/ Corroding zips and consumer rights

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Wonrek - on 16 Nov 2012
Earlier this year Ibought a Slomon S-Lab 5 bag and have been nothing but pleased with it until recently.

I've always looked after the sack, emptying it and hanging it up when I get home. Howevere two side pocket zips have now corroded shut and despite my best efforts I cant get them to budge.

Now I only bought th bag in March so I kinda expect it to last a bit longer than that so I sent it back to Wiggle explaining that they hadnt come into contact with anything untoward, indeed the bag only shows signs of normal use.

Unfortunately Wiggle have come back and said that I am at fault for storing the bag damp which simply isn't true and there's no evidence for this (no mildew on the fabric) and indeed there is a third zip which works fine.

They've offered to send it on to Salomon but they say they do not believe it to be a manufacturing fault.

Is there nothing I can do? I loved the bag and I did look after it but nine months use for a £100 bag isn't what I'd expect.

matthewtraver - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:

Try the Office of Fair Trading. I've found them very helpful a number of times. If I were in your situation I'd definitely be pissed off!
bedspring on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:
Do you think a reasonable person looking at it would think it is wrong?
This is what you do.
Write and I mean a letter to Wiggle stating that you do not think the bag is of merchantable quality and that under "Sale of Goods act 1979" you would like a repair, replace, refund your choice, if non of these are offered you will go to County Court.
If they don`t play ball, put em in court (£40 ish which you get back if you win) and show the bag to the judge and let them explain why a bag designed to be used outdoors has zips that corode shut in 9 months.
Wiggle are betting you will sod off and the letter will probably be enough.
Cheers sjc

Wonrek - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to sjc: Wiggle are saying that they cannot determine if it is a manufacturing or user fault and are going to send it back to Salomon which they say will be at least another ten days.

I know I've had it some time but not that long, should it be passed to Salomon or are Wiggle the ones that should respond?

I'm doing the Brecon Ultra beginning of Dec, help I need my bag!

itsThere on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek: if the person that takes the return is not informed enough to make a decision then it should be passed on to someone who can. in this case it has to be sent to salomon. no matter how long you have had an item it can still be passed on for a better opinion.

maybe send salomon a nice email to speed it up a bit
matejn - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek: I have had exactly the same experience with Salomon S-lab 5 bag, but with all three zips. Fortunately enough I was able to get them working properly, but it was quite an effort.I bought it in April and I should have it washed couple of times because it really gets soaked with sweat. Now I use Ballistol oil to keep zips lubricated.
bedspring on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:
You could argue a specilaist retailer should know if something is right or not, but for them to seek advice from the manufufacturer is reasonable and I see no realistic way for you to hurry them up other than a personal appeal.
I would be very interested if anyone knows of another way, try consumer direct. Or maybe go on wiggles facebook page and outline the dilema but not in an arsey way but a sort of I`m stuck could you help me way.
Bit of a bitch this one.
gear boy on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek: Ask wiggle to send it to salomon for their reasons as to why this occured, yes, this can take time. explain clearly you require a solution by a certain date, ask for a contact at salomon to be able to discuss this with them as you require a speedy solution whatever it is. but ultimately, why didnt you return it earlier? surely it didnt seize overnight,

Retailer is allowed a "reasonable" amount of time to consult with manufacturer or independant specialist to determine nature of fault and if it is warranty covered. When i asked trading standards about this, they said reasonable could be up to 6-8 weeks for "specialist equipment"

all that said, why the heck are salomon sticking cheap zip sliders that rust on a 100 quid sac?
Wonrek - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to matejn: How did you unseize them? I tried WD40, jiggliling them, swearing at them, even asking nicely but they weren't gonna budge.

Out of interest did you leave your bag wet or like me did you look after your bag and only give it fair use?

Out of interest does anyone know of an email address for Salomon, they seem to be a little conservative with it on their numerous websites!
gear boy on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:
Amer Sports UK & Ireland Ltd
Theta, Lyon Way
GU16 7ER Frimley, Camberley
+44 1276 404 800
+44 1294 316 255/6
matejn - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek: I just pulled hard and was lucky enough not to tear it. I hanged it on a coat hanger and air dried it after every use..
Trevor Langhorne on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:

Although I am not legally qualified I have taken on a few firms and won over poor quality items. The law is simple - your contract is with Wiggle and whether or not they choose to send it back to Salomon is irrelevant to your case.

Under the Sale of Goods Act goods have to be of "Merchantable Quality" and fit for purpose -a bag with zips which can corrode is not of merchantable quality. The manufacturer of a bag designed for adventurous trail running/racing ought to forsee that their product might get wet and that zips might not be opened regularly so they would need to us the best quality zips. The fact that you bought a premium product strengthens your case that the bag wasn't of appropriate quality.

If I were you i would get back on to Wiggle, tell them you have taken advice (contact Trading standards) and that the bag isn't of merchantable quality as defined by the Sale of Goods Act (Google Sale of Goods Act and see office of fair trading site) hence you are entitled to full a refund under the terms of SOGA. If they repeat the allegation that you stored it wet deny it and ask them for their proof - they can't prove it - the old adage is the best one - the customer is always right

(If they mention return to Salomon tell them that your contract is with Wiggle, so you are entitled to a refund from Wiggle; it is for Wiggle to get a refund from Salomon as Wiggle have a contract with them)

You might wish t consider an honest customer review of the product and Wiggle's response - that might catch their attention (dn't be rude - just point out the corroding zips and Wiggle's view that this is to be expected)
Trevor Langhorne on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:

For goodness sake don't damage the zips trying to free them or spray them with any lubricants!

Forgot to add to the previous notes

Good luck
bedspring on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Trevor Langhorne: Actually beyond 6 months it is for the customer to prove fault.
The problem is that outdoor gear is an active product and can and is misused and it is entirely reasonable for Wiggle to try and ascertain if this is the case.
The fact the OP has a race coming up is unfortunate and he? should try and press wiggle for a swift resolution.
I would imagine that for outdoor shops this is a major problem, people buying for example Ultra light kit and expecting it to take abuse over a long period* and if it fails trying to make a claim.
*not saying this is or is not the case here
Trevor Langhorne on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to sjc:

I agree about the 6 months bit but the expected lifetime of the product is also an important factor, in this case it would be a reasonable expectation for a premium product to have zips which do not corrode at all and the expected life of such a product is probably rather more than 8 months! My lightweigt hydation sac for cycling & running hasn't shown any such problems of zip corrosion and has been soundly abused for about 4 years - oh I forgot to say it cost £12 in Tesco.

Wiggle seem to be trying to wiggle out of their responsibilities (sorry, couldn't help myself there) and your suggestion of putting them under a bit of pressure is a good one. Lightweight kit isn't necessarily a lot less durable than the standard stuff - you pay a premium price (in this case £100 approx)for it as you expect higher quality materials components and assembly; a brief visual examination will show if it has been abused beyond its specification - holes, tears, ripped stitching are signs of abuse - a corroded zip doesn't seem to be in this category. Zips are a weakness on many products, I had a zip go on a well used 12 year old Patagonia fleece - they replaced the zip for free as they believe a zip should last the life of the product.

I hope the matter is sorted quickly, there is a lot to be said for shopping in your local specialist retailer - at least you can bend their ear in person!
JJL - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:

> now corroded shut and despite my best efforts I cant get them to budge.

Has it been near sea water or sweat?. Sea water can ruin zips even after prolonged rinsing.

Bimbler on 17 Nov 2012 -
In reply to Wonrek:

I'd speak to Salomon, I think someone has posted up their contact details up. Although not strictly the correct way of doing it, it is often quicker and less stressful if the people you bought it off are not playing ball.

I've sent stuff to RAB, ME, Palm, Montaine, Marmot and others this way and they've always been fine. Particularly if you have proof of purchase so can demonstrate you are not trying it on with an ebay special.

Or you could try and take it to Cotswold and say you lost your receipt! They are pretty good with returns.
bedspring on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Bimbler:
> (In reply to Wonrek)
> Or you could try and take it to Cotswold and say you lost your receipt! They are pretty good with returns.

Thats fraud, and the reason so many firms demand receipts, of course an attitude may help you once or twice, but ultimately just spoils it for everyone.
deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
RichardP - on 18 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:
From what I've read the rucksack is not fit for purpose.
As a result I would seek a refund.
As previously stated the contract is with you and the retailer.
I would send the rucksack back to them via recorded delivery asking them for a refund.
they will either send it back to you or refund the money.
If you recieved the rucksack back inform them that they are in breach of contract and if you have not recieved the moneis within 7 days of the dat of the letter proceedings will be brought via the small claims court.

Keep all records, reciepts, etc.

I would use the rucksack in December if I were you and work around the faulty zip. as it will proberely take 3 months to get to the small claims court.

However you may find that when they get the paperwork and realise that you are going down the legal avenue you may get your money back.

it's not to bad and when go to court it'll be them you and a judge sitting around a table.

It's not that daunting really

Wonrek - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek: Result!

Wiggle sent me the message on Friday that they deemed it my fault and were going to return the bag to Salomon for inspection.

So I contacted Salomon through Facebook explaining how great i thought the bag was but that the problem with the zips wasnt down to misuse. I also explained that i have n uktra coming up in two weeks so time wasnt on my side if i was facing a two week wait on a decision.

This was on Saturday and today received a full refund from Wiggle!

Go Salomon, brilliant kit and brilliant customer service, thank you!

Fraser on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:

Excellent result - nice one from Salomon (not so great from Wiggle though!)
bedspring on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek:
Great result. Obviously no one from Salomon or Wiggle uses UKC.
Wonrek - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to sjc: No of course not ;)
fraserbarrett - on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek: That's really good customer service, just shows they value their brand more than wiggle do! And I'm currently looking at 2 products with salomom on the short list for both (light weight walking boots and a sack), and this just jumped them to the top of the list.....
Jim C - on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to Bimbler)
> [...]
> Fraud
> deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

Is this not a definition of Banker's charter?
Could also be an MP's I suppose

TobyA on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to fraserbarrett:
> And I'm currently looking at 2 products with salomom on the short list for both (light weight walking boots and a sack), and this just jumped them to the top of the list.....

This seems a bit of odd conclusion. Brand A makes a product Y. People who buy Y around the world quickly find that there is a major flaw with component Z of Y. Z fails and stops Y from working. Conclusion: Brand A didn't do enough testing of Y before releasing it on the market?

I rather like the Salomon stuff I have, but any company that releases products with design flaws surely should be expected to sort that out for their customers?
gcandlin - on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to Wonrek: Glad you got this resolved, it seems the other issue this brings up is how often retailers royally pee off their customers by being slow to react to returned goods.

Lets take 2 scenarios.

1. Man returns bag to Wiggle, Wiggle give full refund instantly or replace product. Total cost to Wiggle at trade price £50? Man walks away happy, almost certain to use Wiggle again for future purchases and recommend to friends, Wiggle probably up over the years by a few hundred quid.

2. Man returns bag to Wiggle, they um and arr say they think its his fault, spend time and money dealing with returning the product to Salomon, Customer gets royally pissed off. End result Salomon agree to refund the customer, so the shop gets its £50 back. However the customers is probably fed up with WIggle and unlikely to spend his money with them again, almost definite that he will tell all his friends to avoid them, he may if start a post on a popular forum that allows 857 people to see that Wiggle may not be a great company to use. Total loss to wiggle in potential lost sales £1000's ??

It amazes me that these big companies don't do the maths on these things. You could easily replace Wiggle with any number of outdoor retailers in the above scenario and I just don't see how their customer service departments see this as a clever way to opperate.
gav - on 20 Nov 2012
In reply to gcandlin:
> It amazes me that these big companies don't do the maths on these things.

Perhaps they have? I'd proffer that people maybe aren't as principled as you/they may think. In my experience, people are far more interested in saving a couple of quid on the purchase price than customer service.

Provided enough people care more about price than after-sales, then the maths does work in their favour?

I've definitely not done any analysis, just offering an alternative
cham4807 - on 20 Nov 2012
I have the same problem with all of the zips on my Salomon advanced skin s-lab 12. And I only purchased the pack in late June 2012!
The zips started sticking about a month ago which makes accessing the side pockets when running very difficult.
When they started sticking at first and when I eventually got them open, I put a few drops of olive oil on them and rubbed a candle up and down the zips and that seemed to work for a little while.
But in the last week they have started sticking again and you can actually see where the zip puller's have corroded, they have green oxidation on them!
I always empty the pack out and dry it properly after every use inside the house and make sure its not damp when putting it away especially after paying 140 euro for it.

It's a great running pack that I love, but I'm a little disappointed that after only 5 months the zippers have started to corrode.
I have another Salomon running pack, the Salomon XT Wings 10+3 vest and used it a lot before buying the s-lab 12 and even now the zippers are in perfect condition.
It looks like Salomon put cheaper zippers into the s-lab packs to save money.

I didn't but mine from Wiggle but I will contact the the place of purchase and see what they have to say.
The only issue with changing the pack for one of the same kind is you will probably have the same problem of corroding zippers in a few months..........and the fact that it is the most comfortable pack I have used for running.

mistermingrel on 20 Nov 2012 -
In reply to cham4807:
Take it back! As consumers we get what we deserve, if we want quality kit from premium brands we need to send them back the goods that are unsatisfactory. This will increase the pressure on them as they know that their consumers are on the ball - and it will alert them to problems with their products so they have the chance to make the necessary changes.

It is often said that UK consumers are too slow to complain hence more likely to be taken advantage of.

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