The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Nike Customer Service Report 

Sep 12th, 2016
8:16 pm PST

Normally I don’t write about things not track related. But in many ways this is track related, so here goes.
Recently I had to product “malfunctions” with two completely different outcomes/experiences. One was with my smart phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The Note comes with a special stylus that is really the heart of the phone. My stylus broke. I did nothing out of the ordinary, it just snapped when I was taking it out of its slot on the phone.

I called Samsung to see what their policy was. They logged in a claim; emailed me a pre paid shipping label; and told me to take it to a UPS store and send it to them. They would evaluate that it hadn’t been tampered with or misused and would send a replacement (about a $30 value). I did as instructed. A few days later I received an email stating that a replacement stylus was on its way! A few days later I had the new stylus, which I’m using to write this post!

I also had an issue with my Nike GPS watch. As a coach, a GPS watch us a necessity these days. Everything from making off courses and work outs, to timing practices and meets. I bought this watch last year. While many people choose Garmin, Timex, and other TomTom watches, I chose Nike because it’s running. Well, the band broke over the year – just snapped. And the watch isn’t made to replace the band – I know because I searched for a replacement.

I went online to see if others had had a similar issue and found that many people had, and has had no resolution to the problem. As I did with Samsung, I called Nike, because I felt certain that Nike would have a solution to the issue. 

After finally reaching a representative on the phone I discovered that Nike no longer made that watch, or any other watch. So there was no possibility of getting a replacement. I was told however, that I could send the watch back and as long as the break occurred from normal use they would send me a voucher equal to the purchase value of the watch. Since this was a $250 watch I felt that this was worth it – even though unlike Samsung I would have to pay for the shipping myself.

So I went to my favorite UPS store and send the watch back to Nike feeling confident that ask would be taken care of since the ONLY reason I wore the watch was coaching daily, and the occasional run. Well, today I got an email from Nike stating the following:

We’ve received your Nike claim submission. 

“Unfortunately, after a thorough inspection of your product, we’ve determined that the issue resulted from use outside of the product’s intended purpose.

With that, we can’t consider this a material or manufacturing flaw, per our return guidelines, and we’re unable to issue a product voucher.”

I was a bit irritated knowing, as I stated above how the watch was used. So I replied to the email requesting to know “what unintended purposes” they were alluding to. I promptly hit an email saying that my email went to no one and that if I had an issue there was a number to call. So I called the number and ended up with a rep that had no authority in the matter. He did however review my claim and saw the photo of the watch which clearly had a snapped band. It was so clear that he too was curious as to why the claim was denied, so he put me on hold and called the department that refused the claim.

After a long wait, he came back saying that he was given no explanation other than what I was sent in the email, but he requested to talk to the department head. After coming back to me several times apologizing for the wait, but feeling as though we were going to get some resolution. In the end there was no resolution. Nike stuck with the above statement with NO explanation as to what unintended purposes the watch could have been used for! 

I’m sorry, but if Bill Bowerman is watching somewhere he’s very disappointed. His “vision” was to improve running fur his athletes. Today running, coaches, athletes sirens to be far from the focus of Nike. Not individually anyway. That response above is a stock, tell em this, response. It says NOTHING other than they never intended to replace or give value for the watch. They made a poor product and simply moved on to the next thing – we users be damned! They don’t even make another watch. 

And their running shoes are no longer dominating the market either. Just look at the latest show rankings from Runners World. Yes their are a couple of Nike’s on the list. But so are Brooks, Asics, Salming, Hoka, Newton, Under Armor and other brands only recently joining the scene. Nike clearly doesn’t care to maintain dominance in the market. My local running store certainly doesn’t keep them at the top of the list. They’re not dominating the local pro football scene either as Under Armor dominates here locally. The World’s fastest man doesn’t wear Nike, he wears Puma. And one of the seeming up and coming replacements is sporting New Balance. As a matter of fact the last spring WR holder to wear Nike was Mo Greene – and they pissed him off and he went to Adidas! And up and coming super star Candace Hill is sponsored by Asics. 

Nike seems to have turned its back on the running community. Yes, it’s gives big money to Oregon, and sponsors the Prefontaine Classic – because it’s all in its backyard there in Oregon. Frankly they’ve done more to damage the sport than help it. I’ll explore several of these items in future posts. Suffice it to say however, that running and we peons that built Nike – I bought the very first Waffle Trainer, and have been wearing Pegagus since the first one in 1985 until this afternoon – no longer really matter. Sorry Bill Bowerman. Nike has moved on to bigger and better things. Fitting professional teams and such. And if they make an inferior product who cares. We bought it, shame on us.

Well, Nike has moved on and so am I. I retired my Pegasus this afternoon and got some New Balance – good enough for Trayvon, good enough for me. And I’ll be suggesting that the rest if you do the same. Check out the Runners World Shoe Review and find something that works for you. Hopefully a manufacturer that will stand by its product through thick and thin. Several of my athletes have tried Hoka and been very happy. They’re new, and they try harder! 

I’ll be taking a look at track and field and answering the question, “Does track and field need to change?”, next.

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