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Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD)
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Yang Lu
Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD) on 05/29/2013 01:18:21 MDT Print View

Hello everyone,

I learned Six Moon Design (SMD) from this forum and ordered a tent recently but my experience with them was rather disappointed. I’d like to share my experience and hope other customers won’t experience what I experienced. I attached the email communications at the end of this post to make sure I did not make up anything.

I originally was going to buy a cuben Haven NetTent for a recent trip. But since they did not have cuben version in stock, I ordered the regular version and hoped to use it ASAP.

After I received the Tarp and NetTent, I noticed two issues (see attached photos):

the NetTent had some holes on it:
Holes on Net Tent

the stitching on the tarp is not clean:

So I contacted them. Here were what I learned:

1. For 3 business days (April 29 to May 1) I had heard nothing from them. After sending another email and calling them once, I finally got a response on the forth business day (May 2). You judge how fast the communication was.

2. In May 2’s email, Brandon Moak indicated that if the tent was used it would no longer be returnable. So it looked like I was pretty lucky, because I found the holes in my tent before I use it; otherwise if I found the defectives after I used it even once, I won’t be able to return it. I am curious how Six Moon Design (SMD) stands behind their product? If you order any items from them, you must check them REALLY REALLY carefully; otherwise, if you accidently used them and find the problem later, not sure how they are going to replace your defective items.

3. They agreed the Net Tent should be replaced, which was good. For the stitching issue in the photo on the tarp, the solution Six Moon Design (SMD) offered was: “…if you snip those off the problem will be solved…”. So, as a customer who received the brand new tarp, the first thing they wanted me to do, was to snip the stitches. I am not sure after I cut those threads if the remaining stitches would still be durable. Anyway, this was how they want a customer to do with a new tarp.

4. Now, it came to the interesting part. Because of the defective Net Tent, I was not able to use the tent for my soon coming trip. Then I can wait for the cuben version until it is in stock. In my email below I clearly communicated this point, and on May 2, Brandon Moak confirmed they would reimburse the shipping cost.

5. I sent both tarp and net tent back to Six Moon Design (SMD) and left a note in the package. To my surprise, when I checked my credit card statement, they did not reimburse my shipping at all and did not even bother to contact me after seeing my notes in the package.

6. After I emailed them, Ron Moak used two sentences to explain why they did not reimburse me the shipping cost “You didn't get a full refund because you canceled the order. We would have swapped with correct gear refunded shipping.” He obviously did not feel sorry for sending me a defective item and delayed my use, also completely ignored what Brandon Moak had agreed.

7. Now, I ended up losing $21 shipping cost and had no new tent at all. This was how Six Moon Design (SMD) took care of its customer. I am feeling lucky I did not order the expensive cuben product from Six Moon Design (SMD). Who knows what could happen if something goes wrong.


You didn't get a full refund because you canceled the order. We would have swapped with correct gear refunded shipping.

Ron Moak
Six Moon Designs

On May 14, 2013, at 12:47 AM, "Yang Lu" wrote:

> Hi Brandon,
> I saw my credit card got refund for $350. I thought you were going to
> refund me the shipping cost (please look at your previous reply)
> because this was a defective product. So the total refund should be $371.6.
> I remember I left a note in the package. Can you please explain why I
> only received $350?
> Yang
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2013 3:57 PM
> To: Yang Lu
> Subject: RE: Six Moon Designs: A couple flaws on my tent
> Yang,
> After we get the shelter in we can reimburse you for shipping costs.
> The shelter should fit nicely in a priority mail tyvek envelope and
> only weight 1 lb.
> Please send to
> Six Moon Designs
> 8250 SW Nimbus Ave
> Beaverton, OR 97008
> Thank you,
> Brandon Moak
> --
> Six Moon Designs
> Innovative Ultralight Adventure Gear
> 503.430.2303
>> Brandon,
>> None of them have been used. So we are fine. I am thinking to return
>> them all and buy them later when your cuben version is in stock. But
>> since this is a material defective and not my fault, it does not make
>> sense for me to pay for the shipping to return them. Can you afford
>> the shipping cost? Do you have a way to issue return label? Or you
>> can reimburse the shipping after you receive them?
>> Thanks,
>> Yang
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: []
>> Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2013 8:12 AM
>> To: Yang Lu
>> Subject: RE: Six Moon Designs: A couple flaws on my tent
>> Yang,
>> The shelter will not be returnable after it is used. The Haven Tarp
>> should be fine. Looking at the image it just appears that there are
>> some loose threads that were not snipped off after being sewn, if you
>> snip those off the problem will be solved. The Haven NetTent can be
>> returned for repair or exchange. We will look at the issue more
>> closely once we get the shelter in.
>> Please use the RMA code 2013-0502A Include a note that says that
>> you are sending the shelter back due to some small holes.
>> Thank you,
>> Brandon Moak
>> --
>> Six Moon Designs
>> Innovative Ultralight Adventure Gear
>> 503.430.2303
>>> Hi Brandon,
>>> I am still waiting for your instructions... I am thinking I should
>>> get a replacement for both the Tarp and NetTent.
>>> They are still brand new. But I probably need to use them this weekend.
>>> Is
>>> it ok for replacement after I use them?
>>> Please let me know how to proceed.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Yang
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: []
>>> Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 9:42 AM
>>> To: Yang Lu
>>> Subject: Re: Six Moon Designs: A couple flaws on my tent
>>> Yang,
>>> I am replying so that you can send photos.
>>> Thank you,
>>> Brandon Moak
>>> --
>>> Six Moon Designs
>>> Innovative Ultralight Adventure Gear
>>> 503.430.2303
>>>> This is an enquiry e-mail via from:
>>>> Yang Lu
>>>> Hi, I received the Haven Tarp and Tent, Order #10483. I set it up
>>>> today and noticed a couple flaws. One bigger issue is there are a
>>>> few small holes on the net; also the stitching is not very clean.
>>>> Can you reply me so that I can send you the photos?
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Yang

Thaddaeus Wharton
(Thadjw) - MLife
Sorry to hear this on 05/29/2013 08:47:02 MDT Print View

I recently got a Whisper pack and communication w them was brief but satisfactory. Hope they make it right.

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
shame on 05/29/2013 09:00:08 MDT Print View

That is a shame to see. Seems like Ron would want to do what is necessary to get you a non defective product and would also want to sell you the more expensive tarp.

I would email again and ask why I am now dealing with a different person when the first person clearly stated that the refund would be part of the deal.

Some would say its petty but I don't think so. He needs to stand behind what his employees(family) promise.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: shame on 05/29/2013 09:03:47 MDT Print View

It's possible that there was an internal breakdown in communication. I find that with polite but persistent communication, most businesses will behave reasonably. Hopefully there will be a favorable resolution for you and SMD.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD) on 05/29/2013 09:41:12 MDT Print View

Looks like they explicitly said they could refund shipping, and then didn't.

Odd that the person handling the issue changed at that point.

It sucks, but if I promised free shipping, and then it didn't happen, I would eat the cost out of pocket to make things right. If the owner does not support his employee handling the support issues in a certain way, they need to work that out between them, not put the customer in the middle of their issue.

SMD has a new pack coming out, and being known as swindlers is bad for business.

Honor your word, cut the check, preserve your company's reputation.


Edited by redmonk on 05/29/2013 09:45:24 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
I'm confused - what exactly are you whining about? on 05/29/2013 09:52:37 MDT Print View

Did you post this on multiple forums as well?

You have a legitimate complaint about the holes, but not the threads. And I think you screwed up by cancelling the order - that's your fault. You also are wrong thinking that SMD is responsible for your schedule - you should've ordered this gear long ago and tested it before taking it on a trip. And you are wrong-headed about return policies - SMD is not REI, and SMD clearly states their policy.

But I still don't understand why SMD didn't refund the shipping - sounds like you just need another email/phone call.

In general, I dislike people who plss&moan about their purchase on a public forum because of trivial issues. Call a therapist instead.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: I'm confused - what exactly are you whining about? on 05/29/2013 09:58:08 MDT Print View

I think the issue is clear or perhaps you lack reading comprehension.

He was told in writing that his shipping would be refunded and then it wasn't.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD) on 05/29/2013 10:20:06 MDT Print View

My purchase with SMD was great but indirect. I saw on the Prolite Gear site they were selling a Swift backpack for $110 that INCLUDED the belt. And they shipped for free! And Prolite shipped it to my brother as a birthday gift from me. When my brother got it, there was no belt. Prolite got a hold of SMD. It was tricky because SMD was just moving into their bigger building (April 2013 time frame). But Prolite and SMD got my brother the belt for free. Thanx Prolite and SMD!

The terms of agreement from your emails: “The Haven NetTent can be
>> returned for repair or exchange.”

And you opted for cancelling. Most companies require you to pay the shipping back when cancelling so this is normal.

-The mountains were made for Teva’s

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD) on 05/29/2013 10:25:43 MDT Print View

That is unfortunate. It seems pretty straight forward. I was going to suggest a charge back, but I then realized what your looking for is the shipping charges you paid to ship it back to them.

I find it odd how some people on here get overly defensive of cottage manufacturers when they don't pull through with customer service. SMD should make this right or reap a well deserved reduction in reputation.

Yang Lu
Re: I'm confused - what exactly are you whining about? on 05/29/2013 10:37:39 MDT Print View


I do not like your post at all. As Davey said, you better read the story before post anything.

What made you think I posted this on multiple forums? Are you working for SMD? But you reminded me, maybe I should do that!

You, and SMD certainly do not understand transactions have time constraint. If you ordered something, but the seller failed to deliver the product in an expected time window, you seemed to be really happy to wait for ANY period of time?! Do you?

Why REI is mentioned here? The refund has clearly been confirmed by SMD!

Am I whining about anything? I am sharing my experience and hope others won't experience the same thing. If you dislike, just stop posting.

Yang Lu
Re: Re: Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD) on 05/29/2013 10:44:15 MDT Print View

Barry, thanks for the input.

In my case, Brandon had already agreed to my point of purchasing a cuben (but unfortunately it is not in stock). Can you tell me what I should do if I do not cancel it for now? Should I let them keep my money until the cuben is in stock?

Erik Dietz

Locale: Los Angeles
I agree on 05/29/2013 11:13:46 MDT Print View


You are correct in thinking that because you paid for a product and were given a time frame for delivery that it should be delivered without defects as close to that time frame as possible. If the company you're buying from takes returns and you're not happy with your purchase then by all means, send it back. A couple things you could do:

1. Call your bank and ask them to reverse the charge. Probably not what I would do since it would ruin your relationship with SMD but if you feel like you've been charged in error and don't care about continuing business with them then go for it.
2. If you want to purchase the cuben version, ask them to give you free shipping. That should offset what you paid to send it back.

Often enough somebody will post a disagreement they had with some cottage manufacturer and then said company will post what actually happened. I'm not saying you're being dishonest, just that we are only getting one side of this disagreement. I've bought several things from Ron and always had a pleasant experience.


. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 05/29/2013 12:13:45 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/07/2015 15:41:16 MDT.

Ian Kyle
This seems to be the norm for me... on 05/29/2013 12:22:49 MDT Print View

I'm not sure what it is, but I seem to have a problem like this with just about every cottage manufacturer I deal with. I read nothing but rave reviews here and elsewhere, and then when it comes my turn to deal with them It's a totally different story. I won't name names, but I've had one basically tell me I'm an idiot for being interested in water resistant down because "it's just a gimmick"....I've had one call me a liar when I sent an email about an item missing from my order....I've had one tell me I'm blind when I called about some runs in my tent netting right out of the box.

I WOULD say the common factor must be me...but I work (quite successfully) in healthcare - I'm literally a professional at sugarcoating things and being pleasant to strangers. Just my luck I guess....

What I'm getting at is these people are great at what they do, but they don't necessarily have customer service training/experience. In the end, it's their loss as ultimatley we (the consumer) pay the bills.

Charles Tufankjian

Locale: New Hampshire
Tough To Tell on 05/29/2013 12:28:38 MDT Print View

I run an online retail business, where every order is a custom order. It's difficult to tell if there was bad customer service at play here, or there was just a simple communication error between employees. From the conversation that you posted, I would guess that returning shipping cost is not what SMD typically does, so they probably had that aspect wrong. I'm thinking that when you brought that to their attention, they SHOULD have gotten apologetic, and refunded you the remainder. Some people are a bit shorter than others when communicating on the internet. Especially the ones who are at the helm of cottage businesses with tons of emails and rough overhead. Obviously because of my bias, I'm inclined to advocate the retailer, but I definitely see where you're coming from. My Philosophy as a consumer is that sometimes you have to take a step back, think about the product that you're buying, what it's for, and check-out the situation.

scree ride
work it out on 05/29/2013 12:33:23 MDT Print View

I have a great tent and would have no qualms about ordering from Six Moons Design again. I was hoping to see something new in their pack line...
Send another e-mail. Cottage industries have their quirks as well as communication breakdowns. So far you are the first negative review I've seen out of a long line of positive reviews. No doubt things go wrong sometimes. We all experience it and sometimes are at fault ourselves. This is a very reputable company, with excellent quality control. Do you think maybe it might be a fluke?

josh jordan
Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD) on 05/29/2013 12:36:46 MDT Print View

$10-$20 in shipping charges vs. negative publicity in a very small market...

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Re: Re: Very unpleasant experience with Six Moon Design (SMD) on 05/29/2013 12:41:09 MDT Print View

My thoughts, FWIW.

I read your post as well as the email thread. I don't know that you were as "clear" as you seem to think in expressing what your specific needs and expectations were. You say things like "I probably need..." and "I'm thinking to..." I think your post was much clearer than your emails.

I'm not even clear on *which* shipping costs you wanted them to refund. The shipping costs from the original purchase? Or the cost of returning the items?

Brandon's response, essentially one sentence, reads like someone answering without having reviewed the entire email thread. It's vague enough that I can see how you would interpret it the way you did but, otoh, if he hadn't clearly understood what you expected and thought you were just sending in the nest for replacement (which is what I suspect), his response would have been appropriate as well.

Bottom line? I don't think Brandon confirmed his agreement to what you think you asked for. That said, I agree that SMD shows poorly in their customer service skills. They don't need to be an "REI" to have the curtesy to respond to their customers without sounding like they're texting from their smartphones.

What would I do? If it were me, I'd chalk it up to lesson learned. I might send off one last email for satisfaction but I wouldn't expect anything.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Communication Breakdown on 05/29/2013 12:41:19 MDT Print View

Good luck getting it right. I think it sounds like one hand did not know what the other was doing / had agreed to at SMD. Pick up the phone to discuss it without room for error and without waiting for the next email to get to explain yourself.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: I'm confused - what exactly are you whining about? on 05/29/2013 13:52:03 MDT Print View


Edited by JohnAbela on 06/13/2013 06:05:50 MDT.