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samwhite

Sierra Expeditions

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I have been in the process of having a new trailer built. Why did I sell my M101? I was never really happy with the roof top tents Mike had found. Mostly they were just too small for myself, wife, dog and stuff. So why did I buy two of them? Anyway….

I did some research after seeing Captain Bob’s tent. Sierra Expeditions, in Tempe, has a large selection. After speaking with Sierra Expeditions for awhile it came down to two vendors. It didn’t seem that the specifications were much different between the two tents. So I purchased the 1.6 meter Howling Moon roof top tent. Howling Moon is a South Africa manufacturer and the original roof top tent manufacturer. It was not cheap.

I sent it off to Jesse at RubberSideDown who did the fabrication on the trailer (he did an excellent job) and sometime in the middle of June he called me to let me know that the rain fly had a few small holes in it. It appeared that these holes were due to poor packaging at the factory. I called Sierra Expeditions and they immediately called the local importer. Since then I have had several conversations with both Sierra Expeditions and the importer Roualeyn de Haas – President. I have been promised many times that a replacement is on the way. It is now into six months.

Where the fault rests is of little concern to me. I just want my roof top tent working. Sierra Expeditions just blames the importer. I have pointed out to them that I purchased the tent from them not the importer. And so I now have yet another promise that the rain fly is on the way. I will believe it when I see it.

Please be very careful when purchasing something made so far away. Yes the Chinese knock offs are in the same category but you can get a total tent for one third of what I paid. I would have expected more from a local Jeep supplier.

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I'm a bit surprised by this: I have dealt with Sierra Expeditions on a few occasions with purchases, none of which I have been unhappy about. I am curious to see how this ends up, and glad you shared your experience in dealing with Sierra Expetions and the importer.

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This really shocks me as the owner of Sierra Expeditions. Sam, we have done nothing but go above and beyond to assist you in getting the small tear in the rainfly corrected, for you. In fact over $400 in additional accessories for your tent was offered for you to compensate for the inconvenience this whole issue has had.

 

We don't blame the importer, and infact had put you in touch with them so you could see first hand that we were not stringing you along. In fact the importer has taken responsibilty for this issue. If the part is not here, its not here. I can not make a part magically appear out of thin air (once I can it will be awesome!). Its the same as if Jeep had a part on back order, and you can not get warranty work at that exact time. In this case, your tent has not been unusable this whole time with out the rainfly or even a small tear in the rainfly such as yours. It will be corrected as soon as the part is available. Honestly, I use the same tent and would offer you my rainfly if I could find it as I never use it. We're still unpacking boxes from our move to our new house, and if it pops up in unpacking I will be more than happy to lend it to you until the correct replacement gets in. Again the small tear in the fly should not hinder use of the tent or fly due to the quality of materials in the tent.

 

I was BCC'ed in your correspondence from Bundu Gear,

Many thanks for your reply. I certainly understand your frustration, and it grieves me that all this happened in the first place. It is not how I like to do business, and it is certainly not what I intended. Every now and then, an issue might arise in the relationship with a supplier, and things go pear-shaped; This is what happened between Bundu Gear and Howling Moon and I hope you will not hold it against us in the long-term. I also certainly hope you will not find the need to include Sierra Expeditions in the negative report; while they are a dealer, this situation put them entirely at the mercy of myself and Howling Moon in South Africa. They should not be judged unfairly in an effort that was entirely beyond their control. They are not the exclusive dealers or the only outlet for Howling Moon products, so I feel it would be unfair and short-sighted to prejudice them.

 

As mentioned before, we usually keep a good range of spares on hand- covers, window screens, hinges etc. You just happened to catch us at the very moment where we did not have the part you needed, and the home factory was undergoing some restructuring.

 

As for your replacement cover; I believe we have those in stock right now; and I would like to provide you with one, free of charge. While the cover is tight, it is indeed necessary for the best wind resistance and to reduce flapping. Your current cover should last at least 3 years. While it does not need to be coddled, it will benefit from a liberal coating of "303" at the beginning of every summer season. This will add some UV protection to the already UV-stabilised PVC.

 

Thank you for letting me correct this situation, and I am quite sure you will find it unnecessary to have to report any negative experience. I would like to reiterate that at no time was your tent rendered unusable or deficient due to the small cut in the rainfly.

 

Many thanks for your input. If you would like to send me a shipping address, I will ensure that we can get a Wheelie Bin off to you, as well as a replacement travel cover, to keep for the future.

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There are consequences for any actions. The normal way business is done here in the United States is, I guess, different in Tempe.

If I go to any store in any other part of the state and drop $2600 on a product and have some problem with it I have several options. I can return it. I can take it back and get it fixed. I can exchange it for another product. They might even go to the warehouse and take the part off another tent.

No one ever tells me to call the importer and deal with him. But OK, I am happy to do that to get the problem fixed. Then I am told that things are being air expressed. I am told that several times. I write Sierra Expeditions and tell them they are responsible. The importer calls me again and promises me some trinket that I don’t want or need for his inability or more likely that he forgot to get the part. Six months have gone by. Then when I post up the truth they are shocked?

You folks be the judge.

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Will called me last night and said they were able to get the rain fly. He had to go to a dealer in the UK as the factory still hadn't come up with the part. So Sierra Expeditions is now off my $##@ list.

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Glad to see this was resolved!

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Personally I have done 1000's of dollars of business with Will at Sierra Expeditions and never had a problem. I would highly recommend these guys.

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Steve,

 

That is my general understanding from most everyone I have spoken with. You are not alone as my tent cost over $2600. But the event did happen as I stated it and no amout of phone calls or letters could resolve the problem until I posted on this site. Then within two weeks Will had found me the rain fly. He had to work hard on it and it came from England but he did his job and I thank him for that. Sometimes vendors get stuck with bad suppliers. Now I have broken a part on the tent and I will have to revisit this issue and beg for help.

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Sam,

 

Sorry for all the trouble with your tent. I certainly will consider your troubles when I purchase mine. hopefully your troubles with the tent wont be a situation like your past experiance, but I do hope all will turn out for the best.

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I hope this is the final chapter in this saga. Today I drove over to Sierra Expeditions and picked up the part needed to repair my Howling Moon camper tent. Will told me some six months ago that he had applied for a dealership with them but I didn't think if appropriate to mention this until it was official. Then it took a few months for the container to ship from South Africa. But I have all the parts I now need and SE has been very helpful. Unfortunately in every business you must trust your suppliers and Howling Moon just didn't have a good one in this area. Now they do. Thanks Will.

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