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Thread: Winston Customer Service Sucked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. #1
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    Default Winston Customer Service Sucked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I broke one of my real favorite rods, a Winston BIIx 7wt this fall and sent it in for repair. It had been a gift so I expected to pay for it... and know Winston has a rep for being very fussy about original owners and all...

    What I got from them was a very cryptic email with "repair" as the title and nothing recognizable as a source. It took them more than a couple weeks to send it so I had forgotten it and even deleted it before reading because it did not click that it was my rod the repair referred to...

    Anyway the email listed three parts: "tip, 1 mid section, butt"

    I assumed they were going to replace three sections. There is a pretty good ding on the butt...

    They also wanted $132 for the repairs and $50 for shipping. I was not happy but I had been assured Winston would send me back a rod looking better than new...

    What I got was a rod where the butt section had not even been cleaned up a bit, a big ding is still obvious down near the base and only the broken tip was replaced.

    So I sent an email to give them a chance to explain what happened and if this was standard for Winston CS... They have not bothered to answer my email.

    Frankly, Winston just took a monster step down in my mind.They have eliminated any resale value on their rods... I will never buy another, new or used, because there will be no honest resale value. Only an idiot would buy a used Winston with their CS and I could not in good conscience sell one.

    The fact they did not even bother to answer my email is plenty for me to shun them...

    It is a shame because the rods are very well made and a pleasure to fish.

  2. #2
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    Hap,

    Sorry to hear that. At the prices they charge, adequate, at the very least, customer service should be a given and exemplary should be expected. Considering all the alternatives on the market, you'd think they'd want to keep their customer base happy. I've got a few Sage rods, purchased in the mid-90's and any time I've needed repairs their customer service has been quick, responsive and of the highest quality.

    Regards,
    Scott

  3. #3
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    Just because they are expensive don't make them good. Customer service is everything in my book!
    Steven Adler

    Drive it like you stole it! Half the fun of getting there is not knowing your going to make it?

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    Hap, this isn't meant in the least as a criticism of you, just a little bit of a "devil's advocate" stab at a possible explanation. Sure would be nice if you could find the text of that original email, as I suspect that would eliminate at least some of the speculation. 2+ weeks for acknowledgment is annoying to be sure, but the rest doesn't seem like that much of a stretch once a manufacturer has deemed it a non-warranty repair. $50 for shipping is a joke, but I read all the time now where manufacturers are charging that and more for shipping, "service fees" or some other ridiculous term for charges on even their warranty repairs, including those that were sold years back with warranties that, at the time, had no such provision in them. That last part particularly chafes me, but that's a topic for another day. So that leaves the $132 charge on yours. If I submitted a rod for repairs that I figured the manufacturer would consider outside their warranty, I would do so with some HOPE that they'd surprise me and say they'd cover it, but with the EXPECTATION that I'd be told I was going to have to pay something for it, and it sounds like that's what that email outlined for you. I'm guessing you got a replacement tip and maybe something like cleaning/reconditioning the ferrules on two of the other sections, and an estimate of $132 for that, which you presumably could have either accepted or declined. Again, not as great a deal as what I might have hoped for in the best of situations, but about what I could have expected for a $700 rod if it wasn't a covered repair.

    As for the resale value, and again with all due respect, I don't see what effect this has on that issue. I buy used gear all the time, and I think anybody that buys used rods with the EXPECTATION that they're going to get warranty service is kidding themselves. If there's a blank warranty card, I might have higher hopes of getting away with that, but if not, I'm back to the hope vs. expectation thing described above, given that I'm clearly not the original owner. I'm not a Winston apologist, but other than being a little slow with response, I'm having a hard time imagining how this same scenario couldn't have taken place with any number of other manufacturers.
    Last edited by John_N; 11-03-2012 at 12:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    about what I could have expected for a $700 rod if it wasn't a covered repair.
    I'm having a hard time imagining how this same scenario couldn't have taken place with any number of other manufacturers.
    Recently had a non warranty (no card) tip replacement from Sage. $50. with $12. shipping.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewydog View Post
    Recently had a non warranty (no card) tip replacement from Sage. $50. with $12. shipping.
    Good deal. Not saying that it doesn't happen, just that it shouldn't be expected. Along with stories like hap's where the manufacturer has charged something for repairs, I've heard plenty where a manufacturer has been good enough to make repairs for someone other than the original owner, without questions or charges. In my view, the latter is a bonus, the former should be of no surprise to you if you're not the warranty holder. I don't have an axe to grind here and I don't particularly like feeling like I'm defending a company when I don't know the details of their position, but I'm a big "two sides to every story" guy and it's not hard for me to see how this could've unfolded and would with other companies as well. As for the reasonableness of that $132, none of us are in a good position to judge that, since we don't have the benefit of that email and don't know what (if anything) was done beyond a tip replacement.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_N View Post
    Hap, this isn't meant in the least as a criticism of you, just a little bit of a "devil's advocate" stab at a possible explanation. Sure would be nice if you could find the text of that original email, as I suspect that would eliminate at least some of the speculation. 2+ weeks for acknowledgment is annoying to be sure, but the rest doesn't seem like that much of a stretch once a manufacturer has deemed it a non-warranty repair. $50 for shipping is a joke, but I read all the time now where manufacturers are charging that and more for shipping, "service fees" or some other ridiculous term for charges on even their warranty repairs, including those that were sold years back with warranties that, at the time, had no such provision in them. That last part particularly chafes me, but that's a topic for another day. So that leaves the $132 charge on yours. If I submitted a rod for repairs that I figured the manufacturer would consider outside their warranty, I would do so with some HOPE that they'd surprise me and say they'd cover it, but with the EXPECTATION that I'd be told I was going to have to pay something for it, and it sounds like that's what that email outlined for you. I'm guessing you got a replacement tip and maybe something like cleaning/reconditioning the ferrules on two of the other sections, and an estimate of $132 for that, which you presumably could have either accepted or declined. Again, not as great a deal as what I might have hoped for in the best of situations, but about what I could have expected for a $700 rod if it wasn't a covered repair.

    As for the resale value, and again with all due respect, I don't see what effect this has on that issue. I buy used gear all the time, and I think anybody that buys used rods with the EXPECTATION that they're going to get warranty service is kidding themselves. If there's a blank warranty card, I might have higher hopes of getting away with that, but if not, I'm back to the hope vs. expectation thing described above, given that I'm clearly not the original owner. I'm not a Winston apologist, but other than being a little slow with response, I'm having a hard time imagining how this same scenario couldn't have taken place with any number of other manufacturers.
    Here is a direct cut and paste from the original email:
    ROD: 9 7 B2
    SERIAL NUMBER: xxxxxxx
    TIP:1 MID: BUTT:
    OTHER: NOT ORIGINAL OWNER PLEASE EMAIL FOR REPAIR APPROVAL
    Cost of Repair: $ 132
    Shipping & Handling: $ 50
    Total: $ 182
    Payment received: $0
    Balance due: $182

    We have received the above listed rod in our shop for repair. We will begin repairs as soon as possible. Payment arrangements must be made prior to the return of the repaired rod. Authorized dealers will be invoiced at the time of shipment.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So, my take on the list was not an inventory as it is a 4 piece rod. I assumed they were replacing the three listed pieces, or at least doing some serious clean-up to list them as they did. Winston claims rods returned from them "look like new". It was obvious I would be charged, and while 132+50 is high in my extensive non-warranty repair dealings with GLoomis, Sage, TFO, St. Croix, Penn Int'l, and lots more ( I guided for years and had many rods broken for me, and "some" I did myself) if they were doing major work to three sections it made sense to charge that kind of money.

    What I got back was, as stated in the first post, a replaced tip and little to nothing done below... The butt has a chip in the glass of worrisome size.

    Beyond that, failing to give me the courtesy of responding to my email is unacceptable.

    As to resale value on rods... I will never have anything to do with buying another used Winston. I have run into many that have had similar dealings with what they feel were excessive repair charges. That feeling is becoming more common and it greatly affects resale value on these rods. Take a quick trip through ebay and you will see these rods selling used for significantly less than similar price point rods, used, of other brands.

    I have never paid close to 182 previously for rod repairs. And I have had many rods that received far more attention...


  8. #8
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    The obvious point here is that I was sending in a rod without warranty for repair. I knew that, expected to be charged; knew in the first email exactly what I was to be charged, and even acknowledged it to them via email. But there were major problems, IMO about how it was handled:

    Communication clarity... I give them an F. They did not state what would be done or was done at any point. Their list of parts led me to believe something that was not going to happen. I am guilty of answering the question myself, wrongly, without asking for clarification.

    Workmanship... While the tip is fine, their claim of sending back rods that look like new is improper.

    Response time... Considering one request for information was never answered and the other was less than timely... another fail...

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the honet statement on their service. I own tfo and Orvis rods, and have eyed Winston rods in the past, but no longer.
    Life is expensive... but it does include a free trip around the sun.
    Mottled Fly Fisher - My Fishing Blog

  10. #10
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    The way I interpret the email is that they received from you the tip, mid, and butt sections with the above serial number, not that they were intending to repair/replace all three sections. The $132 for replacement of the tip seems high, but I guess that would depend on the cost of the rod. The S/H charge of $50 is outrageous, especially since they are charging what appears to be a premium price for the repair. As to the damage to the butt section, in the future, when you are sending a rod in for repair, I would specifically call out your areas of concern when shipping the rod, assuming that you didn't.

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