Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bass Pro Shop + Ameristep = NO CUSTOMER SERVICE

I'm a lifelong outdoorsman. I hunt and fish but enjoy hunting the most. I have been a loyal customer of Bass Pro Shops for more than ten years buying more than 90% of my hunting and fishing equipment from them. I shopped with them via their mail order catalog prior to them opening their Nashville, TN store (I think it was around 2000). Since then, I've made the 40 mile round trip to the store many, many times passing stores closer to my home, such as Dick's Sporting Goods and WalMart, due to Bass Pro's larger selection of merchandise. That ended last Thursday, November 4th. I won't go to that much trouble anymore.

I hunt out of pop-up blinds. I've previously had the Outhouse and Doghouse by Ameristep. In August of 2009, I purchased one of their Brickhouse models at the Nashville, TN Bass Pro, because I was told it was of better quality than my previous two. It was one of Ameristep's higher end blinds at the time normally retailing for well over $150. I got it on sale for $99.99. I used it all of the 2009 fall hunting season, and the first couple of weeks of this year's bow season. About three weeks ago, we had some significant storms roll through Tennessee. So, I thought I should probably go check on the Brickhouse to make sure it was still standing. When I got to it, I couldn't believe what I found. The blind had flipped upside down, two of the support rods had poked holes through the bottom of the blind, two others were shattered, and one of the cloth flaps at the bottom corner of the blind used for staking it down had been completely ripped off by the wind. The blind was uselesss !! Ameristep's website says their blinds are warranteed for a year and should be replaced after three. Mine had lasted a year and two months. What great timing !! I figured it should last for at least three years, especially considering it's regular price is over $150. Surprise !! They don't.

I called Ameristep and told them how the Brickhouse had been destroyed in the storm. I asked them to replace it even though it was out of warranty. I thought it was a reasonable request since I had purchased the Brickhouse after being told it was of better quality than the Outhouse and Doghouse. If that was true it should have withstood the wind better than it had. I had staked it and tied it down just as the instructions suggested. They refused to replace it but said they were willing to sell me another blind at a discount due to "my situation." How nice of them. I told them that was unacceptable because a $150+ blind should holdup better. The so-called "customer service representative" laughed at me. I told him Ameristep had gotten it's last dime from me and hung up.

The two other Ameristep blinds I've owned (the Outhouse and Doghouse mentioned previusly) were sorry, too. I figured it was because of their lower price. You know - the old "you get what you pay for." The  Outhouse will not stand up, and the Doghouse is flimsy. At the end of last hunting season, I cleaned up the Doghouse to put it away for the off-season. While folding it up to put it in the case, one of the ceiling support rods broke and then ripped through the side of the blind tearing it and ruining it. I figured that I had done something wrong, but based upon the fact that the Outhouse won't stand up and the Brickhouse won't withstand a storm, it's now apparent that Ameristep just makes sorry, sorry blinds. I also had an incident with the Brickhouse last year. One day, I went to hunt and found the top had collapsed and filled up with rainwater. I popped the top back out dumping the water but didn't hunt in it that day to let it dry out. I guess I should have realized it was junk then. The funny thing is that a less expensive hub-style blind that I purchased at Dick's Sporting Goods this fall to replace the pathetic Doghouse withstood the same storm that destroyed the Brickhouse. The blind is made by Field and Stream and called the "Hunter." It's similar but smaller than the Brickhouse. Perhaps the Brickhouse should be called the "Strawhouse." When the Big Bad Wind huffs and puffs, it gets blown down.

Next, I called Bass Pro about the problem sincerely believing they would make it right and take care of a loyal customer who'd spent hundreds of dollars there over the years (my wife can testify to that). The sales associate said no to my request to replace it. I asked to speak to a manager. The manager referred me to Ameristep because Bass Pro only makes refunds and exchanges for 30 days after purchase per "company policy." I told him Ameristep had refused to help me and that's why I was coming to Bass Pro. He refused to replace the blind only offering, as Ameristep did, to give me a discount on another one. I told him the discount would have to be at least 50% before I would even consider it. He said, "That ain't gonna happen." I said, "Fine. You just lost a loyal customer of over 10 years. I'll start doing my shopping at Cabela's." He didn't seem to care.

The blind situation is the first time I've had a problem with Bass Pro. Apparently, they have taken the same path that many other American companies have. They want your money and your business, but when you need a little customer service on a product you purchased from them their attitude becomes, "Thanks, but no thanks. Sorry. You're on your own on this. Hope you'll come back and see us." It's the same reason after 16 years of driving Chevrolets, I switched to Mazda in 2002. The Chevrolet dealers don't have a clue what customer service is. It's the same reason Japanese companies and others have kicked the butts of American companies for years. If it doesn't change, the butt-kickings will continue.
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1 comment:

Gary said...

I to have had incidnces at Bass Pro- youd think they would get the message with loyal customers now and then and listen to them!