Gloomis Warranty? The end of a free rod era?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by JesseC, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

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    Loomis is not owned by Gary Loomis and has not been for several years. If I'm not mistaken, they are made by Shimano now. I could be wrong on this but I know that Shimano has its own limited warranty on their branded gear rods.
     
  2. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    I have had to use warranty service from Sage, Winston, and Loomis. All of them were prompt with their service. I have three Loomis rods, the recently broken IMX 4 wt that was fished A LOT with no problems until my friend and I hit rods while casting in a raft. The other 2 are GLX's in 7 and 8 wt. These are about 15 years old, are still great casting rods, and have never had any problems. I think Loomis makes very nice casting rods and are always in the forefront of innovation. I just ordered a 4 wt NRX Loomis and really looking forward to casting that rod! Rick
     
  3. Thomas Williams

    Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

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    You are correct Shimano owns GLoomis, that being said I have had good experiences with them on a rod I sent in that was obviously my fault. I fell while walking in a shallow part of the middle fork snoqualmie and snapped the rod because my natural reaction was to put my hands out. Shimano replaced the rod which is a Loomis rod no questions asked. I guess it may just come down to who the person is at the warehouse that handles your claim. Some may be assholes while other may give you the benefit of the doubt.
     
  4. dflett68

    dflett68 Active Member

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    rick's 15 year old rods would have been manufactured just around the time that gloomis was becoming one of 34 subsidiaries of a publicly traded japanese sporting goods conglomerate - shimano. that's per wikipedia so take it for what it's worth. but it's probably not quite accurate to think of them as a hometown outfit from woodland, especially not as it relates to policy matters. not that shimano doesn't make great stuff. still, according to the article, their fishing tackle business is 23% of their total revenue. how much of that 23% do you think comes from loomis as opposed to the shimano branded rods and reels? if someone cared enough they could probably find out by digging into their financial statements.
     
  5. OneMoreCast

    OneMoreCast Member

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    I too am/was a huge fan of the IMX, and have built many rods up on the IMX and classic GLX blanks for friends and family back in the day... Invariably one or two of the mix breaks each year, and I've noticed a sharp decline in the quality of the warranty service since Loomis was purchased by Shimano. They've actually 'lost' two of the rods that were sent back on two occasions, and I only got responses from them after filing a BBB claim with the tracking and insurance information in hand--bleh! The sad thing is that the folks in Woodland are all great people as far as I can tell, but the Shimano influence has not been good.

    In any case, I agree with the sentiment that paying a higher service fee is perfectly reasonable for repairs. I'd rather pay $100 if I break a rod than pay an extra $200 initially to cover a lifetime of repairs.

    BTW, Rick, you can still find those IMX blanks online if you're interested.
     
  6. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I've broken my GL3 about three or four times. Call them up and give them my number. Three days later I get a new rod in the mail. I put the broken one in the box and send it back.

    I have also broken my TFO Finesse rod at least three times. Send it in with 25 bucks and it takes about a week and then I'm back fishing. Warranties are good on fly rods. I wouldn't buy one any other way.
     
  7. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    Thanks-I'll have to check that out. I've been thinking of building a couple rods for my son in laws and that would be a great blank to use! Rick

    BTW, Rick, you can still find those IMX blanks online if you're interested.[/quote]
     
  8. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    My friend who owns REC Rod Components back in Connecticut makes guides, reel seats, and all the other components for high end fly rods. They supply all the major rod builders with the stuff to build the rods. He told me that what got Loomis into trouble and led to their sale to Shimano was manufacturing shafts for golf clubs back in the 90:s. Kind of interesting. Rick
     
  9. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Sadly, offering a (nearly) unconditional warranty on premium rods represents a financial black hole for the manufacturer as well as a hole in the pocketbook for the customer.

    Customers buying today's $700+ premium plastic rods demand a warranty, preferably an unconditional one. Accidents happen, and the prevailing attitude is that it's not unreasonable to expect to be made whole at little or no out of pocket cost, especially after you've paid that much for a rod.

    Problem is, many of those 'accidents' are actually caused by carelessness or neglect on the part of the owner, not by a defect in manufacturing or material failure.

    How many folks have busted a rod when they've slammed a car door or SUV hatch on it, slipped and fell, or stepped on their rod? My gut feel says those kinds of 'accidents' represent the overwhelming majority of warranty claims instead of actual product failure.

    So what's the manufacturer to do when a customer presents his broken rod for a warranty claim that's NOT the result of a manufacturing defect or material failure? In today's hyper-connected, online world, to NOT repair or replace that rod would be PR suicide. So to keep the customer happy (and to keep them from badmouthing the company in forums like this), they cave and replace the rod, even when the cause of the damage is obvious.

    Every warranty claim costs the manufacturer money; far less than MAP retail, but an expense nonetheless. The more warranty claims they have to deal with, the greater the drag on gross profit. When profit slips past a certain point, the manufacturer only has a few choices: raise prices for their products; start charging for formerly free warranty repairs; or both.

    What message does that send to prospective customers? Look no further than the almost weekly threads here from folks complaining about the high cost of premium rods.

    It also pushes a lot of buyers to low-end imported rods. But even those buyers demand an unconditional warranty. Then what happens?

    See above . . .

    K
     
    Rob Ast and underachiever like this.
  10. underachiever

    underachiever members only

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    I'd be surprised if less than 90 percent of rods covered by warranty were broken due to the carelessness/neglect of the owner.
     
  11. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

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    Well - that makes this whole situation even more peculiar. I bought a Clarus gear rod for $149 that comes with an over the counter warranty... that's even more convenient than the storied Sage warranty I love so much.

    Someone must be getting greedy at gloomis to offer such a shitty warranty on >$700 rod.
     
  12. Anil

    Anil Active Member

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    Before I get into the Loomis warranty, my guess is that the bulk of the “greedy” people at G-Loomis are the American workers who demand a fair wage for their labor. I imagine that all of us are "greedy" enough to demand higher wages than the Chinese workers who build the ‘Clarus’ series of rods.

    Back when Orvis was the first rod company to offer an unconditional 25 year warranty and other manufacturers decided to one up them by offering a ‘lifetime’ warranty, Gary Loomis was an outspoken opponent of this trend. He correctly warned that rod prices would necessarily rise and that performance might well decrease in favor of durability over castability. He once said "I can build a rod that will never break, but you wouldn't want to fish it" (Think about the kind of rod you would build for your child when you know they’re going to do their best to break it).
    From the beginning, the G-Loomis warranty has been: “G.Loomis rods, custom rod blanks and Syncrotech fly reels are covered by a limited warranty against defects in workmanship and materials for the lifetime of the original owner.”
    It has never been an unconditional warranty. However, the company has always been fairly generous in its assessment of what constituted a defect in materials and workmanship.
    The warranty on a new Loomis gives you these options:
    1. Wild Card: This comes with the purchase of a new rod. You are allowed a one time ‘Wild Card’ which allows you to slam your rod in the car door, call 1800 G-Loomis and they will send you a new rod in a new case FedEx. This includes a call tag for return shipping of your broken rod. You pay $0.00
    2. Standard warranty: You take your brand new 3 weight out for a day of Chum fishing and the damn defective thing breaks?!?!? Send it back to G-Loomis and they will replace it 99/100 times based on the fact that it was built poorly.
    You pay $ Shipping (usually $20)


    Is their warranty fair? If you built fly rods would you offer something more?
     
  13. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

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    My son bought a 9' 5 weight NRX at PSFC. After we got it home I noticed there was no warranty card and Loomis had removed the warranty registration page from their website. I called PSFC to find out what the deal was and they said if there is a problem bring it in and they'd handle the warranty repair process. Probably all well and good if PSFC is still around and/or my son still lives in the area when there is a problem. I see Loomis now has a warranty page and warranty return form at
    http://www.gloomis.com/publish/content/gloomis_2010/us/en/fly/support.html
    G.Loomis Rods: covered by a limited lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials
    • The GLoomis factory will inspect the rod to determine cause of breakage
    • For Damage determined to have occurred due to defect, GLoomis will, at the company's discretion, either repair or replace the product at no charge
    • Damages occurring due to neglect, accident or normal wear and tear will, at the company's discretion, be repaired or replaced for a specific fee.
    • A full estimate will be provided for your approval before any fees are levied.
    For warranty claims:
    • Ship the damaged rod in a disposable container, prepaid and insured, along with a completed copy of our Web Warranty Return Form.
    And here is the (non-)specific fee. The form says "All rods are subject to a $20 processing fee. Please include a check, money order or credit card information. Rod warranty will not be processed until payment is received. Additional charges may apply if the rod is deemed out of warranty."
    My son is living at home now but has an offer on a house that's about to close soon. He wouldn't be able to afford a $720 rod after he moves into his house and I wouldn't want to see Loomis jack him around when he could have spent just a third to half that on a comparable rod with a low fee no-questions asked warranty.
     
  14. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    My wife and I own and run a small manufacturing company, building our products here in the Seattle area from materials sourced in the US. Everyone we pitch loves the idea of supporting a company that creates jobs for US workers (yep, we're real-life 'job creators'.)

    Problem is, when a lot of prospects see our wholesale prices, they have a major dose of sticker shock. One buyer for a large national chain (whose initials are C&B) said, "I can buy that for $5.00" when she first saw one of our products (which BTW, wholesales for $19.00).

    And she was right, she could buy it for that price - IF it was made in India, China, Bangladesh or Mexico. But part of making goods in the US means paying American workers a living wage. In Washington, minimum wage rises to $9.19 in January, compared with less than $3-$4 a DAY workers in those other countries are paid. The product we sell wholesale for $19.00 costs me $8.67 to have made here. Even if I didn't make a dime, I still couldn't compete with my imported competitors. But my ace in the hole is the 'Made in USA' label sewn into every one of our products.

    While it's tempting to call US manufacturers 'greedy' because their prices are higher than their offshore competitors, the reality behind the prices for domestically-made goods is a workforce that's paid a first-world living wage, not a third-world subsistence one.

    You can't have it both ways.

    K
     
  15. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

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    One way to get our economy rolling again is to buy American. We all realize the cheap labor costs of overseas companies. It used to be that "made in Japan" meant poor quality. It's much better now as are some of the items made in other countries. But...the money ends up there and we are employing only the shippers and service workers to market and sell the product. American made is more expensive but the quality is as good or in most cases now, better now than the foreign products. It makes sense to buy American now more than ever. Just look at the Olympic Uniform fiasco if you need convincing.