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.