Winegard and Customer Service

I am not a fan of Winegard. They are not a customer-focused company. They build products that fail and they make their customers go through a lot of inconvenience and expense to get Winegard products functional again.

You can read about the issue, an SK Motor Stall, here. It happened on February 2nd just as we were moving our coach to another site. Our satellite dish was stuck, pointing straight up into the air. This motor stall happened, mind you, after perhaps a mere dozen or so duty cycles on the system.

I called them up. They told me that the unit was no longer under warranty and that I would have to ship it to them at my expense, pay $350 USD plus taxes for the repair, and then they would ship it back to me. Oh, and it would take a couple of weeks to turn the repair around but only after I had submitted a WF-799 REV 2 Customer Evaluation Repair Request Form. Winegard would issue an RMA number and I could then ship the unit.

This is the WF-799 REV 2 Customer Evaluation Repair Request Form delivered as a fillable pdf document only it wasn’t fillable on a Mac. I had to import the pdf into an image editor, manually enter the required fields as text blocks, and export it back out as a pdf.

The first task was the disassembly and removal of the motor turret, dish and extension arm. Took two of us on the roof roughly an hour. We had a third person helping us on the ground.

Here is the motor turret after being removed from the mounting bracket on the roof of the coach.

The motor turret weighs about 40 pounds. My American buddy, shown here on the roof, despite not having a Robertson, helped me with the disassembly of the satellite dish. Thanks to Ron on the roof and Ron on the ground for all of your assistance.

After filling out the form, I waited for an RMA from Winegard. As we were leaving Florida on February 5th, I needed to get an RMA from them on February 4th so that we could arrange to have the motor turret packed and shipped to their factory before we left for California.

I called Winegard several times on February 4th, patiently explaining our situation each time, only to be told that they were overloaded with RMA processing — that in itself tells you something about the quality of their products.

Finally, late in the day, I received the RMA. I took the unit to the UPS store, paid $200 USD to ship it, and went on with life.

I received a call from them as we were travelling to California. They informed me that they would repair the unit without charge and ship it to our current location.

Okay. That is an acknowledgement that the product was known to be defective and that they are, to their credit, standing behind it.

But why make your customers go through all of these steps? Why cause the inconvenience associated with disassembly and reassembly of a complex piece of equipment? Why make your customers wait several weeks before they regain the functionality of the equipment? Why create complex forms and RMA processing?

Don’t get me wrong. I like engineers. I just don’t think they should be running businesses that interact with customers. And Winegard should use motors that can perform more than a few dozen service cycles.

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