Hardy/Greys Customer Service..

I am going to start out and say I should not really have expected anything more.

I have always had a bit of a weird relationship with Hardy and their customer service. I suppose I should be glad they do not treat an opinionated asshole with a blog any differently than any other punter.

After my favorite Greys rods (the old style 2 piece GRX 8 foot 6 4/5weight) was crunched in my car door by my beloved three year old I was kinda hopeful that the lifetime unconditional guarantee would kick in – I would fork out the £15 that I had obviously paid for when I bought the rod and a new top piece would be in the post.

What of course I did not expect was to be blindsided by a “we have none of them left”  and do you wanna pay £50 for an upgraded model?

Browsing on the net for fishing tackle shops I find a Greys GRXi from North East Tackle for £100 so the £50 offer is looking pretty good. However I do not want a new model with a funny new action that I may not like for £50, I want to pay £15 and get my old rod back that has grown with me over the years – it has a great action that suits my casting style and I love it. Pity it was such a pain in the arse for being in two sections though – and now sadly in three!

I suppose what would have made me happy would be if they had said:

“We are very sorry to hear about your loss, seeing as how we did not take account of the number of breakages of this particular model please accept the upgraded model for the sum of £15 which is what you agreed to when you bought the rod and we agreed to when we sold you it”

How could you say no to this guy – a nice trout caught with my GRX

What do you think?




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  1. colin wilson · June 21, 2012

    it is ridiculous and the guarantee is misleading if not a lie, i went through the same with the same rod (8/9 version) years ago, i wouldnt buy a greys or hardy (of which i have both in my stash) again, infact i think the new models rods are cosmetically ugly particularly the greys! personally if on the market for a cheap rod i would be looking no further than a shakespeare oddyssey .

  2. Gaz · June 21, 2012

    Tell them you want a GS2, not a GRXi+ 😉

  3. Stuart B · June 21, 2012

    This is when Insurance Accidental Damage comes in handy …possibly as an addon to your Home Contents ..I agree about these lifetime guarantees ..not always what they appear to be .

  4. Andy · June 21, 2012

    I broke a section of a Daiwa rod, an Osprey I think that was just obsolete and they had no spare blanks and they offered me their top range Amorphous whisker for the cost price of one section
    Magic customer service and I’ve been loyal since

  5. Alistair · June 21, 2012

    With accidental damage insurance you still have an excess and also it will drive your premiums up in the long term !

    Nice story about daiwa, I keep meaning to go and check out the factory in wishaw!

  6. Stuart B · June 21, 2012

    Yes you will have an excess on AD insurance but obviously you need to consider that against a claim and also consider the cost of replacement if you were to pay for it yourself …..I wasn’t meaning just for these Lifetime Guarantee type thingies …as for putting your premiums up…that’s debatable

  7. Si · June 21, 2012

    Bastards. I have read about poor customer service from Greys loads of times.
    My friend once broke an old Orvis rod and sent it back to them. It was about 10 years old and no longer in stock. They sent him a new rod as a replacement. His old rod had been top of the range and the rod they sent him was not quite up to the same standard. After he pointed this out, they replaced it with a better model and sent him a reel and spare spool by way of apology!
    I think I will stick to brands that have a good rep. Apparently Snowbee are also excellent on the customer service front.

    By the way, Greys handling charge on newer rods is now up to £25 + 10% of the recommended retail price per broken section!!!! In other words it ain’t a warranty at all, they just sell you a replacement for the broken piece.

  8. Paul R · June 21, 2012

    Is this kind of break even covered by the warranty? I could understand if the rod snapped casting or playing a fish, but losing a fight to a car door. Surely you’ve got to take this one on the chin? Given the age of the rod and the nature of the accident, I wouldn’t have even contacted the manufacturer. Brass neck Ali strikes again!

  9. Graham B · June 21, 2012

    50 quid for a whole rod? Bargain.It cost me 70 for the top section of my Hardy Gem. Do they still call it an “unconditional” lifetime warranty? Where’s Cat Mcginty when you need her.

  10. Alistair · June 21, 2012

    Paul, I hardly think it is a brass neck to ask for what I have paid for after all it was an “Unconditional Lifetime Warrenty” – when you pay the cash you are factoring in the cost of the “unconditional” part. If you pay for accidental damage insurance and you have an accident with something do you not claim as it is what you have paid for? if you pay for accidental damage for your mobile phone and it takes a dunking do you claim or just stump up for a new phone? If you buy a waterproof camera and it leaks do you just take it on the chin as electrics an water do not mix or do you ask for what you paid for?

    I think you have got to factor in what these rods actually cost, the blanks etc are made in China and they probably cost Greys/Hardy max about £20 each. Now, if they are going to make an “unconditional lifetime warrenty” part of their sales pitch to you when you buy a rod and set the price at £15 – £25 for the new piece then they are not only covering the cost of the new rod but also stopping folk from just breaking their rod to get a new one. In 2008 they changed their warrenty agreement to the new system – however the one I signed up for and agreed to was to send them £15 and they send a new section nothing more nothing less.

    You seem to be forgetting the advertsing that was around at the time of these unconditional lifetime warenty against any accidents – the magazines were full of them and they punted it to you in great big bold letters.

    However like a politicians promise it disappears in a few years – you sure you are happy with that?

  11. Alistair · June 21, 2012

    Graham, the policy is pretty clear now about what the costs are etc and I have no issue with that – the problem is that is not what folk paid for.

    It is a bit like me saying hey guys, we have now moved to a pay site so you all owe me for last months visits – that aint what you signed up for or agreed to.

    I agree that £50 is a reasnable deal for a new rod however if I wanted to spend £50 on a new rod I would find a new rod I liked for £50 not one I did not know anything about – what about casting style etc!

  12. Paul R · June 21, 2012

    Warranty – cover any fault that may occur due to problems with the manufacturer.
    Insurance – covers (almost) everything else.

    If indeed it is the case that Greys’ warranty also covers you for accidental damage for a small charge, then I can’t understand why you are slagging their service? You didn’t pay for insurance. So to cover this rod for 7 years, with a brand new replacement when YOU broke it has cost you £50.
    I get the impression that you wanted the rod covered for 7 years, with your choice of replacement, for £15.
    Seriously, what did you expect for £15?
    I used to work in an electrical retailers when I was at school. If you had come in and said you had dropped your TV after 7 years and you now wanted me to replace it for £15, you would have had to pick me up of the floor.
    I must admit that I wasn’t aware Greys warranty cover carelessness. In retrospect I have underestimated their customer service, which is obviously very good. Unless you you are tighter than a ducks arse and have unrealistic expectations!
    If you can’t remember the code for your wallet lock, take the £50 out of your offshore Amazon fund and get over it.

  13. Alistair · June 21, 2012

    Paul – what would your definition of “Unconditional Lifetime Warranty” with a charge of £15 be? Now remember that they touted it as being applicable for rods broken in car doors.

    Would it be “Conditional Warranty for 7 Years” for £50 ?

    If that is the case then you are a bit of a mug!

  14. Paul R · June 21, 2012

    I wasn’t aware that this exceptional service even existed so I’m unlikely to remember how it was advertised.
    In short you broke a rod that is so old there are no longer any parts, and you’re now complaining that they won’t let you pick the replacement of your choice. If you are really that bothered about the action then go and buy a rod that suits you and stop being such a moany bar steward.
    I guess the argument is really about the definition of “lifetime”. Do we really expect fly rods that are used regularly to last 7 years? Do we really expect them to keep making replacement parts for ever, or keep enough peices back to ensure you can use the same rod until you die? Generally by this time wear and tear should have taken its course.

  15. Paul R · June 21, 2012

    And I’d still rather be a mug than a miser!

  16. Alistair · June 21, 2012

    Would I expect a rod that is used regularly to last 7 years? The answer to that would be an astounding yes – in fact I would expect a rod to last 27 years unless something truly bad happened like it was caught in a car door. Good job they said that if that happened I would be covered eh?

    Miser: A person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible.

    Mug: British slang for a fool or someone who will do anything for you if you just ask such open the door, run the shop for you etc

    Dude – I am not saying their offer and service is bad, I am saying it is totally different from what it was when I bought the rod.

  17. thetroutfly · June 21, 2012

    I’ve never owned a Hardy or Greys rod so I couldn’t comment on their quality or the service provided by the company however what I can say is that I’ve rarely seen any good comments about it.

    Unconditional should mean exactly that!

    Like Colin hints at in the first reply you could buy a Shakespeare Odyssey for the price of a new tip under your “unconditional” warranty and I’ll be honest with all, they are great rods for the 15-25 quid you’d pay for one.

    My first rod was a Shakespeare and I’ve never been without one in my collection since, I fish with my 8′ Odyssey more than any other rod and if I ever fall and break it…..I’l just buy another one 😉

    I once owned an expensive fly rod and a friend snapped it in a car door…you could say I learned my lesson there and then, of course there were no unconditional anythings back then….except friendship I guess…I’ll leave you with that happy thought.

  18. Mark Bridger · June 21, 2012

    Seems to me that he £15.00 was the alternative to excess free insurance. All my rods were stolen some 8 years ago and my insurance paid up in full thw hwole cost of replacing the rods with similar rods of my choice. I had the oportunity to cheat and choose better weapons but stuck to the contratc nad bought 8 new rods of typically similar build. The original models were no longer available in many cases. I think the £15.00 should have covered either the original rod or an agreed similar replacemnt. The choice should have been offered. The manufacturer has had the “£15.00” for years and implicitly tok the risk that the rod would have to be replaced in the future. That £15.00 has taken into account the 90% of rods that will not be claimed for so in fact the bottom line is that they have had an awful ot of money to cover just a few replacements. They would not have made the original offer on an ad hoc basis it would have had a cost analysis performed and not been offered if unsupportable.
    Send the rod back and pick one that YOU want from the range!!

  19. Mark Bridger · June 21, 2012

    Oh yes,

    In future take your rod down put it in the case and place it in a rod tube in the boot!

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  21. Pones · June 21, 2012

    Friend of mine just sent his GRX rod back to Greys to replace a snapped tip. They gave him a new GRXi as a replacement.

  22. Alistair · June 21, 2012

    Did he need to pay the £50 though?

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  24. John · June 21, 2012

    My experience of Hardy/Greys service is one of an appalling lack there of. I broke a new Greys top trying to fend off 30 charging bullocks on the Windrush and left them a series of emails and telephone messages, since no one answered the phone for weeks??? In the end I put my complaint in writing and recorded delivered the rest of the rod to them, in order to get a response. This worked for a charge.

    OK, some of the Hardy’s have lost their cache’, but I still like my Demon #5, 8.5′ 3 pc better than any rod I’ve ever encountered, I got a 4pc, but it is stiffer. I hear the Sintrix models are extraordinary, unlike anything else. Maybe these modern times lend to a different image than upstairs downstairs, but I’m sticking with the Demons.
    John ( Cotswold Flyfisher )

  25. Geoff walmsley · June 21, 2012

    Broke the rod tip on my xf2 a couple of weeks ago, e mailed for replacement tip AND told them I wanted to buy another Rod which is what I call Business, no reply to date, I ain’t had much luck , I bought a Reddington from John Norris last year and was going to use it when I broke Greys, only to find the Reel seat does nort accommodate most of my Reels

  26. Brian Langsdale · June 21, 2012

    A couple of weeks ago, due to being ill, I fell against my Hardy Swift M1 10′ *#8 rod cleanly snapping the centre section. I contacted Hardy for assistance. I was told that, if I could produce the proof of purchase, they would replace the section for £70 including postage. However, if I could not do this, I was told I must send in the broken section and they would send me as new section for £100 plus postage. As a pensioner it is making me afraid to use the 5 Hardy rods I got whist I was working because I just cannot afford to get any repairs done. There appears to be no “lifetime guarantee” now that existed when I bought the rods.

    I feel ripped off !! Wish I could afford Sage rods

  27. Alistair · June 21, 2012

    That is bloody annoying!

    Did you phone or email them?

  28. Brian Langsdale · June 21, 2012

    Hello Alistair
    I emailed them. They replied promptly but with a rip off solution.

    I have two Swift’s and an Angel 2 and think I shall sell them and buy rods from a firm who knows just what “fairplay” means.

  29. JOHN LITTLER · June 21, 2012

    I too have had problems with Hardy /Greys so called Customer Service. I took a Greys Travel fly to the River Windrush and accidentally wacked a tree on it’s first outing. I had sent in the card and I tried emailing them repeatedly, faxing and calling what turned out to be their answerphone. Over 2 months, they never got back once, despite it turning into a complaint.

    To get any response, I sent the broken rod via recorded delivery, so they could not ignore having received it and they just sent a bill for the replacement top. There was no apology or redress. I decided I didn’t like the odd action of the travel fly and sold it on ebay. If I didn’t like their Demon Fly rods so much, I would go elsewhere.

    My own small company making electronic devices for string player musicians, Headway Music Audio ltd would be ashamed if we had let anyone down so badly, yet it is the kind of story I hear all the time of Hardy /Greys. So much for the laughable caring service of Hedge Fund owned companies. I’m afraid that this is an example of the unacceptable face of capitalism.

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  31. Russell Frost · June 21, 2012

    Well it seems I’m new to quite an elite and ever growing club of disgruntled Hardys/Greys consumers? House of Hardly?, notso hardy?
    Today on enquiring on the cost to have yet another tip section for my Hardy Gem Smuggler no.5 made(6 piece rod), I am told in no uncertain terms, that they no longer make such as they don’t have the materials? The rod was a gift when I was a professional guide in NZ – okay that’s a whole 11 years ago, but hi-modulus carbon, have we moved in leaps and bounds since then?
    Judging by the proliferation of other shortchanged punters here on this thread, perhaps what’s needed is a segment on the TV show WatchDog or similar – or a word to Prince Charles (H.R.H. The Prince of Wales)….as they do after all manufacture by appointment to him and him being all Duchy and organic and into traditional crafts and retaining knowledge etc might be shocked to see this companies latest rip-off, don’t give a sh@t form. Perhaps he could ask them to remove the ‘by appointment..’ on the lovely crested logo of his/theirs/his on their rod bags?
    Got me thinking of making my own bamboo rod – unless Pandas eat the lot, there should hopefully always be a supply of this organic material?
    What’s annoying for me is that my sentimental (yep, it was a pretty gutless rod) 5 weight is now a worthless peice of space junk….or should I plant some bamboo and recycle the parts to make a truly ecological fishing rod – anyone know how to dissolve the finish without damaging the guides etc…or I could try a ‘Frequent-Flyer’ from Orvis. Short of Bamboo, does anyone else have any experience of other manufacturers 6 or 7 piece rods? Does anyone know any other firm who will make individual sections. Though possibly not evident from my post, I’m actually a little lost for words!