Nicer luggage manufacturers often include a lifetime warranty. Have you ever needed to get your bags repaired and use this warranty? I’ve had a couple of instances where I’ve needed to have some work done – varying degrees of damage and extreme variations of satisfaction.
We’ve used different sizes of Victorinox luggage throughout the years and have had damage pop up, everything from a broken telescoping handle, to a crushed axle and wheel well. For these larger suitcases we’ve had really great results. We’ve dropped the bags off at a travel shop (found on the Victorinox website), paid a nominal fee (usually $25 or $35) and then a few weeks later we get a call that our bag is ready for pickup. We’ve even had the damage bag completely replaced before. I assume the luggage company does a quick cost / benefit analysis and realizes that it’s better if they just replace the bag than doing a repair job, which may just lead to another issue and additional repairs.
I’ve used a Briggs and Riley briefcase for about two years and really like it. It’s been to work with me every day, it’s been on more than 150 flights and while it is a bit worn, it works great. That is until I was walking out of my office one day and the metal clasp that connects the bag to the shoulder strap snapped. Down crashes my bag with laptop, tablet, phone and a bunch of work stuff. Nothing was damaged, but my shoulder strap was useless. I get home and research how to use the warranty, which was really straight forward. Basically, you complete an online form (outlining the issues with your bag) and ship your bag off. Briggs and Riley then completes the repairs and returns the bag to you – the return shipping is on them.
Just two weeks prior a friend was telling me about his roll aboard suitcase that broke and Briggs and Riley did an excellent repair job. He said he’d never buy another brand of travel bags again. While I hated the idea that my bag broke, I was excited to get it fixed.
I sent my bag off and after about three weeks it was returned. Man, was I disappointed. The main issue – the shoulder strap – had been fixed. The clasp had been replaced, but with one that was a different style and a slightly different color. The handles that had started falling apart (which was noted on my repair form) were sewn, but done in such a poor and sloppy fashion, it looks like I sewed it myself. One of the soft overlays on the handles ended up being sliced (perhaps when they opened the box I shipped my bag in). I sure wasn’t expecting a new bag based on the small amount of repair work needed, but I was expecting a bit more care than was provided.
I repacked this repaired bag and brought it to work the next day. In the elevator a colleague asked what happened to my bag – he had noticed the different color/style clasps. Hmmm – disappointing. I used this bag for the rest of the week, then I had to be on the road – Denver, Dallas, New York, Hartford and back to Chicago. On this series of flights I had THREE people comment on the bag. Two people mentioned the Briggs and Riley lifetime warranty and I should send it off. These people were shocked when I told them this was the work of Briggs and Riley. The third guy commented on the different clasps.
You will notice from the pictures that they are different, but I just thought my frustrated and discerning eye was paying too close attention. I guess not.
I decided to send a note off to Briggs and Riley’s customer service expressing my disappointment in the now mismatched clasps and the poorly sewn handle. Ten days later I got the following note:
Only one of my comments was addressed. I replied to their email. No response. I called customer service. The rep took my info and had to go do some additional research then call me back. I’ve never heard back. What a disappointment.
I guess at the end of the day, what I’m saying is, buy a bag because you love the bag and it is sturdy – don’t buy a bag because it has a lifetime warranty – you might just end up getting some real crappy repair work and dismal customer service.
Off to the store to find another briefcase. Do you have any recommendations?