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  1. #1
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Are my expectations out of line?

    Some relevant facts:
    1. Bought Thule ski rack in November
    2. Used ski rack for entire season
    3. A couple weeks ago, front bracket opens on the highway. Skis fly up like an airplane wing with so much force that it destroys the rear bracket. Roof of car is cut up and slightly dented. Skis take on some damage bouncing down the highway, but are still usable
    4. I take rack back for replacement. I figure I'm SOL on the car skis.

    At the place I bought the rack, they replaced the rear bracket, but insisted that the front one (the one that let go) was not defective and must have opened due to customer negligence and refused to replace it. Their operating theory is that ice or snow got in the mechanism and though it closed and clicked, it wasn't fully engaged. They tell me this sometimes happens.

    I think this is possible, but that there also may have been a hidden flaw. In any case, I feel that if these things sometimes open, they should be designed not to since having stuff flying off the roof of the car at highway speeds is dangerous for people behind you. If the ski rack contained a pin or a locking clip, it would literally be impossible to open.

    I was not a jerk about and didn't endlessly press the issue, but I think that the customer should have been given benefit of the doubt and that they should have replaced the whole rack, particularly since I lose the most in this transaction anyway. My question is are my expectations out of line? I think I'm in the right and will take my future business elsewhere, but I want a reality check.

    I notice that the popular Yakima racks also have a crappy POS plastic mechanism that the guys at the rack shop also said opens on occasion. What gives? It's easy enough to design something that can't let go. As for myself, I will never have this problem again because I will now strap the rack closed after the POS plastic "locking" mechanism engages.

  2. #2
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    Sounds like more of a course for a class-action suit, rather than a single complaint.

    What do I know, though? I'm just a massage therapist.
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  3. #3
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Sounds like more of a course for a class-action suit, rather than a single complaint.
    The problem is that I see zillions of these things out there, so people are either not having problems or they are functioning as expected. I wouldn't consider suing in this case because there's not enough money at stake to justify this. In my mind, I should hassle the rack shop, and the rack shop should yell at the company for sending them stuff that customers bring back.

    However, I wanted to find out if my expectations are unreasonable since I've been on the service end before and had to deal with people who just don't understand how things work.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Falchoon's Avatar
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    Maybe find a ski forum and ask if other people are experiencing the same problem. If they are then perhaps you have a case to go to Thule direct and ask for replacement. If not it could just be a chance thing that happened, though the shop that sold the rack to you seemed to acknowledge that there was a problem but buck passed it back to you. I don't think they should of but I'm guessing if Thule doesn't recognise that there is a design fault then there's nothing much the rack shop can do about it (except maybe sell another brand - but are they going to be any better?)
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.

  5. #5
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falchoon View Post
    Maybe find a ski forum and ask if other people are experiencing the same problem. If they are then perhaps you have a case to go to Thule direct and ask for replacement. If not it could just be a chance thing that happened, though the shop that sold the rack to you seemed to acknowledge that there was a problem but buck passed it back to you. I don't think they should of but I'm guessing if Thule doesn't recognise that there is a design fault then there's nothing much the rack shop can do about it (except maybe sell another brand - but are they going to be any better?)
    In all fairness to the rack shop, they did replace the bracket that was destroyed. They did not replace the other one that I thought was defective. I should mention that they challenged me to open it using a reasonable amount of force in the store and I couldn't.

    They told me that the problem I experienced was rare, but it was more common with the other brands that they carried. If I would have pressed the issue harder, they would have replaced the unit with another brand.

    I think they have technically met their obligations, but I shouldn't have had to argue and that they would have replaced both brackets since the cost of being wrong on a hidden defect is high. Had I not thought they botched this, I would have bought a roof rack for my highracer that same day (I did not tell them this). Instead, I ordered it from a shop in CO that I've had good experiences with in the past.

  6. #6
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Wait until it happens again, and then you should not only get a new rack, but new skis and a paintjob as well!

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