Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bad service from Coleman

I was looking forward to camping season this year. So much I did some research and bought me a new camp chair back in March. I figured a chair with a cooler attached to it would not only keep me comfy but I could store 3 beers under my left arm.

I settled on a chair from Coleman. There was a good sale on at Amazon and the reviews on the chair were both good on that site as well as others. About a week after I placed the order the chair was in my dining area just waiting for my butt to be in it at Bong a couple months later.

When May came I found myself showing off the cooler and stuffing beers in it by the campfire. I was pretty damn happy. Until I noticed a hole in the back. The fabric had come away from a fastener in the back. It made the backrest loose on one side. I didn't think it was a big deal.

But a couple weeks later we were back at Bong and the problem became worst. The fabric had not slid down one of the back poles and punctured the top. Now the backrest was worthless, slumping on one side, making the chair unusable. I was bummed.

There is now way a chair made by Coleman, one of the supposedly best makers of camping equipment, should fall apart after 3 days of use. I checked the bar the chair came in and found the warranty information on a card. Good for up to one year. It had been 3 months so I should be covered.

When I got home that Sunday night, June 13, I went to Amazon to see about returning the chair. No could do. They only took product back within 30 days. I have no beef with that. I captured my receipt from their site and proceeded to go to Coleman to find out how I could have the chair replaced. I found their warranty and used their online system to send them a message. I included a picture and a copy of the receipt. Soon I got the automated return message and began my wait. I figured it would take 2-3 days and soon I would be arranging to send the chair back to them.

Man was I wrong. Two weeks later and I hadn't heard a word from Coleman. I sent another email asking for a status update. I didn't receive a reply. Either Coleman has a lot of returns and was bogged down replacing their crappy products or they were simply ignoring me.

After a month of being ignored I had enough. I figured if I contacted Coleman right away that they would get the chair replaced and I would have some use of it during the rest of the camping season. I figured wrong so I took the next step. I reached out for help.

Having worked at a company that supplies very good customer service, I know some tricks of the trade. Part of my job involves reviewing complaints of a monthly basis so I know what not to do. I thought about some of the letters I had looked at and thought I would start out small. I contacted the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB is like a pebble in your shoe. They don't have much real authority but they can make it annoying for you. They do work for you when contacted. So I found Coleman in their database and filed my complaint.

Two days later I did finally get a response from Coleman. The response was pretty worthless though. They didn't actually address my concern. They asked for me to send them the fabric and a copy of the receipt. Wait, I had already sent the receipt as well as a picture of the damage. What they asked for made little sense to me.

To send them the fabric, I would need to rip it off the other fastener. I would have to damage the chair to be abel to satisfy their request. Again, if they looked at the picture I had sent they would have recognized it. So I told them that and resent the two attachments. I wonder what the next response will entail. I wonder if they expect me to pay to ship anything back to them. I may have purposely withheld that question today.

Still, waiting a full month to contact someone who has a problem with your product should be considered to be unacceptable by any company in today's marketplace. No one should have to contact an agency to get a response.

One thing is for certain. As for now, I doubt I will ever purchase another Coleman product.

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