Frontrunner attitude/customer care???





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  1. #1
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    Default Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    If this post is in the wrong section or not acceptable, please move or remove as appropriate!!

    Background:
    ±2 years ago I purchased a set of Foot Rails (for a Roof rack) for a Chev Trailblazer (TB) from Frontrunner. The service was very good and very helpful!! Cost of the Foot Rails was ± R1300. I then built a Roof rack for the TB and used the Frontrunner foot rails as interface between the TB and my roofrack. This setup (Properly, but responsibly loaded, has crossed the country, outlasted Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zim roads with no damage or failure or problem whatsoever.

    Currently:
    Having sold the Chev TB, I am now in the process of purchasing a Prado 150 and would like to fit the 'TB roofrack' to the Prado? For that I would obviously require a set of Prado 150 foot rails to interface between the Prado and roofrack. Upon enquiry to Frontrunner (FR) in Kyalami, I am met with the following:
    1. FR will not sell me the foot rails separately, need to buy the whole roofrack/foot rail assembly. Reason is that FR has put a lot of R&D into the whole roofrack system; and secondly FR does not want their product to be used in conjunction with anything not labeled as FR!! BUT FR have disclaimers all over their website and product brochures/plans were they do not accept any responsibility for loads specified, vehicle manufacturer's specifications to govern!!
    2. FR insist that I need to submit detail drawings and specifications and dimensions of my roof rack to FR for their engineers to study the roofrack and determine whether it can be associated with the FR footrails before they would even consider selling me a set of footrails??
    3. Pictures of the roofrack to be submitted to FR engineering dep't to study and explore in support of #2 above??
    4. Should it be approved (my roof rack that is...) the price estimate for a set of footrails is approximately R3 500, due to R&D, IP etc. invested into the foot rails....!! Nearly 3 x more expensive than a couple of years ago, for a product of which the manufacturing quantity is obviously far more than the TB, judging by the quantity of Prados on the road!! Where are the economies of scale??

    This whole scenario has upset me to such an extent that I do not feel like using FR at all in future - will rather make-do without them - not that I would damage their business by any chance, but I also do not believe in being treated like …@#$……!?!?

    I am of the opinion that this is exploitation of the customer??

    Am I being unreasonable or do I have grounds for my unhappiness with Frontrunner's service and assistance (or lack thereof?).

    PLEASE: This is not to turn into a Frontrunner bashing post, but rather for me to measure my way of thinking??

    Your valued opinion will be appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    They supply roof racks and systems, not parts for self built racks. You can also ask yourself the question, if a company has put in the time and money to develop a product, why would they sell parts of their own product to allow people to bypass them?

    We have similar issues in our business, people build their own sites, then want us to do that small bit they cannot get working, but we will not do that as we will not have our name associated with a product that we did not build.

    I am of the opinion that this is exploitation of the customer??
    I don't understand this statement?
    Last edited by Dirk; 2021/01/21 at 04:12 PM.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    I have the same issue as I would like to use their rails to mount a solar panel to my roof. I don't want a full rack, but they won't sell me the rails only. Certainly, that's their choice.

    I think they're making a bet that a large enough proportion of people who are looking for the feet will end up buying the full system when they refuse to sell the feet alone. Presumably they've done their market research on this...

    Personally, I think it's not a particularly smart business decision. A friend of mine has a Prado 150 and a genuine FR roofrack. They still refused to sell him the feet/rails/whatever it's called.

    PS. You can buy parts of the FR system individually in Aus. It seems to be a local thing.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    I had a similar scenario a few years back with another Aluminium roof rack manufacturer.
    - I wont go into details.

    I ended up going to an Aluminium engineering works in Montague Gardens and they built the feet for me at R100 each.

    Still use the modified rack today.

    The above being said, I can understand the FR stance and your comments Dirk!

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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    They supply roof racks and systems, not parts for self built racks.
    Sure. But let's say you sell your Isuzu and keep the FR rack. You buy a Toyota and want feet so you can fit your FR rack to your Toyota. They won't do it.

    The result is a company that I wouldn't support because it's clear they don't see me as a long term customer, but rather a cash cow.

    ZS5CMA
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by cainslie View Post
    Sure. But let's say you sell your Isuzu and keep the FR rack. You buy a Toyota and want feet so you can fit your FR rack to your Toyota. They won't do it.

    The result is a company that I wouldn't support because it's clear they don't see me as a long term customer, but rather a cash cow.
    Understood. But what will happen if your roof rack fails? Who are you going to blame? Yourself or the rails provided by FR?

    Not sure how you are going to fit an Isuzu RR on a Toyota! Each of them comes with proper size to fit a specific vehicle. Unless you build one or you have one universal RR, that's a different case.

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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    I havent had any experience with FR so I cant comment either way.

    The principle is of interest though so lets look at that.

    What if I cant buy an alternator without buying the whole engine? Or an oil filter without having to replace the whole oil filter mount? A new rim without buying a new tyre? These are maybe extreme but follow the same principle.

    I think it is short sighted but I understand that there could be risks involved of an attachment unsuitable for the application, being used and causing a manufacturers component to fail and the negative aspects falling back on to the manufacturer.

    Interesting one.
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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    I’ve just checked their website and what they’re offering. I can’t find just the roof rack feet for sale by themselves anymore, I remember a couple years back they were definitely advertised (I was considering getting them for a project back then).

    SO, if they don’t sell them anymore they don’t sell them.

    It’s like starting a thread as to why they won’t sell the receptionists keyboard to someone who wants it
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Had one of the bolts vibrate loose on the clamp of my legs for my FR roof rack so lost the clamping bracket, I phoned FR asking if they can sell me just the clamp.... No you need to by two compleat legs as a pair for over a grand for a part that costs less then R100 that was lost
    well I made my own plane and sorted my self out
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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by Teryos View Post
    Understood. But what will happen if your roof rack fails? Who are you going to blame? Yourself or the rails provided by FR?

    Not sure how you are going to fit an Isuzu RR on a Toyota! Each of them comes with proper size to fit a specific vehicle. Unless you build one or you have one universal RR, that's a different case.
    The Isuzu/Toyota is an example.

    The point is, this has nothing to do with a home made rack. They won't sell you the feet even if you already have a FR rack to fit the feet to.

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  16. #11
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    This one again raised my blood pressure!

    I have a RSI canopy (which by the way FR also [used to?] sell.
    So I bought the load bars from FR but the feet came with stud plates that does not fit the standard RSI rail as fitted to the canopy.

    FR could not supply the correct ones since the RSI volumes does not "justify" making ones that fit. But they recommend that I use the square nuts that came with the RSI. Hello! That we all know, but their is a good reason why they make stud plates and why I want them!

    But they do make ones for lesser known canopies?
    Last edited by hatjohan; 2021/01/22 at 08:41 AM.



  17. #12
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by cainslie View Post
    The Isuzu/Toyota is an example.

    The point is, this has nothing to do with a home made rack. They won't sell you the feet even if you already have a FR rack to fit the feet to.
    Is that the case? It sounds as though they would if I read the OP, as it would be for their roof rack. Perhaps i am wrong though.

    I can only postulate that they may have had issues in the past where customers have tried to do the same and overloaded or stressed the feet and tried to return them and maybe even claim damages to vehicles. In that position they would have weighed up the sales of loose feet vs the problems caused (80/20 principle) and decided that selling feet separately is not worth the risk involved, unless specifically for replacement on a FR roof rack.

    *Disclaimer* I could be totally off the mark here and it would not be the first time!
    Last edited by Craig Van der Poll; 2021/01/21 at 06:08 PM.

  18. #13
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Strangely they were more than willing to sell and install the rails on their own last year for my GV (I opted for the rack and rails in the end) and again this year for my Pajero Sport. Their labour prices were high but no complaints there as it is up to them what they charge.

    With the PS though they didn't want to sell me a 2m (1960mm or something) long rack, they said their engineers recently decided that they can't do it anymore, something to do with the joints. This was a bit frustrating as I was more than willing to accept the rack without any warranties. Again though it's up to them so fine.

    What finally got me to go elsewhere was them lying to me. When I was in the shop getting a quote face to face I asked about a special they had last year, free fitment if you spend more than R10k. I was told that it had ended and I had to pay the very expensive labour.

    A week or so later I was browsing their website and that live chat popup came up. I decided to take a chance and ask again about the special. I was told that yes, if I buy FR products for more than R10k I would get free installation. I was quite happy and replied I'm glad it was reinstated and asked whether there were any rumours of it stopping again soon. To this I got the reply that it had been running since last year and there were no indications that it would end soon.

    Here comes the kick, the person I was talking to on the live chat was the exact same person who helped me in the shop a week earlier. It might have been a very strange honest mistake... or he could have lied to make extra money out of me. Needless to say I decided to rather spend my money at EEZI-AWN.

    Yoh that was a long story! Sorry for putting you guys through it, and for all the likely typos from typing on my phone in a bit of a hurry.
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  20. #14
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Van der Poll View Post
    Is that the case?
    Yep. Prado belonging to a mate of mine down the road. He ended up installing a generic roof rail to mount his genuine FR rack on because they just said no.

    Odd.

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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Lot of 4x4 fitment centres sell frontrunner roofracks and do installation. Ask one of them, maybe they will sell it to you.
    Francois

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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by cainslie View Post
    Yep. Prado belonging to a mate of mine down the road. He ended up installing a generic roof rail to mount his genuine FR rack on because they just said no.

    Odd.

    That is indeed odd, i would send that one up the management tree to get clarity. Not wanting to supply what is essentially a spare part does not seem normal at all.

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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Van der Poll View Post
    That is indeed odd, i would send that one up the management tree to get clarity. Not wanting to supply what is essentially a spare part does not seem normal at all.

    Maybe, but going up the ladder helped me bugger-all



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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by cainslie View Post
    The Isuzu/Toyota is an example.

    The point is, this has nothing to do with a home made rack. They won't sell you the feet even if you already have a FR rack to fit the feet to.
    But you don't have a universal one. You have a roof rack, yes, but not right one for your intended use.

    To OP, by the way, if you still have Chevvy TB with the RR is still on, why not remove it and take it to them and tell them the rails failed and you threw them away, ask to give you a pair.
    Naughty naughty, lie lie.

    I would not do it, I would suggest you don't do it also.

    But looking at your desperation, it's just a random thought, by hook or crook!

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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    Quote Originally Posted by hatjohan View Post
    Maybe, but going up the ladder helped me bugger-all

    Eish, Strongs. I hope they get to see this thread and get an opportunity to fill in the gaps here.

    Every company falls short at some point, what makes a good one different from a bad one is how they react. Now is not the time to piss off customers.

  28. #20
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    Default Re: Frontrunner attitude/customer care???

    I contacted FR for rails and mounting feet for my Hilux to mount a Slimline II RR I bought from a mate. They made me send them photos of the rack with measurement so that they could ensure I have the right RR. Besides that little chestnut, I found the service to be very good. They responded to my queries in good time and was professional yet friendly


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