Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Customer Dis-Service Volume 2

Here's the text of a letter I sent to the presidents, and senior VPs of customer service, of HK, and HK-USA on the 10th of February. It's now the 8th of March, and I haven't recieved a response.

I am writing to you to descirbe a poor customer service experience.

I am a professional security and law enforcement trainer, security consultant, freelance writer, and a long time HK customer. I own or have owned several HK products, including several models of USP, an MP5, a G3, and others. I frequently recommend HK products to my clients, and my friends and family, because of their excellence; and prior to today their excellent customer service and lifetime warranty.

In October of 2004 I purchased an HK USP Compact .45 from an authorized HK retailer, new in the box, with trijicon night sights installed. I use this gun in my training classes, as a demonstrator to law enforcement, and in daily carry. In fact it is one of my favorite carry guns.

A few weeks ago I was having my gunsmith adjust the sight, when he came up to me and pointed out a small crack in the back of the slide. I didnt think much of it, as it appeard to be non-structural, and I decided to keep shooting. Unforutnately the crack opened significantly,
and appears to be opening further. The weapon is functional, but a wideing crack is disturbing.

I decided to send my pistol in for warranty service, and did so a few days go, at a cost to me of $60. Today, your service person called me up and said there would be a $300 charge to have the slide replaced. When I asked him why, he said it was because there was an un-authorized
aftermarket sight installed, voiding the warranty.

I explained to him that I purchased the weapon with the sight already installed, by an authorized retailer and he suggested that I take it up with the reatailer. Unfortunately this store has since gone out of business so I have no recourse to the retailer.

I asked him if he could honor the warranty, as the weapon was purchased new, from an authorized retailer, in this configuration. Not only that, I had my gunsmith (also an authorized HK retailer) examine the pistol, and he assured me the crack wasnt due to the sights, though when the sights were adjusted, by tapping with a soft brass punch that may have widened the crack, it had to have been pre-existing. The soft faced punch left brass marks on the sight. The gentleman from service insisted these were from excessively hard hammering, causing the crack.

I explained all of this to your service person, and asked if there was anything he could do for customer relations purposes, or anyone I could speak to and he said no, that was it, and that they couldnt do anything about it because an unauthorized aftermarket part was used.

Even given the unauthorized part, I purchaced the weapon in this configuration from an authorized retailer, as new, and I would expect the warranty to be honored under these circumstances.

At this point, I can no-longer recommend HK unreservedly to my clients, and my friends and neighbors, and I am very disappointed in this. I believe that when one pays a premium for the very best, which I believe HK to be, one should recieve premium service, and a helpful and accomodating attitude. Unfortunately this seems not to be the case.

Thank you,

Chris Byrne

I still love my HK's, unfortunately I've sold all of them but the USP compact because I needed the cash more than I needed the guns.

I don't have the spare $300 lying around to get the gun fixed, and even if I did, there's still the principle involved. Not only that, but they would only send me back a weapon with standard sights, not night sights, a $75 extra cost, added to the $60 I've already paid for shipping. For $435 to fix this thing, I might as well just buy another Glock.

If anyone reading this happens to know someone at HK who can help resolve this issue, or can get me any phone numbers, or emails for senior managers, directors, press reps, or VP's please contact me. I'm generally a pretty resourceful guy, but I havent been able to find any useful phone numbers, and no-one has responded to my emails.