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saddle shopping "bait and switch?"

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  • saddle shopping "bait and switch?"

    I have always ridden in Stubben saddles. Probably because my original dressage instructor was taught by Germans and loved Stubbens. I bought Stubben saddles for my young daughters when they joined Pony Club, and I even have one that I use for endurance riding.

    If you go to the Stubben home page and click on "Custom Fitting" they will take your info and have a rep contact you. She drives to your place for a $100 fee and custom fits you and your horse.

    Recently the rep came to my barn to fit my high-withered horse for a jumping saddle. I wanted the Biomex seat. She fitted us with a saddle that had only 1 finger wither clearance. The flaps seemed too short for my femur. It did not have the Biomex seat. The rep assured me that the flaps fit correctly, that the pommel was designed to not further compress on the withers, and that the soft cushy seat was equivalent to a Biomex seat for $400 less. She further assured me that if I rode in the saddle for a week and still wanted the custom with Biomex that I could return it and she would happily order me a custom saddle.

    The next weekend, I used the saddle for a X-country jumping clinic which was to be followed the next day by an all-day Derby. As I was flying over my 1st jump, my instructor asked me why I was riding in such an ill-fitting saddle. She informed me that my knees were way in front of the knee rolls of the too-short flaps, and that the pommel was pressing down on my poor horse's withers. I had to skip the Derby the next day for fear of hurting my horse. I forfeited my fee of $135. I immediately sent the saddle back with a letter saying I needed to order a custom saddle.

    Guess what? The rep refused to accept the saddle from the UPS guy! When I called to ask why, she told her assistant to tell me that she "was out of town, no, with a customer". They had quite a discussion about what reason to use for not accepting the saddle. I heard every word, as one of our phones was acting as a microphone. I could sense that her assistant was upset about having to lie for her employer. Something weird was going on!

    I thought maybe she was having financial troubles and called Stubben directly to see if she still worked for them. The man said he would check into it but there are "two sides to every story". Well, her side came in an email saying that she had lost my phone number and that I had screamed at her assistant and made her cry.
    (I was very careful to speak in a calm voice and certainly never screamed.)

    I am wondering if reps buy the saddles from Stubben and must sell them to re-coup their investment. That would explain why she was so keen to sell me a saddle from the back of her truck. A custom-ordered saddle would have been much more expensive, but I was willing to pay for one that fit properly. Maybe she would not have made much profit on my custom order?

    I canceled the visa charge for the saddle (always pay with a credit card!) and now don't know what to do with it. In the meantime, I am missing all my fun events 'cause I don't have a proper jumping saddle. I feel very stupid to have been so naive and for not listening to the little voice that was telling me, "THIS SADDLE DOES NOT FIT YOUR HORSE!".

    I needed a new dressage saddle too, and was afraid to buy the Stubben I wanted. I just got a CWD cause the rep was at my instructor's barn with a saddle that fit my horse and me really well, so I forked out the $4250. I have been riding in it for about 6 weeks and I love it; keeps my legs where they should be. CWD makes jumping saddles too, but I'm worried about having so much invested with a company I don't really know much about, or whether they would be reliable if I needed repairs, service, etc...

    Just writing this to let others know that used car salesmen are not the only ones to practice "Bait and Switch" as a sales ploy...

  • #2
    Well, can't help with the Stubben rep but I think you'd be happy with the CWD. Several riders in my barn have them and they are quite nice. The local rep has been a dream to work with. I rode in one a while back and would have one in a heartbeat if I needed a new saddle.

    I ride hunters, so take that with a grain of salt!


    • #3
      Call Stubben directly. They recently helped me with a difficult to fit horse and they were fantastic.
      The fitter was super helpful and between her and the folks at Stubben, they got me a web saddle deal at a greatly reduced price.
      I am shocked to hear of what happened to you.


      • #4
        Call Steuben in Germany directly, I have heard similar stories about their USA operation and it seems that their are some problems going on and Stueben In Germany should know about it.


        • #5
          Stubben is made in Switzerland.

          The Stubben North America phone number is 1-800-550-1110. I have found the North American ownership to be professional, courteous and very helpful. That Rep you dealt with should be reported to them.


          • #6
            I don't know what's going on with Stubben, they have always been a reputable company, I can't imagine they would condone their reps treatment of you.

            I have a CWD for almost 5 years now and am thrilled both with the saddle and the excellent customer service I have received. I also have a CWD bridle. Even better, we have Amandine right here on COTH bulletin board (posting as Miloutte55 I think), who manages their US office, and she is always ready to help.


            • #7
              You could have made better choices

              As usual, there is always another side to THIS story. I am that awful Stubben Rep you have had to deal with, but in all fairness some clarification is necessary. First, I am not a Rep for Stubben -I have been trained by them to be an exclusive Stubben dealer, but I am an independent. I do not work out of my truck (you know this), I own 2 brick and mortar stores, and have for the past 6 years. YOU know me as I have properly fitted the 2 Stubben saddles you have purchased previously (and love, still). I have NEVER charged you a fitting fee; you called me directly to book your fitting appointment, not Stubben; and finally- probably THE most important thing, is that you never even gave me the courtesy of picking up the phone or sending me an email telling me you had some concerns with your saddle. If you had, I would have been more than happy to work with you on finding the perfect saddle. I do not know of any company who will accept unauthorized returns, it is simply our policy and this is also posted on our website. Your shipment was returned because it was unauthorized, plain and simple. When you called in I was in a meeting with a customer and asked for a message to be taken, nothing more. You DID make my associate cry with your screaming, and when you called back you hung up on my partner who was asking you to leave your phone number so I could call you back. I sent you an email the next day because I did not have your phone number, but you never responded to this. You did reverse your cc charges, but they have since been credited back to us- you have the merchandise still, remember. I pride myself on providing excellent customer service but I need to be given the opportunity, which in this case I was not. However you feel about myself and my retail stores, Stubben is my supplier, not my employer. They are a fantastic, reputable company and not deserving of your unwarranted, slanderous acquisations. I truly wish you the best, it is unfortunate you chose this path.


              • #8
                We are getting instant gratification with regard to hearing the other person's side lately. Suddenly I don't even have time to blend my margarita before the villain from the OP pops up on the thread!


                • #9
                  That story is great, etc but it still doesn't explain why she thought a saddle that clearly didn't fit according to the OP was a good fit.

                  Nowhere was it addressed that this professionally fitted saddle (supposedly) didn't fit the horse at all.

                  Well, two sides to every story, and the truth is somewhere in between...
                  Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                  you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.


                  • #10
                    Why didn't the OP call the seller and tell her she was sending it back to make sure she was still within the one week trial period. Were there any UPS fees payable by the receiver of the pkg?

                    Very oddly handled by both parties by the sounds of it.


                    • #11
                      How do you not have a phone number for someone to whom you have sold three custom-fitted saddles?

                      And speaking of two sides, no one can be made to cry without her consent. I don't care if the customer made your assistant cry, nor should anyone else. Perhaps the assistant needs to toughen up as well? It's just business, after all. How do you confuse "out of town" with "with a customer?"

                      It does sound like the OP dropped the ball a bit. If she has a CWD in her hands, the refused return on the Stubben is old news. As much as a company Fs up, you can't just reverse charges and sit there with the saddle in your living room doing nothing.

                      I'm not surprised that Stubben refused to accept shipment from a customer who had been sold a saddle by an independent retailer. It needs to go back to the retailer, not the manufacturer.

                      But I do know companies who make you go through the whole authorization thing and the smaller ones who don't. I try not to deal with the ones who make me jump through hoops. But to be quoted policy when I am unhappy? You may win the argument, having print and logic on your side, but you don't win customer satisfaction this way.
                      Last edited by mvp; May. 22, 2010, 08:06 AM.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #12
                        Someone pass the popcorn!
                        A proud friend of bar.ka.


                        • #13
                          ARE YOU KIDDING ME

                          Ok, jumper mom.. if you don't like the drama, why are you reading and posting to this subject.

                          First off "bait and switch"...who is doing the baiting and who is doing the switching. Wow, I think its wonderful that the dealer gave you ample enough time to try this saddle out. Are you sure you put it on and rode the horse it was fitted to. And sending something back with not even contacting the dealer --- that seems a little sleezy. Who was trying to pull what. I have purchased 100's of saddles and the ONLY company that ever stood behind their work was STUBBEN. AND YES... STUBBEN USA. Get a life people, especially the buyer of this problem... take the sleeze of of your buying and returning habits, and also "that lying thing" and deal with people how you would like to be dealt with.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NutsR4Gerbils View Post
                            Ok, jumper mom.. if you don't like the drama, why are you reading and posting to this subject.

                            First off "bait and switch"...who is doing the baiting and who is doing the switching. Wow, I think its wonderful that the dealer gave you ample enough time to try this saddle out. Are you sure you put it on and rode the horse it was fitted to. And sending something back with not even contacting the dealer --- that seems a little sleezy. Who was trying to pull what. I have purchased 100's of saddles and the ONLY company that ever stood behind their work was STUBBEN. AND YES... STUBBEN USA. Get a life people, especially the buyer of this problem... take the sleeze of of your buying and returning habits, and also "that lying thing" and deal with people how you would like to be dealt with.
                            That is an oddly rambling and almost incoherent post. Sounds like Nuts fits into the middle or the fringes of the story some how. I just can't figure it out quite yet. Crying assistant? Business partner? Best friend?

                            It's too early for a real drink. Off to put together some iced tea.
                            "Aye God, Woodrow..."


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Long Spot View Post
                              That is an oddly rambling and almost incoherent post. Sounds like Nuts fits into the middle or the fringes of the story some how. I just can't figure it out quite yet. Crying assistant? Business partner? Best friend?

                              It's too early for a real drink. Off to put together some iced tea.
                              Completely agreed !!!
                              It is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."


                              • #16
                                The CWD is her dressage saddle she got the stubben for a jumping saddle if I read correctly. I have heard of people being sold on a saddle they weren't sure quite fit because the "fitter" said it would work just fine, and then when the fitter is told later it actually didn't fit at all the fitter claims the buyer wanted that saddle and only that saddle. Stuff like that makes my head hurt.

                                Anyways hope this works out!


                                • #17
                                  I think we have all seen this movie before. Way too much money going around here, not enough buyer skepticism about someone hustling saddles/tack/etc. in a down economy/unreasonable expectations on the part of the buyer--she took the saddle on the spot when she had bad feelings about it right away--and the seller sounds like she is looking to dodge out of any responsibility. Thank goodness for being able to stop those credit card charges, and if the rep doesn't want the saddle back, then her loss.

                                  Sounds like Stubben should check this rep out a bit more thoroughly--this thread give the company a bad rap.

                                  When you are in the sales/service business, the customer is always right--even when they are wrong.
                                  Discipline is the Bridge between Dreams and Accomplishments


                                  • #18
                                    I don't think it can be a "bait and switch" if nobody switched. Or, really, baited. You bought a bad saddle that didn't fit your horse. That sucks.

                                    Apart from that, I have LOLs all around.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      saddle shopping "bait and switch"

                                      On May 21, 2010, Charlee wrote:

                                      "I did not have your phone number,"

                                      False - My phone history lists numerous phone calls between the rep and myself over a 7 month period, many are recorded voice mails. My computer lists 27 emails from the Stubben rep to myself between 9-14-09 and 4-21-10 and 19 emails from me to her; most include my phone number.

                                      "I have NEVER charged you a fitting fee;"

                                      False - Several of the emails and one voice mail explains the fitting fee. Even though she schedules clients in clusters and around shows/expos, she still charges the fee based on her store location. I thought this was normal and reasonable. I have receipts and email records:

                                      Subject: Re: saddle purchase-oregon
                                      Date: September 22, 2009 9:26:35 PM PDT
                                      From: hcarder@comcast.net
                                      To: kawagner1@mac.com

                                      Hi Kelly -
                                      I really look forward to seeing you Thursday morning - I wanted to make sure you knew that I now charge a fitting fee - gas is just too expensive for me not to do so. Your fitting is 200 miles round trip from where I will be so I do need to charge a $100.00 fitting fee - I hope you understand. If there is a problem with this please call me at XXX XXX XXXX as I am leaving tomorrow morning.

                                      See you soon,

                                      Subject: Re: saddle fitting
                                      Date: December 20, 2009 1:23:50 PM PST
                                      From: hcarder@comcast.net
                                      To: kawagner1@mac.com

                                      Hi Kelly -
                                      I don't have any current plans to go down, but would be more than happy to make a trip for you - I would just need to impose a fitting fee to cover my expenses down there, but it would be minimal ($150.00) - I can work you in between Xmas and the New Yar, or the first week of January, or I will be back down in March for the NW Horse Expo (February is shot with our trip to Scottsdale and the rest of January is booked with out of town travel).

                                      I hope you have a wonderful Holiday and hope to hear from you soon!


                                      "you called me directly to book your fitting appointment, not Stubben;"

                                      False - When I need a fitting, I click on "request a custom fitting" on the Stubben site:


                                      enter my info, and the rep emails or calls me. If I do not hear from her, then I call Stubben to order a saddle directly. There is a specific amount of time to try it, then I must ship it back or be permanently charged.

                                      On Dec 28, 2009, at 10:58 AM, Heather Carder wrote:

                                      Hi Kelly -
                                      I'm sorry to bother you, but I am keenly interested in how Stubben took care of everything for you. I not only work with Stubben but for them in the NW and they always keep me in the loop, but they don't have any record of helping you recently - can you please better explain how they have assisted you so I can stay in the loop?

                                      I really appreciate it


                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      To: "Heather Carder" <hcarder@comcast.net>
                                      Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 2:55 PM
                                      Subject: Re: saddle fitting

                                      Hi Heather - I wrote to you on Nov. 28th about getting a Maestoso but never heard back; I thought maybe you were on vacation. On Dec. 17th I emailed VTO to try and order one. The owner advised me to demo one first, as it is a very expensive saddle and the deep seat feels different. I called Stubben and they sent me a demo Maestoso which I returned a week ago. I did tell Stubben that I had contacted you first, as you helped me with both my Scandica and Scout, which worked out perfectly. Hope that helps! Kelly

                                      "I do not work out of my truck (you know this)"

                                      False - she has always brought a truck filled with saddles which I have helped load and unload.

                                      Well I could provide more evidence to dispute several other statements, but that is probably enough entertainment for at least ONE margarita. I did ship the saddle back to the rep well within the allowed time frame. I simply requested a longer flap, biomex seat, and higher wither clearance. Yes, the saddle is still in the shipping box in my living room (addressed to exactly where the rep told me to send it). It is a lovely saddle and I so wish I could use it. The 1st instructor who told me it does not fit either me or my horse is an eventing clinician and is well-known so I will keep her name out of this dispute. I did take the saddle to a hunter/jumper barn last week to show to the instructor. We never even put it on the horse as she took one look and said, "I can't believe she sold you such a short flap for your femur length!"

                                      The ladies there all highly recommended CWD for excellent fitting and service. I am so happy with my CWD dressage saddle, I will just go ahead and order a CWD jumping saddle. In the meantime I am going to ride the local Memorial Day foxhunt in my endurance saddle.

                                      Looks like we are headed to court on this one. (I wonder, will I need to haul my horse, wearing the ill-fitting saddle, to the courthouse for evidence?) What would Judge Judy say??

                                      Live and learn and gotta just keep laughing!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Hunter Mom View Post
                                        Someone pass the popcorn!
                                        I think we should have beer and pretzels instead.