Hardy v Orvis Customer Care

I apologize to the original posters for ripping this thread word for word however  as usual the unassuming and most excellent Wild Fishing Forum throws up an interesting little thread.

Malcolm said:

“For the third time I snapped a section of my 6 piece Hardy Gem. Not through aerialising 80 ft of competition line as I did with my Sage TCR but straightforward fishing. It just snapped…

Now I think there is a basic flaw in these rods and for the past three weeks I have been involved in a frank exchange of views with Messrs Hardy on the subject. As a result They have agreed so far to come down from the original replacement cost of £140 to £50.  Now I think this is quite wrong. Indeed I believe they should be recompensing me for the original two breaks which I paid for. However, they play a very hard ball do Messrs Hardy. You would think that a customer who has spent over £3000 on their kit over the past 12 years or so would be worth holding on to!

What a difference to the stories on here of exemplary service from Orvis.”


One reply was:

In my dealings with Greys/Hardys I’ve found them to be unreasonable, obnoxious and more than a little condescending. As long as there’s a breath left in me I will never again buy any of their products.

Orvis are the polar opposite – very helpful, gracious and informed. 

Good manners and customer service cost nothing and in these days and times it is the companies that go above and beyond……wait a minute – is being polite and respectful to your customer going that extra distance? Nope, it should be something you expect from point of purchase to after care.

Fred pipes in:

Love ’em or loathe ’em – when it comes to customer service American companies know what is required. Any American coming to live in the UK and especially  in Scotland would be appalled at the “if ye dinnae like it then get tae f**k attitude” so often encountered at every level from pubs upwards

Very true – one of my pals told me a few Hardy rods are actually cheaper in the states than over here (if anyone fancies confirming this do it in the comments) – I suppose they would have to be to make up for the after sales service – I doubt the American market would put up with it.

In Glasgow fishing news it is now drizzling.


  1. StephenM · August 1, 2011

    Orvis customer service is legendary, and it was a major factor in my decision to spend a lot of pennies on a couple of their rods

  2. @thetroutfly · August 1, 2011

    I have never owned an orvis rod or a hardy anything but given all the complaints ive heard over the years from hardy customers i’ll stick with my shakespeare kit, fished it always and love it, never snapped a rod and never paid more than 100 quid for anything.

  3. james hathaway · August 1, 2011

    Good morning from Orvis!

    What a great post to start my Monday.


  4. Alistair · August 1, 2011

    Yegads – it is true what they say – if you write Orvis three times James Hathaway pops up!

  5. ChuckG · August 1, 2011

    If you close your eyes, say Orvis three times, and click your heels, here in the states you magically appear in an Orvis store! But it’s always some small Orvis shop in Kansas. 😉

    I’ve owned just about every rod over the years made by the various companies here in the states, From Winston to Shakespeare.(My wife still asks why I need 12+ fly rods)

    My ‘go-to’ rod these days is an Orvis Zero Gravity 4wt 8″6″ 2pc Full Flex. I’ve paired it up with an older Orvis CFO III and it cast as if it’s an extension of my arm.

    Over the years I’ve only had to send a 4 piece Sage rod back when the tip has snapped (3 times). The last time they only asked what I was doing to the tip to cause it to break. Each time they replaced the tip, hit a spot or two that looked like the varnish needed it, waxed the rod, and mailed it back with a letter apologizing for any inconvenience. In all three cases they’ve only charged shipping.

    As for the Orvis rods and reels I own, in 30+ years of use, I’ve never had to send them in because they have never broken on me.

    I realize this is becoming a little to much like a ‘pitch’ for Orvis, but I want to end by saying, we have a local Orvis shop in town. The young guy that runs the fishing section is also what keeps me coming back to Orvis. He’s polite, knowledge, and enthusiastic about his job, and his passion, fishing.

    PS- I don’t know James Hathaway, nor do I work for Orvis, although it may sound like I do. 😉

  6. Alistair · August 1, 2011

    Aaagrh – you said it three times again Chuck – he will be back anytime now with some sound courteous advice and a warm smile!

    We Scots do not understand this concept!

  7. Duncan · August 1, 2011

    Just to add another nail, contacted Greys about seam leaking waders which were only 2 years old and was basically told “what do I expect”. At £170 a pop, a lot better product and after sales service. Mind you, I sent them to Diver Dave, in Aberdeen, £40 and now better than new.

  8. ChuckG · August 1, 2011

    Yes, such a cheery bunch we Yanks are. LOL

    As a side note, anyone on here own a Winston rod, or fish with bamboo?

  9. Marcel · August 1, 2011

    I have broken Orvis rods and always have had excellent service both in the US and in the UK.
    Once I even took a broken Sage rod from a friend with me to the US.
    The guys at the Orvis shop send it in to Sage and just like Orvis Sage had good service.

    The reason I got that Sage with me was that the warranty ordeal through the local European dealer was a costly and pain in the … affair.

  10. Campbell S · August 1, 2011

    A guy at my work is currently in Hardy Hell……

  11. Alistair · August 1, 2011

    Chuck – prepare to be appalled – I have a bamboo rod however it was weirdly imported to the states from China and then gifted to me here in the UK. I used it for a couple of seasons – enjoyed it too!

    Marcel – So Orvis helped you out with a Sage replacament.

    Campbell – Do tell, there appears to be a recurring theme..

  12. graham b · August 1, 2011

    On my recent trip back to Scotland while using my eight year old, 3 piece, 10ft Hardy gem i snagged a dandelion on my back cast. When i tugged it free the tip section snapped. I thought, “ach well, eight years old, wear and tear and all that, perhaps it should be expected, at least i can use my lifetime warranty.”
    Ha, when i contacted Hardy they said, “Yeah pop a 10cm section in the post and a cheque for 70 quid and we’ll replace the section for you.” When i asked about the unconditional lifetime guarantee and should they not be replacing the section for free. They replied they were replacing it for free, the 70 quid was for admin and postage back to Glasgow.If i had not mentioned the damaged section i reckon they would have sold me a section for a similar price.Makes you wonder what they mean by lifetime warranty.

  13. graham b · August 1, 2011

    In regards to my last post i think the aftersales at Hardy is less than average, but i must say i still really, really like my Hardy rods and reels.

  14. Campbell S · August 1, 2011

    Not very excoting, he has a Hardy Angel which snapped on the third cast after replacing the same section which snapped on the same place. There has been lots of arguments about having to pay a bunch of cash for another section which seems unfair. This has been ongoing for a few months. Thats about it really, nothing very exciting. I would rather have someone sort it without all the histrionics and requirements to draught snotty letters etc., a real sap on valuable time.

  15. Alistair · August 1, 2011

    And a real snap on fishing time!

  16. James Hathaway · August 1, 2011

    Was I summoned?

  17. Alistair · August 1, 2011

    Everyone stay perfectly still!

    Chuck – throw him a beer or something!

  18. Cat McGinty · August 1, 2011

    Good morning from Hardy & Greys! First, thank you to the Twittersphere for pointing me to this post… this makes disappointing reading, it’s never nice to be reading negative things about a brand one works so hard for..! but there must be something behind it, although most customers go away satisfied, and we get comments from people praising the service they’ve had from the team here, it does crop up.

    We’ve listened to this feedback over recent months and we’ve taken steps to reduce the chance of customers ending up disappointed, including increasing the size of our customer service team, and carefully reviewing the warranty system and charging structures for repairs and replacement sections. I’m not going to list again the reasons behind the charges etc because I’m sure you’ve all heard that kind of corporate speak before… If anyone does have any comments, questions or suggestions you want to share, then just drop me an email, I’d be happy to hear from you: cmcginty@hardygreys.com


  19. ChuckG · August 1, 2011

    Well I’m impressed.

    1) That Hardy & Greys would come forward and make the above statement.
    2) That these/this blog(s) must have a large influential audience.

  20. Stuart_Lands · August 1, 2011

    Agreed Chuck – well done Cat for getting involved, it is reassuring that the comments above are being taken on board. And Alistair – be careful what you say, the world is watching you! 😀

  21. JP2 · August 1, 2011

    Dang! We had best hope that Alistar and the Other,Less Famous TU not join forces….They would stride across the Internet Trout world,sowing snarky comments and pictures of cute kids like a mayfly hatch……

  22. Marcus Sangster · August 1, 2011

    I’m not sure that Hardy know what business they are in. They have a global brand that they are degrading by chasing too wide a market.

    They are making too much of their product in China, which makes them indistinguishable from any other maker. The many internet comments on their after-sales service indicates that they are careless with their brand. Bottom line is that they’ll gradually fade away and become consolidated into an overseas manufacturer such as Daiwa. A shame. The’ve practically given away a large share in the top-end reel market to Lamson and others. They should look at Mulberry or Barbour and aim to develop a name for making the undisputed best fishing products in the world. Leave the lower value products to Grays, buy a company like Partridge to look after the middle to upper and sell only British made products – at twice the current price if that’s what it takes. They should also lever their brand into niche clothing and make more of their luggaage.

    I’ve got a lot of Orvis tackle and have had remarkable service from them, once when I broke a rod and once when I needed a difficult spare for an older reel. But their products now are also almost all made in Asia and again, what distinguishes one Chinese reel from another when everyone can do design, finish and quality control to a high standard?

    The Chinese nowadays make good stuff – and they can do it for everyone.

    (As an aside: Orvis’s new reels look as if they’ve been designed for them by Hyundai!)

  23. Alistair · August 1, 2011

    All is well that ends well then 🙂

    Many thanks to the folk that have commented on this post – I suppose I should really point out that I could have chosen any major brand and put them up against Orvis and they would fail – however the problem is that Hardy portray themselves as being “the best” in the UK and try and market themselves as being kinda posh 🙂 Problem is if you demand the high prices then you should really give out the customer service that goes with it – if someone has just paid several hundred pounds for a rod then you should really be grovelling if it busts not trying to screw more money out of them. Be good to a customer and they will be loyal for life, be bad and you will never see them again and in fact they will tell all their pals.

    Big companies should really become a little bit more aware that consumers are using social media a lot more to discuss these issues – I am glad that Cat came here however it must be said that it was possibly after a spot of prodding on Twitter – Hathaway on the other hand keeps his finger on the pulse and not just the pulse of this wee urban blog written by a bloke in Glasgow.

    Marcus raises a good point about more gear being made in China – I suppose here in the UK we do not frown on Chinese gear as much as other folk as pretty much everything here is made in China however if your gear is made in China then try not to be all hoity toity about it and at least show a bit of dignity if the gear fails.

    Lets see where the future takes us eh?

    Anyway – there are a couple of guys at my front door so I had better go – weird, one is wearing plus fours and has a huge moustache – I think he is selling something, he has something in his hand…….

  24. Malcolm · August 1, 2011

    l’ve just been pointed to this. I was the original poster. What didn’t come across is that this rod which has broken 3 times is the same as that owned by a friend of mine. I recommended it to him. His has also broken 3 times. These are very lightly used rods – they are pack rods for the hill lochs.

    Anyway, my encounter with the hard nosed and totally inflexible customer service at Hardy’s is as far from the nice and rosy picture painted by Cat McGinty as is possible. Now I don’t blame they Customer Service people – who were clearly following inflexible orders. In the end I just gave up – the “principle of the thing” is all very well but I have a life to lead!

    I just felt terribly let down by a company that I have bought several reels, rods and other tackle from. Several thousand pounds worth over the years.

    I will never use them again for anything.

  25. Cat McGinty · August 1, 2011

    Thanks everyone for your comments, some particular responses…

    Marcus – You’d be amazed how many of your ideas are conversations already going on here at Hardy HQ, good to see we’re thinking along similar lines as ‘real people’. Thanks for pointing out that Chinese manufacture (or Korean…etc) doesn’t necessarily lead to poor quality – in fact some of the most sophisticated manufacturing in the world is in Asia now. We do still design our rods and reels from scratch here in Alnwick too, they’re not ‘off the shelf’ items, and our team of developers and engineers take great pride in their work.

    Alistair – re your point about Social Media, yes I was pointed here by a link on Twitter, but that’s part of why we’re on Twitter in the first place – so we can get closer to the people out there in the world who use (or don’t use!) our gear. (And just because we’re not posting doesnt mean we’re not there listening 😉 ). My personal opinion is that social media is going to be a great leveller and make those of us who represent brands much more in touch with the good the bad and the ugly of what’s being said about our employers.

    Malcolm – I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been let down, and it sounds like you’ve already tried all the angles to get a satisfactory result. I’ve been there myself with a few organisations in the past and it really isn’t nice. If you do think there’s any chance we can persuade you back into the fold, then do drop me an email. But otherwise, I’m sorry to lose you and hope you’ll come back one day.

    Tight lines all.

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