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Randonnee

Leavenworth Mountain Sports

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We, on Christmas Eve, have had an unbelivably bad experience with Leavenworth Mountain Sports. Consider carefully where you choose to buy new ski gear (or gear) and get it mounted.

 

My wife's Christmas gift was to update her classic track skis. She has a full quiver of tele, randonnee, xc, skate. Anyway, LMS took an extra day to mount *new* skis with the wrong *new* binding for the *new* boot, then informed my wife that LMS does not have a boot to fit the binding. Further, when I drove over and demanded a refund, a refund was refused. We were reminded that the receipt states no refunds. We were reminded repeatedly that my wife lost her paper receipt.

 

There you have it, no exaggeration, my attempt at accurately describing the situation. The owner was not to be reached, according to the employees. I called the Sheriff and filed a report, as I ponder whether the situation goes beyond incredibly bad service into the area of fraud. The shop has a new owner, I am told. We will, of course, try to remedy the situation or get a refund and I have already complained to ski Distributors who supply LMS.

Edited by Randonnee

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The new owners are really cool. I am kind of surprised to hear this. While the situation sounds like it stinks on your end, I'd really like to hear their side of the story. What else is missing here? Why did you buy a binding that didn't fit your current boot? Common sense would dictated bringing the boot down to match boot to binding or explaining to them the type of boot you have. Just my 2 cents.

 

Hope this turns out well for you.

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my wife just moved to l'worth and she fully endorses the shop. Here's what she has to say:

 

LMS employees and the new owners, Adam and... (insert friendly wife's name here, sorry) are wonderful. I just picked up a skate ski set up and, being new to it, received a lot of advice from staff and owners. My second day out I broke a binding and they replaced it for free. They also offered their equiptment for use while mine was being fixed. I think you should talk to the owners if and when you have a problem like this arise, before you send it into the web world. I'm sure they would want to help you out.

 

- Ginnie Jo

 

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My wife bought a completely new boots, skis, bindings, boots setup. I was there long enough to insist that she get some good stuff for better performance than she has had, then I butted out to let her choose and to allow the LMS Staff to guide her.

 

LMS mounted a binding that did not match the boot that LMS sold to her. That alone is inexcusable. At quality shops (other than LMS) where I buy lots of skis (current quiver of skate, tele, 3 randonee setups, lift) I am told that if they make an error, miss-drill, etc., they will provide a new setup and hopefully I would not know of the error. I could find better deals sometimes, but I feel that I pay for competence and service, Warranty support, etc. Shops get their 40% markup in exchange for competent service, this is not grocery buying.

 

The clerks kept pointing to the receipt that said "No Refunds." Nice, huh. The clerk liked to repeat that my wife lost her paper receipt, after all in the shop knew and dealt with us for 3 days. Real warm, eh?

 

For some reason, she was given some different color Atomic poles- kinda dorky when one is buying a new matched Fisher setup.

 

The owner did not support the employees who did what they could (not anything reasonable), but were not properly trained and empowered, that is a problem with the ownership. We will see the character of the owner tomorrow, and I will gladly post about a reasonable remedy, or the ongoing efforts.

 

I have lived here 28 yrs, skied all disciplines since, and have seen shops come and go. It may be nice for someone to have a new acquaintence, but this is no way to serve customers. We are just getting started, this is going to the Distributors, Chamber of Commerce, etc. As far as I am concerned the behavior of LMS was comtemptible. The intent expressed by LMS thus far is not a remedy of the LMS error, that seems fraudlent to me.

 

Clearly, after being told no refund following their error, I was not patient, but not inappropriate. After a refund we would have directed our attention to buying ski gear at Der Sportsman or in Wenatchee. It really does not matter a rip how "cool" someone is when they screw a customer.

Edited by Randonnee

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1. I don't have all the information, but I'd sure like to know more.

 

2. I too believe that when you make the invetment of going to a local shop like LMS instead of a mail order or big store, you are justified in getting better service. Guiding a customer through the purchase, from start to finsih, is the base of customer service, and it sounds like LMS botched it. If they say "you chose the wrong binding, you'lll have to eat it," I think they have established their CS level, and it's pretty low. I wouldn't even expect to get this at REI.

 

3. I bet this comes down to an employee with just too little xc ski experience.

 

4. I'd think someone @ LMS or someone close enough would read this BBS and should post a responce. Like I said in 1., I'd like to hear more about this.

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I just came home from skiing 2600 vert of sweet pow nearby and found a note from my wife. She said LMS gave her a refund and she went to Arlberg in Wenatchee to get Fisher skis. I bought some Dynastar setup with Fritsches from Arlberg, and they mounted my wife's Fristches, no problems there. I have not had any email or message from LMS in regard to my many forwarded commnications. I will not set foot in there again under the current regime, and LMS probably would appreciate that.

 

I bought complete Fisher ski outfits from Liv who started LMS and my last Fisher skaters right after Liv sold LMS. My three randonnee touring partners this week both got excellent setups from Brian, previous LMS owner. I bought a tele setup (back when) and skate setups from Der Sportsmann and it was all fine.

 

I have bought 5 Dynafit bindings in as many years, four boots, two skis, plus two pair of K2 skis. I drive to Pro Ski in North Bend for Dynafit, even though I live a few blocks from LMS who had some Dynafit. Pro Ski has expertise and gives strong support, and are quite friendly as they should be with folks who spend $$ supporting their shop. I bought one complete Dynafit boot, binding, and K2 ski setup at Marmot, they did all setup and fitting just fine. My last tele setup came from REI, no problems.

 

In Leavenworth Das Rad Haus has rebuilt my mountain bike as needed and have a high level of expertise and service in my experience. Der Sportsmann has Eric, a very, very, high-level knowledgeble guy who talked to me a while this week about wax, which I purchased there. Eric actually talked me out of the pricier stuff, and was very helpful. He also seems to know bikes, so I will keep that in mind if I buy Specialized for my daughter or wife.

 

That is what I know right now.

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There have been various Seattle area shops which have offered what I took to be very poor customer service over the years. I've had a couple of experiences over the last year or three where I bought equipment that was unsatisfactory or just plain messed up and the (small business) store owner was not immediately responsive (or perhaps what I mean is not responsive to my satisfaction without a lot of complaining on my part). In my perception, the problems seems to be getting worse but maybe that is just because I'm getting older and grumpier.

 

I'm guessing that the margins must be pretty slim and I think that the distributors/manufacturers are part of the problem (I don't know how the business works, but I've been negatively amazed by my discussions with some of these people). Clearly, when a ski shop mismounts bindings they should be prepared to "eat" it yet I've had them try to wiggle out of responsibility. But in cases where there is a problem with the product I'm wondering: are we wrong to expect a return policy that matches Nordstrom or REI?

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I made a call to the LMS owner, which was returned with apology to me.

 

During the conversation, the owner was conciliatory after a bit and spoke of the desire to give excellent customer service. My whole point is that I spend money in a shop in exchange for gear and service. My concern was that my wife was presented with a ski package that was paid in full and not functional due to shop error, and the shop representatives were providing no solution and no refund. I explained that when I told the clerk that the standard is that the shop must replace mis-drilled skis, the clerk did not agree, at which point I stated "I will take it up with your Distributors," clerk responded "feel free..." I did.

 

He and my wife did confirm during the phone conversation that he, the owner told her at the time of her refund this AM to never come into his shop again, since he thought he did not people want "like them" in his shop. I would agree with that, for a different reason than his... : )} e.g I give you money, you give me what you say you will provide for the money

 

We were not planning to go into LMS again.

 

In regard in getting what we want, my wife may now drive to Wenatchee tomorrow to purchase her Christmas gift.

 

 

 

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Sad, butts the place has not been the same. Kind of hate to say it because I like to buy local, and support local but the last few times I have been in there those working seem to not really give a Rats A**

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What terrible customer service. As consumers, we definitely have the last word, which is nice. I definitely won't be going there. I thought Brian and wife did an excellent job in the time they owned it. He gave me generous deals on climbing stuff, and was knowledgable.

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It certainly sounds like this was beyond terrible customer service but maybe the new owner has learned something from the whole fiasco. I imagine learning to run a shop, hiring staff and all that come with it would be a bit difficult. I’m not defending the shop’s reported behavior but I am hoping that it’s merely a bump in the road. I'd love to continue having a good shop in Leavenworth.

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its great to have a local place to shop, and Brian was great to work with and would work with you on pricing, but that seems to be gone.

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This was a chance to deal locally for xc gear. LMS has not previously sold what I wanted for randonnee skiing, so I went elsewhere. XC ski gear, it would seem, would be one of the big lines here in Der town. Funny, aside from family, some friends and Science Center, Aquarium, etc. for my daughter, about the only thing that brings me west of the Cascade crest are the gear shops and the service/ selection over there.

 

Unfortunately right now my wife does not even seem interested in going elsewhere to get her Fisher skis.

 

I often think it would be cool to have a shop that was not all upscale, with a corner for coffee and hangout and a climbing wall. High quality but also friendly to the vast hordes of less than upper middle cla$$ recreationists.

 

At this stage in my life I just pay what is asked for my gear, unlike when I was young and poor and looked for deals or clearance. Even when young, I expected reasonable use of the gear bought and also service, but I think that with age and experience one tolerates less any poor treatment/ practice, or the perception of same.

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Sounds like Arlberg hooked you up. But I highly recommend Tuna Sport in Wenatchee for your mounting needs. Core people there, friendly and fast.

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Sorry to hear all of this has blown up. I live in Leavenworth and think that Leavenworth Mountain Sports and a few other businesses such as A Book For All Seasons are huge assets to a community that is pretty focused on selling less critical items than skis and books.

 

There is a huge learning curve that goes with any new business and I would have hoped that the skiing and climbing community would not have been so fast to pile up on some folks that are in a desperate business. Prior to Brian and Sarah Behle buying LMS it was almost impossible to find decent gear here in town. Adam and Cheryl stepped into big shoes, but shoes that were being vacated because the old owners wanted out of a stressful job.

 

I recently finished the entire process of becoming IFMGA certified and am always pleasantly surprised to see that LMS has the huevos to carry a lot of high end gear that they can't possibly ever make a profit on. Randonee skis and lightweight climbing gear is a lot harder to sell 130 miles from Seattle. If they did not exist I would need to drive a long way to buy basic gear. In many cases I buy stuff at their shop for wholesale during seasonal sales because they can't move the more expensive gear.

 

I don't know exactly what happened, but was surprised to see that a failure to exchange an item on the spot led to a fraud report with the Sheriff. This seems to be a pretty rapid escalation that would have likely been solved by taking a deep breath, waiting a few hours and speaking with someone in a position to solve your situation.

 

In regards to other shops being better, I would point out that they are also have been in business for a lot longer. I am close friends with the owner of Pro Ski and even he has mis-mounted a pair of skis for me, his friend. Accidents happen. He bought me a beer, it took 48 hours to fix, and the skis worked great until I retired them

 

These guys do give a rats A**. If they did not, they would not be in such a desperate business. My wife an I, also a guide, would be really bummed if LMS packed up and left town. I am in a position to get great deals on gear and I routinely buy items at LMS because I want to see them stay around.

 

I too have a temper and have on occasion overreacted and then gone nuclear when all that was required for a solution was to offer the same level of understanding that I would expect from the other party. The folks at LMS are good people and have almost certainly heard your complaint. It would be great if folks could now tone down a notch and do some skiing. It should be pretty dang good these next couple of days. You actually called the Sheriff? That is the one part of the story I can't quite fit into the story.

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All Said, LMS is not a place I would want to lose. Its nice to have a Local shop and not have to drive far or spend money on shipping. I will spend money there in the future as I have in the past. And hope they stay there, but customer service means alot.

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Well, I was finished, I was going to leave it alone, really, we received a refund along with the LMS owner telling my wife to never come into his shop again (confirmed to me by LMS owner). However, we can continue talking with what could be (?) an agent of the LMS owner. I propose this because of what I heard from the LMS owner on the telephone compared to the above posting. Also, if there is a Guide in town, then there is likely a business relationship between LMS and the Guide. And I am sorry to say that continued divulging of details is not in my view helpful for the reputation of LMS. I fully realized that by airing this, by calling the Sheriff, I would be subject to criticism. As a matter of fact, I was prepared for such from the start since I was anticipating legal action (probably just a filing in Small Claims) as necessary in the face of such asinine and wrong behavior on the part of LMS.

 

To begin, there was no "temper", no "going nuclear." One clerk said "Merry Christmas" as I left, I returned the sentiment. My wife had been distraught after being so screwed by LMS, so I went there to clearly demand a refund. LMS clerks were upset as a result of their shop's incompetence, and apparently did not understand how to fix it, and were not supported by the owner. If I was acting inappropriately, why should I bring in the Deputy- I would have just left. I was not asked to leave by the clerk, I would have done so immediately if asked since the agent of the business has that lawful authority to tell me to leave the premises.

 

Mr Guide, your unfounded aspersions cast toward my behavior, based on nothing of which you have direct knowledge speak clearly for your character. Mr. "I am a Guide." Perhaps you are striking a blow to help your friends and to help ensure your equipment discounts. My efforts did convey the deliberate intention of trying to accurately describe the situation. Your words convey the deliberate intention to attack my personal character in order to invalidate my words. Does your Guide Certification include coursework in Business Law, retail customer relations, and an overview of the Washington Revised Code in regard to retail sales (no)...or is your post some bro-effort to strike a blow for your pal? I am just a consumer, Mr. Guide, my money spent is my justification. Since you wish to wield your authority, please tell us your name, Mr. Guide.

 

When I spoke to the Sheriff Business Office, I was asked whether I wanted contact from a Deputy, I replied yes, I would like to file a report. There is a Deputy on duty here, if they are engaged in something, probably anything beside this, they would not come until the other more important business was wrapped up.

 

My concern was the intentional refusal to refund defective product, my intent was to file a legal report. Secondarily, the thought was to have a Deputy on the scene to observe and to hear complaints, including those such as someone went "nuclear." There were no such statements to the Sheriff in my presence, such behavior did not occur. It would be unwise for me to air this incident had I been inappropriate. I was mindful of the likelihood that the especially unprofessional clerk may make such statements. The one clerk repeated to the Deputy several times that the Shop Policy was No Refunds, the same clerk repeated to the Deputy several times that my wife had lost her paper receipt. My intent from the start was to prepare for legal action (Small Claims) as necessary, therefore my thoughts were to behave in a manner that supported that intention. One does not initiate a legal claim before exhausting reasonable efforts to remedy the situation, therefore the filing of a Sheriff's report would confirm that reasonable effort. My only statement to the Deputy was that I just wanted to file a report in case it went to civil action. Unlike LMS, my actions and intentions were considered previously.

 

Above I posted that the owner returned my call, made apology, spoke of the desire for customer service, all true. I wanted to give the guy credit for that. Since you are continuing this discussion, I will include more information. During the telephone conversation owner Adam was clearly primarily concerned with his expressed hurt feelings and, remarkably, told me how great his staff had been in serving my wife. Now, all else aside, which is mostly opinion anyway, LMS took the full price payment then mounted the wrong binding for the new boot sold and then instructed us to take it home, there were "No Refunds." There was no statement or assurance that a refund would be given after the owner showed up at some point days in the future. That is fact, such was explained by the clerk to the Deputy, the Deputy watched us walk out with the defective gear.

 

Later,on the phone, Adam spoke to my wife and myself in a manner that expressed his hurt and attempted to instill guilt and feelings of remorse in us. Considering his words, it would appear the he thought we needed to support his and his clerks' emotions after they took our money then totally screwed up the product. There was from Adam some jibberish about community, human relations, from someone whom I have never met, someone who takes my money in exchange for product- let us not be confused about the nature of a retail business relationship.

 

Now, really, enough. We got our refund, LMS is building its reputation. It would be reasonable to hear another side, another view of the situation and the actions surrounding it, but it is not reasonable to just attack me, that is in fact cowardly.

Edited by Randonnee

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Randonee. I have no idea who you are, but my name is John Race and it was not my intent to piss you off. I don't receive any discounts from LMS and any business relationship is purely the result of the fact that I teach people how to climb and ski and they sell the gear my clients use. Although folks would assume that guides work every angle, I in fact spend much of my hard earned income locally and pay full price because I have had really bad experiences in places like REI in the past and deeply value a local shop.

 

You are correct that I have no idea what went on. Your response to me is also pretty strong just as the posts I read sounded unusually strong. My comment was basically an attempt to say once these sorts of things end up in a public forum, they can only get negative for both sides. As you put it on a public site, you should expect folks to jump in a debate the whole sordid event. Why else would you post it? I am sure there are two sides to this story and you have very clearly and fully articulated yours. It sounds like they screwed up and you sound absolutely furious. I regretted commenting because I was afraid that it would be misinterpreted in all the ways you managed to misinterpret it. My appologies for that. I have nothing to gain from this entire absurd situation, which I heard about from another local climbing friend. I am also one of the legions who are put off by the often negative interactions that these types of forums somehow accidently produce.

 

Good luck. It sounds like this whole episode has deeply hurt you. I will ignore the part where you call me cowardly, it might be misinterpreted as having a temper - we wouldn't want that.

 

"Mr. Guide" - John Race

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John, Welcome to the board. You and your wife were instrumental in helping my partner, Kelly, and I to become competent, safe climbers a few short years ago, and the degree of professionalism with which you provided that service was flawless. This whole LMS debate means little to me on a personal level(I haven't bought gear there), but I am still glad that you chimed in. I think your input is valuable, and I hope you stick around. :wave:

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Some people just have no idea how tough specialty retail can be.

 

And Randonnee, I think it is lame and totally out of line to call the sheriff and try to bash a shop online - but it sounded like maybe you had good reason to be frustrated. But once you started into John Race - one of the nicest, most humble guys I've had the pleasure of hanging out with, who was very diplomatic and made no attempt to tear into you - well, lets just say you're really showing your true colors.

 

Hopefully LMS has learned something from this - hopefully you have too.

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Jrace: I took randonnee's thread here as informing the climbing community of bad customer service that he received at LMS. I didn't see it as an opening for debate. Frankly, myself and others see some value in relating ones buying experience from various retailers as evidenced by this very forum on Cascadeclimbers. I wish people would post more favorable experiences to balance out the negative but it is what it is.

 

I've never been in LMS, nor do I know Randonnee so I don't have any dog in this fight but I do know that I will consider Randonnees experience next time I am in Lworth and needing gear. There are two sides to every story of course and I would love to hear LMS's side but I don't see anything in Randonnee's posts that would be extreme, over the top or slanderous. He's handling it a lot better than I would.

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Oh well, I looked again before heading out for pow. My partner is a little late.

 

There is not an acrimonious word or phrase in my posting, it is matter of fact. I am happy that the refund was given. I do not recall being angry. Sometimes individuals who are upset and emotionally distraught characterize others out of that. Too bad that my wife does not yet have a xc setup, and she is not rushing out to grab another. She called around and other shops have gear which they would like to sell to her.

 

Some are discussing emotions and friendships. Shop groupies and now guide groupies, expected. My discussion is about a business transaction. Some are calling me names. Whatever. Expected. Call me whatever you think that you need to, the facts stand.

 

Try to read my posts more carefully. Try to discuss the concepts involved.

 

As far as I see, this is the appropriate forum for this topic. I have discussed the events, I have attempted to not color or name call individuals. Again, I have described the events as I understand them.

 

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