Thursday, March 21, 2013

Zipp warranty: the conclusion

The first part of my Zipp warranty fiasco is documented here: Zipp hates me

Short story: Zipp SLC2 bars delaminated, discovered while removing bartape. Initiated warranty claim with local bike shop. Zipp approved warranty replacement but requested I send them original receipt before they send out the replacements. Sent them receipt. Once they received the receipt, they suspended the warranty replacement and determined that the bars were grey market based on nothing else besides the price I bought the bars for. However, the bars were purchased (obvious from the receipt) from a Zipp authorized dealer listed on their very own site.

So here's the aftermath. I attempted to email SRAM customer service. Didn't get anywhere. A friend referred me to a guy he knew that worked with Zipp. He was very helpful and forwarded my displeasure to their Zipp product manager.

At the same time, it was recommended to me to start a warranty claim through the original dealer and not just my local bike shop. So I got a hold of the original dealer. I told them what had happened so far, and how the bars were labeled as grey market. They were surprised and said they would get it taken care of.

The Zipp product manager had me tell him the back story of what had happened and how the damage occurred. He requested pics, another copy of the receipt, the fax with warranty denial from the original claim, etc. He wanted everything. After I sent and told him everything, he told me he would talk to their warranty manager.

In the meantime, the original dealer got back with me. The Zipp warranty inspector denied the warranty again. This time, they acknowledged that the bars are not grey market. But, they said the only way the damage could have occurred was due to abuse or crash. I swear, I have never crashed those bars, over torqued those bars, or even bumped those bars against my hand too hard! While delivering this news, the original dealer opined that Zipp was being absolutely ridiculous as he had seen their bars and other manufacturer bars delaminate right out of the box. I told my local bike shop what was going on because they were just curious as to what had happened the bars. I told them about the denial, and they were of the opinion that Zipp was full of themselves and were basically saying they never ever have quality control or manufacturing issues because they're just perfect...and that it was a very convenient way to easily deny almost any warranty claim.

The original dealer got back with me and told me that they are one of the larger Zipp dealers/accounts around. And that if he talked with his rep, he should be able to get Zipp to bend and offer me new bars. He was right. Zipp had agreed to send me new bars after a bit of convincing by the original dealer. However, Zipp wanted to make it very very clear that the bars they were sending me were NOT a warranty replacement; that the bars were being sent as a act of good will.

Whatever...I'll take them! But it did underscore to me that Zipp seems to have an attitude that they're products never fail. And that if something happens, it MUST be the users fault. On to top of that, the entire process was off putting. It took three months. And they just seemed like there were trying to do everything in their power to get out of replacing the bars. The only reason they sent bars was because the original dealer (a very large account) stepped up to the plate and pressured Zipp to cough up some new bars for a customer.

I'd like to point out how different my experience has been with other cycling companies customer service. I have had to do warrant claims on a Cervelo P2 frame, a Look 595 e-post, a Profile Designs Aerodrink bottle, and I exchanged some emails with Reynolds customer service regarding a set of MV32T UL rims that I didn't have to warranty. But those companies were customer focused and aimed for customer satisfaction. They didn't care where I bought the product, what store I was initiating the warranty with, they didn't ask for a receipt, and they didn't care how much I paid for their product. They had confidence in their product and stood by their product. They all immediately replaced the product.

I'd like to thank Wheel & Sprocket of Appleton, WI and Tree Fort Bikes of Ypsilanti, MI for being so helpful. They both did everything they could to help me out, were super friendly, and very prompt in communicating with me. As for Zipp...I've had Zipp 303's, 404's, Disc rear wheel, a couple stems, and four handlebars. I'm afraid that this may be my last Zipp product. Customer service goes a long way with me.

Buyer beware!

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