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wscottf

Feathered Friends

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For Christmas my girlfriend got an Ice Axe from her brother (a Grivel Nepal Light), but it's too short. We tried to take it back to Feathered Friends to exchange it for a larger size. They said that we couldn't return or exchange it because it's technical climbing gear.

 

I can uderstand that they don't want to take back technical climbing gear, but give me a friggin' break! An ice axe that hasn't even seen snow!

 

Has anyone else had a bad experience at Feathered Friends? This isn't the only time I've been disappointed with their service.

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What size is it? and what size are they looking for??

 

Most outdoor retailers follow this policy (no returns on tech, or hardware). Last year a friend of mine took a brand new, unused, tags still attached, helmet back to REI. They finally did exchange it, but only after a long drawn out arrgument. madgo_ron.gif

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This is a standard policy with all climbing shops, and it's to protect their ass. I don't know if I'd call it bad service...just a really strict policy that shops need to adhere to. I understand your frustration though...especially if you have the receipt and tags are still on the axe with a FF price tag on it. I'd try exchanging it at REI.

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It's a dumbass policy. If it's obviously new, with tags etc... there's no reason they shouldn't take it back. I could see their side if the tags, or box was removed/gone. I also abhor "restock charges" (usually 10% of purchase price).

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This is a standard policy with all climbing shops, and it's to protect their ass. I don't know if I'd call it bad service...just a really strict policy that shops need to adhere to

 

Sorry I have to agree with Trask on this one. There is no reason for a store not to accept returns as outlined above. Please show me one real example ( w/ a real reference) showing how a company accepting such a return has had their ass damaged!

 

PP

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It's a bit tough on FF to bash them for sticking to the no-climbing-gear-returns policy. I've heard REI will take climbing gear back, but only because their satisfaction guarantee overrides the no-climbing-gear-returns policy. They don't restock stuff like that, they destroy it. That's why there is never any technical climbing gear at the garage sale. I have never heard of any other store taking back technical gear.

 

There is a piece in a recent ANAM where somebody died (?) as the result of a crampon strap breaking, so it's not hard to see why crampons and axes get thrown in with ropes and cams - from a liability standpoint.

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It seems like a floodgate issue: once one allows ONE technical climbing insturment return, then the gate opens. Seems similar to the Medical Marijuana issue (where's the smoking graemlin?)

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Dumb rule or not, it's how any reputable gear shop will do business. If I managed my own store I would operate the same way unless I knew the customer personally and trusted them. The unfortunate fact is our litigious society has forced small shops to make these rules. That said, I've been burned by this same policy before and at the time I thought it was a crappy policy. I'm just more careful now.

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This FF not taking it back is bullshit. Try posting something on the yard sale. Maybe you can find someone withh the same problem. Write FF and tell them they need to make their policy clear upon purchase. madgo_ron.gifmadgo_ron.gifmadgo_ron.gif

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Err, there is a really noticeable sign right there behind the counter at FF, it says ABSOLUTELY NO RETURNS ON TECHNICAL CLIMBING GEAR or something pretty close to that. There is pretty much no way to pay for anything without seeing it.

 

The FF staff also often mentions that there is a no-returns policy, if you're getting technical gear or buying something on sales - at least that's my experience.

 

The policy is clear enough when you buy it, but of course that doesn't help much when you want to return a gift...

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Having worked at Feathered Friends and in the Climbing Industry for a while I would like to defend the store.

 

First if you are going to buy a piece of tecnical climbing equip as a gift you should be smart enough to buy a gift cert. i know its not as fun to open but its better than not being able to exchange. There are signs posted in all shops as to the policy of returning tecnical equip. Also the employee should fill you in, but remember shops don't pay much so turnover is often and new employees make mistakes.

As far as REI goes they take anything back because they force the manufacturer to take gear back in many cases. Not something the manuyfacturer would normally do for a 5 year old gismo that is only supposes to last 1 year, but when

REI says we will not buy 500,000 gismos the next time around they suck it up.

Also if you return a pair of shoes and somebody has tampered with laces you are probably not going to die when they malfunction. But when somebody tampers with technical climbing equipment then returns it somebody's life is in danger. And yes this does happen. There have been cases and convictions of this very activity. And guess what!! It involved and ice axe.

 

My 2 cents,

 

Dale

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I could see the logic of not allowing returns of USED technical gear, but why not take back UNUSED gear. You can't tell me someone could take a pair of boots or axes on a climb and bring them back so clean that someone couldn't tell they had been used. I don't believe that flaws could escape careful inspection. I guess the lawyers have everyone dancing to their tune. It just seems ridiculous that we are trying to achieve a state of zero risk from gear failure in a sport that has so many risks from other sources. Our world is so fucked up. As Shakespeare once said, "Kill all the lawyers!"

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If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked and dry cleaners depressed? rockband.gif

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Given the context of the situation (gift, christmas, barely a "technical" tool) I think Feathered Friends is making a mistake. They are doing more damage to themselves being this strict with this policy than thinking clearly about the real ramifications (Lawsuit versus losing 10 customers for life). It is easy to discern if the tool has been used or not. If it is still new, they should exchange it for the proper size.

 

Scott, What size is it and how much do you want for it? Is is Aluminum Shaft/steel head? What is the weight?

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You'll likely not get most places to accept a return under those circumstances. Everyone knows that and I immediately would have chosen the gift certificate instead.

 

The staff over there has had attitudes for years. It's a nationally known reputation that they have "I love myself syndrome". It's humorous when my friend from Tennessee knows about their attitudes all the way down there fruit.gif

 

Maybe they need a wake up call confused.gif

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Thanks for the explanation Daler, it sure is nice to here from a corporate stooge like you. Isn't it funny that people bitch about the attitude of FF employees, and you work(ed?) there! Ha ha ha.

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Yeow Daler blame the customer great insight there. And as far as the convictions lets see some references (if there are convictions there will be references) and I would also add specific excerpts from liabilitiy policies showing how equipt. cannot be returned. I have to believe that if there were several convictions insurers would be hot on this issue. Remember the context of the post Christmas return for a a different size. Remember also fruit has been poisened in grocery stores and yet I can still go squeeze the fruit. I have to still call BS on this issue.

 

PP bigdrink.gif

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If you let one person bring something back (or exchange it)...where does it end? Do you leave it up to the discretion of the shop employee as to whether something is 'new' or not? Climbers are a pretty resourceful bunch. If the shop gave an inch, people would try to take a mile.

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Remember also fruit has been poisened in grocery stores and yet I can still go squeeze the fruit.

 

I'll call BS on this. Yeah, you can handle the fruit (just like you can fondle cams in the store), but you can't restock it once someone's brought it home. Obviously a store will take fruit back 'cause it's so cheap they can bite the cost and throw it away. Bring back a $50 case of mangos 'cause you've changed you mind and I bet it'd be a different story!

 

Also, sign or no sign, I don't think a store is under any obligation to accept returns. Then, put a sign on top of it, and I see no reason they should take it back.

 

Also again, I can devise a quite reasonable senario that would warrant (no pun intended!) a "no returns" policy:

 

I buy a cam with the intention of modifying it, but I'm not sure the plan will work. So I leave the label on, try my hyjinx, then when it doesn't work, try and return it. (I've tried this with anon-climbing item. I'm a HCL.gifmadgo_ron.gif)

 

Finally, I would ask if the person who started the thread (sorry, I don't remeber your name, and also, I feel your frustration!) if they noticed the sign. If so, you should have known better, and if not, how can FF make the sigh any bigger?

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Too bad you cant take the axe back. Live and learn.

 

FF has their problems cantfocus.gif

 

On a different note, a short axe has its place in the arsonal. I own 3 different axes, each one seems to get used/carried every year. Add it to the war chest and take your business to a shop that appreciates it.

 

Happy climbing! grin.gif

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this place is still in business?? hmmmmm......

 

i betcha can get away using the longer axe........i mean ice axes are only used for low angle boreing climbing anyways....not like 5cm here or 5 cm there will cause death or an accident......

 

the liabilty arguement is bunk...they as retailers would assume little to no responsibility for the equipment....(think about it...dont y'all rave about 2nd ascent all the time?? oh my gosh they sell used gear!!!!!)...they just dont want the stock issues prolly.....

 

 

 

 

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Buying used gear doesn't carry the same expectations as buying new gear. If you choose to buy a used cam, you're taking the chance that it is still in reasonably good shape. If you buy a new one, you're paying the extra money for the assurance it hasn't seen any falls (except in testing).

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all gear is the same...if it were damaged and they knew about it, then they assume some liability.....

 

i consider all gear suspect and i only rely on me and my partners as the ultimate safety tool....gear is only as good as the user.....

 

so to say that if you bought a used cam, you would not fall on it?? or you would not self arrest with a used ice axe?? i dont get it??? all gear is the same....

 

either way.........

 

bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifpitty.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif

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