here is my experience with wintersteiger a couple of seasons ago:
I bought an iron from racewax.com and had problems with it being out of calibration. I had to turn the dial up uncomfortably high for it to melt the wax properly. I called wintersteiger's customer service department. They refused to work with me as they were only set up to deal with their wholesale business clients and were not providing customer service to the end-user. They told me I should return it through racewax. I did not and continued to press wintersteiger. I got to the point where their tech department agreed they should take back the iron but their customer service department would not work the issue. I eventually found a number for their corporate headquarters and found a VP who championed my cause. He had them send me a new iron and upgraded me to their digital iron. I offered to pay the difference but would not take my money for the trouble I had gone through to get support.
Here are my thought on the matter:
I did not want to burden Dr. D with dealing with a bad iron as he had given me a great deal on a bunch of stuff and gave me some great technical advise too. I also thought that wintersteiger's customer service was lacking and felt the challenge to try to fix it. What I should have done was worked the issue through racewax.com, as although I did get a new iron in the end, it took me a lot of time and effort and I am not sure if wintersteiger did anything to change their customer service practices.
The wintersteiger irons are very similar to alot of other irons on the market. I can't say if they are better or worse because I have not used another brand but except the colors and logo they look identical to other products. Their lower end model is an OK iron. There are bound to be defective one or even defective batches. My issue was a calibration issue, I probably could have noted the actual temp and adjusted accordingly but felt it should work properly for whatever money I spent and was not sure if the swing cycle of the thermostat would be a problem...a problem iron could cause costly damage. The digital iron wintersteiger sent me is also mass produced, and I suspect it too is the same, except for the color and logo, to identically looking irons on the market, but this iron was spot on for the temp reading and has worked very well since I have owned it. I would not be surprised if someone found one of these to be defective too at some point.
The bottom line is that some of these companies that market the tools and gear we use do not have robust customer service staff and are not generally set up to work with the end user; they have an expectation that the customer will work these issues through the retailer. Mark (Dr. D, owner of racewax.com) is known by name at wintersteiger because of the volume he sells. It is reassuring to know that he stands firmly behind the products he sells with both technical and aftermarket support. He sells good products at reasonable prices and is a great ambassador to veterans of skiing and folks just getting into the sport. The fact that his customer service number is his cellphone number is a testament to his dedication to his customers. Had I been smarter about my issue with the iron I would have contacted him for his help with the warranty.
I hope this email helps.