Caving Store Service

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Caving Store Service

Postby msm0711 » Jan 11, 2014 6:19 pm

I hate to rant, but I'm at my whit's end with trying to find a reliable caving equipment store with decent service. I've searched the forums here and see numerous complaints about one I've had issues with in the past. Through the forums I found another that has a good reputation, but I've had 2 major issues with their service in 3 orders over the past 2-3 months (1 I received today, hence this post). Are there any stores out there that have good selection, timely shipping and good customer service, or, due to the specialized equipment base we purchase from, are we just stuck with companies that sell limited gear (bags and suits, biners and mallions, etc.) or generalize and have poor customer service?
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby caver.adam » Jan 11, 2014 9:22 pm

From the major companies I've had nothing but excellent service and shipping as quick as most online retailers. However there are a few things where you won't get the same service:

1) Used gear cannot be returned unless there is an obvious manufacturing defect because caves destroy equipment.
2) Some used gear cannot ever be returned for safety reasons.
3) There are NOT a lot of cave suits available from anyone because they have very few customers a year and are usually hand made by cavers for very little profit (if any).
4) Biners are available from any climbing source and the main caving sources only carry the ones most cavers actually buy.

If you are in the US and Inner Mountain Outfitters or Karst Sports aren't good enough for you...then you're probably out of luck for cave specific gear. IMO has done me great in person and online.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby msm0711 » Jan 11, 2014 9:34 pm

Unfortunately, I'm in the US and both of those have let me down repeatedly.

I'm also an avid backpacker and climber, and I've only ever had one non-cave "outdoors" store have as poor service as the above mentioned cave stores. In fact, I've done a ton of online buying, and I generally don't have issues. I really don't think I'm hard to please, just ship promptly, if that's not possible, let me know, and ship me the items I order, or don't charge my card and let me know.

I have heard numerous good things about IMO, I guess I've just had repeated bad luck with them.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby graycaver » Jan 11, 2014 10:00 pm

Have you tried OnRope1? I have had good service from them.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby gindling » Jan 12, 2014 10:35 am

You may just have bad luck. IMO has always done us well, shipped on time, answered emails, and even helped to get us things express shipped when we were running late on an expedition. No complaints. Thanks Nina and Jeff!
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby msm0711 » Jan 12, 2014 6:31 pm

graycaver wrote:Have you tried OnRope1? I have had good service from them.


I think our next order (a group order for a number of folks in our group who want rope and ascending equipment) will be through OnRope1. Hopefully they'll live up to their reputation for good service. I hate thinking of spending large amounts of cash and receiving slow shipments, partially filled orders or the wrong products. It get's aggravating.

Has anyone ordered from WestVirginiaUnderground? I'm pretty sure I've seen someone from their store posting here, and a few of our members have expressed thoughts of buying a Landjoff bag or two from them.

We have a quickly developing group of cavers in our area, and since I seem to have become one of the "senior cavers" who people ask for suggestions from, it pains me to suggest buying gear from places that have been unreliable in the past.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby Phil Winkler » Jan 12, 2014 7:26 pm

IMO will never let you down. I am really surprised at these postings, frankly.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby snoboy » Jan 12, 2014 7:58 pm

I have had good service from WVU, including quick response in international order glitches that were no fault of theirs. One order from IMO was good and timely.

From Canada, I buy most of my cave specific gear through Starless River based in the UK. Awesome service, great selection. Not sure how it would be importing to the USA though.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby NZcaver » Jan 12, 2014 8:00 pm

IMO are usually my go-to vendor as well. Good people.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby rlboyce » Jan 12, 2014 8:09 pm

FWIW, I've had positive experiences every time I've ordered from WVU and Karstsports.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby msm0711 » Jan 12, 2014 8:31 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:IMO will never let you down. I am really surprised at these postings, frankly.



I can't agree, but stuff happens I guess. After all the good talk about them here, I was surprised the first time, disappointed the second. I let them know. If I ever decide to order from them again, we'll see I guess.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 12, 2014 9:49 pm

I deal with OnRope1 exclusively, but then again, I know the owners personally, and they have always been extremely kind to me and my friends when shopping with them at the cave in, or when we drop in at the store in person before a weekend of trips. Most of my friends deal with OR1 and none of us have ever had problems, even before we knew the owners personally.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby trogman » Jan 13, 2014 7:55 am

I've never had issues with any of the gear sellers-On Rope, IMO, Karst Sports, or Bob and Bob. Bob and Bob http://www.4bobandbob.com/; has been around forever and at one time they were just about the only source for caving gear in the US.


Trogman :helmet:
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby caver.adam » Jan 13, 2014 8:21 am

I gotta agree that OnRope1 is pretty awesome. Just couldn't bring their name to mind when typing earlier.

As for online shopping, I'm pretty thick skinned when it comes to mistakes. As long as they make it right in the end I consider the shopping a success.
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Re: Caving Store Service

Postby Scrivy » Jan 13, 2014 1:38 pm

I am still waiting for my order from Expedition Essentials for knee & elbow pads that was ordered and paid for on Dec 6th. At that time I ordered the models that they had in stock. Called them on Dec 31st and they had run out of the ones that I had ordered so they offered to upgrade my products free of charge for better ones that were in stock. As of today I am still waiting (1/14).

Update (1/14): I finally got through and Kent said they were 1-1/2 weeks out on manufacturing (the upgraded product that was in stock)? He said that he was happy to refund my money.

I guess I will keep browsing. Does anyone have a recommendation for good knee & elbow pads?
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