It’s 2013- and Arc’teryx customer service continues to suck, just like it did back in 2010.
I wrote about my initial frustration with Arc’teryx in the fall of 2010, after I spent $325 for an Arc’Teryx Altra 65 backpack, a Backpacking Magazine’s 2010 Pack of the Year award winner. That story is a refresher course on what to do to disappoint a customer.
Backpacker didn’t talk to anyone who actually wore the pack on any backpacking trips, because the waist belt that came with the pack had a substandard material in the buckle area that caused the waist belt to slip after you cinched it up, and threw the pack’s total weight back onto one’s shoulders. You can bring yourself up to date on why I was without that pack for 5 months, while I waited for Arc’teryx to replace it. I had a second warranty issue with the pockets on the waist belt experiencing wear holes after two weeks of use, which was replaced with a new belt. I also received a new sternum strap, after the original elasticized material ripped out. I do thank them for that.
Unfortunately, I had to deal with Arc’teryx again in November, after I tore a water bottle pocket while bushwhacking around a blow down here in Maine.
Here’s the heart of the new complaint.
First, I sent them this picture of the torn pack in an email: I received a quick call from a customer service representative that informed me that I’d have to send the whole pack back to them for inspection. It was recommended that I ship the product using a carrier that can provide me with tracking information and proof of delivery (USPS = $22.50).
Within a couple of weeks, I received a call back from them informing me that the tear exceeded normal wear and tear, and that it be processed as an out-of-warranty situation. I asked what the cost would be and was told that Arc’teryx would get back to me with a quote. A couple of days later I was told the fee would be $80. I told the agent that the charge appeared excessive. I had already spent $22.50 just to get it to them. I asked to have the case reviewed, and waited a few days to learn they would now fix it for was $60. I still thought it was too much, and at this point decided that I was done with these folks. I asked them to send me back the backpack, ripped and all. I decided to either cut out the frayed material and slide an aftermarket Liberty Mountain water bottle holder onto the waist below to compensate, or I’d get some binding material and use my Speedy Stitcher to repair the torn pocket myself. A couple of weeks later I got the pack pack. (Arc’teryx warrantee/repair products go back to the mother ship in Vancouver, BC.).
At his point I came up with plan C, which was to walk the pack into Tent Repair Services, right down the street in nearby Camden, ME. In business since 1994, TRS is an authorized repair center for Moss, Walrus, Armadillo & MSR tents. I have had several tent repairs done by the facility over the years and have always been impressed with their service and quality work. Pendra was willing to tackle the job.
Pendra replaced the stretchy mesh material with a solid piece of color-matched coated Cordura, and even retained the drawstring. She advised me that the repair had taken some time and even required disassembling the pack in that area. Cost? $38.50 plus 5% Maine sales tax, and warranteed, as well.These folks have seen every type of outdoor fabric that’s in existence over the years, and volunteered that the mesh material appears inadequate for the function. It’s only a matter of time, before this $325 pack suffers a failure in those areas as well, but my next solution will be straight to Tent Repair Services. In addition to performing quality repairs to tents and tent poles, Tent Repair Services performs the following: tent and rainfly modifications, panel replacements, construction of replacement rainflys for many tent models, tent footprints, gear lofts, and a variety of custom work as requested.
Looking the pack over at home, I see that the stretchy material on the other pocket has multiple wear holes in it. At least this time I know what not to do.