outdoor manufacturers, you'll find things run very similar.
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Old 02-10-2016   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtbagkayaker View Post
I worked as a warranty manager for a major archery manufacture back in the day. We had a no fault warranty. We where selling 200 bows a day! We were considered one of the best at the time. If you mailed back a bow I'd go to the shelf and put a new one back to ya in the mail that day. If I had a bad day, I might try to charge you.

With that said 8 out of 10 bows left the shop defective. It was impossible to get a good tune on the bows and limbs were cracked going out the door. I went round and round with the owner. His reasoning was that 90% of all the ppl that buy our products really have no idea how to use them and owning a"_____" bow was really all they wanted." Customers really could not even shoot a bow in his mind. Also the markup was soooo high that in his words, "I can replace this bow 3 times and still make money."

20 years later this company is still in business and bow hunters are lining up to buy them and he still operates under the same business model.

I think if you get in the back door of many of the outdoor manufacturers, you'll find things run very similar.

Dude you fuckin nailed it. I just can't believe people have not caught on. It is beyond me that this model has been in place so long and the people allow it.

Here is another one. I had a guy tell me that I am in a 10% category and it was more profitable to tell me to get fucked and deny my business than to meet a customer satisfaction need of 10%. Said they make enough money off the other 80% and the last 10% don't buy the product.

80% of the population are buying less quality product in store and I am forced to buy online from the manufacture because no one carries the product that the 10% smart people use.

The thing I need to learn the most is to make peace with the way things are going and to take advantage of a shit product replacement policy like Sears.

Here is one last one for the people. The other night I bought a gangbox on line to pick up in store.

They brought me a damaged one up front to be picked up. When we arrived my wife noticed the dent. I asked to exchange it, they said I had to return it and buy the other one.

While I was waiting for the second one to come down it dawned on me.

They had me return it so they could write off the cost of the box and make the damage the fault of the customer. They new dam well that it never left the store or the cart. They let me pay for it first and return it so they would get full credit for the damage.

I felt like a fool so I canceled my exchange returned the item and left.
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Old 02-10-2016   #4
 
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Although not a specific story a family member recently showed me their cost on big name brand outdoor gear from clothing to skis etc. Couldn't believe the mark up! Can't imagine what the actual cost is for some of this stuff.

In a way we're all responsible wanting the companies to tell us how each new product is way better than the last.

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Old 02-10-2016   #5
 
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I just bought a 2015 Lib tech snowboard skate banana for $99 new off the shelf still in the wrapper last week. I'd like to think that the owner took a hit, but I'll bet he sold the first 2 for $400 and wanted to clear the shelf space.

O, I broke a Burton in half and they sent me a new at no cost.
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Old 02-10-2016   #6
 
Riverton, Utah
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Yeah, there is a huge markup. But on Cabela's brand gear I have worn out a lot of stuff over the years that they just happily replaced when I took it in. Especially boots/shoes.


And my Swarovski scopes have lifetime warranties and I have sent my scopes in a couple of times for "cleaning" where they go completely through them, replace any scratched glass and send them back, all free of charge.


But one would imagine that companies have it figured out via data and statistics that show where their break even point is.


DanCan
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Old 02-10-2016   #7
 
Alpine, Wyoming
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Outdoor Reasearch is Awesome!

I bought a new model of one their coats in a close out sale from a gear store. paid maybe 150.00. When zipper broke two years later I called customer service at OR for replacement. My model was no longer in production, so helpful rep. found something sort of comparable. Retailed at 450.00. They sent new coat before I had even sent the broken one back on honor system. I didn't even have a receipt! I'm now a loyal OR customer. If I need bibs, gloves, a coat, etc. I'll continuing buying their stuff.
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Old 02-11-2016   #8
 
Bellingham, Washington
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The good, the bad, and the ugly

Glad someone brought this up. Love to show support for those that get us and those that could care less about my business. Here they are.

Watershed: Those folks are amazing. Wife's old Colorado bag had 3 1/2 of the handles ripped off. She was using a cam strap to haul it around and rig it. Purchased over 6 years ago, on a guide proform. Saw that they would replace straps for $25 each. Sent it to them, prompt call back, "we would like to warranty your bag, we can and will fix it, but we would like to get you a new one as soon as possible. Sorry we don't have the same color." Thank you I will continue to purchase your equipment and even pay full cost in the future.

Sealline: One of their dry zipper bags. Seam on the side of the zipper blew, but bag was getting wet before. Set it back for repairs, got a call with an apology and explanation about how they have changed the design and now are going to cancel the line because they were unhappy with the performance. Got one of the bags in back stock, told if it fails they will exchange it with a roll top and was asked to help provide feed back on future products. Got to try out new products (only about 3 times but cool anyway) and give advice until their design team got big enough to phase me out.

NRS; Couldn't stay out of their scratch and dent room when I lived closer long enough to purchase anything with a warranty. Now have my favorite dry pants that they would replace for the waterproofing problem associated with making dry gear with denim like shells. Don't want to give them up.

Smith Optics; 6 pairs between the wife an I. Styles that are still in stock usually full replacement. Older ones are generally a 35-60% discount on replacement. Trying not to abuse it but brand loyal because of it.

REI: Due to the policy change I only purchase things I know may break (Snowboard boots with BOA system) or REI brand products. The markup is ridiculous there and co-op feeling is declining. Understand why the change was made but I seek more local shops now. Doesn't seem to hurt them with the number of Nalgene water bottles and pink North Face Jackets going out the door.

Palm: NEVER EVER EVER! Purchased stikine, at retail, delam-ed second year. Was told by the US rep that it was a major problem and that if he had my size he would replace it fully BUT, they had canceled his contract and I had to now deal with them in the UK. They could have cared less. Months of back and forth, pictures, others stating same problems... Willing to sell me a new one for 75% retail and I pay shipping. Never again.

Yeti: Purchased used in a boat deal. Outside warranty No longer do they have parts to repair. Sent to a 3rd party that had no idea. Becoming a status symbol, #yetibutts. Think I'll be looking for a more rafting oriented company in the future.

Partner Steel: called with a super odd ball question. Got the secretary and then right to the head guy who gave me great advice, sent me hand drawn diagrams for my propane pluming, and cut and made a 12 foot hose. Really gave me the time of day after I had made my purchase. I wish i could say i'll be back but their product reputation is that I won't need to.

Patagonia; Sent back torn jacket for a fix. Added some king size candy bars. Fixed at reasonable cost, week and a half turn around time, and fully re-waterproofed.

So that's my .02
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Old 02-11-2016   #9
 
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I'll second the thumbs up to partner steel.

I once lost a piece to one of their stoves. I had borrowed the stove so I was all worried about returning the stove to the owner. I called partner steel and they sent me a new piece. They never charged me even though they took my CC information. I called back a month later just in case they made a mistake and they said. "don't worry about it."

Good ppl for sure.
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Old 02-11-2016   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtbagkayaker View Post
I'll second the thumbs up to partner steel.

I once lost a piece to one of their stoves. I had borrowed the stove so I was all worried about returning the stove to the owner. I called partner steel and they sent me a new piece. They never charged me even though they took my CC information. I called back a month later just in case they made a mistake and they said. "don't worry about it."

Good ppl for sure.
Way to take care of borrowed gear!

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