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Old 21-01-2014, 00:55   #1
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West Marine warranty scam!

The latest West Marine trend is not to honor the manufacturers warranty. This is the latest. They wont honor ANY manufacturers warranty. This is happening in the Puerto Rico stores. Their answer is that unless you purchase their extended warranty they won't replace the defective items. I just tried it with a Xantrex charger that is still under warranty and they sent me straight to the manufacturer. The same happened with a small Rule pump. If that is thir policy and they wont price match either the DEFENDER is the best deal.
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Old 21-01-2014, 03:42   #2
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You get the same treatment at Hoe Depot and Lowes. It seems to be the new business model. I've found the small local marine stores beat West Marine in price and setvice.
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Old 21-01-2014, 04:02   #3
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

When I worked at Whitworths over here in Aus, a company which is a smaller version of WM, Their policy changed a couple of years ago. Before that it was common for them to exchange items then claim the refund back from the manufacturers or distributors. Then these latter two tightened up and would not give refunds at all unless they had inspected the item, especially electrics/electronics.

This meant telling the customer that the item would be sent away for up to three weeks and no replacement item would be issued until then.

It's a pain, and it is inconvenient, but the blame really lies with the start of the chain, not the middle, although they are not blame free, and the end (the customer) gets the short end of the stick.

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Old 21-01-2014, 04:46   #4
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West Marine warranty scam!

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Originally Posted by Coops View Post
When I worked at Whitworths over here in Aus, a company which is a smaller version of WM, Their policy changed a couple of years ago. Before that it was common for them to exchange items then claim the refund back from the manufacturers or distributors. Then these latter two tightened up and would not give refunds at all unless they had inspected the item, especially electrics/electronics.

This meant telling the customer that the item would be sent away for up to three weeks and no replacement item would be issued until then.

It's a pain, and it is inconvenient, but the blame really lies with the start of the chain, not the middle, although they are not blame free, and the end (the customer) gets the short end of the stick.

Coops.
I was a master distributor of industrial electronics for many years , around the millennium there were changes where a master distributor could not certify a warranty claim anymore, requiring the part to be returned and inspected by the manufacturer. Often the manufacturer disputed the warranty on the flimsiest of grounds, resulting in a three way dispute and often we had to bear the resulting claim. The process of delay by the manufacturer was precisely to put the distributor/ retailer under pressure and settle locally.

It's a disgraceful tatic , but one that is common and that's amongst big brand names too.

It is worth noting that for Europeans, especially for product bought on the Internet , there are significant protections and ability to claim funds under both Cooling off periods and fitness for purpose legislation. ( and that includes refunds postage or carriage etc )

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Old 21-01-2014, 05:18   #5
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

I agree with all of the above comments i had a business selling pumps and when we had an issue we normally had to cover the warranty then get the warranty reimbursed from the manufacturer, when we were not successful i simply instructed the sales guys that we tell all the customers about the poor warranty but still offer the pump along with an alternative, i was big enough for them to quickly understand that we expected warranty, we also let their opposition know why they were getting an explosion of sales it helped keeping them all on their toes.

Coops i stopped dealing with whitworths because of the warranty they offered and i basically had them pi**ed of with me every time i presented at the door.

In Australia we have laws that basically make the retailer have to warrant the items they sell,we also have "expected life use type warranty" so if you buy something with a 1 year warranty like say a spanner it fails at 2 years warranty still applies , it takes a bit of argument sometimes but is possible. Unfortunately most of the retailers don't understand what they must do to handle a warranty claim, this leads to frustration and mostly shock on the part of the retailer when he finds out the truth of what he must offer.

The bigger retailers in Australia sell extended warranty to anyone silly enough to buy it to help cover the costs of their liabilities and it is no coincidence that these warranties extend to the "Expected Life" of the item as a rule. Smart buyers know that they have these rights and don't buy them.
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Old 21-01-2014, 05:35   #6
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coops View Post
When I worked at Whitworths over here in Aus, a company which is a smaller version of WM, Their policy changed a couple of years ago.
Coops.
I think Australian Fair Trading legislation forces all retailers to take back defective goods.


Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012

Quote:
Who has to fix a problem with goods?

When goods fail to meet a guarantee, a consumer has a right to a remedy an attempt to put the situation right. Common remedies include repair, replacement and refund.

The supplier has to provide the remedy when goods do not meet the following consumer guarantees:
fit for any disclosed purpose
match sample or demonstration model
title
Refunds for goods - NSW Fair Trading
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Old 21-01-2014, 05:48   #7
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

I posted last spring, about the same situation with a Rule bilge pump. I had purchased the extended warranty, which I usually don't do, and after exchanging the pump, they wanted me to buy another extended warranty for the replacement pump. I stopped at the small chandlery down the road for something else, mentioned it to them, and their response was that is an over the counter exchange, especially for a company like Rule that has good support. My local West Marine is only a few miles outside the range of price matching Defender, and still won't honor price matching. The local WM manager has appealed it with no luck. Defender also has a pretty good walk in store, so they are not just online. I understand that companies are in the business to make money, but it is all at the expense of customer service, and at their goal is to maximize investor returns and share prices staying high. Shop local, privatley owned stores, and at some point the larger stores will get the hint. Good service costs a little more, lousy service increases profit.
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Old 21-01-2014, 05:55   #8
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

Probably the only reason to buy anything from West Marine is the stuff you think will break and might need to return or buy the extended warranty on. I have bought maybe $15,000 in marine equipment in the last 2 years. I bought maybe $200 of that from West Marine and my wife used to be a store manager!

They also changed the price match policy to only be other stores within 50 miles. Handy as in most places they have long ago put all those local stores out of business!
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Old 21-01-2014, 06:42   #9
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

I have to say that calling this a "scam" on the part of West Marine is more than a little bit of an over-statement. They have changed their policy. The new policy is not as customer-friendly as the old policy. Other companies (for now, at least) have more customer-friendly policies. That doesn't make this a "scam" by West Marine.
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Old 21-01-2014, 07:18   #10
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

Although I am NOT a big fan of West Marine's customer service, but this time I think they are doing what needs to be done. Many manufactures will not except returns from distributors any longer.

As an example, my wife worked for Svendsen's Boat Works for 4 years. They were a distributer for Dr. LED. During that time, Dr. LED had a manufacturing problem with some lights made in Asia.

The lights were failing with in weeks of purchase. Being a good retailer, Svendsen's accepted the faulty lights from the customers and gave them new ones.

When Svendsen's attempted to return the faulty lights to Dr. LED for credit, they were told that the customers were required to return them directly to Dr. LED for warranty claims. Dr. LED refused to reimburse the store for over 50 bulbs at $25 a piece retail.

I believe the manufactures are doing this to save money, since many people will not go through the hassle or time of sending something back to the manufacture.
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Old 21-01-2014, 07:49   #11
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

They won't even honor their own extended warranty . I purchased a chartplotter from WM and the extended warranty. The sales person said if anything went wrong with it they would replace it no questions asked. I installed it and three days later on my trip south it stopped working, went to WM in marathon and they told me I had to send it back to Garmin. So I guess I paid $250 for extended warranty that is worthless.
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Old 21-01-2014, 09:26   #12
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

Was an inventory manager for west marine( along with a few other titles). I was amazed at how much merchandise west marine ate because of the "good customers service" policy. That was really the only uh er "defense" I could give my customers when they pointed out the crazy and I mean crazy merchandise mark up. I've seen a $5 dollar item retail at $35, it was shameful. But on the flip side, a customer would come in with a rusty salt covered whatever, say it didn't work, and we would give em a new one.sweet
Now that is all gone, they don't seem to seek out sailors/cruisers to work for them(employee discount is lame), they have a laughable price match policy, and their prices are still crazy high. They have nothing to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack.

This is sad for me, I worked for them when there was less than 90 WM stores, sailors and power boaters worked for them, we could pamper our customer by discounting the price or helping out in another way by throwing in accessories at cost etc. and the killer employee discount got many boats ready for cruising.
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Old 21-01-2014, 09:33   #13
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I have to say that calling this a "scam" on the part of West Marine is more than a little bit of an over-statement. They have changed their policy. The new policy is not as customer-friendly as the old policy. Other companies (for now, at least) have more customer-friendly policies. That doesn't make this a "scam" by West Marine.

I agree.

It is pretty easy, if you don't like WM don't shop there! I have never had any problems with WM or the stuff I have gotten there except a speaker that didn't work and they replaced. I value WM for the ease of shopping and the amount of stuff they have in stock for everyday stuff. But I will admit that I value my time and am willing to pay a little more to get what I need, when I need it, without having to run all over the place to find it.
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Old 21-01-2014, 09:57   #14
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

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They won't even honor their own extended warranty . I purchased a chartplotter from WM and the extended warranty. The sales person said if anything went wrong with it they would replace it no questions asked. I installed it and three days later on my trip south it stopped working, went to WM in marathon and they told me I had to send it back to Garmin. So I guess I paid $250 for extended warranty that is worthless.
They most likely said that because you were still covered by the manufacturers warranty. Their extended warranty doesn't kick in till the manufacturers has expired.

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Old 21-01-2014, 10:27   #15
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Re: West Marine warranty scam!

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Their extended warranty doesn't kick in till the manufacturers has expired.
This is what I was thinking, too. I have never heard of ANY extended warranty, on ANY product, that didn't work this way. You are always covered by the manufacturer's warranty until after it expires, and only then does the extended warranty kick in.
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