Track Trailers - Tvans & Customer Service (The good & not so good)

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 16:13
ThreadID: 103746 Views:4459 Replies:15 FollowUps:13
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I thought it worth relating both a good, and in my opinion, a not so good customer service story.

I have a 2009 Canning Tvan which has served us well in our outback travels.

For those not familiar, the Tvan has two skylights and in late 2010 the forward skylight, which has double layers delaminated and was replaced under warranty as moisture and condensation was getting between the two layers.

The same thing has happened once again, however because the van is now out of warranty, Track Trailer have elected not to replace it under warranty.

Now I entirely get it that you can’t warranty every part forever, and if this was the first failure of the skylight, I would have simply paid my money for a new one and moved on. However, given it is an item that had to be replaced previously for precisely the same reason you would think that a couple of years later that you would do so as a matter of course once again.

After all, the Tvan is billed as a top end, off-road product built to last and go anywhere! If it was my business I would be embarrassed that I had to replace the same thing twice. And it is no good blaming a third party manufacturer, it is on their product branded a Tvan...

Anyway, the good side of the story is that Alan Graham Caravan’s in Gosford, who have serviced the trailer since new have elected to replace the unit with one they have in stock at no cost to me.

Perhaps in this instance Track could take a leaf out of Alan Graham’s customer service book, after all customer advocacies are the best sales pitch any company could hope for, and especially when you are selling a product with a price tag close to $50,000.

Kudos to Alan Graham and the team at Gosford...rest assured, I’ll be singing their praises to all.


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Reply By: Member - John G - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 16:26

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 16:26
G'dat The Landy

I agree with you on two counts. First, you'd think the warranty on the item would start afresh when it's replaced and second, you'd think at that cost, supporting your product might be a little more flexible. Could be worse I suppose, you could be a VW owner wondering if you are going to lose power and wondering whether Das Auto has a solution.

Cheers
John
AnswerID: 516345

Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 16:40

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 16:40
I agree the warranty on that part should apply separate to the van. Sellers still not seem to get it that in this day and age power is with the consumer through social media, the internet and forums like this. Time and time again when issues get put up it comes back to bite the supplier in a big way.

VW is a case at point - up until the DSG issue VW had a reputation as a quality brand and when the DSG issue became apparent VW treated their customers with disdain and when combined with an adverse coroners comments has resulted in VW's sales of DSG cars reducing to 50% of what they were before and other models have also had substantially reduced sales. As well their reputation has been damaged and will take years to recover if ever.

Sellers to not seem to learn.

Garry
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 17:01

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 17:01
Warranty is a wonderful thing IF ,,,the manufacturer honours it and IF the end user does not abuse the application of the terms of the warranty , in your case Landy the warranty should have restarted on the swapped out component , thing is a lot of people abuse the written and implied 'warranty' to the extent that manufactures have to query and disallow claims ,,,, oops my 12mth warranty on my Bunnings bought Electric drill is nearly up , better return it of a new one ,,,,,,,,,lol.
AnswerID: 516347

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:32

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:32
True, perhaps...

However this was a $250 part on a Tvan that has a replacement value of close to $50,000...not a $20 drill.

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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:47

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:47
Landy ,I know that there is a difference between a $20 drill and a $250 skylight on a $50k Tvan ,,, point is how long a warranty is 'reasonable' ?????????????? I have vague memories of a movie that I saw 40 odd years ago , the premiss of which was " The Man In The White Suit " who invented a material that never got dirty , torn ,ripped , or wore out , ergo everybody on earth would only ever need the one set of clothes from when they stopped growing to the day they died ,,, how loooooong is a reasonable warranty ????
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Reply By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 19:06

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 19:06
Hate to tell you it's not just Track who offer poor after sale service especially if out of warranty.

We have an Ultimate camper and have had a few small common problems with our last two we have owned...... Ultimate could not care less and were bordering on arrogant.
AnswerID: 516354

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:04

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:04
Disappointing, isn't it...!

Cheers, The Landy
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Reply By: Member - mechpete - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:32

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:32
that's a fairly common fault with some of the T vans , the problem started
when they had to change suppliers for one of the materials used
mechpete
AnswerID: 516358

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:34

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 10:34
Thanks, and that is the feedback someone from the company also gave me, perhaps they should not have done so because it highlights a more general problem they have had (and hopefully now fixed) in the past.

Cheers, Baz
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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:53

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013 at 20:53
I wish my warranty experience with my Avan from Alan Grahams was a good as yours, Landy.

I will never darken their doorstep again.
FrankP

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AnswerID: 516361

Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:04

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:04
There is far too much fun to be had in the outback to dwell on it this issue, so I won’t…

But I do have one last final comment that I’ll direct to the Track Management Team…

This was not about the $250 that the skylight cost, so I have donated it to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in recognition of the work it does for the people who live and work in the outback.

For those travellers’ who venture outback, many of who are owners of a Track Tvan or Topaz Van.



Every time a traveller hitch’s up a product with the “Track Badge” it says to others that they are willing to support the high-end market of camper trailers and specialist vans that is the “Track Brand” – consumers supporting a company that for the most part produces a great product.

I am one of those people…

You can spend all the dollars in the world on advertising, but you can never buy the advocacy that a happy customer can provide you with; you will only be able to earn that…

But hey, tell you what, why not match my donation to the RFDS even if you don’t agree with my viewpoint?

After all, most of your customers are out and about in the Outback.


Cheers, Baz – “The Landy”
AnswerID: 516373

Reply By: Member - Jack - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:42

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:42
I similarly found their service appalling. I wanted to get a wheel alignment done and contacted them several times to find out where it could be done. Nothing .. nada .. nought!!!!!

Thankfully, some good folk on this forum sent me instructions on how to do it and now I don't need to worry.

My thoughts on Tvans. They have a terrific suspension setup, upon which they rest their laurels, because what sits on top of that suspension is no better than most mid-range camper trailers, and in many cases, worse. Trying to open the kitchen with the ridiculous push button catches is a case in point. I will continue to use mine until I've had enough, after which I won't buy another one. If they had decided to provide some service I'd probably not feel so cheeses off with them.

Note to Tvan ... you reap as you sow.

Jack
The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:43

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 08:43
Cheeses I hate it when I don''t spell cheesed correctly!!!!!!

Jack
The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 11:57

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 11:57
I did post this thread to the Track Trailer Face book page to enable the company a right of reply and further comment should they choose - it has been removed by them, without comment.

Fair enough I say, that is the company’s prerogative, perhaps negative feedback is something they have difficulty dealing with…

I provided constructive feedback, ultimately it is up to the company’s management to benefit from it should they choose, I guess!

And once again, kudos to the Alan Graham team, it wasn’t all a negative experience!

Cheers, The Landy
AnswerID: 516383

Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 14:04

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 14:04
Landy

You bought a Trailer that came with a fixed term warranty, the manufacturer has honoured the warranty and replaced a part - one that was not made by him. Now it is out of warranty and the same part has failed again.
And you are now complaining and publicly trying to shame the manufacturer! What has he done wrong, beside some poor customer relations.
Why dont you shame the manufacturer of the vent, after all it is his product that has failed twice.
Many people believe that parts replaced under warranty should receive a whole new warranty period instead of the remainder of the main warranty just because it is a $50k trailer. How many have read the warranty terms relative to a $120k car. Very few manufacturers of anything will provide a new warranty on replaced parts.

Alan
AnswerID: 516387

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 14:30

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 14:30
Hi Alan

I purchased the company's product, a T-Van, not the product that it sourced from a third party supplier, the company's supplier is the company's problem, not mine.

I'll leave Track Trailer to either deal with the suppliers in its manufacturing chain or suffer the consequences of disgruntled Track Product owners.

In fact if you take another read of my original post I quite clearly indicated that had this been the first time it had failed I would have copped it on the chin! But two failures points towards poor quality control and it is reasonable for them to at least be challenged on it.

Yes, of course the company can point to a expired warranty, equally I can highlight that customer advocacy is an important marketing tool and put to the question as to whether it might have been a little more forthcoming, rather than simply dismissing it outright.

There was no inquiry as to whether they could view the failed product, just a flat no.

Poor customer relations? Yes, you hit it on the head!

Cheers, Baz, The Landy
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Follow Up By: TTTSA - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 14:40

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 14:40
Everything you have said is spot on Baz, we also own a T Van and I can tell you that after a staff member, I won't mention his name, left Track Trailers, the wheels seem to have fallen off. They say 1 man doesn't make a team but it seems 1 man can make a massive difference.

Just a comment at Alan, if you buy a toaster at Kmart and you have a problem, do you take it back to the manufacturer in China or do you deal with Kmart for a warranty problem?

Peter
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Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 17:29

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 17:29
Peter

Yes, Warranties rest with seller not the manufacturer, but in this case Baz was complaining the item was out of warranty and in a public forum complaining not about the manufacturer but about a company that has installed one in their product.

It is now out of warranty so why complain about Track Trailer, I would be whinging about the actual manufacturer and rubbishing their product.

Alan
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Reply By: Track Trailer Marketing Team - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:56

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:56
Please note. This is a reply from the Track Trailer Marketing Team.

Firstly, addressing Barry’s (Landy’s) issue. As pointed out by Barry three years have passed since the Remis skylight was replaced. The warranty did reset, but has since expired by two years.

All Track Trailer’s come with an industry leading manufactures warranty, three years on all body and build components and five on all chassis and suspension. In addition to this we pass on individual manufactures warrantees. Now.. Some of our suppliers are fantastic and offer extended warrantees to match us and our products applications, such as Koni who have three years!
But unfortunately most manufacturer’s only choose to warrant their products to the minimum required 12months.

Please let us remind you that we are not a multinational or conglomerate with an unlimited budget and while you’re more than happy to point at our “cost” as justification as to why we should extend our suppliers warrantee (up to 3 times longer than they offer) please note that our cost is directly related to keeping our manufacturing here in Australia.

Yes we are a premium product and yes we are committed to continually improving our product to make it more user friendly and to design out possible weaknesses. Jack, please note that we changed the locker doors to which you are referring in 2010, along with the complete re-design of the Tvan body(MK3). We would also like to find out what happened in relation to you not receiving the advice you required. Please contact Lloyd 03 8727 6100, so we can prevent this kind of problem from occurring again.
“Mechpete” please note that we haven’t changed this hatch manufacturer since 2003 and that delimitation isn’t a common issue.

Parting words: *steps on a soapbox*
We are a real company with long term commitments to improving service and product offering. We’ve been around since 1985 and we aim to be around for the decades to come.

There are fantastic cases were we have gone above and beyond for customers and there are cases were we have let them down. We are human, we are local and we are working very hard to reduce instances where our customers feel that our service is subpar.

If you have a problem with our service or product talk to us. 03 8727 6100.

As for the RFDS they are a fantastic charity and we applaud you for your donation, but we won’t be matching you. We recently raised a similar amount for “Jeans for Genes day” as a part of our ongoing community work, which includes staff members sponsoring a Ugandan child through the Child Fund, raising funds for Movember and holding a work BBQ for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. We will organise our next charity day to support the RFDS.

Thanks for your time

Regards
Lloyd Waldron
Track Trailer Marketing Manager.
AnswerID: 516396

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 17:58

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 17:58
Thank you Lloyd

You know it isn’t so much that it wasn’t replaced, but simply the way it was dismissed with a flat no, with no further discussion or explanation. That isn’t the response I had expected, especially for something that had let me down twice…

Had someone in your position provided the time to take my phone call and discuss the company’s position more fully I would simply have moved on.

After all, as I highlighted originally, I get it you can’t warranty every part forever…

It shouldn’t have come down to a need to for an exchange in a four-wheel drive forum to get a better and more reasoned response from a company that clearly does strive to produce a top quality – I felt quite let down by the lack of responsiveness to my concern, rather than the actual outcome.

Hopefully there is something in this that all can learn from…

Kind regards,
Baz, The Landy
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Follow Up By: Member - Des Lexic - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 18:57

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 18:57
Two well balanced points of view without the hype that often frequents responses.
As a fellow Tvan owner, bought second hand and without warranty, it's a 2006 model, I have travelled over remote and poorly maintained tracks with absolute confidence of the product.
On the Tracktrailer Forum, there have been a few issues of poor communication from the company, however I believe that most issues were satisfactorily resolved after a short period when track's response times were strained.
My neighbours recently bought a Topaz and are currently travelling in it. They have a couple of issues that they will be speaking to Tracktrailer on their return and I am confident that these matters will be quickly resolved.
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FollowupID: 795761

Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:21

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:21
Hello Lloyd:

We have a breakthrough! Thanks for the reply!
I have done the wheel alignment now and have also found out (from this
Forum) that Alan Graham can do them in Gosford. A Newcastle service centre would be nice, but I'll cop it sweet.
I don't think I can retro-fit those kitchen doors. I am taking the Van to a kitchen lock specialist to see if he can fit locks similar to the new ones.
Thanks again for the reply.

Jack

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:59

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 16:59
Just a comment re consumer law and rights: rights don't expire with the warranty.

The product has to be of merchantable or effective quality given the uses of the product.
AnswerID: 516397

Reply By: Polaris - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:04

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:04
We bought a new (in 2011) Murranji Mk 3 with all the fruit. After having had a number of previous CT's it was the trailer that we aspired to own for a long time.
Difficulties with ball weight issues led us to be in direct contact with Track Trailers.
Unfortunately they were of no help and their support of either us or the selling dealer was non existant!
The selling dealer ended up taking the trailer back for a full refund, then they disassociated themselves with Track Trailers.

Read the long story at My Swag dot org.

Tuco
AnswerID: 516404

Reply By: Member - Steve R (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:34

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 20:34
Hi Landy

The balanced response from you is nothing less than what I would have expected though we haven't been in touch for 4 odd years. Well done!

Regards
Steve
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 22:22

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 22:22
Its great to see a manufacturer come onto a forum to bat for their product. Well done Lloyd (I don't know you and have never met or spoken to you).

I want to see your product continue to come out of your factory in Melbourne and not come out on a ship from China.

I have nothing to do with Track Trailer - just bought a well used 2003 Tvan 2 years ago.
AnswerID: 516419

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 22:52

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 at 22:52
Phil

Whilst tending to agree with your sentiment, I hasten to point out that if Lloyd or someone in the Track Management team had addressed my concerns when the opportunity was offered to them, and in private, it would never had made its way onto a public forum.

A new skylight would have been nice, but above all else, some empathy and clear communication of the company’s position would have seen me moving on, quietly!

It was not so much the product that was in question here, but the company's lack of responsiveness, which I acknowledge has now been forthcoming.

Mind you, it wasn’t just about Track, this thread was also about recognising the team at Alan Graham’s Caravans and RVs in Gosford and the value they place on customer relationships.

Cheers, Baz
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FollowupID: 795767

Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 09:10

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 09:10
Lloyd Waldron, the Sales and Marketing Manager of Track Trailer, and I have had a lengthy telephone discussion on the company’s products, and importantly what the Track team are doing to improve its customer service.

The company understands why I took the stance I did in regards to its customer service in this instance, and as indicated previously I understand it cannot warranty its product inputs forever.

Whilst it would have been more beneficial to have had this discussion much earlier, and in private, I think the key take-away from my perspective is the company acknowledges short-comings it can have at times in its customer service area, but is constantly working to improve this.

They are to be congratulated for looking to improve; the care factor is there.

I am pleased the company has taken the time to respond in a professional way and this gives me every confidence to continue extolling the great virtues of the company’s product offering. It is a great product and that is why we have a T-Van.

I have sent a note to the Exploroz moderating team suggesting this thread be closed to further comment as I’m not sure further comment will add anything...of course it is up to them to do so, if agreeable, however, I have no further comment beyond this.

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 516434

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