Dealer's Take: Scott Moss on Lousy Customer Service

Fellow gun nuts: We hear from each other, from gun writers, and from manufacturers, but gun dealers give us a perspective that we don’t get elsewhere. Scott Moss, who is the third generation of that family (all of whom have taken lots of money from me) to sell firearms, has agreed to come on the blog from time to time and tell us what’s on his mind, good or bad, about the guns he handles. If you’re interested in buying from him or selling to him on consignment, you can call Forest & Field, Norwalk, CT 203-847-4008.—Dave Petzal

Jacket Men’s Gamekeeper Jacket
MSRP: $125.00
Contact: www.berettausa.com

This diatribe is about companies with lousy customer service. I do not subscribe to nor do I practice the maxim "The customer is always right." In fact, I have some customers that I classify as "Rambo-zos" and have been known to throw one or two of them out of the store on occasion. However, many times customers have legitimate gripes and manufacturers as well as retailers need to pay attention to them or lose the customer forever.

A case in point is Beretta. A customer of mine once bought a Beretta coat from me that turned out to be defective: The wrist opening was so small on one side that the customer could not get his hand through it. It was clearly a manufacturing defect. No problem. I gave the guy a credit and he left happy. I sent the coat back to Beretta assuming (wrongfully) that they would make good and either a) give me a replacement or b) give me a credit. No chance.

They are apparently from the caveat emptor school of business which translated simply means "too bad." The guy who handles Beretta clothing was in the store at the time of the return and promised to get us a credit, and even took another coat that had a minor flaw to be repaired. But in the end he couldn't get me the credit and gave me a really ugly shirt as a consolation prize. Now, that guy is excellent, and he is really trying. As a result, I’m sure he’ll last only another few weeks and I’ll be sent a minion who is more apt to toe the Beretta party line.

Compare this to a company like Filson. Filson makes excellent hunting and shooting clothing. They ship it to me three-day select at no extra charge. Their core line is made in USA. They list their dealers in their catalog. Sometimes they send me the wrong item, size, or whatever. I send it back and get a replacement immediately (if I want) or a credit. Their clothing is guaranteed for life and has been known to be passed down from father to son on occasion. I buy, promote, and sell lots of Filson.

I don’t buy, promote or sell as much of Beretta clothing even though much of it is very good. I want my customer to feel his purchase is a good value (price + quality) so he will come back and buy something else. How can I sell a product that the manufacturer won’t even stand behind? Beretta is too large a line to not carry, but I’m not enthusiastic about supporting a company that does not support me or my customers.