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Warranty expectations from high end gear companies
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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.