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Customer Treatment in Camping Industry

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  • Profile Photo
    Gerd KopanskiParticipant

    I need to voice my opinion with regard to the treatment (or NON TREATMENT !) in the South African context and in comparison to the Australian camping scene.

    Australia has +/-22 Million inhabitants, South Africa has 65 Million. Australia is camping mad , so  is  South Africa, albeit not in all segments of the population, so our economy of scale with regard to camping equipment  is maybe not quite comparable to the Australian model.

    We have many, many ,many businesses offering 4×4 and or camping stuff for sale on the internet and we have many, many caravan/camping businesses BUT if you as a customer is ready to spend anything upwards of R 3.000,- /R 4.000,-  and more on a tent , awning or gazebo you are absolutely treated as an idiot by most of the businesses because they seem to think that the South African customer has a too limited brain capacity to comprehend a complete and exhaustive PRODUCT DESCRIPTION .   If you look to buy a tent for example worth R 10.000,- Where to go to have a look at the item and  scrutinize the finished end set-up Product ?

    NOWHERE ! Instead you have to believe the “MORSE” Description which is offered  by internet trading firms or you have to scour the internet to  find some additional info supplied by the originating company…..Tough luck for you if the company is a Chinese one …..

    My point is this: We have many caravan distributors showing lots of caravans  and the customer can satisfy  is curiosity and need for info   on the spot …he (the customer) can also arrange a “test camp” if lucky.

    But if you are into camping  (tents, awnings, gazebos) you have to buy on the strength of photos and often insufficient and sometimes ridiculous descriptions. Australia  on the other hand have some big retailers with a display of quite a large variety of tents, awnings etc in erected state, We in turn just see lots of iron pots, knives, batteries, etc etc etc till you puke……

    It might be possible to convince a caravan / camping dealership  to obtain a R 10.000 tent  to demonstrate it to me (without a guarantee to buy) BUT I DOUBT IT VERY MUCH……..However the companies selling products on the internet  need to sharpen their offerings with regard to detailed descriptions and related info, even if it means to refer them to another site , containing more info. The product descriptions I found during my recent search on the net were mostly horrendous and not informative at all but it is expected of you to take out your wallet and buy “blind”.

    Come on, treat your potential customers with respect and more product info and also do tell them where the product is manufactured / coming from . To put the SA flag  behind every product because the importer is a SA company constitutes  a purposeful misinformation.

  • Profile Photo
    Gerd Kopanski
    Gerd Kopanski on

    Based on the comments or replies,everybody seems to be happy with buying expensive camping equipment blind and with insufficient information from  the advertiser or the dealer, be it a shop or on the internet. I am not referring to pots, knives  etc etc which one can lustful ogle in every camping shop and even touch multiple times. I am referring to tents, awnings , gazebos and similar expensive items

    Let,s leave it at that …but nobody shall complain about missing or miserable customer service.

    If you wish buy a caravan mover for R 15.000 – R 25.000,- for example, DO you get relevant technical data ? Not a chance, just beautiful color pictures and you still don’t know how and how long the device will perform or how it will master obstacles, what the power consumption under various load is, etc etc etc

    If you buy a torque wrench on the internet for R 800,- plus you get no information how to set this thing to a certain torque and the Sout African flag in the “PREODUT DETAILS” makes you think it is SA ……But it isn’t. It is from China….

    It seems that everyone is happy met die toedrag van sake…

    Profile Photo
    Quiksilver
    Quiksilver on

    Hi Gerd,

    i wouldn’t call myself the most experienced of campers…

    But i think most of the Chinese stuff we get on import is mostly electronics based.

    i have bought myself a few items from LumenoLED – some very cool stuff actually! and i find their sales chap JP very knowledgeable about all my questions.

    i do hear you with regard to the descriptions of certain products, and how easy they are misleading. and something that i have learned from “shopping online” is that its so easy to defraud people. yes, some of the descriptions are outdated and yes sometimes i did want more information. though in the same breath – for me personally i dont want to read the full user manual for everything i wanted from online.

    if im going to spend anymore than R 1000 on a product, i normally do my own home work on the product, read reviews and use a plethora of sites to do my homework.

    i also like to feel, touch and test the products before i purchase them.

    Alternatively – and this is juts my trick 😉

    i normally email the editor of the caravan magazine and suggest to them testing out a product im interested in. they feature their reviews in the magazine which i find VERY useful! infact their camping-must haves are one of my favorite sections in the magazine.

    I’ve used this camping app for many things, and i particulars like the Accessories section. Some of the products are very informative and also come with a nice YouTube link or video for what product is on offer. Good job web guys!

    i have used this forum before for asking people certain things like, fitting an 360 bat and shadow awning to my Sprite caravan.

    Gerd, i think you’re going to have a lot of difficulty in changing the way that websites are used to promote certain products or items.

    Though i am grateful you are on this forum to help me, and the other users when it comes to the DIY stuff!

    You can never have enough camping enthusiasts sharing their experiences!

    😀

     

    What camping setup do you have over there?

    Profile Photo
    Gerd Kopanski
    Gerd Kopanski on

    Hi Quicksilver

    When you ask  “What camping setup do you have over there?” I must ask whether you are from another  country ?

    My main problem is when you spend a few thousand Rand on one item like a large tent or gazebo, if you equip your 4×4 you can go to FRONTRUNNER or similar outlets anbd they demonstrate  to you and show you samples, etc etc and you can ask questions directly and see and feel the products…..

    If you buy a large tent (R 25.000) from an OZTENT agent in South Africa or  on the internet  you get maybe 5 or 6  phrases of descriptions and some specs about the material, otherwise the product is praised to heaven…. In Europe you have magazines testing stuff and comparing it and you can at least have an opinion before buying but here it is very difficult  to get info on which you can base your buying decision with some confidence and trust.

    But I agree that i will not be able to change the system in my life time ….I am just sorry for all the customers who were and are “smooth talked” or swayed over by insufficient and at the same time glorifying explanations and descriptions.

    Profile Photo
    Gerd Kopanski
    Gerd Kopanski on

    I bought a torque wrench which was described as PRECISION INSTRUMENT the other day for over R 80o,- and when I received it I was not clear at all as to h. The ow to adjust to a specific torque value. The enclosed instruction was so miniaturized that I could not make out what was required for an adjustment ….however the box was very nice and sturdy. The calibration certificate did not have a number nor the name of a calibrating Laboratory, nor  the date of calibration but was signed (copy)  by JO !!!!

    I rest my case

    Profile Photo
    Quiksilver
    Quiksilver on

    yes! My daughter bought something from the app called WISH, and what she got was a lot different than what was advertised!!

    So i do understand your right to gripe 😉

    i am situated in Pretoria – Johannesburg. are you in SA? or Australia?

    For me personally – i just dont trust the internet. which is also maybe where you are having your issues.

    Ofcourse it would be cheaper to see the product in store, and purchase it online. because the online stores dont have the same overheads as local stores.

    i just prefer the friendly assistant of a sales man/woman when im looking for gear.

    i dont anywhere but Pretoria Caravans. 😉 the staff there have serviced me VERY well over the last few years!

    My only advice to you would be, always buy from reputable companies /brands. we bought a smallish OZTENT from Pretoria Caravans years back. still works, haven’t lost any pegs and still folds into the original bag!

    ofcourse i will take some credit myself for looking after it 😉

    Profile Photo
    Gerd Kopanski
    Gerd Kopanski on

    Hi Quicksilver

    I am from Randburg and we bought a used Conqueror Supra 1 from a very respectable caravan dealer in Pinetown. I bought blind with photos only and of course the info given to me by the sales person who happened to be one of the company directors. In short, when I collected the trailer, It was shown to me and explained fully and I had the option of taking it or not.

    I took it because I  satisfied myself……Then I researched the net for a decent “fast erect & pack” tent  and that is when I came across  all the “meagre” bull dust dispensed by camping shops as well as internet sellers. I virtually had to research the original websites  (OZtent and OZtrail in Australia as well as U-tube)200  to glean proper information about some of their products. I then bought “blind” again as  there is no camping shop I know who would demonstrate my selected tent in real time….The tent cost me R 3.200,-  , I received it anbd next week I will unpack and try it out by myself !!!!! and that is basically my gripe…..Customer service South African Style…….payimmediately and look at the shit (or not) later…..when you cant give it back anymore , UNLESS IT IS DEFECTIVE….Have a look at some photos from Australia (with 22 Million people !!!) they have HUGE halls (shops) where  a fantastic quantity of different tents are erected,,,,, for the customer to see, feel and ask direct questions.  You wont find 5 or 6 of such large  shops in Sydney or Melbourne, maybe only 1 BUT how many camping shops do you have in The Jo’burg/Pretoria area ?????? 10 ? 15 ? or maybe 20/ 25? and ALL SELLING VIRTUALLY THE SAME STUFF  MANY TIMES OVER!!!!! It is ridiculous…..

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