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Topic: MTN. Harwear Lamina 35 bag, Poor warranty?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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DustinTN Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 27 2012, 11:10 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So, I have a MTN. Harwear Lamina 35 sleeping bag I bought about 2-3 mos. ago.  It's only been in the backcountry once or twice. I love the bag in that it's pretty light, compresses wonderfully, and is really warm for its size.  However, the regular size is really tight (I'm 5,10 and about 195 lbs.)  I didn't think the restrictive size was a problem until the footbox seam began to pull apart while sleeping on a couch on cabin porch (not exactly a burly backcountry situation.)  Because I like the bag so much, I figured I could sew the seam myself (the separation is about 1.5 or 2") but contacted Mtn. Hardwear to confirm this wouldn't void the warranty.  More than anything, I was curious.  I bought the bag at REI and know they would take it back if the troubles persist, even after the repair.

So, the response from MHW was that repairing the busted seam myself would, indeed void the warranty.  They said I could send it in for repair with a 3-4 week waiting period, but suggested that "REI would definitely be the quicker solution."  I find this troubling.  If I was in the backcountry and needed to do a field repair, the MHW warranty would be voided.  As I told their warranty dept., I will definitely never buy a MHW product directly, but instead only from a company like REI whose warranty is more practical to backcountry products IMO.

What would you do if you had a product you liked but had an early failure?  Should I fix the bag myself, try to be a little more careful about straining the small bag vertically, and then return to REI if the problem persists?  Ditch the bag for a new one?  I can't exchange for a longer size, because REI is no longer carrying the bag (perhaps the product line is being updated for 2013?)  Thanks for any suggestions.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 27 2012, 11:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would not be afraid of doing a field repair. In your situation, I wouldn't have even bothered to contact MH. I would have taken it to REI. Walk in and within just a few minutes, have a new sleeping bag replacement if I had an upcoming trip. If not, their turn around for repairs is very fast and they will go out of your way to ensure you are satisfied. They have proven that to me over and over.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 27 2012, 11:50 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Good advice, Tigger.  In a subsequent email with MHW, they confirmed that I'd have to pay shipping to get the bag to them and wait 3-4 weeks for a return (they pay shipping back). So, their product failed without anything approaching abuse within only a couple months of limited use.  Their warranty is voided if I repair myself, and my only option is to send their failed product to them at my expense so they can determine if the failure is covered under warranty. I'm definitely underwhelmed by Mountain HardWear's customer service. I'll think twice before purchasing any of their products in the future.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 28 2012, 6:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Why worry about the manufacturer's warranty if you buy from a store that offers a better one?  Since you bought it at REI I don't see why you would contact Mountain Hardware at all.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 28 2012, 8:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I kind of discussed that in my original post, TrailTromper, but probably wasn't completely clear.  Basically, as a consumer with limited funds, I'm curious to see how well a company does or does not stand behind their product.  I also prefer to spend my money with companies whose practices I respect.  Yes, I bought this bag at REI, so the issue is moot for this particular purchase.  However, if I see what I think is a good deal on a MHW product elsewhere, say Left Lane Sports or The Clymb, I'll think twice before spending my money.

I also asked MHW what type of thread and needle is best to use if repairing the bag myself would not void the warranty.  Since it does void the warranty, they didn't answer the question (I assumed 100% polyester thread but wasn't sure which needle size and point type would be best for the bag's nylon shell.)


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 28 2012, 12:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Generally speaking, don't most companies void warranties if you modify or self repair the equipment? Just the idea that they don't want to repair what consumers make worse (not suggesting you don't know what you're doing, but generally speaking...people mess stuff up).
If I was using it on a trip, I would probably have patched it up if I NEEDED it repaired on the fly. Most minor problems can be worked around.
Doesn't sound like an issue to me, but just another reason to shop at REI.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 28 2012, 1:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think you're over-thinking the "what if's".  Imo, what MH would or wouldn't have done if you did a field repair on a failed seam isn't clear regardless of what you think you were told.  It's just about every company's stated policy that warranties are void if you alter the product and, when you ask a customer service agent a "what if I..." question, he/she's obligated to stick to the company policy.  But I don't think that means MH wouldn't stand by their product if the situation happened.

I'd just deal with the decision at hand.  If you like the bag, go back to REI and exchange it.  If you think the bag is too short for you, return it to REI and have someone there see if the long is still available in one of their other stores.  If it isn't, take the money and buy the long somewhere else.

I don't think MH is a bad company and their policies aren't out of line.  I've had other comparable companies honor their warranties (MSR, ArcTeryx, Patagonia) and I've paid the shipping to them everytime.  They also sent me the replacement/repaired item faster than the original estimate.  I think it's probably routine to say 2-4 weeks.  Overall, it's always much faster and easier to let the store where you purchased the item handle it if you can -- that's half the reason manufacturers have dealers/retailers in the first place -- and, trust me, you're paying for the privilege.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 28 2012, 4:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Scolding accepted. :)  I guess I'm just bummed to worry about a bag having issues so early in its use because I had been so impressed with it prior to that.  I expect a lot from outdoor companies, in particular.  Admittedly too much, I suppose.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 31 2012, 9:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I bought two Mountain Hardwear tents this year and found they had very good customer service, at least on the sales end. They went out of their way to help me choose the right tent. I bought both tents from other retailers. But based on my interaction with MH I'm pretty sure they would have accepted a return liberally if there had been a problem.

Of course you do whatever field repairs you have to. No responsible company is going to say, "Sorry you sewed up your sleeping bag to save your life and now we're not going to take it back."

But I think the bottom line here is that this sleeping bag just isn't right for you. You have two valid reasons for returning it to REI: the seam failure, and it doesn't fit you. Mountain Hardwear doesn't need to enter into the picture. There's no need to speculate about what MH would do.

I find that if you approach a manager (as opposed to customer service clerks) politely most companies will go out their way to do right by you. I've only ever encountered a hard-headed attitude with a couple of retailers in New York City.
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