I use lots of different equipment for all my hobbies. I also demand a lot from that equipment and I expect it to preform as it is advertised. When stuff fails it is not only frustrating but it can be down right dangerous. Sometimes gear fails long before it's intended lifespan and requires warranty replacement by the manufacturer. Some companies that I have interacted with have responded better then others, and have created brand loyalty through their customer service. The following is a list that I have had positive experiences with, including the incident that sparked the request.
- Patagonia- If you have spent any time reading this blog, you know I love this company. There have been numerous times where some piece of their clothing has had an issue (whether it be my fault/or a manufacturing defect). I have gone through the appropriate channels and Patagonia has backed every single product up. Their warranty is solid, their customer service is exceptional (especially for a company of their size) and the quality of products are exceptional.
- BOA Closure Systems- I recently contacted BOA after having one of their lacing systems fail on my mtbing shoes. These shoes were purchased a few years back and have taken their share of abuse. I acquired the replacement parts from BOA and attempted to unsuccessfully repair the shoes. In a moment of frustration I began cutting the heel cup of a shoe to access the BOA system. Even then I was unable to repair the shoe. After further contacting customer service I sent the shoes to them (as requested). Within a week the shoes were back in my possession with the lacing system repaired on both shoes. BOA even went so far as to stitch up the hole that I created in my frustration. The BOA company went far beyond their obligatory repairs and I would highly recommend their systems.
- Ortlieb- Another company where a product failed and the company promptly replaced it. I have used their bicycle panniers for commuting and now their waterproof V-Shot camera bag for years. Last year I had a zipper failure that was resulting in the bag leaking. After contacting the company they requested the broken bag in an attempt to repair it. A few weeks later they came to the conclusion that it was non-repairable. Ortlieb ended up sending me a replacement bag. Kudos to
- Smith Optics- I contacted Smith in an attempt to order replacement ear socks for my sunglasses. I have a habit of putting the ends of my glasses in my mouth and holding them with my teeth. After a few years of doing this the ends were looking rather ragged. I also was seeking a replacement nose piece as I had broken one from changing lens so many times. Smith ended up sending me replacement ear socks and a nose piece at their cost. It should be mentioned that they sent the replacement extremely quickly.
- Klymit- After using my Klymit Inertia X Frame sleeping pad a few nights I woke up on the ground. Not happy. I attempted to locate the leak using multiple methods and was unsuccessful at finding a hole. After submerging the entire mat it became apparent that the valve was the source of the leak. Customer service requested I send the mat in for inspection. Sure enough they came to the conclusion that it was defective and they sent a new pad to me.
Obviously not all of the companies I have interacted with have ended with replacement gear and nor should they. These business are there to make money, but sometimes their equipment fails. When this happens they should stand behind their products. The companies mentioned above have done an exceptional job of providing customer service. On your next gear purchase, consider supporting some of the above companies.