shockingly bad customer service from heys

Before I started grad school in September, I treated myself to a beautiful new backpack, specially designed to hold a laptop and with good ergonomics. It's this one, in red.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that both mesh side pockets had ripped. These are the pockets generally used for carrying an umbrella and a water bottle, and there were holes in the bottom of each. I contacted Heys, and was told that this was probably covered under the warranty, and I could either bring the pack in or send it in.

It happens that Heys has its corporate headquarters in Mississauga, making things that much easier.

After some delay, I took the pack in yesterday and was very surprised at the poor service - or rather, no service - I received.

When we walked into the building, there were two people seated at a front desk. A man was on the phone and a woman spoke to us. We showed her the problem and she immediately said, "This isn't covered by the warranty. It's normal wear-and-tear."

I was very surprised. "Is the material such low quality that it's expected to rip after only five months?"

She said, no, it wasn't poor quality material, but this was considered "normal wear and tear" and is not covered.

I persisted, and she said she would ask the other person, who was now finishing up his phone call.

He took one quick look and said, "Not covered. Normal wear and tear."

I kept trying, expressing surprise at their very poor customer service.

He said, "The warranty covers manufacturers' defects, such as a broken zipper. This is normal wear and tear. How do we know what you did to this bag? Perhaps you put it down on something, and it got caught and ripped."

Me: You're trying to tell me this is my fault?

Snotty Customer Service Rep: I didn't say it was your fault. But you could have caused it.

Me: It has holes on both sides. What are the chances that I could put down a bag on something and have it rip symmetrically on both sides?

SCSR: I really couldn't say what the chances are. But I don't know what you put in there, how much weight it was holding. It ripped through normal wear and tear.

Me: Very few things could fit in those pockets. I carry an umbrella and a water bottle - exactly what the company says those pockets are used for.

SCSR: We really don't know that.

Me: I thought this was a good company that stands behind its products.

SCSR: This is normal wear and tear. We can't help you.

Me: So it's normal for a product purchased in August to have holes in it by January?

SCSR: No, it's not normal, but it's not covered under the warranty.

Me: I'm really shocked at what bad customer service this is.

SCSR: [smirk]

This went on for a while, until the first person said she would ask someone else. She took the bag and went into the offices. I knew what was coming next.

She emerged with the bag and said, "I was told that even though this is not covered under the warranty, we will have the bag inspected, and perhaps they will be able to sew the holes. The stitching will show, but that's the best we can do."

Of course, it's not the best they can do. The mesh could be removed and replaced. Since both side pockets ripped on my bag, chances are that these pockets are ripping on many similar bags. Heys should replace the mesh on any affected bag, and use stronger material in future production.

And they should stand by their products for more than five months!

I'm sending this post to Heys, and will post again with their response.

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