a series of warranty claims

10:46 a.m. on February 26, 2016 (EST)
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i don't think i'm particularly hard on gear, but i have experienced a series of minor fails lately.  i have made warranty claims for all three, we'll see how it goes.  

1.  small osprey hydration pack, the sternum strap buckle broke and the compression straps are both pulling away where they are sewn to the top of the pack.  it's about a year old, one of those super light backpacks.  i haven't really stuffed it or banged it around.  

2.  Deuter day pack, the plastic hip belt buckle broke.  in almost the same spot as the buckle on the osprey.  i figure they'll send me a new buckle.

3.  mountain hardwear 'butter' liner gloves.  love the gloves; a seam along the thumb failed, so i have a hole about 1 cm long.  they're about 3 months old.  that's probably a replace.

i'll follow up on how these companies deal with the claims.  

10:47 a.m. on February 26, 2016 (EST)
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My old Kelty pack has cast aluminum buckles.

I hate zippers and always look for snaps on garments or at least velcro over the zipper.

12:05 p.m. on February 26, 2016 (EST)
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I'll withhold the company's name for the time being, but I called a company recently and was put on hold for 24 minutes. Finally, an automated voice recording told me I could leave a message with my name and phone number and they would call me back as soon as they are able.

That was 9 days ago.

5:00 p.m. on February 26, 2016 (EST)
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Kiwi people have dropped the bomb on gear companies before on here...Some responded because of it..9 days That's zero customer service in my book...

9:11 p.m. on February 28, 2016 (EST)
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I love all the outfitters in Asheville.  We even have a srore called Second Gear. It's a consignment shop. They have a free box by the door. I found a ospray backpack in it. The plastic back panel is broke in two. I wonder if the "almighty guarantee"  will fix it. It's an older pack?

1:50 p.m. on February 29, 2016 (EST)
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Sounds like it will cost more for the shipping to send you a replacement buckle than the buckle costs. If they don't send you a new buckle, try a surplus store they have all kinds of good stuff.

God bless 

6:34 a.m. on March 1, 2016 (EST)
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Perhaps.  But deuter may use a metric size.  Not so easy to find.

6:44 a.m. on March 1, 2016 (EST)
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Andrew, I was thinking of this topic the other day. I don't feel as ff I'm particularly hard on stuff either but I don't own a piece of outdoor gear or clothing without some damage. Seems like I'm always getting an RMA for something. 

1.) Big Agnes Fly Creek : three warranty claims so far, resulting in one new tent body and two new rain flys. Not a durable tent but they keep replacing it!

2.) MSR Hoop tent poles - current RMA. waiting on return from MSR.

3.) Smartwool bottoms, disintegrating with small holes all over. 

4.) Marmot Precip pants inside layer is disintegrating in crotch area.

5.) Mountain hardware jacket is de-laminating all over hood.

6.) Zipper has fatally malfunctioned on BearPaw wilderness Designs canopy tent.

7.) Patagonia ultralight down hoody has separating seam on one arm leaking down.

8.) Western Mountaineering Lynx bag has seam leaking down in one spot.

9.) Patagonia Houdini shirt and pants are ripped and torn all over. 

10.) Mystery Ranch Pack has seams ripped on top collar.

11.) Bought a Thermarest Neo-Air years ago and they've replaced it with a newer model twice so far.

Hmm these were just off the top of my head, there's more.....

9:33 a.m. on March 1, 2016 (EST)
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denis daly said:

Kiwi people have dropped the bomb on gear companies before on here...Some responded because of it..9 days That's zero customer service in my book...

Since they still haven't returned my call, I reached out today via email. We'll see what comes of it. 

I have a friend who swears by blasting a company all over the Internet (blogs, social media, review sites, etc.) until you get a your desired response from them. 

Maybe I'm too non-confrontational, but I don't see a lot of value in posting all over social media about a company's poor customer service or product malfunctions. Maybe if I had thousands of dollars invested, but in this case, it's about $75.

I hope the issue can be resolved, and I will be diligent in doing so. But at the end of the day, if the issue can't be resolved, I simply won't recommend their brand or purchase anything from them any longer. 

4:41 p.m. on March 2, 2016 (EST)
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ive had good luck with claims...

gregory fixed a back pack where the metal spine brace was coming outta the little pocket on bottom (pocket was ripped)................

and big agnes has been really good to me----sent back a fly creek 2 for zipper repair where i had to pay ten bucks...

but, ive sent back 4 of the air core pads and they have replaced all four.....slow leaks (not holes) i think at the valve......but they have replaced 4 pads for me for free......

2:22 p.m. on March 4, 2016 (EST)
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all 3 companies have been responsive.  we'll see how long it takes to repair/replace, or in deuter's case, send a replacement buckle.  

most of the time, i'm disinclined to seek warranty work after a period of time.  which depends on which gear.  so, when the nylon on the shoulder harness of my mystery ranch snapdragon ended up wtih some wear holes near the rigid plastic frame sheet after several years, i purchased a replacement harness, didn't make a claim.  

i have had good luck with warranty claims in the past.  in fact, i can't recall a warranty claim that an outdoors company failed to honor:

patagonia - H2No alpine shell, waterproof breathable lining delaminated/disintegrated (90's, early stages of waterproof/breathable).  jacket replaced.  2 heavy merino base layers ripped, ends of sleeves.  both replaced for free.  thankfully, patagonia finally seems to have figured out how to make merino garments that feel good and are durable.

gregory: hip belt pad replaced free of charge.

the north face - gore tex shell delaminated (early 2000s), replaced free of charge

black diamond - trekking pole tips fell out, bottom pole sections could not keep new tips secure.  bottom sections replaced for free.  black diamond had changed to a screw-in design for the carbide tips that is much better.

mountain hardwear - bottom 'male' end of a down jacket zipper disintegrated, made it impossible to zip up.  they removed the defective zipper and sewed a new one on.  better, they listened when i said i wanted a slightly heavier-grade coil zipper as a replacement.  

REI - platypus reservoir seam failed near the top opening.  not a tear, the seam between the ziplok top and the body opened up.  i could have replaced via mailing to camelbak, but REI agreed to replace for free.

10:04 a.m. on March 6, 2016 (EST)
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Zip lock Platypus - Zip lock failed, Cascade Designs warranty replacement with the new and improved version. During its first use, raccoon teeth punctured the bladder. My home repairs failed so I asked them for advice on what sealant sticks to the bladder. They sent me a 2nd new model free of charge.

Smartwool - Small holes opened up in 2 different zip T tops. I spoke with them and even suggested the possibility of moths. Each was replaced without charge.

OR - Lost 1 fleece glove of a pair. I asked if I could buy one from them. The model was no longer produced so they sent me a pair of newer model gloves at no charge.

Patagonia - Inside wear at the hemline on a relatively new Primaloft jacket with very light weight fabric. Took it to the Boulder store and they added seam binding around the entire circumference. Then sent it to me in Estes Park with no repair or shipping charge.

Thermarest Prolite pad - Became pregnant on a backpacking trip in Canyonlands. A huge spot ballooned and grew larger. Cascade Designs replaced under warranty with no shipping fee.

VE 25 - Coated areas on the main body became very sticky. TNF replaced it with a new one with all the upgrades. This was handled through a EMS store and they paid to have it shipped out.

10:13 a.m. on March 15, 2016 (EDT)
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Mountain Hardwear issued me a credit for the gloves.  covered cost of gloves and shipping.  i had to pay $1.73 in sales tax.  osprey had me send the backpack back.  submitted claim to deuter, no replacement part or response yet.  considering purchasing a replacement buckle.  

1:31 p.m. on March 17, 2016 (EDT)
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replaced/repaired osprey backpack has been shipped.  new mountain hardwear gloves enroute.  deuter is the slow responder in this little tale.

2:03 p.m. on March 23, 2016 (EDT)
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final takeaways after slightly less than one month:

1. osprey repaired a $99 (retail) hydration backpack, replacing a broken sternum buckle and re-stitching two compression strap anchors that were pulling away from the pack.  

2.  mountain hardwear issued a credit that i used to purchase a new pair of liner gloves.  

those are done - new gloves and repair pack are back.

3.  Deuter has shipped 'a couple' of replacement hip belt buckles.  

kudos to all three manufacturers.  reaffirms my faith in the hiking/outdoors community and companies' dedication to their customers.  

9:24 a.m. on March 24, 2016 (EDT)
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I have worn out some stuff, but had few problems outside of zippers.  I was quoted a price of $68 to replace the zipper on a Marmot sleeping bag.  Looks like safety pins will be the solution.

12:37 p.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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KiwiKlimber said:

I'll withhold the company's name for the time being, but I called a company recently and was put on hold for 24 minutes. Finally, an automated voice recording told me I could leave a message with my name and phone number and they would call me back as soon as they are able.

That was 9 days ago.

 Above in this thread, I referenced a company that I was having a tough time getting ahold of. After a few attempts via phone and email over the course of about 12 days, a customer service professional did finally contact me. 

After waiting 12 days to get any kind of response, I was pretty skeptical they were going to do anything about the merchandise issues I was experiencing. I was wrong. The customer service professional made the process very easy for me and provided me a full exchange of merchandise. 

So even though it took a while to hear back, they did help me out tremendously. 

The company I am talking about was ExOfficio. 

1:37 a.m. on June 19, 2016 (EDT)
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Glory be! I have just received from The North Face an entire replacement pole set for my Ring Oval Intention from the late 70's. Each of the poles had at least one damaged section. I sent the poles in with a note and without any discussion the new poles came in the mail. Wow!

1:10 p.m. on June 20, 2016 (EDT)
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as i noted above, good experience with the north face's lifetime warranty.  great to hear that's still the case, as my only replacement/warranty claim with them was around 2002.  

9:41 a.m. on August 4, 2016 (EDT)
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Heres how MSR now views the lifetime of a tent..... I have a Hubba Hubba, a Trekker and a Missing Link and all of the flys are sticky on all the tents. They were also stored in a closet in a large mesh bag. Here's what you get from MSR these days.

Thank you for contacting Cascade Designs, Inc. in regards to your MSR tent. As you likely know, modern tents are much lighter weight than the tents of years ago.  Much of that weight savings is in the fabrics, and the tradeoff is the fabric's longevity.  A tent that is used frequently and stored with care can exhibit the same properties as one that has been used infrequently.  Although we use the best polyurethane waterproofing available, the waterproof layer will break down over time, becoming soft, sticky, and no longer waterproof.   This usually happens after 6-7 years, and this age is what we consider the lifetime of the fly.

 

If your rain fly is orange, this an indication that it is old enough for this to happen (yellow and green flies are still covered under warranty).  However, we do have new gray flies that will fit your tent the same way the older fly did.  These replacement rain flies (as well as a new set of stuff sacks) are available through our repairs department for $120 shipped. If this is something that you are interested in, please respond with your shipping address & phone number and I will get your order started.

 

If your rain fly is yellow or green, feel free to send in your fly for warranty replacement. As the stuff sacks are made of the same nylon you may wish to send them as well if they are experiencing the same issue. You may obtain an RA# by logging on to our warranty and repair website. Please write Attn: Repairs and your RA# on the outside of the shipping box. Alternatively, you can send in your rain fly without an RA# - just be sure to include your address and phone number on a note in the package. One thing to note; the replacement fly is gray in color (similar to the current NX version). You can send your package to us at:

 

Cascade Designs

ATT: Repairs

130 South Dakota St.

Seattle, WA 98134

 

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

 

Thanks,

Maren

11:00 a.m. on August 6, 2016 (EDT)
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I emailed MSR about a Rapidfire stove that had developed a leak, wondering what the repair procedure would be.  I was told that repair service for that model was no longer available, the implication being that I should just get in line and buy a shiny new model like everyone else.

I don't think MSR or Cascade Designs frets a whole lot about their warranty service....

Anyone have any bright ideas about repairs to a Rapidfire stove?

9:57 a.m. on August 8, 2016 (EDT)
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It is really sleazy for a company to advertise a lifetime warranty to induce consumers to purchase a product, and then not honor that warranty.  Inanimate objects are not alive so don't have a lifetime;  Consumers on the other hand, are alive and so have lifetimes.  One option would be to complain to the FTC as they can enforce both false advertising laws and laws regarding warranties.  If the FTC picks up the complaint, that would be likely result in negative media attention, and perhaps the class action attorneys would pile on:  

https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc

10:20 a.m. on August 8, 2016 (EDT)
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"Although we use the best polyurethane waterproofing available, the waterproof layer will break down"  

FYI, I am pretty sure the fly is siliconized, not polyurethane coated.  Silicone and polyurethane are not compatible.

1:42 p.m. on August 8, 2016 (EDT)
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If your rain fly is yellow or green, feel free to send in your fly for warranty replacement

so, does that mean i can send in my yellow fly that ive had for 7 years and get a new one?

3:40 p.m. on September 26, 2016 (EDT)
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Thanks for the heads up on this fly...

was able to send my hubba hubba fly back that I've had since 2009 and get a new fly that is not peeling....

4:39 p.m. on September 26, 2016 (EDT)
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As I always say, the only gear you have to fear is gear itself.  Franklin Roosevelt got out alot.

Beyond all this, I'm more interested in the philosophy behind gear and gear failures. 

In the old days, 1970s, most of us got our gear from local backpacking stores.  These stores were known for exclusively carrying certain brands, like Cascade Designs or North Face or Arcteryx or Svea or Sierra Designs etc.  We therefore got outfitted in these brands.

It was a good system and allowed person-to-person exchanges and real-life warranties in action. 

**  One time my Svea 123 was dead on arrival and I went to the store (Footsloggers in Boone NC) and they replaced it for free.

**  Another time a Thermarest died and no questions asked they handed me a new one. 

**  Frequent customers got wholesale prices.  Got a Chouinard Pyramid tent for the dealer price.

**  Gear was made differently.  Case in point---North Face made the best sleeping bags and tents in 1975.

**  Ultralight fanaticism wasn't dictating gear construction and using the lightest fabrics available.  Remember cordura?

Fast forward to 2016---Most gear is pitiful.  Online companies won't respond to warranty issues.  Online shopping is risky---you better know exactly what you want before you buy.  Boots are short lived.  A $200 Marmot rain jacket with gtx paclite should last 20 years of hard use.  A pair of Asolo boots should last 15 years and 10,000 miles.  A pack should never wear out.  Dream on.

NOW COMES THE PHILOSOPHY
I see a backpacking trip sort of like a space-flight.  Have redundancies and replace items before they need it.  I carry two inflatable sleeping pads, just in case.  I upgrade a piece of gear even when the other piece has many months left in its life.  I use the old stuff for backyard camping and the new stuff goes out with me.  Always upgrade if you can swing it.

9:19 a.m. on September 27, 2016 (EDT)
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Here is the latest on the MSR rainfly debacle. I contacted MSR and shipped my tents on August the 3rd of 2016. I didn't hear anything back from them for over a month so I called on September the 10th to inquire about my repair. They had no record of my tents coming in. I had  to go to UPS and get a verification that it had been signed for on August the 8th. I then called them back with the shipping information and they finally found it when they talked to repair. He said he would check on the status and would call me back.  He then called back, saying that I would be receiving a new Hubba Hubba and a Thru-Hiker Mesh House 2 and Thru hiker 70 wing. I'm glad it was replaced but the lack of follow through without me having to call back still has me disappointed. Even though they did finally send me a new tent, I will no longer be purchasing from Cascade Designs ever again. This is not customer service it is customer no service.

9:59 a.m. on September 27, 2016 (EDT)
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Interesting....

i had a very easy time dealing with my exchange...

sent an email to the warranty department---they sent me a number.....

i sent it to them and forgot to put any information in the box with adddead or anything like that...

no confirmation that they got it...

except email saying it would be delivered yesterday..

which it was....

brand new fly for my hubba hubba....

4:23 a.m. on October 5, 2016 (EDT)
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"FYI, I am pretty sure the fly is siliconized, not polyurethane coated.  Silicone and polyurethane are not compatible."

the underside is PU coated, that is why they can be seam taped.

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