We outdoorsmen types abuse our gear. Heck, most of us didn’t buy it to look at it. And if you abuse something long enough, it breaks.
Then what do you do?
The answer for many is, go buy another one. But wait! Maybe, if you send it back to Customer Service, they will repair or replace it.
Last month I returned a number of items. To wit:
-A Simms Dry Creek waistpack. The old one had completely fallen apart. The zippers had seized up. It was toasted. Done. Simms did not replace it, but they did give me $60 credit toward a replacement. The new one cost me $40 instead of $100.
-my Tilley Hat. Tilley Hats are guaranteed for life. You have to pay return shipping, about eight bucks. I wore my beautiful, new Tilley Hat yesterday. Tilley has awesome products and awesome customer service.
-a Scientific Angler System 2 fly reel. This reel is at least 20 years old and was beat, completely non-functioning. SA charged me $20 and replaced the drag mechanism and spindle. Great customer service.
-a Shimano Spheros reel. I get about two years out of one of these reels. Then the bail gets arthritis. Then the bail seizes up completely. Sometimes Shimano fixes it. Sometimes they replace it. Either way, awesome customer service.
-A St. Croix fly rod. The old rod was at least 20 years old. They replaced it with a nice new Avid four piece for $50.
-two Temple Fork fly rods. TFO requires $25 per return. I had the new replacement rods three days later. Awesome customer service.
-a Redington fly rod and a pair of Redington waders. Thirty bucks per item. Just got the new waders, Palix River waders, retail for $150. Haven’t heard about the rod, but I suspect it will be coming along shortly. 2/3- it came today. Good customer service!
-a Patagonia raincoat and Patagonia waders. Both these items were five years old, and had been to Alaska several times. In other words, they got some hard miles put on them. I’m waiting to hear the verdict on these. 2/3- Patagonia called me today to tell me the gear is worn out and the warranty won’t cover it. They would not offer a discount on replacement. Patagonia stuff is very nice, but very expensive. I’ll think long and hard before I buy any more.
My Hodgman waders are also out of warranty and leaking like a sieve. Today Hodgman offered me a 45% replacement discount.
New stuff is nice. It’s nicer when you don’t have to pay list price.
If you have broken gear hanging around, call customer service and see what they’ll do for you. You may be pleasantly surprised.
And please let us know about customer service you have had, both good and bad.
All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2012. All rights are reserved.