Appendix: Some Unexpected Great Customer Service - Grampies Go to Florida - CycleBlaze

May 14, 2015

Appendix: Some Unexpected Great Customer Service

It's a fact that none of the equipment that was with us in 2011 is still in service today. There are two reasons. Admittedly, we like to go into camping and bike stores, and we are always looking for something that will be just a little more convenient. But a bigger factor is that camping and biking gear is very often just not up to extended use. Despite glowing catalog descriptions, things fall apart after a couple of months of continuous use, or at best after a couple of three month tours. We keep buying from Mountain Equipment Coop in Canada and REI in the States, because both of these at least stand behind their products.

Most recently, for example, there was the REI Flex Lite chair. It looked (and is) way more comfortable than our former three legged stools. But it never left the starting gate. Tested in our living room, we found that one of the anchor points for the frame was sewed on crooked. There was no way to even set the chair up once. It's a good thing we found this out at home, rather than the first time in some open field in Belgium! No matter, though, we know REI will make it right, when and if we can get back to them.

A strange, and tremendously encouraging, example of standing behind a product came up this month with our former Black Diamond Vista tent. We bought this in 2013, and though it is a trifle heavy it is sturdy, fast to put up, and capable of going up fly first, so that the inner tent does not have to get wet if the set up is happening in the rain. Only thing, the taped seams inside the tent quickly developed a weird mold like discoloration. We put up with it for a while, but finally lost confidence in the tent, worrying that mold could be a health hazard. So the tent went onto a back shelf and we bought the REI Quarter Dome T3 Plus.

Here is the mystery grunge under the taped Vista seams.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The REI tent was much lighter, though slower to put up. Only thing, it lasted but a few months. For some bizarre reason, important points where the guy lines are secured were glued, not sewed. The glue failed at 3 of 4 points, and the tent landed back on REI's counter for a refund.

Meanwhile I read somewhere on CGOAB of a fellow who had packed his Vista wet and gotten mold on the fly. He contacted Black Diamond just to buy a replacement, but they sent him a free replacement fly. They said they had had some experience with mold with that fly for the year he had bought it. Reading this, I wrote to Black Diamond with the story of my discolored tape joints. After just a little backing and forthing, they sent a complete new tent!

We are going to try seam sealer on the taped seams before we ever use the tent, and maybe it will be ok. It is otherwise a great tent. Thanks Black Diamond!

Our other example of an equipment failure followed by great support came from the Terry Company. Terry specializes in women's gear, and Dodie used one of their bike seats happily for quite a while. Because she gets an allergic reaction to sun, Dodie has been wearing Terry's "Bolero" style sun sleeves. It's a design that not only has the sleeves, but goes around the shoulders, ensuring that there is no slippage, as with individual sun sleeves. Originally Dodie got this in white, which was the only colour other than black. But when she saw that they came out with it in fluorescent yellow, she jumped at the chance for more visibility. Only thing, after a year in the sun, the yellow bolero was bleached pretty much pure white. We sent a photo of this to Terry, and ... they sent a new yellow one! So now Dodie is set, for one more year at least.

This is not the new and the old one, but two sections of Dodie's original yellow Bolero. The sun bleached white part is really white!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0