November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Warranty expectations from high end gear companies
Display Avatars Sort By:
Sean Smith
Warranty expectations from high end gear companies on 03/26/2013 12:43:29 MDT Print View

I've not used warranty much so would like to gather some opinions.

I sent two jackets to be warranty fixed at Arc'Teryx and the entire process took nearly 4 months from the date I mailed them - i'm in the USA. Their communication was substandard with huge gaps in time from receipt to being inspected, etc, and they didn't even notify me when they shipped them. they were one day away from being returned since I did not know fedex had attempted to deliver them and not left a notice at my door.

They did not fix everything requested even though I noted I would pay for the service if it was not covered by the warranty.

is this typical of most high end companies? Should i be wary of other companies with similar warranty claims?

I've moved my focus to OR and patagucci if I need new gear now but have not had to warranty anything from them. are they any better?

Edited by Spookykinkajou on 03/26/2013 12:44:24 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Don't Go To Manufacturer's on 03/26/2013 12:56:28 MDT Print View

I don't look to the manufacturer. I prefer to look to the distributor.,, and have nice unconditional guarantees for stuff. if a coat fails, I'd rather get a new coat than have the old one fixed to fail again.

Case and point: I had a Marmot Super Mica as my winter shell, but I beat it up too much and a faulty seam split all the way across the back under normal use. lesson learned; I went to the distributor and had it replaced with a Patagonia Paclite shell, much more durable.

Now, I've solved the problem of "What company do I trust" without losing an Arcteryx-sized wad of cash.

I have never dealt with Arcteryx and I never plan to. I'll just go to Backcountry if I have issues with my Arc gear. I highly recommend you go that route.

Sean Smith
thx on 03/26/2013 13:04:58 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice. i think you are right!

i always try to buy on discount, etc and generally do not buy from brick and mortar stores but have recently been visiting REI more often and just got their credit card last week!

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Warranty expectations from high end gear companies on 03/26/2013 13:10:05 MDT Print View

I had a warranty issue with an Arc'teryx jacket two years ago and my experience was completely different. They replaced the jacket and I had a new one within two weeks.

Have to contacted them after the items were returned to you?

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Warrenty on 03/26/2013 13:17:07 MDT Print View

REI, MEC, Backcountry etc are the best warrenties there are. No questions ask replacement gear if it fails and you aren't satisfied. The question is are you willing to pay the extra for it if the manuafacturer also backs the item.

Marmot - refuses to replace delaminating jackets because their lifetime warrenty is the lifetime of the garmet and not your lifetime

Outdoor Research - No questions asked, excellant service, quick turn around

Patagonia - No personal experience but knowing people who have dealt with them they have been exceptional. No questions asked

Thermarest (Cascade Designs) - Awsome warrenty covers everything put punctures which you can fix yourself. They replace for delamination and seem leaks. There warrenty is good enough for me that I don't buy my pads at MEC and REI and get them on discount at other stores.

I would say your experience at Arctyrex is not typical with my experience from the good companies OR, Pata, and Thermarest. Sounds like my experience from Marmot.

Sean Smith
times a changed on 03/26/2013 13:37:11 MDT Print View

I sent arcteryx a shell about 3-4 years ago for warranty and within a few days they had called me and told me to go to their site and pick out any jacket I want and within a few days I had a new shell.

I must admit I was expecting something similar this time. I didn't expect a new shell as it was a pretty basic fix, I think, and didnt warrant a new jacket but I did expect prompt service.

Definitely not the case any longer. I complained a number of times by calling them and eventually emailing them once I got a CS reps contact info. She was polite and helpful but clearly could not or did not want to do anything to help move things along.

To make matters worse, I bought an ALPHA FL jacket since I needed a shell for this winter and it was clear I would not get the others back. $400 and the jacket is not even water proof even when exposed for only 30 minutes in steady rain...

they told me to mail in for warranty. HA, no thanks...but not sure what to do with it. an awfully expensive wind shell!

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Warranty expectations from high end gear companies on 03/26/2013 15:14:15 MDT Print View

The coating on my Marmot Precip started flaking off big time and Marmot replaced it for free. The cause wasn't normal wear-and-tear, there apparently was a flaw in the coating process.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Precip on 03/26/2013 18:48:27 MDT Print View

Re Marmot Precip,

That sounds like the same situation as my Wifes precip that Marmot refused to replace. Instead it went back to REI.

Edited by GregF on 03/26/2013 18:49:25 MDT.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Precip on 03/26/2013 18:52:37 MDT Print View

Has anybody had a precip that didn't delam? Lol

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Warranty expectations from high end gear companies on 03/26/2013 19:26:22 MDT Print View

Not high end, but Kelty fixed one of my packs for free. It was only 41 years old. If a retailer is absorbing the cost of warrantying a product that cost is built into the purchase price.

steven franchuk
Re: Precip on 03/26/2013 19:41:39 MDT Print View

The Marmont Precip acceding to the web uses a waterproof breathable polyurethane coating. Polyurethane is the least stable of all plastics. Eventually the polyurethane will get sticky, break apart and flake off, or just determinate. even if it sits unused in the closet for a long time. Just about every polyurethane coated item I have had, had to be replaced after 10 years due to failure of the polyurethane, if not earlier. Only a few items have lasted longer.

Most of my gear was purchased through REI. The few problem items I have had were addressed by replacement or repair in a timely manner.

Edited by Surf on 03/26/2013 19:45:00 MDT.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
warranties on 03/26/2013 20:32:06 MDT Print View

These are manufacturers' warranties you reference, I think.

Agree with the posters who suggest that sellers' return policies, that can amount to warranties of satisfaction really, are much more useful. REI, MEC, and Backcountry were mentioned. And there is always Bean's. Have noticed that EMS has a pretty good return policy also. With these sellers, you can just return a defective item to where you bought it for a refund, and spend the money on a better product. Common sense suggests there are some reasonable limits. Like throwing the item into a vat of acid and then returning it, for example. But short of customer abuse of a return policy, it's way more convenient to be able to just return a defective item to the seller and get your money back.

I recently had to return a defective air cleaner to the manufacturer when the seller insisted on me using for former's warranty. Two months, a ton of expensive packaging and mailing, a failure to fully fix (like with the OP) and a threat of complaints to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and many others - a super PITA, but a good squeaky wheel artist gets the grease eventually. Not all of us are artists, and even then it is of no use if you just happen be dealing with a gear version of the soup nazi. Just returning it to the seller for a refund would have been so much easier.

Edited by scfhome on 03/26/2013 20:32:41 MDT.

John Martin
(snapyjohn) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Warranty on 03/26/2013 21:10:39 MDT Print View

Person experience in with warranty service.

Big Agnes----- Fast repair department so if its your fault they can fix it. Five star service great communication fast and friendly.

EXPED -----Exceeded my expectations in both the products quality and customer service.

MSR------You can't do much better easy fast warranty service fantastic products. They repair pads offer replacement parts.

Brunton---- Fast replacement.

Keen-------Great experience with Keen sole separated took a picture sent an email and credit for new shoes in a week.

Patagonia---- Great products great customer service.

Marmot ------ Slow slow slow but they took care of a delaminating fly on a tent. If you have a problem with a tent that is non warranty they offer a half price replacement.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
rei does not guarantee unconditionally on 03/26/2013 21:46:47 MDT Print View

Rei will only replace with item of exact same season/year and price. If you bought it at clearance and/or they do a refresh update to the product for the next season, then you're SOL. Happened to me and a REI Kimtah event jacket. Bought a 2010 version new on clearance. Less than 10 months later, the whole zipper seam tape was failing so I took it in for a replacement and they said they would not replace it with the current Kimtah because mine was the past version and on sale.

REI only stands behind the purchase price, not the product when it comes to REI branded products. Even though they say they'll provide a replacement or refund, no questions asked, they have a hidden/unwritten rule that you only get a replacement if you paid full price and they haven't changed the season number on the tag.

I've had great experiences with Big Agnes. They replaced my IAC pad that was a couple years old, free of charge and in less than 4 business days.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/26/2013 21:49:37 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: rei does not guarantee unconditionally on 03/26/2013 21:51:53 MDT Print View

I've never heard of that. I've had pieces of gear returned that were out of season and they've always been ok with that. Even with REI branded items. Maybe you have a manager at your REI with a bone to pick. I can even do stuff like use my member's 20% off coupon early before it officially is released. I've even overheard sales associates telling customers that NO MATTER WHAT, even if they beat the hell out of something, they can return it.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Re: rei does not guarantee unconditionally on 03/26/2013 23:07:25 MDT Print View

REI will always issue a refund, for any reason, that's true. What Travis is saying is that they don't *replace* the item. If the exact same thing is available at the same price, what seems like an exchange is really a refund plus re-purchase. But that can also be an advantage if you purchase something at full price and you take it back because it breaks and it's now on sale; they will give you the new item plus refund the difference in price as well.

Manufacturers, on the other hand, usually don't like to give refunds and are much more likely to replace the item with the current model. If they no longer make the item, they'll usually replace it with the next model up.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
mec on 03/27/2013 08:12:58 MDT Print View

you cant expect a company realistically to credit you more than you paid for it ... come on folks ...

MEC does the same thing, they will credit the value you paid ... if a new one costs more you pay the difference ... thats life ... and VERY reasonable especially as you get a same day refund/credit and basically a no questions asked policy

the gold standard for warranty is MEC, REI, backcountry, EB, OR, etc ... note that NONE of these are considered "high end"

i think its absolutely pitiful that some "high end" brands dont have the same warranty as the "common" ones ... its ironic that one of the things fans brag about is the "service" for some of these brands

i take my business to companies that will take cover the goods promptly, without argument and without jumping through hoops ... and if it costs less, even better


And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
bad managers and i also emailed corporate on 03/27/2013 08:26:57 MDT Print View

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it wasn't just a lousy manager. The employee processing the return was more than happy to get everything started, but needed authorization because of the price/season difference and his manager told him no. Management saying no to standing behind the product = REI not standing behind the product. Again, the product was defective, and the replacement/return (they list replacement first in their official policy) is supposed to cover the product. Offering to refund me my money doesn't solve the issue of me having purchased a defective jacket when all I wanted was a working jacket as a replacement.

I also emailed REI and they also said they do not offer replacements.... Even though their policy clearly state that they do and make no mention of seasonal/price conditionality anywhere. They said they would send my issue up the ladder, but have not heard from them in over a month.

So pretty much, if you buy REI brand, don't buy it on sale or you'll be out $$ if it ends up being defective and they change the season code/"refresh" the line. A return/rebuy is not the same as a replacement.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: bad managers and i also emailed corporate on 03/27/2013 08:40:05 MDT Print View

They are giving you your money back... I could not ask for more

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
not unrealistic on 03/27/2013 08:45:14 MDT Print View

The fact that there is a $$ difference is inconsequential when the product, a REI Kimtah jacket in my case, is clearly defective and they have replacements, again kimtah jackets sitting right there on the rack, readily available.

The return policy doesn't state that it's a replacement or refund at REI's discretion, it simply states a replacement or refund if I'm not happy with the product for any reason. It's not like I wanted my jacket replaced with some other, super expensive jacket and it's not like the product no longer existed. I wanted my defective Kimtah replaced with the Kimtah they had in stock, but REI failed to stand behind their product.

I still love REI and believe they're generous with and generally stand behind their policy, but my experience definitely makes me think twice before I buy any REI branded items. If you buy non REI brand stuff, not only do you get REI's return policy, but also manufacturer support for repairs, etc.

Mostly just upset at the situation I experienced because as far as the REI cashier was concerned, my jacket was defective and I should have gotten a replacement. Then the manager swoops in and only thinks of the bottom line and denies the replacement.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/27/2013 08:49:24 MDT.

Juliana Cho
REI experience varies? on 03/27/2013 09:00:58 MDT Print View

Last year, I brought my sister's rei branded pad in to the store because of a leaky valve (the pad was 2 years old or so at the time). I asked if they could repair it. They couldn't find it in their system because it was purchased before my sister had a membership, so they didn't have any idea on purchase price. Instead they grabbed a new one and handed it to me, no questions asked.

I still think it's reasonable to just be refunded the purchase price for a previous season's purchase. Full replacement is something I associate with manufacturers. REI's guarantee states, "We stand behind everything we sell. If at any time your REI purchase doesn't meet your expectations, you can return it for a replacement or refund. What's more, if you're an REI member, you don’t even need a receipt—we'll have a record of your purchase." and from the language, I think it gives them wiggle room that the replacement or refund could possibly be at their discretion.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: REI experience varies? on 03/27/2013 09:11:03 MDT Print View

"Full replacement is something I associate with manufacturers"

Exactly, but the problem was that REI was the manufacturer in my case. And while you received the replacement even though the product could not be found in their systems, I did not, even though the cashier already grabbed and scanned the replacement that was later denied by the manager.

So there's an inconsistency with how such a simple/straight forward return policy is interpreted from store to store, employee to employee.

I'm not trying to flame them, or say their policy isn't outstanding.
Just venting my frustrations at the particular situation I faced.

I still love REI, and spend a lot more money there than I should. Just really don't like the particular manager I dealt with and the response (also lack of further action as they promised) I got from corporate.

Sorry I steered this thread off topic. Back to the OP: Most manufacturers carried at REI have great warranty policies and that coupled with REI's (and, MEC, etc) great return policy means you'll be well taken care of.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/27/2013 09:25:19 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: not unrealistic on 03/27/2013 09:25:15 MDT Print View

its utterly and totally unrealistic ...

i mean i dont expect to walk into MEC, buy a clerance jacket for 59$ ... then a few months later come back and trade it in for a 200$ one ...

you got your money back ... you GOT WHAT YOU PAID ...

if you dont like it buy somewhere else

MEC doesnt bother with exchanges anymore realistically, they just credit you ... and you then buy what you want or walk out the door with your money...

Edited by bearbreeder on 03/27/2013 09:25:53 MDT.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
eric, stop being rude on 03/27/2013 09:32:21 MDT Print View

If you read my post, you would see that REI was the retailer AND the manufacturer. Also, I don't see how it's "utterly and totally unrealistic" when their return policy guarantees satisfaction.

I'm not trying to abuse the system so don't try to make it out like I'm some guy out to con REI out of money. It's not like I was returning a 2 year olds pair of shoes worn to shreds claiming they were uncomfortable or returning high end baby running strollers because it was "too small" for the child after a few years, or "trading" up for the $$ as you suggest.

I was returning a jacket that had seam tape coming off all along both sides of the zipper after less than 10 months of ownership.

Again, I was just sharing my experience here on the forum as the OP had a bad experience with a company that normally handles customers well.

You, on the other hand, are trolling and being rude and not adding anything constructive to the thread.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/27/2013 09:39:19 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: eric, stop being rude on 03/27/2013 09:36:22 MDT Print View

youre the one trying to justify getting more than what you paid for the item through multiple posts

i mean you pay XXXX dollars, you get back XXXX dollars with no questions asked, the same day in cold hard cash ... at any time you want

REI, MEC, etc has stellar warranties ... so much in fact that some here often COMPLAIN about how good it is and how people take advantage of it ...

youre the first ive seen complain about how you couldnt get MORE than what you paid

now THATS rude ;)

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Eric, you're a troll on 03/27/2013 09:45:11 MDT Print View

Troll. Also, I wasn't trying to get back more $$$, just wanted a dang jacket that wasn't defective. Asking for a Kimtah to replace my Kimtah isn't asking for more. Its asking for the same thing.

It's not anything that would have been unreasonable to any other manufacturer, which is my point. If I bought a mountain hardwear epic jacket at REI on sale, and went to Mountain Hardear for warranty because it was defective, regardless of the fact it was on sale, they would replace or repair it. And if that failed, as with the situation with the OP, I could return it at REI.

However, my jacket was manufactured by REI, so I did not receive the same dual warranty coverage, which helps the original post.

On the other hand, your response attacking me helps nobody, only serves your need to troll these forums.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/27/2013 09:49:04 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Eric, you're a troll on 03/27/2013 09:54:31 MDT Print View

oh bull

you paid CLEARANCE price for a jacket ... and you take it back and expect a new jacket that costs full price ... ie you want MORE than what you paid

realistically REI or MEC cant allow that ... as people like you can go buy stuff on clearance, come back later and return it (for any reason at all which they allow) and get the current model year for no extra costs the same day

they gave you what you PAID ...

trolling ... cry me a river ... im not the one whinning about REI not giving me more that what i paid ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 03/27/2013 09:56:27 MDT.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
REI sounds great on 03/27/2013 10:00:57 MDT Print View

Far from exposing REI as having an unsatisfactory warranty policy, An-D has actually convinced me that REI is amazingly good.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Re: REI experience varies? on 03/27/2013 10:08:21 MDT Print View

After rereading the posts I get his point if they have the same product available and its their brand they should replace it. I would try again. I have a love hate relationship with montbell love their products (if theyre made right) hate their warranty/service dept I really had to squeek to get taken care of one time.

Edited by mtmnmark on 03/27/2013 10:12:21 MDT.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
REI on 03/27/2013 10:19:58 MDT Print View

I often pay more at REI than need be if I were to bargain shop elsewhere. The dividend program is certainly outstanding but it's their customer service reputation that keeps me coming back.

Case in point - I stopped by our local store and asked for them to order an item for me. Apparently, when they have to order the item from another store, they by policy (as explained to me later) will charge the customer postage even if it's delivered to the store. They didn't and I left the store none the wiser.

A couple weeks later I return to order another item and once again, it was only available from another store. When I learned that I would need to pay postage, I politely mentioned that I didn't have to for the previous purchase. The sales associate explained the process to me but then proceeded to waive the postage fee.

I explained to her that I wasn't trying to pressure her into giving me something I wasn't entitled to but that I was just trying to figure out the process and the inconsistency. She actually insisted on waiving the postage and I left a happy customer. I was polite and respectful to her and vice versa.

REI's customer service is second to none in my book but maybe if I would have gotten ugly with her I may have received "job description service" and paid the postage. Who knows but this otherwise unremarkable event has solidified my loyalty to that store. It's remarkable that REI has empowered their sales associates to keep the customer happy when every other major retailer seems to be going the other direction.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 03/27/2013 10:31:25 MDT.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Just to add my $1 (inflation and all...) on 03/27/2013 12:18:14 MDT Print View

I don't think anyone should ever expect to get a new product when returning one. The most one should expect is their money refunded. More and more businesses are now refunding your money period. Want an exchange? They give you your money back and you can repurchase. If they give you your money back then you are out nothing. Actually you might be ahead if you used the product successfully prior to the return. I'm afraid to many good companies have spoiled "us". We now expect them to "go above and beyond".

Jan S
Re: Just to add my $1 (inflation and all...) on 03/27/2013 12:30:22 MDT Print View

Producers pay a lot less for a product then the customer. From a business point of view it's always better to exchange the product then to give a full refund. So I wouldn't actually expect a refund but a new product – provided the defect is covered by warranty or it generates enough goodwill with customers.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Replacement instead of refund... on 03/27/2013 13:00:21 MDT Print View

Replacement is never a problem. Either replacement or refund should be considered making the customer whole.

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
warranty on 03/28/2013 00:02:32 MDT Print View

I've had experience with all these companies:

Arc'teryx - slow and not the best. They replaced a jacket for me, but it took a while [and I live right next to their HQ]. I now need a new part on a pack [my most important pack] and I worry that may take weeks or months. Kind of a strange company if you ask me and their products are hit/miss and of course the priciest out there.

Patagonia - stellar warranty/service

MEC - stellar warranty/service

Cascade Designs [for MSR and Platypus] - stellar warranty/service

Exped - stellar warranty/service

Chaco - stellar warranty/service

Mountain Hardwear - Emailed warranty dept. a few times regarding a tent pole issue - never heard back.

Black Diamond - Excellent

TNF [late 1990s] - Excellent

I agree with the earlier post, that buying as much as possible from a great retailer is the best defence. MEC has been fantastic for me. Shipping stuff back to another company, esp. across borders, can get pricey.