Why don’t companies stick behind their products? Maclaren Strollers, Inc.

I wrote about the lack of quality in the toys our children received for Christmas a few days ago (see What happened to quality control with toys?) and since then I have dutifully queried the various companies trying to figure out how to return or repair some of the new additions to our playroom.
Of the two queries I’ve sent, one was answered splendidly (kudos to the customer service team at Collectibles.com, who are willing to work with me on the carousel even though it wasn’t purchased there).
The other, well, you can read the exchange between us and Maclaren Inc…


First off, we sent the following message to Maclaren Strollers:
Hello there. We bought a toy three wheeler “jog strollerâ€? for our daughter for Christmas, and when we assembled it, found that various small pieces of hardware were missing, including the screws needed to attach the “mud flapâ€? plastic piece to the front wheel and the two pieces (per wheel) for the back wheels that lets them stay on the axle (in the instructions they’re shown as steps 1.c and 1.d and the screws in step 4.
For obvious reasons, my daughter is very eager to be able to play with this toy so we would be MOST appreciative if you can have someone send out that hardware ASAP.
To which they responded rather curtly with:
We apologize for the missing pieces of your stroller, would you please let us know where you purchased this toy? We’ll be able to serve you better with this knowledge.
And we sent back:
Hello – We purchased the stroller at TJ Max. I never thought to check inside for missing pieces, but will do so in the future!
and here’s what we got back. But before you read it, how would you respond if you were in charge of customer service at Maclaren Strollers, Inc?
Surely not like this:
Thank you for your prompt reply. Unfortunately we do not have stock for the spare parts of toys to repair this toy. As it was sold through a retailer, it is the retailer that has the money from the transaction rather than us. It will be up to them and their return policy which we cannot override. You may want to try taking the toy back to get a refund, if you are refused please let me know and I will see if customer service can do anything else for you.
I find it completely baffling that they don’t have spare parts for products that are part of their current product line, but more upsetting that they don’t really seem to care much. If I were in customer service I’d scrounge up some replacement parts of some sort, something to at least say “we don’t have parts, but I’ve sent along something I think will work”.
Oh, and if the retailer is the only person in this supply chain that “has the money from our transaction” then I wonder how Maclaren is still in business. In fact, Maclaren has a piece of the transaction too because TJ Max had to buy the product from them in the first place. Or perhaps Maclaren views that as when they get to wash their hands of the transaction?
This is the face of modern commoditized overseas manufacturing. The vast majority of people at Maclaren probably don’t even know where their products are made, let alone have the ability to pick up the phone and ask for some replacement parts to be sent to an unhappy customer.
And pushing us back to the sales outlet? That’s a coward’s way out, in my opinion, because as we said in the beginning, we like the little jog stroller, we just want it to be fully assembled. Instead of being glad to hear from a potentially happy customer, Maclaren customer service can’t see beyond the end of its proverbial nose. We don’t want to return the silly stroller, we just want it to work!
At this point I would strongly discourage people from buying Maclaren products based on this interaction with its customer service team. No solutions, just a form response. Very disappointing, and doubly so for a company that sells toys for children.
But maybe I’m still just overwhelmed with the generally poor quality of the toys we bought for our children this year?

30 comments on “Why don’t companies stick behind their products? Maclaren Strollers, Inc.

  1. That’s appaling. You should call them directly at (203)354-4400 (EST) and ask for Bahman Kia(President of the company). I bet he doesn’t know that this is how his customers are being handled. Key here is when they ask who’s calling just say “Dave”. When you get his voice mail – don’t leave a big message just say “Hi, this is Dave, give me a call at #. I’m having a problem I know you can help me with. Thanks.”
    Hope this works for you.
    Source data:
    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/09-14-2004/0002250280&EDATE=http://www.maclarenbaby.com/US/pages/contactus.html

  2. There have been several times that I have purchased an item with the hardware missing (a hamper, a cat tree, etc.). I have never had any trouble sending off a quick email requesting the parts. The companies always overnight the missing screw, or whatever. That is shoddy customer service, for Mclaren to give you the run-around.

  3. I have had similar bad luck with Maclaren. We bought a double stroller from them. The foam on the handles ripped apart. All I wanted was new foam pieces, but they couldn’t accomodate.

  4. I would have taken that toy apart and returned it to the store for a different one. The I would write a letter directly to the President to let him know he needs to educate his staff on proper customer service. It doesn’t matter where your transaction took place, it’s their product. Ever open a toy and a little stip of paper falls out and reads “If you are missing a part, please do not take this back to the store, but call our 800 number with the request”….

  5. I have a Maclaren stroller and absolutely LOVE it! I have never purchased toys from them before (my daughter is only 1 year old) but I am keeping your post in the back of my mind. However, I diasgree with you and do not think that Maclaren was giving you the “run around”. My Maclaren is 3 years old (used it for my son) and when I had a problem once they were MORE than happy to help me. I think the thing with Maclaren is that they just don’t send out new parts, they want to inspect the entire stroller for furture potential problems (kind of like a car). Perhaps they are so busy with their actual strollers that they do not make spare parts for the toys? At the end of the day, it’s just a toy. I would’ve exchanged it at TJ Maxx.

  6. My experience with Maclaren has been terrible too. Even the “supervisor” I talked to, Cara Glaser, just dropped the ball and blew me off.
    After a run around about model year, place of purchase, etc on an 8-month old stroller, she finally promissed to send new wheels and never did. That was a month ago.
    I would recommend people never buy a MacLaren.
    Sounds like I’ll have to call mr Kia.
    Michael,
    Seattle WA

  7. I had a problem with my Techno XT and they shipped me a replacement part even though my warranty was over so I really can’t complain. The customer service person at the store where I bought my stroller (Tinyride) did help communicate with Maclaren though so I don’t know if they would have done it had I called directly and asked.

  8. I had a problem with my Techno XT and they shipped me a replacement part even though my warranty was over so I really can’t complain. The customer service person at the store where I bought my stroller (Tinyride) did help communicate with Maclaren though so I don’t know if they would have done it had I called directly and asked.

  9. I found this discussion while looking for Maclaren strollers, and though my response may not be read, I figure I’ll throw it out here anyway.
    You purchased the stroller at TJ Max. The reason it was there in the first place may be because it was missing parts. TJ Max isn’t a regular retailer; they get unsold surplus stock, damaged items and things the primary retailers weren’t able to sell. You probably bought the stroller at a price FAR discounted from the original Maclaren price, so why would they be willing to replace the missing parts? If you want service, pay for it!
    I also think their response was polite and succinct. TJ Max is a veritable garage sale, and Maclaren has no responsibility to you when you choose to shop at a discount store. They gave you information and told you to follow up if you weren’t able to find help. What’s wrong with that?

  10. Astrid, that’s a legitimate point. As you say, TJ Maxx is where things go “to die” and either the stroller must have been discontinued or otherwise defective to be sold there in the first place. Nonetheless, I believe that manufacturers have, if not a responsibility, an *opportunity* to turn any customer into a lifetime fan by going above and beyond. Maclaren didn’t do that.
    By contrast, my kids found a big plastic Radio Flyer wagon that was dirty but otherwise in excellent shape except it was missing a small hardware piece that kept one of the wheels on the axle. A call to Radio Flyer produced *two* of that part in the mail two days later. They charged me $5 + shipping, but it was easy, pleasant, and the end result was that we have a really nice wagon that cost us about $9 total.
    They too could have said “sorry, we’re not interested in supporting you if you don’t have a receipt”, but they chose to service their customer over nitpicking corporate profits.
    In my opinion, a good move.

  11. That’s is very interesting. I had no idea TJ Max is like that. Although I never really been there its good to know….whether I’m looking for a deal or to know a place to avoid for buying a expensive product (knowing something is going to go wrong). I usually buy my stuff at trusted places online. I bought my Maclaren stroller about 3 months ago and I can’t complain. Nothing broke and my wife loves it!

  12. I found this blog while looking for replacement Maclaren parts. I’m going through a similar experience with them, and I didn’t buy from a ‘product graveyard’ store like TJ Maxx.
    I purchased a Techno XLR from Babies R’ Us. At home I found that one side of the footrest would not stay up, the one-hand release was underdesigned so the hinge reversed and was difficult to release with two hands and a tug, and the car seat adapter shattered when I tried to fold the stroller. I used it twice, once for the baby to rest in, and once to walk around the block.
    I emailed them with these problems, and they ignored the first two and sent me a copy of a manual where it says to remove the adapter before folding.
    Nifty, except that I sent them back a copy of their instruction manual from the product page on their website where after scouring the text it does NOT say that. It says to remove the hood and shopping bag. No mention of adapter. Why would I think to remove pieces of a carriage before folding it? Do you have an easy folding product that “Oh, yeah, needs a few minutes to disassemble and then… it’s EZ-Fold!!!!”
    Anyhow, I took it back to the store and got the same stroller. I opened the box ten minutes ago, and out fell part of a wheel. You guessed it- one wheel is cracked on a brand new stroller in an undamaged box.
    I think cognitive dissonance is at work here. We refuse to believe that a product that costs so much and looks so good can be poorly built, even if the design is great on paper. Why did I get a second one? Because I couldn’t believe that the vaunted Maclaren would sell junk.
    BTW, Maclaren customer service has yet to respond to their own manual from which important instructions are conspicuously absent.

  13. I have a Maclaren twin double stroller and I love it. I love the color and how it rides with my two sons in it. After two years I see that it is falling apart. But for the most part its because I really use it to get around. The brake fell off. The seats are now giving me a problem when I try to close it.
    Now that I am trying to find a repair center for it. I cant find any information whether its on their website or in the internet. I know they have places because I had called a while back but never went to see them. If anyone knows of a place in Queens, NY. It would be great.

  14. I bought a four seasons stroller (which is a $500 stroller) and i wanted the carseat bar from the XLR (which i know fits the four season because i tried it in the store) so i ordered it online and waited and waited and waited and when i finnaly called them they couldn’t find my order then they finally found it and said someone should have called to get moreinformation, they wanted a serial number and the reciept and a million other things which i no longer have. they expected me to keep the 10ft long box that it came in!!! horrible customer service and i thought they were a great compnay

  15. I am looking for a replacement wheel for my maclaren triumph. I e-mailed the company and they told me they do not sell replacement parts to individuals, but I could find a repair place on their website. I looked and couldn’t find anything. I used to own a graco and again I needed a replacement wheel. (I have a habit of trapping the wheels in the trunk of my minivan). They charged me for a replacement wheel and shipped it right out without any need for proof of purchase. That is customer service.

  16. I hate my MacLaren stroller – a 2007 XLR – because 1) it is NOT easy to fold (even when using two hands) so I can’t use it when taking the bus; 2) the seat extenders that support a small baby’s legs don’t lock in place; 3) the foot muff was an additional $70 total and it doesn’t come up high enough for good coverage of the baby. I chose it and paid that high price because it was lightweight and could be used longer since it can accommodate a heavier (older) child. It’s been only six months, and I can see that my fantasies of using it until the baby is 4yo are wildly out-of-touch with the reality of the stroller’s endurance. The fabric and the wheels are showing a lot of wear, even with careful use. However, I will say that for the six months, it moved well, was lightweight, and looked beautiful.
    I also chose a MacLaren baby carrier for my registry. The thing has so many straps, buckles and snaps that adjustments – not to talk about trying to put the baby in it properly – made the gadget a pain in the neck to use. I used it only three times, and feel it was not worth the $90.
    These major bad experiences has turned me off MacLaren, and I will not even look at another one of their products.

  17. I had a huge problem with my Maclaren XLR. I purchased this stroller because it accommodated the Graco SnugRide infant car seat. Well, the car seat adaptr bar is a piece of junk. The bar fell off the stroller while walking down a smooth sidewalk. The carseat flipped out of the stroller and landed upside down on the sidewalk. My son landed on his face and scraped up his hands. I spent 4 hours at the emergency room getting a CT scan. Luckily, my son is fine. But the design of the adapter is poor and I plan to contact Maclaren about it (although, based on the above posts, I don’t expect to get very far).

  18. I see there are a few people here that hate there Mac strollers.. What I was wondering is, since you hate it will you part it out? LOL I need a new mesh stroller basket and if you have the accessory organizer that hangs off the back BONUS! I’ll take that too.. 🙂 cause I am having one hell of a time finding the basket replacement.

  19. I purchased an ’04 Maclaren Global Buggy and have nothing but good things to say about it and the company. It’s lived through 2 kids and many trips to various parts of the country/world. We still love it. I had one problem with the hood and brought it to the CT location where they simply took it in and fixed in a reasonable amount of time. It’s a little harsh to knock a whole company after one printed e-mail conversation that is devoid of any emotion or sentiment.

  20. This is something i want to tell every parent who purchases a Maclaren stroller. they are DANGEROUS. my 2yr old daughter sliced off the top of her finger including the nail… in the hinge. she had to undergo surgery and get it stitched back on. this is something they do not talk about or warn parents about in their safety manual. i have been trying to get in touch with the CEO of the company…can anyone tell me how to? thanks.

  21. I recently placed an order on the Maclaren site for a Juicy Couture Stroller. After placing the order, I realized that my state was entered incorrectly (not sure how this happened). I phoned customer service who then informed me that I needed to email someone in customer service – go figure. I sent an emailing informing the individual of the problem. As you’ve probably guessed, no response for several hours. I begin phoning customer service for approximately two hours before someone attempted to help me. Two days later, I received an email from someone indicating that the problem was handled. When asked when I would receive the stroller (as I paid for expedited delivery), I was informed that I would receive the item later than the date I anticipated. I emailed the individual stating that I was disappointed and would appreciate a refund for the amount that I paid to have the item rushed. Not a big deal, right? Well, tonight I received an email stating that they cancelled my order and that the package was being intercepted! I have been going around and around with this company! I cannot believe the lack of competence and customer service skills these people lack! I have never experienced anything like this and am digusted by the fact that they are gettting away with providing poor service to customers. I’m going to contact the BBB as well as the president of the company.

  22. I found this site while searching for replacement wheels for a 1996 Maclaren Techno. It is in great shape and I got it on craigslist for $30. The wheels are very very worn in front but it still moves a hundred times better than any other umbrella stroller I’ve tried in that price range. I just finished emailing customer service to ask where I can find replacement wheels. Judging by the above comments I imagine I will not like their response. I also tried the replacment parts link someone posted and I received an error message on the maclaren website. Wish me luck!

  23. I also purchased a “Global” model in 2004; same non-committal customer service so far. It was a very nice stroller – when it worked. The recliner mechanism is broken on the right side. I called the CT HQ last week and did not get a return call. Called again to ask about ordering a replacement part and they gave me the number of the repair center in NYC. Now, on call #3, I spoke to a person who told me that “she was not customer service.” Her recommendation was that I ship the stroller to NYC, pay for the part and return shipping. I spoke with her boss, Hussein, who offered to give me 10% off a new one. Are you kidding me?? Then, he said for me to take a picture and email it to him. BUT, that Maclaren would need me to sign a waiver if I wanted to fix it myself that they are not responsible for the product any more??? But, somehow, they are taking responsibility for my currently broken one??? I’m so sick of hearing “Well, yeah, that’s a REALLY old one,” REALLY?? I thought when you shelled out hundreds of dollars for a “top-quality” stroller (or any item), they would stand by their product. I actually found this website b/c I’m hoping that someone has a Maclaren that they use for spare parts! I swear, junking a perfectly good (and expensive) stroller because a screw fell out is absurd to me. Never again!!

  24. Rebecca – I have a Global & the recline mechanism on the right side broke, too! I piled WAY too much stuff on it at the airport (son not in stroller!).
    The Stroller Doctor (google it) in Boca Raton/Miami Fl fixed it (actually rebuilt it) for ~$25! HTH!

  25. I’m in the same boat as a lot of you. Thanks for the link to the UK store, will be trying them out. Like Rebecca, Maclaren wants me to ship my 4 yr old stroller to NY with no idea of how much some repairman is going to charge me to fix it and then ship it back. I, too, am just trying to find replacement parts for my $400 stroller. They can take their “guilt trip” over their safety concerns and shove it where the sun doesn’t sign. I’d gladly sign a waiver, if they’d even offer one. What a joke of a company. I will make it my life’s mission to put them out of business. My stroller broke on day 1 of a weeklong family vacation to Disneyworld. Do they even care that they nearly ruined our trip? If not for some duct tape, I’d have been out $200 on a Disney rental stroller!

  26. Just looking for replacement parts for a Maclaren Twin Triumph that I found on Craigslist. The stroller I found is pretty cheap, but the part that is broken is the foot straps on both sides of the double stroller. So far I only found one website that has the replacement part and it would cost me $40 to get the two pieces, shipped. That seems exorbitant to me, considering it’s a piece of plastic with a few screws. I looked all over the Maclaren website, the first and most logical place to look to find replacement parts, but alas, nothing. So disappointing. After this blog post, I’ll be thinking twice about getting a Maclaren. I was going to get one because I heard only good things, but we will see…

  27. For those who do want/need replacement parts and are residing in the states you can order the part from their store in NYC – SOHO [212.677.2700]. You can email [email protected] a picture of the broken/missing/damaged part and they can help identify exactly what you need.

  28. I do all of the email customer service for the company I work for. We are the manufacturer and cannot ship parts or issue RA# without purchase info to validate that the item was purchased from an authorized dealer.
    We can refer customers to an authorized dealer who carries our parts or they can be purchased directly from us.
    Sorry I think that’s most companys policy. I also don’t think it’s unfair.

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