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Apparel Warranty & Repair -- Amazing how different different brands are

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I just got off the phone with Karbon trying to get a delaminated seam (welded seam that split -- I guess that is a delam?) on a pair of ski pants purchased this winter repaired.  It was the worse customer service I have had with any ski apparel company and I just wanted to share what I have learned about various company's policies over the last few winters.  My family buys a lot of gear and also has had things fail.   I am learning to pick my brands by both how they hold up but also even more importantly how they stand behind them when they do not. 

 

My issue with Karbon is the only way they will warranty repair this is to take it back to the shop I purchased it in.  The only problem is the shop is closed for the summer -- and my son skis in the summer and I want this fixed now.  There is no other option with them I was told since their offices are in Canada I cannot ship across the border to them.  Usually I get any broken things fixed right after the season ends for summer ski trips and the next year.  With Karbon that is apparently impossible.  They also started with wanting to know if I had my receipt -- none of the other manufacturers I have returned items to needed a receipt.

 

I have had a lot of problems with Spyder zippers, zipper pulls and snaps on the bottom of pant legs.  I was getting tired of shipping things back to them and I started buying other brands.  However, it now seems despite the fact their zippers break at least they stand behind their products.  I always had any I sent to them fixed.  They once sent me a pile of zippers and pulls to have on hand and I had a zipper sent to me for a GS race suit I needed fixed faster than their turnaround time (and they offered to reimburse me for the tailor expense to have it put in locally -- although it was less than $10 so I didn't bother).  But I was getting tired of the breakage so I started trying different brands.

 

First I tried Marker pants.  The zipper pulls broke off the bottom of these two.  I called up Marker and they asked if they were training gates in the pants -- I said yes after all isn't it mostly racers that buy the full side zip pants.  They said they don't warranty for that.  No repair.  Last time I buy Marker.

 

I have to say the best of all has been Mountain Hardware.  My son had a pit zip on a shell delaminate in the middle of the season when he really needed it.  I was able to get them to do an incredibly quick turn around for me.  I also had a problem with gloves that they replaced.  They were a pleasure to deal with and stood behind their products well and most of their product have help up to the tough long seasons my family gives them.

 

North Face -- I'm trying to remember if I had any warranty work with them and cannot remember.  But I had a pair of my ski pants that ripped on the inside of the ankle (from the edge of my other ski) when this happened I realized there was no heavier protective patch on these pants like many pants have (and they were high end woman's pants) -- they wouldn't warranty it but I was able to pay to put on both legs a sturdy patch on that inside edge.  I was kind of mad at the quality and that the high end men's pant had the patch there but the womens didn't but ultimately I was able to put a few dollars into them and continue to use them for a few more years (and now I know to check the fabric on the inside bottoms of the pants next time I buy).

 

So, my first Karbon purchase will be my last.  Too bad as they were not bad pants. 

post #2 of 22

Helly-Hanson has a heck of a warranty on their soft goods. They completely restitched a pair of pants that were so old the thread started to disintegrate. No charge for the work or the shipping. 

post #3 of 22

I like, and have benefited from, Finndog's approach. He never owns anything long enough to need warranty repairs.

 

Marmot has been very good with two zipper issues. They just ask to send it back in a washed condition.

post #4 of 22

I've had repair experience with Mountain Hardwear and Arcteryx, and both were extremely responsive and outstanding in getting things fixed and returned quickly. I've never had anything but bad luck with H-H (zipper pulls that overlapped the fabric and would snag, pants with suspenders that fell down, jacket with arms meant for Wilt Chamberlin).

 

Now, OK, it's not apparel, but I just had an exchange with Oakley about the (THIRD!!!) pair of fire iridium lenses that have cracked in exactly the same place on a set of Crowbars, and received the "if you have the receipt" nonsense (btw, these lenses were maybe two weeks old), even after including a picture of the SLC quiver that has 7 or 8 sets of a-frames, so I'm one uber-loyal customer. After a polite note explaining the situation and showing them how freaking many Oakley's I have, they essentially told me to screw-off.

 

OK Oakley, you screwed me out of a lense - but you'll never get another penny from me for your products. He who laughs last......

post #5 of 22

I have a pair of 5 or 6 year old Arcteryx softshell pants that ripped last year during a little BC excursion.  The tears were pretty substantial and I thought I would probably have to buy a new pair of pants, but given that I loved the pants so much, I thought I would contact the company to see what they could do. I shipped them to Canada and they came back about 4 weeks later, completely redone with patches of the original fabric, and stitched so well you couldn't see the marks. They shipped them back for free and didn't charge me for the repair. So when they say "lifetime warranty" on their stuff, I believe them and I'm a pretty loyal Arcteryx person now.

post #6 of 22

The best, most durable ski pants that I have ever owned were made by Taiga Works, so I bought a top of the line gore text shell jacket from them this year and I love it.

 

Taiga Works is a Vancouver B.C. company who rather than have stuff made in Asia, they have a bunch of Asians working in the Taiga factory in Vancouver. So this is a real factory outlet store located on West Broadway in Vancouver.

post #7 of 22

Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, Arcteryx - enough said.  Those three will not let you down.  Great stuff and they stand behind their products for their lifetime.

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well I started this upset at Karbon (which I still am) but I was happy to hear the good Arcteryx stories my husband ripped his -- not a warranty seam but a rip in the middle of the pocket -- I hadn't even thought of sending them in.  Also wanted to add Patagonia is great too.  Most of the time when these things happen they are in the first year or so for my kids -- so I really expect them to stand behind them.  It certainly alters my buying habits and we go through a lot of gear!

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Always Skiing View Post
There is no other option with them I was told since their offices are in Canada I cannot ship across the border to them. 


And you can't ship across the border, why?  I've shipped many things across the border for repairs in the past.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Seems like Karbon was making up that I think since others have shipped to Arcteryx.  I was giving her a hard time about why I had to go back to the retailer (especially as they are closed for the off-season so it is not possible) and that is what she told me due to customs or something.  I think it was a lie.  another part of why I'm done buying their products based on that phone call.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
Now, OK, it's not apparel, but I just had an exchange with Oakley about the (THIRD!!!) pair of fire iridium lenses that have cracked in exactly the same place on a set of Crowbars, and received the "if you have the receipt" nonsense (btw, these lenses were maybe two weeks old), even after including a picture of the SLC quiver that has 7 or 8 sets of a-frames, so I'm one uber-loyal customer. After a polite note explaining the situation and showing them how freaking many Oakley's I have, they essentially told me to screw-off.

 

OK Oakley, you screwed me out of a lense - but you'll never get another penny from me for your products. He who laughs last......


So, anyone has experience with Smith customer service on their goggles?  Are they as bad as Oakleys? 

post #12 of 22

It worth remembering the warranty service given by some on the pricey brands like Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, Arcteryx when purchasing, it's easy to be fixated on price.

post #13 of 22

FWIW, I broke the zipper on my 8 or 9 year old Marker jacket and sent it somewhere in NE for repair last year.  No charge!  Twice I contacted Obermeyer this year in CO about minor things on my kids jackets (compass fell out and a zipper pull broke off).  They sent me the replacement parts right away with no charge!  North Face isn't too far from where I live in No. Cal, but I never had to use them.  Their stuff just doesn't wear out. 

post #14 of 22

alexzn,

Smith optics has probably one of the best customer service dept in the industry. They replaced 2 pairs of turbo fan goggles when the motor died and they were at least 3 yrs old.  There are other old thread attesting to their level of customer service.

post #15 of 22

Smith is amazing. They have a form that you download from their website, send the product in and they replace (no need to bother a shop) it pretty much without question... as long as it isn't a lens issue like a scratch or damage to the lens. It's fairly easy to get around that with half a seconds thought.

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Always Skiing View Post

Seems like Karbon was making up that I think since others have shipped to Arcteryx.  I was giving her a hard time about why I had to go back to the retailer (especially as they are closed for the off-season so it is not possible) and that is what she told me due to customs or something.  I think it was a lie.  another part of why I'm done buying their products based on that phone call.


Yeah, that was total BS.  All they have to do is issue you an RMA number (Returned Merchandise Authorization), and you put it on the customs label that USPS provides you, along with a notation that it's a warranty repair, and there will be zero issues with it going back and forth across the border.  The best way to do it is by mail, as UPS will try to charge the receiver an extra fee for 'bogus' customs clearing charges, and there will be no charge if it goes by mail.  That might be why she didn't want to allow it to be shipped across the border.

post #17 of 22

    I second LP's Marmot endorsment, absolutely great customer response and service. I bought one of the very first renditions of the Sharpoint softshell, at least 10 years ago, wore it so much that the pit zips died and I began to have issues with the front zips bottom closure letting go when zipped. One call, "just send it to us clean with your return address and what you need done and we will ship it back to you as soon as we can." It came back like new in less than 3 weeks and they even repaired a minor small rip in the sleeve(that I hadn/t even mentioned) where I had caught it on a piece of metal!! Great company and products.  

post #18 of 22


OUCH!  But guilty as charged.  I second Noodler's comments and I am sure LP considers this when he buys my stuff too. Also, Smith rocks, same thing with the turbo fan, no questions, just a quick fix with a new fan. I always consider customer service and warrenty when buying just about anything of substance. you spend your good dollars and use the product, you want it to perform and if it doesn't, you want it fixed without BS like with Karbon and fast. I don't need a shell to go to warrenty in January and have it back in April.  Plug for Icelantic here. A couple years back I bought a pair of Pilgrims in JH that had mismarked mount points, they overnighted a new pair and paid for the mounting of the original pair. Can't ask for more than that!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

I like, and have benefited from, Finndog's approach. He never owns anything long enough to need warranty repairs.

 

Marmot has been very good with two zipper issues. They just ask to send it back in a washed condition.

post #19 of 22

Patagonia's customer service can not be beat! 

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, Arcteryx - enough said.  Those three will not let you down.  Great stuff and they stand behind their products for their lifetime.


Could not have said it better.  I use my gear both on the snow, and the water.  Where Patagonia has fixed/replaced/refunded everything I have brought in, without question, the problem is their stuff breaks down.  Arcteryx, where more expensive, just won't break down. So either spend more, and have less hassle, or save a bit and be willing to to do the work the get things fixed when they break.

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 

I wanted to follow up on my post that started this thread.  I was able to contact Karbon again and explain my situation further -- that the local shop was not open and we needed the pants for skiing this summer.  I was able to get it successfully resolved.  The advance shipped a replacement pair of pants to the shop which arranged for a time I could come in and pick them up (even though closed) and I gave them the pants with the split seam to send Karbon.  Ended up with a successful resolution!  Sometimes it is worth contacting companies again and trying to explain the situation further or getting to someone who can make it happen (thanks Alison).  They are really nice pants so its great to have them replaced.

 

Always Skiing

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by penny4028 View Post




 Arcteryx, where more expensive, just won't break down. So either spend more, and have less hassle, or save a bit and be willing to to do the work the get things fixed when they break.


Not quite. I've had two Fission AR's replaced due to delamination around the pocket of the outer layer (including my beloved 2 tone orange one - gawd I loved that jacket).

 

However - Arcteryx has always been first class and replaced them immediately.

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