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I bought a Bending Branches Impression 280 cm paddle for use with my new Kevlar canoe. It was definitely not inexpensive, but seemed a good, lightweight paddle for use with my lightweight canoe. It was also the only double ended, kayak style paddle long enough for my canoe manufacturer to recommend for use solo from the center seat of the canoe.
After the first outing of this year, I noticed that paddle had split through the "rock guard" at the tip of the paddle, and the split extended about 5 inches toward the paddle shaft. The paddle was about 13 months old at the time. I emailed Bending Branches with a description of the break, the purchase date, and the dealer I had bought if from. Within 5 hours (excluding the Memorial Day weekend) they replied and asked for photos, which I promptly sent. The next day they shipped a replacement paddle, and asked me to return the damaged paddle in the same box using a prepaid shipping label to be included with the replacement paddle. Unfortunately, the return shipping label was not in the box. I notified them of the missing shipping label and within a couple hours received a reply indicating they had failed to inform the shipping department to include the label, that they did not really need the paddle back because they had my photos, and that I should keep or dispose of the broken paddle at my discretion.
At no point did anyone question the 13 month age of the paddle. (The Bending Branches web site mentions a 1 year warrantee.) And no one questioned if I might have abused the paddle. (It might have broken when I tried unsuccessfully to stop a strong current from carrying me downstream by pushing the paddle into a rocky streambed. Abuse? I don't know.)
I have not seen better customer service from any company and have only seen equivalent service from a few. If only all companies treated their customers this way.
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