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ST / KW Coilovers: Buyer Beware

 
Old Mar 7, 2019, 03:08 PM
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ST / KW Coilovers: Buyer Beware

This happened while driving my 2005 Mini Cooper S JCW today, but I figured that you all might be interested as well.

On my way to work this morning I went to take a turn at maybe 10mph or less, and hit a rough patch while doing so. I was met with a loud snapping noise, and then a *clunk* while passing over any rough payment. I immediately turned around and went home (missing work..), jacked the car up and found that the driver side rear coilover had a broken shaft. It literally sheared off right at the shoulder where the threaded portion passes through the top-hat. I must say, never in my 20 years of motoring and wrenching have I seen a failure like this on a properly installed and young part (4k miles). Photos attached.

I called KW and spoke to one of their C.S. Reps (who turned out to be the CS Manager..) explained to me their "warranty process". After filling out a long form that requests loads and loads of technical details, KW asks that you send in the defective unit, they'll review the failed part, then...get this..."rebuild it over the next 3 weeks and send it back to you". I said surely you can't be serious, explaining that it would be far more reasonable to sell me a new unit on-the-spot and later refund me the money once my defective part was assessed. You would've thought I was speaking Greek, considering how the guy just kept silent and would then repeat his bullsh*t, intentionally obtuse responses. The conversation was no longer productive, so I called ECS tuning, the vendor that sold them to me. C.S. at ECS agreed that this was ridiculous of KW, and began making calls to see if ECS could foot the bill for a replacement unit and try to recoup from KW on their own time. There's still no resolution, but I can say for a fact that KW / ST lost a customer today. A failure mode like this is completely unacceptable, and should warrant apologies and the utmost cooperation from the manufacturer. Instead I was met with indifference and arrogance, and this was from their CS Manager.

If you plan on purchasing a KW or ST product, I'd urge you to reconsider based on not only my experience, but also the other enthusiasts who have had similar experiences with their products and warranty process.





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Old Mar 7, 2019, 03:40 PM
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It sucks that you had a bad experience with KW. My experience with their Customer Service was somewhat different. Although, I have heard stories like this in the past. I hope that they get this sorted out. If you don't mind me asking, who was this CS Manager that you spoke to?
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Old Mar 7, 2019, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by NFSEvolutionGSR View Post
It sucks that you had a bad experience with KW. My experience with their Customer Service was somewhat different. Although, I have heard stories like this in the past. I hope that they get this sorted out. If you don't mind me asking, who was this CS Manager that you spoke to?
I believe his name was Augustine.
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Old Mar 7, 2019, 05:31 PM
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They don't want to sell you a new unit and then refund you once yours is determined to be defective because all you need is a new shaft, and these are rebuildable. It's much cheaper to replace that shaft than it is to eat an entire unit.
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Old Mar 7, 2019, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
They don't want to sell you a new unit and then refund you once yours is determined to be defective because all you need is a new shaft, and these are rebuildable. It's much cheaper to replace that shaft than it is to eat an entire unit.
I don't disagree, but that's what happens when things break. You sometimes take a hit as a vendor or manufacturer.
The alternative is me not having a car for 3 weeks, which is unacceptable.

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Old Mar 8, 2019, 05:27 AM
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I ran into the exact same thing except with my old VW except worse. They wanted me to send back all 4 corners and I didn't have 4 jackstands (thanks GVR-4 for occupying those!).

KW warranty basically makes it as difficult as possible to use and since it was my DD, my only recourse was to buy new coilovers (the stock parts were junk) and then sell the KWs once I got my warranty part back. I'd run K-Sport/Raceland throwaways before I'd buy KWs again.

Any operation as big as KW should have rebuilt units for most of their product line on the shelf, available for an exchange fee/core charge for warranty items.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBigChill View Post
I don't disagree, but that's what happens when your product is ****. You sometimes take a hit.
The alternative is me not having a car for 3 weeks, which is unacceptable.
I'm not a fan of KW because I don't think they offer the best performance for the money anymore, and the one time I tried to talk to them at SEMA they were pretty ****ing snobbish about their products because I didn't drive a Euro car. But to say their product is **** over one instance of failure and you're not happy with their warranty procedure is kind of ridiculous. Though, you did opt for the bottom of the barrel cheapest product they offer.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBigChill View Post
I believe his name was Augustine.
Okay, I don't believe that I have ever communicated with that person.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
But to say their product is **** over one instance of failure and you're not happy with their warranty procedure is kind of ridiculous.
I agree with this. A case study of one proves a correlation of nothing.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
I'm not a fan of KW because I don't think they offer the best performance for the money anymore, and the one time I tried to talk to them at SEMA they were pretty ****ing snobbish about their products because I didn't drive a Euro car. But to say their product is **** over one instance of failure and you're not happy with their warranty procedure is kind of ridiculous. Though, you did opt for the bottom of the barrel cheapest product they offer.
That's fair.
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