Why one should not purchase from Campers Village - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Default Why one should not purchase from Campers Village

I recently purchased a Katadyn Hiker Pro from Campers Village in Edmonton. I normally shop at MEC but Campers is closer to where I work and I needed the filter for a trip to Zions National Park in Utah.

The filter worked well for about 7L and then in mid pump in filling the 8th litre, the inlet mechanism (plastic) cracked, rendering the filter completely useless. Thankfully we had two other Hiker Pro's in the group which remained reliable.

Upon returning from my trip, I took the filter into Campers and explained the situation. They took the filter and provided me with a warranty card and said that they would be contacting Katadyn. Fair enough, I thought, although I know for a fact that MEC would have given me a replacement and then dealt with Katadyn behind the scenes. The span of time from purchasing the filter, using it on my trip, and returning it was less than a month.

I have yet to receive a call from Campers directly. Instead, I have followed up every few days and spoken to someone new (!) on the matter. Initially, I was told that the filter was defective and that I would be receiving a new one from Katadyn. [u]4 weeks later </u>and still nothing.

It isn't a big deal with respect to cost and I am sure that it will get resolved, but if I had have purchased it from MEC, they would have let me exchange it for a new one or provided a return immediately, certainly given the time frame as to when it was purchased and used.

For me, I will never purchase from Campers Village again.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 11:51 AM
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REI's refund policy is stirring up some debate south of the border:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NGVjR4o2RU
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 12:19 PM
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Bummer..

Yeah, you can't beat MEC for warrenty issues, so I never go any where else.

Such a relief not to have to deal with all the hassle!

Costco's good for that, too..
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 12:23 PM
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buy from MEC ... its up to the other places to up their game ...

its that simple
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 07:14 PM
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I've never been to Camper's Village, so I have no idea whether they're any good or not. MEC is an anomaly in terms of their warranty practices, and their behaviour may be to some extent related to their status as a non-profit organization. For every other shop, just swallowing the cost of handing out replacement gear on the hopes of getting a credit from the maker might not be an option. A lot of folks have no idea what a warranty involves. Having done warranties in such a shop, here is the basic process as it was when I worked in outdoor retail:

1) Customer comes in with defective product. Staff member takes down the customer's particulars, what the issue is, takes in the product, puts it on the warranty-return-pending shelf in the backroom. We told the customer to expect a 6-week turnaround.

2) When the staff member who is in charge of dealing with warranties gets around to doing it (warranties generally aren't done daily- they're done when senior staff have time between doing orders, receiving shipments, other managerial jiggery-pokery, dealing with customers, etc. etc. Once a week is probably realistic.) he/she calls the company and asks for a return authorization number for the product. They describe the issue to the company's warranty liason person, write down the issued RA number, etc. No RA number- no shipping it back. This is the top spot for the system stalling on the shop's end.

2a) I found that the odds of speaking to a human at whatever company I was calling were around one in four. 75% of the time I'm leaving a message. If there's time to call again that day, I might. Otherwise, fingers crossed for a prompt reply. It might be a couple of days until an RA number comes through for the product.

2b) The majority of companies aren't Canadian. If there's a Canadian office (ie. Merrell, North Face, etc.) it's OK- we can deal with it. If they're based in Switzerland, and only have a distributor in Canada- that's an issue. It complicates everything from shipping to/from the company to just getting through to them during business hours.

3) Now you've got the RA number. Print the manifest, head to the post office to ship out (usually a weekly occurrence*), and wait.

*If you're keeping score- let's say warranty man (WM) does warranties on Thursdays- generally slow enough to get stuff done. Hypothetical customer drops off the defective product on a Friday. It sits 6 days until WM sees it. Phones are called and messages left. Product company man (CM) was away from his desk Thursday, returns the call Friday. WM has Fri/Sat off in this story, product company is closed Sunday, WM returns call Monday afternoon, gets RA#. We're now at 10 days. Wednesday is shipping day. 12 days. Company receives it Monday. 17 days. And we'll pick up the procedural narrative again....

4) The company receives the product. No product is warrantied against misuse (even Pelican cases say bears, sharks and toddlers void the warranty), so someone has to check it over and make sure that the customer wasn't trying to pound tent pegs with his fancy thingamajig. Depending on the size of the company and their rate of warranty returns, there may be a long line of other busted stuff ahead of this product, and there might not be a dedicated inspector.

5) After checking it over, the company may choose to...
5a) Repair it. Wait for the repair guy to do his thing.
5b) Issue the store a credit- it is now up to the store to replace the item. They may or may not have it in stock (another can of worms).
5c) Send out a replacement.

In our scenario, the company ships a replacement. Let's give the company 11 days (5 work days and two weekends) on their end. Maybe 3 days shipping, so another 14 days on top of the earlier 17. 14+17=31, so we're a month into this process now. Note that the company didn't call the store to let them know what the decision is- keeping the store up to date is VERY rare.

6) The shop receives the product. Unboxing stuff and registering its arrival (either entering it into inventory or putting it onto the warranty-returned shelf) rarely falls to untrained staff, and takes a back seat to customers in the shop. So it might be another day before the thing gets unpacked, warranty records are consulted, and the store calls the customer to pick up their shiny replacement.


Four weeks and no word is normal. Six weeks and no word is normal. Six weeks between the store shipping it and the company returning it is normal for some companies. It is also seasonally dependent- if it is high season (ie. ski season or summer), and the companies are totally dedicated to getting enough product built and shipped for the retail demands, it will be a long wait. If it is slow, it will be fast. I can remember sending an Arc'teryx jacket back for a customer and its replacement showing up before the weekend. I sent my own jacket in this January, and it took 6 weeks to the day- and I live in Vancouver.

The morals and lessons of my over-long story:
1) Above all, be patient. Warranties take time (for those who aren't big-box non-profits).

2) When you return an item, find out who you should speak to for follow-up (if you absolutely feel the need to follow up). Shit might trickle down, but customer call buck-passing trickles up, and there's no point in talking to every member of the staff when you can say "is Mary in today? Can I speak to her?" and then Mary can let you know what stage things are at, and how soon you can expect resolution (generally ~4-6 weeks).

3) It doesn't hurt to ask around about warranty experiences. Often the store staff will know which companies are especially good to deal with or not good to deal with. ie. Garmin and North Face were nightmares back in the day. Arc'teryx was always outstanding (but turnaround depended on seasonal timing). Westcomb was unreasonably good. Unfairly good, even. I am reluctant to buy products, even great products, unless I know that warranties can be dealt with smoothly.

4) Ask about special orders. A store that does special orders may have a closer working relationship with a company than one that does not.

5) Checking in "every few days" is unnecessary, as your name is in the warranty return book and you'll be called as soon as your product is received. You are now "that Katadyn guy". And you didn't speed up the process. At all.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 07:47 PM
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^^^

Its 2013, phone calls, mailing and waiting is no longer an option. I couldnt care less about what a warranty entails, you sold it to me, you told me it was defective now give me my money back or a new part - NOW

I would go from Katadyn guy to freaking out guy right there in the store. Go back to the store, ask for a manager and get what you want, then never go back.

Ideally you can make everyone so uncomfortable they do whatever it takes to get you out of there.

Good Luck
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 08:17 PM
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Geesh that sucks, glad we MEC around.

K
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 08:53 PM
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My line of work is far from retail sporting goods, industrial packaging machinery so not much of a guide to retail practice, but still: If an item is not performing to the customers expectation, I first get the customer happy, then deal with the supplier. Sometimes it results in a loss, but a happy repeat customer and good referrals.

If a retailer doesn't get that, then they may as well get out of the retail trade and go directly to no-frills rock-bottom margin internet sales and go head to head with Amazon. (Good luck!)
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 09:16 PM
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Two of the most successful retailers in the country have the most liberal return policies: Costco and MEC. It inspires confidence, and leads to WAY more purchases than the resulting losses from returns. Restrictive and argumentative return policies send customers away, and odds are they won't return. Return customers are very, very important.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by FamilyGuy

I recently purchased a Katadyn Hiker Pro from Campers Village in Edmonton...

Upon returning from my trip, I took the filter into Campers and explained the situation.

For me, I will never purchase from Campers Village again.
Having worked in a management position in retail in the past I can relate to your situation.

However, your situation is an example of Dunbar's Number in action. You can't see the Individuals from the Company.

You didn't deal with Campers Village, you dealt with employees at one of their stores. Rather than judging the entire company based on the actions of a person at one of their locations I'd complain to their head office about the incident.

If they inform you that the employees are following the companies policies then by all means lambaste them online but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I actively try to see the individuals when I walk into retail stores and not the company they are getting paid to represent. If I have reason to complain I shake the persons hand, find out their name and explain my issue as I would if they where a friend I knew that worked in that store.

After irate customers would blow up in front of an employee in the store I managed I would explain to them "don't take it personally, that person is imagining you as a representation of this company and not Neil, the guy who is just making some money to buy a new snowboard. The human mind just doesn't have the capacity to recognize every individual socially so we group them together into races, nationalities, companies, governments... etc to deal with this cognitive limit"
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Spoke with Campers Village today and they still do not have the filter / part that was to be sent to them direct from Katadyn on May 1 from Toronto.

I've asked for my money back or a replacement. Will keep you posted.

Thanks for the responses and perspective.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 03:06 PM
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It would have been nice to get an on the spot replacement.

As nice as customer service can be, if they can't take a straight exchange like MEC would (as a company with enough manpower to dedicate to a department like this), I think that the company itself should be good enough to deal with taking returns back via some sort of fedex system.

My friend bought a fiskars weed puller and it broke, and instead of taking it back to canadain tire, which he could have, he just emailed the company, and they shipped him a complete new unit to replace the semi damaged old one.

Katydyn should provide a Return authorization and provide shipping details to mail back the unit independant from the retailer. If Katydyn sells defective product and a customer complains AND it's a problem they've receivied from other customers, they should provide the customer with a shipped replacement, OR have some sort of Return Autorization system where the customer can bring back the unit with some sort of documentation that says Katydyn will provide the store credit for the defective unit and return the customer their money.

Simplest thing to do is for the company to just ship the customer a new filter. If you want to create customer loyalty, this is the way to do it.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by fefrie

Another product I have is the Battery Tender Jr. I emailed the company about cigarette lighter adapters, and instead of pointing me to links to buy, they just shipped me one. Probably cost about $4 in product materials and cost. Cheaper than a marketing budget.
When I got my GoPro 2 I broke one of the strap mounts within a few seconds by my own fault.

I emailed GoPro and said it broke when I tried to use it first. They asked for a picture of it. I send them a picture and within less than a week they'd shipped me a replacement. I got to keep the semi-broken mount also which has its uses.

From this they've gained a customer for life. I'll likely spend thousands over my lifetime buying, using and recommending their products to others.

Same story with MEC. I've never tried to return something and not been given my money back or a replacement. Due to their exceptional customer care myself and Spring have bought probably 95% of our outdoor gear from them. In the last 3 years we've easily spent over 15k at MEC. I've returned &lt;5% of that.

If you've worked in retail in a management capacity you'll know that the bigger an ass you are as a customer the better service you'll get. It's a sorry fact. If a customer decides to squat in your store, or write aggressive emails to the Head Office or picket outside about what they feel they are entitled to then they will probably get it. Most companies don't want the bad PR so they'll just acquiesce. Most policies stores have about returns can and do get bent for particularly ornery customers. FamilyGuy, I guarantee if you go into the store and make a fuss for a few hours, informing customers who come in about the stores return policy and how unacceptable it is that you will quickly be handed your replacement.

I think what the likes of MEC and REI and others have realized is that it is not right that the good, kind and understanding customers get the worst service. Everyone should be given equal service regardless of their manner.

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post #14 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 07:02 PM
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Funny, so now they will refund you the money. It would of been cheaper for them to hand you another one...



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post #15 of (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by AcesHigh

Funny, so now they will refund you the money. It would of been cheaper for them to hand you another one...
That's what I do with my princeton tec headlamps.

The battery clip broke and I brought it back to MEC. It's got a 5 year warranty. The staff said that she sees them broken at the clip all the time.

I just got another one, and expect the clip to break again in 3 years. It eats batteries, but it's good for around the house and its lightweight.

One day they will design them right. Probably not.

It's like the automotive industry. Engineers shouldn't design cars, mechanics should.
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