ARB and their Customer Service
We all know the name "ARB". The established manufacturer of quality 4x4 parts based out of Australia. But does their customer service live up to the product quality?
Back in June, Alyssa and I attended our first NW Overland Rally. An amazing event to meet friends, drive trails, attend classes and talk with vendors. Located near the Bavarian style town of Leavenworth Washington, thousands of offroad enthusiasts have taken over a large field and the surrounding trails for the last decade.
This year's event (2018) was nothing short of amazing. We had already begun our Overland passion and had recently gotten back from a week long 1800 mile trip crossing Oregon entirely offroad. This event filled in a very important missing piece, community.
We have never met a group of people that are so welcoming and inviting. No judging of each others vehicle, no fighting or competition. Just great fun and support. The vehicle you choose to travel with is an extension of your home. It protects you, carries your gear, expresses who you are and carries your family. All of these people would invite you into their home, get you a drink, talk shop or help you with something you forgot to pack. They don't expect anything back. It's such a refreshing feeling being with good company and away from the city.
As we were enjoying the atmosphere, the weather was a bit trying. By far not the worst conditions we ever camped in, but not perfect either. Light rain at night and winds gusting over 30mph could be heard ripping through the never ending sea of rooftop tents (Rooftop Tent Army). We had brought an easy up tent for our company and didn't have the stakes. The easiest method was to take the stakes from our rear mounted ARB 1250 awning and just ties that down the best we could.
This was a mistake.
I angled the awning into the wind, to help release any of the built up rain water and to let the wind glide easily across it. But even with the FJ rear door being used as a shield, the wind eventually picked up and twisted the awning in a very violent fashion.
Initial inspection showed no damage and I was relieved to see the awning itself held up perfectly. When placing the upright poles back in their positions is when I noticed something was not quite perfect anymore.
The left side horizontal pole now had a pretty serious curve to it. Enough of a bend where you could no longer extend or retract it. Knowing the poles we're aluminum and could only bend so many times before snapping, I carefully took enough of the curve out so that we could twist and retract the pole and store it until we could figure out what to do. We did continue to use the awning until the end of the rally, but it was in the back of my mind all the way back home.
Was it a replaceable part? Did I have to buy a whole new awning? Was the cost of the replacement pole so high that it wasn't worth it? These were all the questions I was rolling through and expected, coming from such a high end 4x4 parts supplier such as ARB.
It was actually a completely different situation.
I immediately contacted ARB USA that Monday morning. I opened the conversation with where we were and how I made the mistake of not securing the awning properly, especially with the wind. It was my fault and I just wanted to get the 1250 back up and working properly before our next big trip. I was presently surprised when I got an email response back within just a couple of hours.
This is the response:
I was blown away! A short, concise, fast response that was exactly the opposite of what we expected. I quickly sent back the requested info and thanked Ryan greatly for his assistance. Before the end of the week, our replacement pole showed up. Nicely packaged and sealed with the bright ARB colors.
It is difficult in this day and age to find companies that stand behind their products when they fail, even if it was not the end user's fault. But to find a company that goes above and beyond to keep their customers on the road and enjoying their next 4x4 adventure is something that is truly unique. We expected and even wanted to pay for the replacement, as it was entirely a novice mistake on our end. We not only learned to bring enough stakes, but we also learned we purchased from the right company.
We are in no way partnered with or sponsored by ARB. There are just too many negative reviews and comments and people deserve to know when a company just chooses to help someone out.
Thank you ARB for exceptional customer service and thank you to all that put on the NW Overland Rally. It truly was an amazing event and we cannot wait to see everyone again next year!
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