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Rick Steves' Europe Through The Back Door

(425) 771-8303View Additional Phone Numbers130 4th Ave N, EdmondsWA 98020-3114

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Description

This company offers specialty European travel services.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since 08/01/2000

BBB has determined that Rick Steves' Europe Through The Back Door meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised Rick Steves' Europe Through The Back Door's rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 1 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Customer Complaints SummaryRead complaint details

1 complaint closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Guarantee / Warranty Issues1
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Billing / Collection Issues0
Problems with Product / Service0
Delivery Issues0
Total Closed Complaints 1

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on Rick Steves' Europe Through The Back Door
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (1)BBB Closure Definitions
01/27/2014Guarantee / Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Failure to honor service under the terms of warranties

Complaint: I purchased two identical rolling carry-on pieces of luggage from **** ******* seven years ago - one for myself, and one as a gift for my daughter. Within two or three years the extending handle of my carry-on failed to work. The bag had a 15-year warranty. **** was unable to repair it so it was replaced with a Rick Steves bag.

Last week when visiting my daughter in Montreal I asked her if I could borrow the bag I gave her. She told me that she had only used it for storage for the past four years because the handle had broken. It turned out that both of our bags had had the identical problem with the handle.

Since my daughter is very busy with her new baby at present, I offered to contact **** ******* with respect to the broken handle. When I called I found that Rick Steves had purchased *****

My complaint is that although Rick Steves has purchased **** ******** it is apparently not honouring the 15-year warranty on ******* products.
I was told they would only warranty **** bags for five years.

I find this very strange because on Rick Steves' website it states:

"Rick Steves travel product comes with our guarantee that it will be free from material and manufacturing defects for the life of the product.
If a defect appears, we will either repair or replace the product (at our option) free of charge. This guarantee does not cover damage caused by an airline or other common carrier. Nor does it cover wear and tear to components and materials which may occur over time with use of the product."

According to what I was told when I called Rick Steves' phone number, Rick Steves will give a lifetime warranty for Rick Steves' travel products, but not honour a 15-year warranty on the products of a company it purchased.

This sounds like a questionable business practice to me and I would like to know whether a company like Rick Steves that purchases another company like **** ******* can make such changes to what is essentially a promise by the purchased company to warranty its products for a period of 15 years.

I still have the original label that was attached to the bag with the 15-year **** warranty.

Initial Business Response
Hello,

We are responding belatedly to this claim as it was misrouted internally. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We would like to clarify the situation as the consumer's information is incorrect. Rick Steves' Europe did not purchase **** ******** Rick Steves' Europe is a former customer of **** ******** **** ******* manufactured private label luggage and bags for our company under our brand (Rick Steves) for several years up until earlier this year. We no longer have a relationship with that company, which has now undergone a name change and change in business model.

**** ******* also sold a great deal of luggage under their own brand and under other brands. None of these products are related to Rick Steves' Europe nor did Rick Steves' Europe ever assume any responsibility for any warranty offered by Kiva Designs for these products.

Since our brand never carried a 15 year warranty, we suspect that the product in question is not ours. However, to offer the benefit of the doubt, we would like to see if you can confirm the actual brand of the product in question. If it is Rick Steves' brand, we will take reasonable remedial steps.

I will await your reply.



Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I originally called **** ******** and the person who answered the phone informed me that Rick Steves had "taken over" **** ******** I believe the number I called was X-XXX-XXX-XXXX, which is the number on the label that was attached to the luggage. It also states on this label that the bag comes with a 15-year warranty. The person I spoke with gave me Rick Steves' phone number.

I called this number and spoke to a Rick Steves' associate who informed me that when Rick Steves took over **** ******** a decision was made to honour only five years of any warranty. They told me that my **** luggage did not qualify because it was seven years old. I objected to this because I had the 15-year warranty in my hand when we were speaking. The associate apologized and told me that this was Rick Steves' policy and that nothing could be done about it.

Why did she tell me this if Rick Steves has nothing to do with **** ********

Perhaps Rick Steves EUROPE has nothing to do with this company, but perhaps there exists a Rick Steves sister company in the USA that does?

Certainly the Rick Steves' associate I spoke with was in North America. I know this because I asked her.

I have already stated that I have a **** ******* piece of luggage. If Rick Steves has taken over **** ******* (as the comments by Rick Steves' associate would seem to confirm is the case), then Rick Steves should assume responsibility for the warranty and honour it.

The question here seems to be, did Rick Steves take over **** ******* or not? I was told by **** ******* and the Rick Steves' associate I spoke with immediately before completing the BBB form, that Rick Steves had taken over **** ******** If this were not the case why did the associate tell me that Rick Steves would only honour five years of any warranty? It doesn't make any sense.

The written response to my BBB complaint, however, would seem to indicate that the company is now denying that it has taken over **** ******** Why am I being told different stories here?

I wish to point out that when my first **** ******* luggage failed, it was replaced with a Rick Steves piece of luggage. Now that the second piece of luggage has failed, I think it should be replaced in the same way.

My broken **** ******* luggage has the brand name clearly marked, as does the label / warranty on the luggage. I have photographs of the luggage and the label as proof of this. I can forward these upon request.

By the way, the 15-year warranty label on this **** ******* carry-on luggage shows the original store (The ****** *** ******* / *** *** in Ottawa, Canada) price of $150, and the sale price of $99.99.

I look forward to a fair and honest resolution to this matter.


Final Business Response
Hello,

There is very clearly a misunderstanding here on the part of the consumer and I will do my best to explain the **** ******* situation in an understandable way.

**** ******** as I stated earlier, was a manufacturer/distributor of luggage and bags. These products were sold under the **** brand and others. Rick Steves' Europe entered into a licensing agreement with **** ******* that permitted them to manufacture and sell luggage and bags under the Rick Steves' brand. As part of that agreement, we purchased Rick Steves' branded products from **** ******* on a wholesale basis, and permitted them to sell those same products on a wholesale basis to other retailers.

The warranty on Rick Steve's branded product was administered by the retailers that sold the product. In other words, we handled the warranty for Rick Steves' bags that were purchased from us and each other retailer in turn did the same for their customers.

Rick ******' Europe, at the time, did not administer the warranties for Rick Steves' products sold by other retailers. This changed when the licensing agreement between **** Steves' and **** ******* was officially dissolved in January, 2013 shortly before they went out of business. In the interests of good customer service, Rick Steves' Europe voluntarily began honoring warranty claims on all Rick Steves' bags whether they were sold by us or any other retailer.

I suppose that it is possible that if the people *** ****** spoke with believed that she had a Rick Steves' bag, they might have told her that we took over the warranty responsibility. *** ****** may then in turn have interpreted that to mean **** branded bags, which is incorrect.

If *** ****** has a Rick Steves' bag, we would be happy to work with her. But, it seems that this is not the case. That she indicates that her purchase was made at *** *** confirms that for me since our brand of product was never sold at *** ****

I want to emphasize again that Rick Steves' Europe did not acquire, purchase, or otherwise take over Kiva ******* in any way. Nor did we assume any of their responsibilities as they went out of business. We were simply a customer of theirs. We voluntarily decided to work directly with consumers who had warranty claims on Rick Steves' branded products that were manufactured by **** Designs because our name is on the products. We have no obligation whatsoever as it relates to any other brand of product that was manufactured by **** ********

I would respectfully suggest that *** ****** return the bag in question to *** *** since that is where the original bag was purchased. They may have a return or exchange policy that will be satisfactory to her. Since **** ******* is out of business and since Rick Steves' Europe bears no responsibility for the performance of any product other than that manufactured under its own brand, this would seem to be the only course of action available to her.

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

Industry Comparison| Chart

Tours - Operators & Promoters, Travel Agencies & Bureaus, Sightseeing Tours

Additional Information

top
BBB file opened: 08/26/1991Business started: 01/01/1977Business started locally: 08/01/1987
Contact Information
Principal: Mr Rick Steves (President)
Business Category

Tours - Operators & Promoters, Travel Agencies & Bureaus, Sightseeing Tours

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Vacation and Travel
BBB Warns Vacationers: Travel-Related Fraud is on the Rise

Map & Directions

Map & Directions

Address for Rick Steves' Europe Through The Back Door

130 4th Ave N

Edmonds, WA 98020-3114

To | From

LocationsX

1 Locations

  • 130 4th Ave N 

    Edmonds, WA 98020-3114(206) 652-5344
    (425) 608-4217

Industry Comparison ChartX

The information in the table below represents an industry comparison of businesses which are of the same relative size. This is based on BBB's database of businesses located in Alaska, Oregon & Western Washington. Businesses may engage in more than one type of business. The percent of time the business engages in a type of business is not accounted for. There is no known industry standard for the number of complaints a business can expect. The volume of business and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by BBB.

*Rick Steves' Europe Through The Back Door is in this range.

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Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.

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Additional Phone Numbers

  • (425) 608-4233
  • (206) 652-5344
  • (425) 608-4217
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Additional Email Addresses

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BBB Complaint Process

Your complaint will be forwarded to the company within two business days. The company will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the company's response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.

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