Earlier this month, I mentioned the new SOG Powerlock multi-tool that I had purchased. When the tool arrived, I looked things over. Okay, the handle cover on one side is a little stuck, but no big deal – that’ll probably stretch a little with use. So where is the tool made….?
I examine the box. Nothing, no country of origin information. I look at the tool. No country markings anywhere. I look again. Nothing. Not a good sign.
So then I emailed SOG’s customer service where they promise to send responses in a timely manner. Maybe a week or so passes, no response. I checked their webpage, and it says that the tool is “assembled in the USA.” Along with “made in the USA from foreign materials”, this is one of my most-loathed cop-out phrases.
So then I emailed SOG again through their email form. Again, no response. Over a week ago, I emailed them again, this time sending my inquiry to their general information address. No response.
Fed up with my inquiries being ignored, I gave them a call. After little waiting, someone picked up. I asked her where the tool is made. “Here in Washington.” I then point out that the website says it’s only assembled in the USA. Where are the tool parts manufactured? “China, Taiwan, Japan.”
During the whole 1-minute phone conversation, I felt like I was being treated like a distraction, like the customer service rep was trying to get rid of me, get me off the phone as quick as possible. I’m all for skipping pleasantries and getting to the point, but the tone of the conversation was overly bitter.
In the beginning of the call I explicitly named the PowerLock EOD multi-tool, so either she didn’t hear me the first time, has absolute zero familiarity with the SOG product lines, or really was trying to end the call as quick as possible.
What if I had a quality concern? A warranty request? These days I don’t have much time for phone calls, even those with modest holding times, so I rely on email. For smaller companies I expect a response of 1-3 business days before I get impatient. It’s now been more than 2 weeks.
Aren’t manufacturers required by law to include country of origin information on retail goods? Maybe it’s on the printed use & maintenance instructions that aren’t included with the tool.
So to summarize, SOG’s customer service proved to be frustrating in a multitude of ways. They ignored my 3 emails, and a quick phone call for information turned into a sour experience. This was my first experience with SOG, and it will be my last.
I’ve had nothing but great experiences with Gerber and Leatherman’s customer service, so they’ll be the ones getting my hard earned money in the future. It will take quite some time or an incredible sale price for me to be willing to buy SOG anything in the future.
Did the emails perhaps mistakenly get rerouted into a spam/junk folder?
This doesn’t surprise me. I sent a knife to SOG over a year ago for warranty repair and never heard back from them. I stopped sending emails after 10 went unanswered. When I called (four times) I received the supreme runaround. Never again. SOG is dead to me and my colleagues.
CZ, I have checked my junk folder routinely and even ran a few searches in case I missed something. Nothing there from SOG. I do get plenty of SOG marketing emails though.
Jeff, Thanks for sharing your experience. At least I now know that it’s not just me.
Kind of makes sense, sadly. I remember when these SOG multitools (only 5-10 yrs ago) used to actually sell for over $100, now they can be had routinely on sale for $39.99 to $60ish. There has to be some way they managed to drop the price $40 or more over the years, quality and customer service has to suffer. I have an original Leatherman Supertool that I bought and coveted as a teenager, and the only thing wrong with it is a bent bit or two and worn cutters from a kids’ misuse and abuse. I have heard some unfortunate things about Leatherman replacing broken (and discontinued) tools with new ones of lesser value, but I believe my money will still go to them in the long run. Thanks for impressions though because I’ve been recently looking to upgrade and had been trying to narrow my choices between Leatherman and SOG, you just made my decision easier.
I broke/chipped the tip of my Leatherman Skeletool recently and emailed them to see if I could receive just the blade. I have two Skeletools, one with a straight edge, the CX with the partially serrated blade. I was an early adopter and since then Leatherman switched the blade configuration around.
If I sent in the knife, I was worried that I would end up with two tools with partially serrated blades. I opted not to send the tool in for warranty just yet (a small chip is hardly worth the shipping expense), but they mentioned that if I sent the tool in, I could specifically request a repair instead of a replacement if possible.
You are absolutely right, all products sold or imported into the U.S. are required to have a country of origin / manufacture label on them. This a huge Customs law that has been around for decades. Even the stuff sold in the dollar store has country of origin labels, this is not good for a company that sells to our government. I have always said that it doesn’t matter what type of warranties you offer with your product; if your customer service sucks, then might as well not offer a warranty.
I’ve experienced exactly the opposite. I broke the pliers on my Powerlock, and called their warranty bunch, and they sent out a pair of the pliers head to me no questions asked. YMMV.
I never purchased any of their stuff but I am not making a mental note – NOT to. That’s horrible customer service… and they are deceptive to boot.
Noted. Will not buy SOG tools. Thanks for the review.
As a follow up to my earlier post….I called them monday this week about the pliers on my multi-tool breaking. The plier head arrived today. Pretty good customer service in my book.
I’m disappointed to hear about your experience with SOG customer service. I did a great deal of research on the various multi-tools and have actually bought most of them. I have several Leatherman, Gerber and SOG multi-tools in addition to a number of other lesser known brands. The SOG Powerlock is by far my favorite. I haven’t needed to call customer service so I can’t comment on that part of the company but I’m sure like any other company it depends on who you get and what kind of day they have had.
It occurs to me that the reason that you might not have gotten a response to your e-mails could be a spam filter on their end. I suspect that you don’t send out a lot of e-mails from the domain toolguyd.com but it’s possible that your domain has been blacklisted and that they didn’t get your e-mails. It has happened to our company before even though we don’t send out e-mail blasts.
I was wondering about the Country of Origin requirements myself after reading the comments so I did a little research. It appears that for some products like food and textiles it is required but for something like a multi-tool it isn’t. The only requirement is that they not label it “Made in the USA” or “Assembled in the USA” if it doesn’t meet the requirements for those labels. Here is a link with more information.
I enjoy reading your blog as well as the comments from other readers. I have found that I learn as much from reading the comments so I have started reading them more frequently when there is a post that I am interested in.
P.S. I just did a test on MXToolbox.com to see if your domain is blacklisted and it doesn’t appear to be.
Hi Stan, thanks for the comment!
The first email I sent was through SOG’s web form, so that shouldn’t have been blocked. The next two were sent via my personal gmail account, and I doubt that any modern company would block gmail. I do this to ensure that my emails dont’t receive any special treatment.
I have just tried to contact Sog. They have not answered emails. As far as I am concerned I will never buy a Sog product again.
SOG gives the biggest runaround ever.
I sent in a Trident that would not open, blade was binding. A week later I got the knife back. They did nothing to it. Yet the paper work that was returned with it said it was repaired, and working fine. I called to complain and finally after many calls un answered, Amanda answered and said she was sending me a return shipping label and would send me a new trident. Well label never came VIA email, so again I started calling and again after many unanswered calls, Giovanni answered and said ” gee I can’t understand why you did not get the label, UPS should have sent it to you by now.” Again more calls now talking with Jordan at Extension 249 more runaround. For a whole week they were sending me a replacement Trident nothing, and when I ask for a tracking number I get more excuses. It sounds like they have Moe, Larry and Curly in the Warranty Dept. What a joke. I have tried to reach other departments to complain. But NO-ONE ever answers their phone. And leave a message, good luck with getting a call-back…I just want SOG to stand behind their product and get me a new trident that opens with the thumb assist.
I have three same multi tool you are reviewing. Some how I lost one of the nuts that hold all the extra tool in the handle. Emailed the company about getting a new nut. That’s all. Was told that that part wasn’t available. Went on web site to see if still sold and it is. Don’t understand how they don’t have that part. Found a screw that worked. So much for having a life time warrantee. Only good thing was I paid 25 dollars at a pawn shop for it.