Lessons in Warranty Claim Futility

A warranty solely exists because no matter how bomb proof a product is there’s always that .5 percent that seeps through quality control and finds its way to the general public. Granted some years products fail more than others it’s just the nature of the mass produced beast. This is where the warranty comes into play as it’s the saving grace for when one of these products does end up in the hands of a consumer. But the real question remains how good is that warranty the company is touting?

Who hasn’t attempted a warranty return? If you haven’t ever had to do this then be happy knowing your equipment is solid and your mind hasn’t been tested. Now if you have gone through the warranty claim process then chances are you’ve either had a solid experience with a brand or they failed you and that’s soured you towards them for life. It truly can be a making or breaking point with lifelong customers.

Here’s an example of a product failure that is a result of something in the manufacturing.

It’s a pretty obvious manufacturing failure as the metal broke at a flex point. Now granted Tom the reader that sent these photos in said he is a “bigger” guy but they only had 40 days on them. Now here’s where this gets interesting check out these email correspondences with Technines warranty department.

March 15:
I bought a pair of athletic pro bindings (white/red M/L) from the UK importer, jackal, last February- now the heelcup of the RH binding is beginning to crack on both sides at the bend where it joins the baseplate- initially I thought it was just a cosmetic scratch, but the cracks are rapidly escalating. As I understand, this is covered by a lifetime warranty. Please get back to me with details of what I need to do…

March 16: (first email response from T9)
I just need an address! Also were they both white? Or one white one red? If so which one is white and which one is red?

Hi Chad,
hot damn, you guys rock, I’ve been taking photos and all sorts awaiting a barrage of bureaucracy… thanks for such a quick and kickass reply… both bindings are white

My current address is:
(Insert real address)
Thanks again, yours is the best warranty I’ve ever known.

April 6:
Hi Chad, just checking the progress on this- I appreciate this is international shipping, but as yet there is no show and the binding is set to crack any day…

May 5:
Hi Chad,
nothing ever materialized from this and the binding finally gave way (thankfully on the penultimate day of the season, so I didn’t miss too much riding time)… I have now returned to the UK, so my address is:
Tom Young,
(Insert new address here)

please see attached photos (posted above)- one spar of the heelcup has cracked outright, the other side of the same binding is well on its way and the other binding has early signs. As it stands, I’m not too bothered if you don’t have the correct colours to hand, I just want functional bindings, so please replace.

June 15:
Hi Chad,
it is now 3 months since I 1st got in contact and despite being led to believe that replacement heelcups were on their way, nothing ever materialized- please clarify whats happening here, I’m not even getting acknowledgement of my emails!! I had faith in the technine warranty, but as it stands, I’m tempted to warn potential buyers to look elsewhere.

please get back to me ASAP, or I will have to assume the worst…

August 4: (used the customer service email this time instead of the warranty@thebrandbase.com)
I would like to know what has happened to the ‘legendary’ technine warranty; as you can see from this regrettably one sided correspondence that things have lapsed a touch… please make like a phoenix from the ashes and restore my confidence… I’ve even phoned a couple of times without resolution!

Cheers ( I would have said thanks, but I think you might have to earn that in this instance)

September 9: (A response is acknowledged from a non Technine/Brand Base email address instead it’s from Filmarcorp.com)
yo whats up ! im pepe the new warranty superhero here at brandbase (technine) ! sorry for the waiting , its
chaotic down here ! i dont even have an office or a desk so please xcuse us ! can you email me your complete address so i can ship your goodies !!! the box is ready to ship ! yeah boy !

September 20: (Pepe steps up to the plate and sends a follow up email)
yo im waiting for your address !!! your package is good to go !

September 23: (Tom responds)
Go Pepe, yo da man!!… Sorry fella, I’ve been sleeping too much recently and didn’t see your 1st email. Ah well, at least you didn’t have to clean my saliva sodden pillow.
I have a nice freaky address for you, deep in the wilderness of Wales

(Insert second address here)

Good luck with desk and whatnot; your legs must be killin.

November 1: (Toms last and probably final email to them as he forwarded this exchange to a few of us snow site types)
I know life can be hectic sometimes, but c’mon, you have no idea how much I’ve been dicked around on this already; help me out here dude!

Anyone else think this is a horrible customer service failure? Looking at this exchange Tom did everything right he praised the product, he praised their warranty, he made silly jokes to engage the warranty department, he attached photos of said problem, and above all he kept following up with them. So why is it Tom doesn’t have a replacement part? Now ask yourself this do you think this is acceptable? Hopefully something happens for Tom or perhaps one of you awesome companies out there who values customer relationships will hit me up to get in touch with Tom.

Causes controversy!

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  1. TW says:

    After reading this, and with the snowboard binding market being as competitive as it is, there is absolutely no reason to consider technine.

  2. Todd-O says:

    Maybe Technine is trying to send the kid a message to stop being a p*ssy. That he should hit the streets a gank a new pair off some rich fool, son, uh….yeah.

    (Cause they’re gangster, you see.)

  3. Elenchus says:

    I was about to say that those look like technines..good luck with their warranty dept. haha.

    I had almost the same experience with those guys over the past summer. I realize that when a brand is about to be sold, or is in the process of being moved, that things like ‘whom is responsible for warranty’ gets dropped like a hot potato but no one told me what was happening, or who to talk to and it took between 3 and 4 months an many many phone calls to get my issue sorted out.

    I also dealt with Pepe… and he was not the warranty superhero he claimed to be above. In fact – after months of being promised by many different people that my situation would be rectified, I was finally put into contact with Pepe, who it seems tried to offer me the cheapest half-assed solution he could come up with. Considering the bindings that I was warranting were fresh out the box and had never been used, I was not thrilled with his offer and tried to work a compromise. This didn’t seem to be good for Pepe who kept giving me his “too cool guy” attitude… and at one point he told me I was lucky to be getting anything for “fuckin free” and to which I reminded him that I had paid for bindings that were unusable out of the box, and I was not as thrilled with his attitude as he seems to be. At this point I was seriously pissed that he was swearing at me considering I had been super chill about being dicked around for several months and was considering my options of retribution. But I think Pepe could sense my months of built up irritation and decided just to get this ticket closed.

    Although I have respect for MFM, I’ve never been a fan of the Technine “thuggish’ ruggish'” image and my Technine purchase was out of curiosity about how good their products are because I had seen several kids riding them around here who liked them, but I’ve regretted it ever since. I still haven’t used that pair of bindings and I don’t think I’ll ever consider buying or supporting their brand again, especially since there are so many other brands that make good products and support them with cooler people.

  4. baker542 says:

    uh huh. Looks like technine won’t be getting any business from me, I don’t care how gangster they are.

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  6. lex says:

    don’t think it was rectified, think they meant rectumfied.

    This whole story brings a great point. We focus on socalled “Core” but customers getting the run around on warranty are big factors. How come people didn’t use there shops? Do shops not offer this service anymore, I know quite a few love just to pass it off to the brands.

    Personally, I never like T9 bindings for me, can’t say anything about the boards, never ridden one.

  7. David Z says:

    dude. fail. If you work at T9 and see that email come across your desk (or milk crate, or whatever the fuck it is they’re using down there) after 5 or 6 months of run-around you better get off your ass and personally fulfill that warranty claim, and then keep on walking down to shipping where you personally put it in a box and send it off to Tom. Or you could scrounge up a brand new pair and ship those to him instead.

  8. facepalm says:

    hahahahaha people buy t9?? its absolute shit to be “core”.
    w48 FTMFW

  9. tooscoops says:

    the only hard goods i had issues with were my drake bindings… from everyone i talked to, it wasn’t a big suprise… so when i was forgotten about for a while, i figured that was it, so i bought a cheap ass pair of bindings to do the rest of the season…

    then, a couple weeks late, a box shows up with more than i asked for… extra binding parts, a bording dvd, a tool and some stickers as well as a sorry note for taking so long… he said since it was late he threw in whatever was sitting on his desk…

    though i don’t ride drakes now, i don’t hesitate to promote them to new riders… you get what you pay for product wise, but they were great to deal with.

  10. Subzero says:

    What can I say, I love this blog, If there are more like this, the snowboard world will be better :)
    This case must be posted everywhere, so many people can read it. To be like avalanche, so everyone which have anything generally with snowboarding, no matter consumer, fan, or manufacturer to take a notice. This will make the product which we use better and the brands will be more responsible and friendly.
    For brand like this,$100-150 maybe is nothing and don’t get serious with such cases, but for a guy which earn $200 for a month, this may cost him a whole season. So when they don’t care about their consumers, why the consumers should pray for their attention. Fuck them, and more people should do the same, and after 1-2 year they will start get serious with their customers or will bankrupt.

  11. Jack says:

    ^^^What that guy said! BA, this site kicks ass! Thanks for posting articles like this and warning us consumers about the douche bags over at technine!

  12. Sloaner says:

    I had a completely different experience with a pair of technine bindings that were faulty. I rode them for a year and had both base plates break and the toe strap on my right binding break about once a month. After putting up with it for a season I got in contact with technine. At this point I was out of the 1 year warranty by about 3 weeks. I sent out an email with some pictures and got a response the next day. In this response I was told to go to their website and look at the current years bindings and pick out a pair. Once I replied to the representative saying which pair I liked he gave me an address to ship my defective bindings and said that once they received the defect pair my new ones would be sent out. It took about two weeks from the time I sent my first email to the time I got a brand new pair of bindings.

  13. Ben R says:

    T9 is junk. That said I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with snowboard warranties. I had a strap break on my Unions… I wrote one email and was then sent an entire new set of straps, not just one to replace the broken strap. I also had a pair of session pants split at the seam after over a year riding them…. I sent them back and they actually fixed them at no charge… I guess the moral of the story is to not buy bull shit thug/street bindings… buy some from a company that is less about image and more about product.

  14. the punkrock boyscout says:

    I worked warranty last year and I can guarantee this, that was not Chad’s fault. He was a rad guy to deal with and never questioned any parts request and would drop ship parts the same day to customers. T9 lost a great employee if he is no longer there.

    Some companies are straight up nazis about warranty like Rossi and K2, but some brands like Rome and Flux are sick. They never question a request for a strap or disc or even charge for it. I don’t think I got one bill for all the parts I ordered from there but I would need to provide like seven different pictures from all angles for someone like Burton or K2 and then pay $12.00 a pop for straps.

  15. dirtdogRR says:

    I decided after reading this I will never buy from T9 ever. I never hear anything good about them. As mentioned above, Rome and Flux have great service. You can really feel their care for customers.

  16. facepalm says:

    so punkrock, chad was a “rad guy” because he did his fucking job??? thats what he gets paid for.

  17. zak says:

    i also bought tech nine and regretted it from day one….. worst warrenty of any brand ive ever used, snowboarding and other by far.

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  19. E-Stone says:

    Bummer to see this guys. We moved our shipping and warranty operation to Montreal this summer and had some issues getting everything dialed in. Chad did a great job and we were bummed to have lost him. Im glad to get this feed back so I can take a look personally at the issue and do what I can to get it fixed. If anyone is still having issues please email me. I will personally make sure the issues get sorted. Sorry for the problems, I realize with snow on the ground every day without gear or having broken gear really sucks. I personally apologize and promise we will step up our game. Anyone with any outstanding issues please email me personally and I will make sure it gets taken care of.

    [email protected]

    Ethan Stone Fortier

  20. the punkrock boyscout says:

    He was one of the few that actually did his job. Most would find any excuse not to send you a screw or buckle that cost them a nickel. Even when it came to something that was iffy and more than likely the customers fault like a crushed high back he was cool about it. Also most companies won’t drop-ship items to a customer they’ll send it to the shop and it’s our responsibility to get it to the customer.
    I’ve never been a fan of t9 but Chad was a good guy to work with at every level.

  21. He obviously didn’t do his job since this post exists, defend all you want but a promise was made and not kept. Every company I’ve dealt with personally has sent me replacement parts to my house. I’ve never warrantied anything that has required me to go to a shop to pick it up.

  22. the punkrock boyscout says:

    I’m not defending T9 in any way. Just Chad. If they moved their operation to Canadia then I wouldn’t have gone with them either.

  23. Arnie says:

    Angry Snowboarder, It’s a good service to the community that you post scenarios like this on your site.

    I just finished dealing with a similar situation with Burton. I think the way a product warranty is handled depends on who you are dealing with in the warranty department. It makes a big difference.

    A few years ago, I had an issue with a Burton product. I called the warranty department and they handled it professionally. I mailed them the defective product and within 2 weeks I received a replacement. It all worked out.

    A few months ago I had an issue with another Burton product. This time I didn’t have such good luck. My initial contact at Burton discussed with me over the phone what could possibly be done to deal with the issue (cracked highback). He asked I send them some photos, and I did. …After that I tried contacting them a few more times and have not heard from them since. (I dealt with a total of 2 people). Ultimately, I just went to my local snowboard shop and they helped me out.

    Anyways, I feel for those that have trouble with such issues. It can be frustrating.
    In the end forums like this help shed light on the good and bad.

    One thing I have learned over the years…build a good relationship with your local snowboard shop because they are a great resource in helping you deal with product issues.

    all the best. Happy 2011.

  24. MN Scott says:

    This bums me out about T9. In years past I had really good experiences with their warranty dept. When I filed a warranty claim a couple of years ago they had even sent me extra buckles and ladder straps and threw in a few stickers too. Hopefully they get their stuff together and can salvage their reputation. I am not a fan of the thug image they represent but the bindings where solid.

    I know there a some Burton haters out there, but I had a really good warranty claim experience with them last month. Their AK Goretex outerwear carries a lifetime warranty, which is hard to beat. My Burton AK Cyclic jacket had a blown the inside pocket zipper. Burton not only replaced the jacket but gave me a free upgrade to the Stagger jacket since they didn’t have my size for the replacement. Their customer service really blew me away. I don’t ride a Burton snowboard but I would buy their outerwear again without hesitation.

  25. […] they have a truly great one. Case in point on December 8th of last year I wrote an article titled Lessons In Warranty Claim Futility detailing the lengths of email correspondences Tom one of my readers went to get a legitimate claim […]

  26. Duzzer3 says:

    Unfortunately I am another T9 customer who is now completely disatisfied.

    I sent an email with pictures of my board that had a pretty major chip in the coating. About 2″ x 1″. The board was exactly 2 months out of warranty and their response was that they could do nothing for me. You can tell that the rest of the coating is de-laminating, so its not a board problem, its a coating problem. They shouldn’t be able to separate.

    Spoke to the warranty rep, spoke to his manager, both gave me a run around about how they would try to do something but still no answer.

    I just sent an email to that Ethan guy about this. Hopefully he can do something.

    Aren’t these boards designed to last 3-5 years? I only used this one a total of 12 times.

    Funny thing is, my girlfriend’s burton had a similar issue a year and almost 3 months after she bought it. Burton’s answer was that if it wasn’t CLEARLY impacted that they would warranty it. Sent it back, within 2 hours of them receiving it they said they would warranty it cause it was clearly a manufacturers defect.

    Seems to me that is how this process should take place, isn’t it?

    I have already directed some friends towards Burton over my T9 because of this incident. Seems I will continue to do so because T9 seems to have no interest in taking care of their customers.

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