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Topic - Defective ice axe - distributor won't replace.

TRip - on 25 Feb 2014
I bought a new pair of ice axes for my trip to Patagonia last year. The axes I've bought are a popular model from a well known manufacturer. The first time I used them was during that trip, where I managed to climb two of the easier routes.

Back in El Chalten, I noticed that the spike at the bottom of the axe was bent off to the side slightly. That's odd I thought. That has never happened to any of the ice tools I've owned, including a different model from this manufacturer. All of which I have used far more than this pair.

Back in the UK I returned them to the retailer I bought them from, who in turn returned them to the distributor. A week or so later the axe comes back with a note saying that the bent spike is due to accidental damage and therefore not covered under warranty. The problem is that the ice axe has never been damaged accidentally. It has only ever been used as an ice axe is intended to be used. I have never dropped it, fallen onto it or bent the spike in a crack.

Obviously I'm not happy with this and return the axe back to the distributor. They in turn return it to the manufacturer for further investigation.

Some time passes. Today I receive a report from the manufacturer, stating that in their view the axe isn't defective and that it should be retired. They say it has been accidentally damaged after intensive use - since when was two routes intensive use? They also suggest that the crampon marks in the rubber handle, caused from tapping my axe against my crampons to release balled up snow, is the cause.

I feel pretty let down by both the company and the distributor, who up until this point both had my respect as one of the best around.

Can anyone suggest where I go with this now? I have no axe to grind (it's bent!) all I really want is my axe replaced.

Cheers, Tom

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