Tumi’s Disappointing Customer Service

Filed Under: Travel

A few days ago I wrote about why I decided to abandon Tumi, and instead made the switch to Briggs & Riley. I felt good about my decision, and the email I received yesterday further reinforces that decision.

My Tumi store experience

Last weekend I went to a Tumi store in Miami for two reasons:

  • To get my current bag fixed (and then give it to my dad)
  • To find a new bag

Unfortunately Tumi’s selection just didn’t impress me, and I didn’t end up buying a bag.

But what I found equally strange was the process of trying to get my bag fixed. My bag had several missing zipper pulls, as well as a very squeaky wheel. So when I explained this to the person in the store they said they could fix the zipper pulls in store, but they’d have to send it in for me if I wanted the wheel fixed.

Since I am done with the bag anyway, I figured I might as well have the wheel fixed as well. They asked me to write down my name and mailing address.

The store employee charged me a $26 “processing fee” to get started, and then explained I’d receive repair updates by email.

“So I’m all set? That’s it?”
“And I don’t have to pay anything for the repairs? These repairs are within warranty?”
“You just pay the processing fee.”
“And they know what needs to be fixed?”
“Yes, you will get updates by email.”

Works for me!

The email I received from Tumi

Yesterday I received an email from Tumi informing me that my repair “has been determined to be non-warranty,” and they provided me a cost estimation for getting it fixed.

They want $152 to fix my bag, plus a further $25 to ship it back for me, for a total of $177. That doesn’t include the $26 “processing fee” I paid to send it to them, meaning they want over $200 to fix it.

The way they handled this is frustrating, to put it mildly. I specifically asked the Tumi store employee if it would cost anything, and she explained it was covered. I figured the processing fee was all I had to pay.

The fact that they’re even trying to charge me for replacing the zipper pulls, which they said they could do in the store for free, is probably most annoying.

There’s an option to “reject” the quote, so I selected that, and was prompted to enter a reason.

Here’s what I wrote:

In the store I asked how much this would cost, and was told I just had to pay the processing fee and that was it. So to find out I’m supposed to pay $177 plus the $26 processing fee is ridiculous. That’s fine, though — I’m done with Tumi, and just bought a Briggs & Riley, as they have a much better warranty. Please just go ahead and donate this bag to charity. I don’t need it anymore, and certainly don’t want to pay $50+ to have it shipped roundtrip for no reason.

But wait… there’s more!

Think that will make them respond better? Here’s the follow-up email I received from Tumi, clearly showing they didn’t even bother to read what I wrote:

Tumi would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being a loyal Tumi customer by extending to you an accommodation offer of $300.00 towards the purchase of any Tumi product of your choice. Also, by accepting this offer you are giving us permission to discard your item we currently have at our facility.

You may view our current products on our website at www.tumi.com, or in person at your local Tumi store. Once you have selected a product, simply call us with the style number and we will process the order. We accept Visa, Master Card, and American Express. Please keep in mind that the purchase must be made through our Consumer Affairs Department. This correspondence will not serve as an in-store or online credit.

Was my bag actually within the Tumi warranty?

While Briggs & Riley has a fantastic lifetime warranty, Tumi’s warranty isn’t nearly as good. With Tumi’s warranty, your first year of ownership is “worry free.” They describe this as follows:

With limited exceptions, if your TUMI product is damaged during the first twelve (12) months you own it– including damage caused by normal wear and tear, airline handling, or other transit damage–TUMI will cover all repair expenses, including shipping costs to and from our repair facility.

For years two through five, they offer the following on bags:

From the second through the fifth year you own your TUMI travel item, business case or other bag, and for the second year for wallets or accessories, TUMI will repair any item that is damaged due to normal wear and tear, or defective in materials or workmanship, including any structural defects (such as defective handles, zippers, or locks).

So, when did I get my bag? I’m not actually sure, and I’m trying to figure that out. I feel like I’ve only had it for 2-3 years, but in looking through my email inbox I can’t figure out when I actually bought it.

I know I bought a Tumi in late 2013, though I feel like that was two bags ago. I could be mistaken, though.

If that was in fact the case, then it’s fair enough they’re denying me the warranty. What annoys me is that I was given misinformation in the store, and would have never sent it in. Furthermore, if they told me they were going to replace the zipper pulls for free in the store, they shouldn’t now be charging for it when I send it in.

Bottom line

As you can see, I have two issues here — the misinformation I (apparently) got at the store, and the fact that Tumi’s warranty just isn’t good. In the store they assured me this wouldn’t cost anything, but obviously that wasn’t the case.

On top of that, Briggs & Riley has a true lifetime warranty. They wouldn’t have charged me a penny for this repair, and I would have only been on the hook for shipping to them (they pay for return shipping).

No thanks…

If you are or have been a Tumi customer, what has your experience been with their customer service?

  1. Lucky, I typically enjoy reading what you write, but to me this feels like sour grapes. Complaining about their disappointing customer service when they offered you $300 towards a new bag, and you’re not even sure if your bag is actually in warranty? Poor form. I understand that you were told something different via email than what you were told in-store, but I think if you look at the situation from a holistic perspective, they’re absolutely making you right.

  2. They offered to $300 because of your disappointment and your permission to dispose the bag. How does that mean they didn’t ready your email?

  3. FWIW, I’ve had a great experience with Tumi warranties on a couple of recent repairs, both of which were in the 2-5 year old range. First a suitcase with a broken handle was repaired for just the $25 processing fee (which included return shipping — and was described to me in the store as being a return shipping fee, so it’s very odd that they wanted to charge you an extra return shipping fee). And this was a suitcase I had bought on Gilt Group, so I wasn’t sure if it was even “real” Tumi, but they treated it as though it was.

    Then a backpack with a broken zipper was found not to be repairable, but they gave me a credit for the full original purchase price of the backpack toward something new. (And the store employee even encouraged me to “find” other issues with the bag when we sent it in, like there were some fraying threads and such, that would be fixed at the same time, presumably for no extra cost.)

    In both cases I thought it odd that they didn’t want to see a receipt proving when the bag had been purchased when I submitted the request, but I guess maybe they can figure that out from the serial number on the bag or something, and maybe that’s why they were less generous with your claim if it was indeed outside the 5-year window? It does seem odd that they’re so strict if that’s how they’re figuring it out, since if you bought the bag in 2013, how do they know for sure that maybe you didn’t actually buy it in 2014 (5 years ago) from a reseller where it sat on the shelf for 18 months or something?

  4. Curious – do you plan to dispute the $26 processing fee with your bank? Sounds like the salesperson effectively promised to fix it for $26, then the company pulled a bait-and-switch. Hence you did not get what you paid for, and seems fair game for a charge-back.

  5. @ Trex — Hah, the plan is for this to be the last one. Won’t make this “One Bag at a Time.” 😉

  6. @ Leon — I explained I already purchased a new bag and no longer needed it. They should have addressed the misinformation I received, rather than offering me a discount on a bag I don’t want, in my opinion.

  7. @ Josh G — I appreciate your perspective. I’ve already purchased a new bag with B&R, as I made clear to them, so how exactly are they making me right? I should spend another $700+ on a new Tumi bag that I don’t want when they told me they’d fix my old one. Doing the right thing would be fixing the bag, as I told they’d do in the store.

  8. I dropped Tumi when they refused to make repairs on a bag that they themselves had determined was within warranty. They whole situation was absurd, as the agent handling the case on my behalf got into a fight with Tumi headquarter about the issue. After 6 months he gave up, and apologized – and then recommended me to switch to Rimowa. At first I thought the agent was pulling my legs, but he forwarded me the full communication with Tumi. I was beyond believe of how much they did not care about resolving the situation. This happened about 3 years ago.

  9. If you want a bag with a REAL warranty, go with any Samsonite brand. They will repair your luggage forever for free, and never charge you a “processing fee.” I have had nothing but good experiences with Samsonite.

  10. I read non warranty as “it’s your fault and we are not paying for it” kind of thing. Otherwise it would have been out of warranty (more a timeframe thing)

  11. My many Briggs and Riley warranty experiences have all been positive. They also try to upsell you, but it’s more like “we could fix it or give you a credit towards the purchase of a new bag” which is actually an interesting choice. I”m cheap, so I always opt for the repair. But that could change.

  12. Had a similar experience to this where the instore “promise” of a free fix turned into a cost for the repair when sent it (although I don’t think it was that high). I called in and said it was suppose to be free according to the store. After some push back, they agreed to do it for free. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but in the end, I got what was promised.

    You should call and speak to someone and push back.

  13. I had a similar situation with my Tumi bag a few years ago where they only offered me a fraction of what I paid three years prior to put towards another bag plus the processing and shipping fees.

    My strategy now is I use a Samsonite 20-inch carry on for two reason: 1) it fits in the overhead bin of CRJs which I unfortunately have to fly on one of my frequent routes and 2) it only costs ~$100 bucks on Amazon (Amazon actually sells a similar one for $50 which I may try next). The first one lasted me two years before a wheel stopped rolling well. Primed a new one to my hotel two days later. To me the total cost over time is much cheaper and less fuss than dealing with warranty.

    May not be a cool name but saves some money and hassle. Ironically it fits more clothes than the larger Tumi I had.

  14. Obviously, credit for a new bag is different than a repair fee for accounting purposes but I find things like this extremely frustrating. We’ll give you $300 towards a new bag but won’t perform a $177 repair for free.

  15. Ben, I think this is becoming commonplace (not that it is right), and sadly given that you have not experienced the same with B&R, it is not really a full comprehensive experience (for you) just yet. Even if colleagues have good things to say, as you have learned about Tumi, commitments of today may not apply tomorrow. Regarding you Tumi bag, I believe you blogged about it within the last 4 years (not that it matters now). And, you were delighted then no differently than you are today about B&R.

    Back on the commonplace, I seem to be in similar footing often! I find the ridiculousness to be the case with more automated systems, although I have some quite horrific recorded calls as well. Being an attorney and entrepreneur, some might say I bring this on…but I really try hard to be normal customer and maintain such tone. The situation you have here is at least similar to airlines. As you well know, bad experiences are really not tied so much to the airline, but the employees. Employee response as well as airline policy seems to change frequently. While I do make choices between various carriers as you do, I never have done such with a belief that many vocalize as there reason for leaving a carrier.

    One last point, speaking only for my own moral stance, I do not engage in mere boycott. While I may move to a different product or carrier because I like the other, boycotting as to cause change does not work…unless done on a very large and planned basis. Although, I suppose we all might feel better. I know you already know this, but we all have limited time and the challenge is to invest it with calls and letters and burdensome effort only where it might be most effective resulting in future changed behaviors.

  16. I just received my B&R bag back from repairs last week. The bag is at least 4-5 years old and it’s held up well, but for a broken handle, which caused me to send the bag in. I was near a BR store and they sent the bag in for free for me (I also bought a new bag at the time), so it was truly free for the repair. And no questions asked. That’s the 3rd bag I’ve had repaired in 20 years of owning their bags and it’s been easy each time. Hardest part is finding a box to ship the bag in. 🙂 Hope you love it, Lucky.

  17. @Lucky: Thank you for detailing this. I bought a TUMI suitcase (a large one) this year, and just assumed that a luxury, quality-centric brand like TUMI would have a hassle-free repair process. I mean, come on, to justify charging $800 for a suitcase they should be offering stellar after-purchase support.

    The fact that the sales person assured you that it would be covered under the warranty and yet you were given a $200 bill is NOT good service and NOT what you should expect from a luxury brand. Clearly something has gone wrong with the front-line retail employee training. And hearing about others’ stories of TUMI charging for repairs suggests that this is a systemic issue too.

    This suggests to me that one should just go for a normal/cheaper brand or actually spend the big bucks and go for RIMOWA which truly backs up their products. With this sort of service, what’s the point of paying double or triple for TUMI over a Samsonite??

  18. Nowadays Tumi is just an overpriced Samsonite and you pay for the badge. Briggs and Riley is what old Tumi used to be. But at the prices that Tumi charges I’d rather but 4 or 5 Samsonites and replace them every so often. It’s a shame nearly everything is a damn spinner nowadays though.

  19. I would take the $300 credit, find a bag on sale or close out on Tumi.com and buy your dad a nice new bag.

    Yes, they ignored your complaint. But like you said, you’re done with Tumi. So take the 300 offered and put it to good use for your dad.

  20. I am not sure they really care about your email – not that they didn’t read it, but a customer and some of their blog followers, are hardly worth worrying about. I am not sure what you were trying to gain by boycotting them. Jargon in warranties always tend to be non-specific. It’s the owner’s responsibility, unfortunately, to determine what the details entail. This one’s on you.

  21. @Lucky

    Can I buy your $300 off offer for $26? It would make you whole on processing and save me a bit on a new luggage (gift).

  22. How did Pepper put it?
    “Sometimes… things that are expensive… are worse”

    With TUMI you spend a ton of money on a plain-looking bag whose two selling points are “durability” and “great warranty” … and then get neither of those things.

    Personally, I’m getting on the waiting list fo that new Dior/Rimowa collaboration line so at least my bag will look amazing during the time between when I buy it and when it falls apart and I have to spend a handful of benjis to fix it 😛

  23. Weird. I brought in my banged up Rimowa to the store, and the store attendant was so nice.

    They sat me down, ordered me coffee and sparkling water, replaced all my wheels and zippers on the spot, wiped down my bag, and 5 minutes later, I was out of the store!

  24. @ Robert F

    “My many Briggs and Riley warranty experiences have all been positive.”

    WTF? This is supposed to be a quality product. Even a single “warranty experience” is one too many.

    If I buy an El Cheapo auto I expect to spend a lot of time in the repair garage. But if I buy a brand-new Bentley I really don’t. I don’t care how glorious the repair team are, how they serve Krug and massage my neck while I’m waiting – I’ve paid big bucks so the damn thing doesn’t break in the first place.

    The brand tribes that emerge when Lucky posts about stuff like this always surprise me. Designer labels seem to exert a hold over some of us which is almost religious. Weird.

    Still, it’s interesting to witness Lucky’s now bitter divorce from his formerly happy marriage to Tumi, and the blind love of his new marriage to B&R!

  25. @Emily: Disagree with you on this for the following reasons. 1) @Lucky asked a salesperson in store about the warranty and the company rep told him that it would be covered. How is it on him when TUMI communicates to him false or misleading information? 2) The fact that the repair site tried to charge @Lucky for repairs that he could have gotten for free in store (the zipper holds) points to a poor system and total lack of communication between the repair facility and the store. Even abiding by the terms of the warranty, which you say it is up to @Lucky to know, those repairs SHOULD have been covered. Again, here it is TUMI that is messing around, not @Lucky.

    The fact is that TUMI’s competitors: Rimowa and B&R are two that have been mentioned, don’t offer this runaround. @Lucky’s found out that TUMI is not competitive and is taking his business elsewhere. Makes sense to me.

  26. I’ve got a low-end Rimowa Salsa (not the “Air”, just the regular one) that’s 3 years old. I had a broken handle and it was fixed within a day in-store. No fee, they just took it in, took down my name and contact info, and that was it.

    They also proactively replaced my wheels which were getting a bit squeaky and sticky with brand new ones.

    One of the wheels malfunctioned and I brought it back in a month later and it was replaced within 1 minute.

  27. Just some words of advise from a luggage repair facility here in Miami, read your warranty statements when you purchase the bag! Sales people are often not versed in the fine print of the warranty specific to your case – especially at big box and department stores.
    Tumi is a division of Samsonite, it happened a few years ago – after the purchase finalized the warranty changed to reflect the current policies that Samsonite uses.
    We repair most major brands here in our facility, including Briggs & Riley so there is actually no need to send the bag back to them – check the website and Briggs will show you all their affiliated repair shops so you don’t have to incur a shipping charge if you are near one.

  28. There is a reason that Tumi is referred to as the Douche Bag. I’ve had a B&R baseline expandable carry-on for 13+ years and at least 2M miles. It’s been in periodically for minor repairs and never an eyebrow raised. Great customer service. I have at least 10 Briggs and Riley bags ranging from a briefcase to a massive rolling duffle. You made the right call.

    I am also using a Rimowa Cabin Plus which is a fantastic bag as well. Yes, it’s expensive, but for those of us who travel nearly constantly, it’s a small price to pay.

  29. You really cannot beat the B&R warranty. I’ve sent in my 15 year-old bags for repair numerous times over the years. They’ve been thoroughly abused by baggage handlers around the word (and my tendency to overstuff them). They’ve been rebuilt so many times they’re Frankenbags at this point. I didn’t even consider another brand when I wanted a new rollaboard bag. They make their Baseline series in a snazzy navy blue with chrome trim.

  30. Never heard of Tumi before your series on bags. Maybe they’re only an American brand. It does seem like it based on the “customer service”. Anyway, I’m a Samsonite man myself and always found them to be of excellent quality. No need to repair cause they never break! Lol. I only replace them when I’m simply sick of the colour.

  31. I have a Briggs & Riley and am very happy with it, but I purchased a model discontinuation right before the start of their large price increases – I’m not sure I’d find “value” for my dollar even in my old periods of heavy use.

    For “normal” travel needs I recommend family and friends to just go to Target or Costco and buy the retailer-specific luggage – good price to value.

  32. Quick story on Briggs and Riley . I have 20″ version of the bag you purchased, one day noticed one of my friends had a similar B&R bag and had a suiter type insert that did not come with my bag.

    Called B&R and asked if I could purchase that insert , agent said no I could not buy it , as she is already shipping one to me , and it is free of charge .

    That is great customer service

  33. Technically, if your B&R is beyond repair, they give you an option for a similar replacement (could be different color/slightly different size/different model) but offer several options of which I believe are samples…maybe just showroom or something. Or, they offer a credit for a new bag, but the credit isn’t enough to cover a completely new one…maybe 50%…but that is for a newer model so probably equal to what the original bag would be worth if the design was still around.

    Still very fair in my book.

  34. I used to be 100% Tumi starting in the mid-1990’s. Tumi produced high quality bags at a high price…but the warranty was exceptional. They once shipped parts to my hotel to repair a wheel. They would repair any damage, no excuses or exclusions. Tumi soon started to become more “fashion” oriented rather than delivering high quality functional luggage. It was during this time that they charged me for a repair that previously had been free. Then I discovered Briggs & Riley. This company is the “Tumi of old”. I travel weekly and all of my luggage and family luggage is from Briggs & Riley. Tumi is a now distant memory of a luggage company that was once great..

  35. I think If you ever were to buy a Tumi bag buy it through Nordstrom. You can just return it when it breaks. I have a BR bag similar to yours. I’ve had two. The first lasted me for 6 years when the handle broke while traveling. So I just left the bag at the hotel and bought a rimowa. The handle started making a sandpaper grinding sound on the rimowa after a few days. And I took the bag back to a rimowa store in china. And they just sprayed WD40 on my handle. Or I could pay to have it shipped to Denmark I believe for repair. I ended up disputing the charge and getting my money back in the end. But yes you are right. Just go with BR. The last two years I was on the road almost 700 days. I don’t have time to ship your dam luxury bag around the world to your repair center.

  36. Tumi is owned by Samsonite, so I am puzzled by the people who find Samsonite to have better service. My experience with both Tumi and Samsonite is similar to Ben’s: suspect quality, poor service, and bait-and-switch repair experience.

    I have a TravelPro now that I got at a deep discount. I have been mostly satisfied with it, except I have lost a zipper pull each of the two times I had to check the bag. I will be near their headquarters in Boca Raton soon, so I am going to take it in to have the zipper pulls replaced (there are no authorized repair centers near where I live). If they give me a hard time, or I continue to lose zippers, I am inclined to switch to Briggs & Riley based on others’ experiences. Also, there is a B&R repair center about 5 minutes from where I live, so that would be convenient in the event a repair is needed.

  37. It sounds like what happened here isn’t that complicated.

    Lucky: My bag broke and I want to see if it can be fixed.
    Clerk: Sorry to hear that, when did you buy it?
    Lucky: I’m not sure, but I think it was 2 or 3 years ago…
    Clerk: In that case, it would be covered by the warranty. You just have to pay the processing fee for the repair and send it in.
    Lucky: Great, let’s do it.

    Then Tumi gets the bag, figures out it was bought in 2013 and says, sorry, this isn’t covered by the warranty after all.

    In other words, it sounds like the store clerk was mistaken because Lucky was mistaken about when he bought his bag. Doesn’t sound like this is Tumi’s fault to me.

  38. Another reader with poor Tumi warranty support experience. I just gave up. Bag was under 3 years old. Will never buy Tumi again.

  39. Maybe Tumi has changed their warranty/repair policies over the last few years (or their overall disposition towards customer service). But I had a bag fixed ~2 years ago with no problem. The carry on/roller was probably 10 years old and was not even a line that was still being manufactured. no questions asked; just $25 processing fee (in NYC).

    I don’t think any of these bags (Tumi, Rimowa, B&R) are “worth” the price unless on sale (even then…); these are functional luxury items that are acquired partly for quality but also for perception. Very few people in the professional community (finance/legal/business) use Samsonite (or other low tier luggage) regardless of the value.

  40. Absolutely agree with the perception and sentiment, I have made an effort in the recent past to walk away from Tumi. $xxx for a shoulder belt replacement?? I don’t think they appreciate customer experience

  41. I too have had a recent horrific experience with the Tumi service center. I have a small backpack from them that one of the shoulder straps had stretch so much that I couldn’t use the bag anymore they two straps or not even the same length any longer and shortening it to the smallest adjustment still made the bag impossible to use. I also went to a store was told that this would be 100% covered that the bag was no longer available they would give me a replacement I have a similar item. I went through the same process they had to fill out paperwork charge me to ship it and weeks later I finally got a call from someone at to me. They told me that they couldn’t see anything wrong with my bag. I asked them if they had held the straps up side-by-side or put the bag on you could clearly see that one strap was significantly longer than the other and this me the bag and usable. They continued to just act like I was an idiot. I asked for a supervisor and they told me it would be a few days before someone got back to me. the supervisor called and told me the same thing but they couldn’t see anything wrong with the back. I continue to tell them that if they held the straps up they would see the difference but she finally agreed he could see. But then he went on to blame me for this problem seeing that I’m clearly caring too much weight in the bag. it’s a small women’s backpack that is more of a purse than anything. So I’m not carrying around loads of books I told him. It’s got a normal amount of items in it. After about 10 minutes they agreed to try to fix the strap but said they would not be replacing the bag. In the end they did something to the strap to adjust it smaller but with they’re fixing it impossible to adjust at all so when they mailed it back it was so tight, and now unadjustable, I couldn’t use the bag anymore anyway.
    This took 2 months to accomplish!!!

  42. Lucky,
    I think you should reconsider the “One Bag at a Time” add-on to your current blog. It has a real ring to it and could be a winner!

  43. @The nice Paul:

    Totally agree. I’ve no experience with B&R but they sound great. On the other hand, I’ve had all my Tumi gear for 5+ years and have never had an issue. My now-ex partner had one issue with the expanding/collapsing clips on his Tumi bag (yes, folks, Tumi has those, too) and it was handled quickly and professionally. Bag was gone a total of 4 days or something inconsequential and was fixed for free because we knew for certain when it was purchased and that it was under warranty instead of making wild guesses then bitching on the internet. If and when my Tumi fails, I’ll take a look around at B&R, but the fanboy circlejerks on here based on anecdotal evidence is comical.

  44. I enjoy your work and I understand your issues with Tumi. That said, please move on to something with more valuable content. Your axe grinding is not professional.

  45. Keep receipt and terms of warranty. Know what is covered when you walk into the store rather than relying on a sales clerk who may have just been hired.
    We have a Samsonite set with lifetime warranty. Whenever the bag needs work, we drop it off, no processing fee, and it arrives at our door a couple weeks later all fixed.
    I also have a Tumi and just hopes it lasts as long as possible…

  46. I’ve have never had a occasion to have luggage repaired, but about 6 years ago I purchased some Samsonite pieces from Ebags for a big trip we were planning. After only a couple of uses the zipper fabric shredded on the 21″ carry-on. I began using another carry-on and didn’t give it another thought because the carry-on was pretty inexpensive. The substitute carry-on was not really meeting my needs so I looked into the Samsonite warranty, and it was 10 years for damage determined not to be due to excessive wear, etc. There is no repair shop in my smallish city, so I had to send the bag to another city for assessment. I figured I would only be out about $20 shipping if they wouldn’t repair the bag. They didn’t repair it because it was a discontinued model, they replaced it with a comparable model. I was understandably surprised and delighted. BTW, I can’t ever see myself spending big dollars on luggage because there is always something not quite right with each piece. Like purses, you can never find the perfect one!

  47. I have been a life long TUMI customer and have seen their customer service go from sensational to mostly dismal over the last few years. I would add that while the prices keep escalating the quality is getting worse and certainly not worth the money.

    If you want good customer service on your TUMI bag, by and return to Nordstroms. They can work magic with TUMI.

  48. I love your blog. But please, no more about this Tumi issue, for the many reasons above.

  49. I have had the complete Tumi Alpha 2 travel luggage suite (5 pieces) since 2014 and would not dream of trading it for any other brand. The Alpha 2 is durable and has a lick design that makes equivalent B&R pieces look rather bland…

    Barring a manufacturing defect, the quality of a luggage manufacturer’s customer service is not something I would complain about because, ideally, one should not need to contact the manufacturer for the duration of a luggage if it is as well-made as is nearly every Tumi piece…

  50. Your initial instinct was probably right. If your bag was out of warrant, you would pay for repairs. Next time, have it repaired for S$20 in Singapore.

  51. LOL now DCS thinks he’s a Tumi “expert” because 5 pieces haven’t fallen apart.

    As others have said, many Tumi items are made like crap such as a small messenger bag that set me back $200. The woven fabric began fraying at the edges and across its surface with minimal use. Plus the bag started sagging like a garbage bag. Never thought about repairs as I assumed Tumi’s warrant is BS (as Lucky confirmed) so the bag went in the trash where it belongs.

  52. @The nice Paul +1
    The failure of these “quality” bags is alarming. There’s a guy over on FlyerTalk who claims to have sent his B&R in seven times for repairs.

  53. I used to store my collection of severed limbs in a Tumi bag and they actually cleaned the stains (who knows how!) for only $12.50 S&H. I don’t know what you are complaining about. I think I put the charge on a Blue Business Plus but maybe there was a better option?

  54. I really don’t understand the obsession with luxury name brands for check-in luggage. We have all seen viral videos of how baggage handlers treat (your) bags, and this, or similar, is the treatment your new bag gets from the moment the check-in agent dispatches it on the conveyor belt. You are better off spending 50 bucks at K-Mart or somewhere similar and expecting 2 years of so of service before replacing. I have one of those soft-side numbers I have been using for 6 years now, and although it is looking a bit tatty, no component has failed. Now, my carry-on is nicer and more expensive, but the handling it gets it totally in my control, justifying the price ticket.
    Don’t get hung up on names, no-one really cares, and you will save yourself a lot of angst and money by shopping downmarket but wisely.

  55. @ The nice Paul
    “WTF? This is supposed to be a quality product. Even a single “warranty experience” is one too many. – I’ve paid big bucks so the damn thing doesn’t break in the first place.”

    You’re absolutely right. I’d accept an occasional repair on a $100-150 bag. As a leisure traveler who uses the bag maybe a total of 18-21 days a year I’m prepared to accept some minor issues on a cheap bag.

    If I were a road warrior living out of my bag 250 days a year (or more), I’d probably splurge on either a Luggage Works or Travelpro FlightCrew 5. Both are cheaper than an equivalent B&R 22″ rollaboard, but they are as close to indestructible as you can get in a bag. But you pay for that durability with excessive weight. I’m still enamored with my 9.8 pound Travelpro Crew 5 bag from about 10 years ago. Despite its heavy weight it’s never given me a moment’s trouble, from St. Petersburg, Russia to San Francisco and everything in between.

  56. @Chancer sez: “LOL now DCS thinks he’s a Tumi “expert” because 5 pieces haven’t fallen apart. As others have said, many Tumi items are made like crap such as a small messenger bag that set me back $200.”

    Mindless statements because (a) I claimed no expertise and (b) I related my real experience regarding the durability of my Tumi luggage, which does not seem to be what turned off @Lucky, who’d used the brand “for years”.

  57. @ DCS – I shouldn’t bother responding since it only eggs you on but you clearly don’t even know what you wrote.

    “…one should not need to contact the manufacturer for the duration of a luggage if it is as well-made as is nearly every Tumi piece…”

    Not claiming any expertise? You make it seem like you tested every Tumi item for Consumer Reports.

  58. I had a small Tumi bag once and it started to shred so never again. I have been using Samsonite for the past few years. This current trip I am on after 10 flights in Asia, Europe and the US, a lot of bits started falling off and 2 zippers broke. Your blog inspired me to buy a couple of B&R bags, one larger to check and a carry-on size. I like the top opening over the half/half opening of Rimowa. I would never buy Tumi after my first experience. B&R is more expensive than the Samsonite, so I hope to get more than a few years out of the bags.

  59. Take the $300, buy a backpack. They have great backpacks. Donate it or create a contest (one that I can win!)
    Carson is on my list to buy.

  60. I had a Tumi Tegra-Lite (redeemed United miles for it around 2010) kind of fall apart after 5+ years; they couldn’t fix it and offered a huge discount on a new one; I found a similar bag on sale and was out of pocket maybe $100. The replacement bag, the pull handle broke last month and I took it to the local Tumi store and the manager there made sure it was repaired and ready for my next trip that just ended. So I’m pretty happy with Tumi having spent mostly air miles for their gear.

  61. Just some perspective.
    Luggage warranty is a funny beast. Some of the policies look very generaous, but in reality very few issues result in a successful claim.
    Unlike the vast majority of items you purchase, luggage usually (over 85%) breaks when you are away. This means you are unlikely to have the time, resources or local knowledge to seek a warranty repair.
    Companies rely on the fact that most damaged luggage is either not suitable for use as is, or, if it has some superficial damage, will get the owner thinking whether it will survive the trip back home. Add to that the fact that most people who owned a piece of luggage for more than 3-4 years have already mentally depreciated it to zero, and you will find that over 50% of damaged luggage items under warranty are dumped and replaced during travel.
    Then you are left with those small annoying things. Company employees are instructed to look for evidence the the lugagge was mishandled (never hard to find) or in the case of wheels that there was something stuck in the mechanism. Even a couple of hairs would deem the item our-of-warranty.

  62. I agree with your assessment. I own a number of Tumi products with mixed results. With one of the belts I owned, the buckle broke after one use. I just returned it for a refund. With a sling I owned, the strap broke within the first year. While it was covered by warranty, I had to pay $40 shipping to ship it back for repairs. The stitches holding the lap top compartment for the backpack I owned also came loose a bit. But since it will cost me a lot to get that repaired, I just decided to take it to a tailor and got it stitched cheaper than the shipping cost to ship it back.

    So, yes, I hear you. Tumi’s customer service is really pretty lousy.

    I don’t own Tumi luggage so I can’t comment on the luggage. I have used Rimowa since 2015 and have been very happy with the set that I have.

  63. Tumi died when they were acquired by Samsonite a few years ago. I’m a fan of B&R, I bought my B&R after my favorite Victorinox CH-97 carry-on was no longer being produced.

  64. Wow. Clearly this has hit a nerve based on the dozens of comments!

    I have a story similar to yours except the lady at the Tumi store in San Diego was incredibly rude/condescending and the repair people were nice. She said, “That isn’t gonna be covered by warrantee, it’s more than 5 years old.” Back then you had a full 5 years of protection. Well I sent it in and was told the same exact thing. Not normal wear and tear plus they couldn’t get the part, which was black thread!

    I was offered a *trade in credit of $85* which I balked at. I counter offered $100 cash and they declined. I then threatened legal action for treble damages and they offered $100. I said that was yesterday’s deal and now I am willing to settle for no less than $300. They paid up.

    The laptop bag was originally $270 and I got in back in the mail. They paid shipping.

    Needless to say, I would stay away from Tumi.

  65. I don’t buy Tumi because I do not believe the price reflects the quality.

    But I own about 10 different Timbuk2 bags and accessories.

    I am not easy on such items but they have repaired every item I broke or wore out, or sent me a replacement

  66. Ben,

    I have an experience related to yours, but with a much better outcome. I have an Eagle Creek 21″ roller bag that is 12 years old. I love this bag. On a recent trip to Europe the rubber on one of the two wheels came off. So, when I returned home I called the service department at Eagle Creek for information about a repair. They were incredibly helpful and told me where to send the luggage for repairs. They said I would need to pay to send it to them but then they would pay for the return shipping. The agent said, “you do not have to have proof of purchase and the repair will cost nothing.” Then he added that if anything else was wrong with the bag to please note it and they would repair those items also. Three weeks later I received my bag as good as new, with two (!) new wheels. My total cost was the $30.00 for the initial shipping. This was some of the best customer service I have experienced. What a great company. I do not know why I do not hear Eagle Creek products mentioned much on travel blogs. Their products are extremely well-made and all are warranted for life.

    Importantly, they deliver on their commitments.

    Richard Swindle
    Atlanta, Georgia

  67. Wait until Briggs and Riley slaps you with the “limited lifetime warranty” “it’s the life of the bag not your life.”

    I’ve seen bags only a year old deemed “irreparable” and “life of the bag is up” and your SOL.

    Signed, previous employee of Briggs and Riley.

  68. I have to replace a zipper pull on my 10 year old Tumi. I am in Dubai and for the life of me can’t get a response from their service centre

  69. I doubt you would have had to pay for the “non-warranty fees” involved. The system Tumi is using enters in the cost of each item but you aren’t actually charged for those items especially for the items listed as those are typically a free repair for life. The $26 dollar processing is basically a shipping cost and is flat rate. Someone who has a 15 pound bag versus a 5 pound bag will pay the same price. The bag you were trying to get repaired must have been one where the parts needed were unavailable leading to them offering an amount toward replacing the whole bag. B&R makes great bags but it essentially the same deal: you pay shipping and if they can’t repair it you will get a credit. Your “repair costs” weren’t actual fees they were charging they were the cost of the repairs. Tumi does need to work on their system since you don’t need to see the cost of those items if you aren’t being charged. Or say it’s $229… Your cost: $0.00.

  70. While this is a Tumi thread, I can vouch for B&R. Great stuff, great warranty, and better customer service – who went to bat for me when Fedex mis-delivered my bag (random house not mine) and went apes$$t on fedex for me.
    My only beef is that their stuff is pretty heavy and bulky. That’s what you get with quality.

  71. It’s crazy that hipsters will spend so much on bags, when ones 1/3 to 1/2 the price are just as reliable ( but without the trendy label). A few years ago there was a post about just how marvellous Tumi is , and everyone chimed in with full agreement. Now it’s all doom and gloom for Tumi and the yes-yes-yes crowd heaps onboard with Briggs and Riley. Even a Rimowa is regarded as déclassé, or so it seems.
    People with too much money trying to be hip. Better off with travelpro, samsonite, delsey: and have lots of money left over for avocado toast and soy caramel Frappuccinos.

  72. Just too boring to have the same check-In bag repaired forever.
    I never have this kind of issues with luggage for i buy a cheap Check In bag i like and if/when it breaks ,i just get a new one.

  73. I also got burned on some warranty years ago but it was not a luxury brand like Tumi. They said oh the wheels are broken that si not covered. Costco has a lifetime satisfaction guarantee on luggage. Whatever you buy if it breaks, wheels handle etc they take it back and give you full credit. There is no repair, it is not considered a warranty. It is considered covered as a return. If you don’t have the receipt., they look it up. I have used this few times. Costco sells Samsonite and other brands. But nobody beats this policy.

  74. The Tumi Story.

    I knew the founders as I was in the manufacturing business back in the 1990’s, Charlie and Jeff were Peace Corps fellows who went to South America as youngsters. When they came back they began this company Tumi in honour of the venerable spirit of Kuthumi.

    They wanted to design, engineer and make the best, strongest and flexible bags and luggage. The found ballistic nylon as their key ingredient, and very strong double dyed through black leather. Double dyed in case of a scratch the underlayer of leather was also black and wouldn’t show, very smart.
    They produced one colour – black. Years later, some grey. They were serious luggage makers.

    I purchased 2 gigantic luggage pieces back then, of course black, I believe 28 or 30 inches. I was in the manufacturering business and my travels included samples plus my own belongings and these were great. They used to stare at this huge bag in Italy, just astounded by it.

    However as times changed, the weight of these bags became too expensive from airline charges and I switched to smaller 24 inch bags, they are large and have the expansion.

    These guys really did make amazing product and they were one of the only I knew that offered lifetime guarantees.

    Liz Claiborne, a brand of handbags I was manufacturing back then also had the strongest warrenty for quality. They had engineers as well, when most handbags never thought of it.
    Eventually Liz Claiborne faded and many of the people there moved on to Tumi. It was a great match up and I began manufacturing Tumi products. Man oh man they were made to last. Even the handle was tested not only for comfort, but to last in durability tests so that was one of the best handles on a backpack in the business, and very nice leather touch.

    Now Tumi brought in more new styles and colours with more designers on board.

    The only problem, they expanded too much too soon.

    The founders had been through the hoops and wanted less of the risk with outside ownership coming. I began to notice quality changes, but still a superior product. Being bought by Samsonite, its the big leagues and stock market so higher profits were expected for the public company and there are only so many ways to do so.

    We too are sad to walk into Tumi the last few years. As you said Ben, who are they designing and making for? It does remind us years ago, the Essex house in NYC GM showing us the newly designed show room that they were going to make in Marriotts.
    Yes the big change from red and green, but we certainly didn’t like it. We were polite, gave feedback that the grey carpet swirls and geo lines was a bit dizzying effect. It was for millenials in mind.

    Fortunately you found Briggs and Riley. They were a competitor to Tumi back in the 1990’s. They are also super in quality and certainly recommended to any frequent traveller.

  75. Lucky, you’re being very disingenuous. You were plainly wrong about the age of your bag. It was therefore out of guarantee.
    Please – stop throwing your toys out of the pram and move on with your life for all our sakes……

  76. I love reading comments on an article like this when you know that at least 90% of them are people cosplaying that they could actually ever afford/would buy stupidly expensive “designer” luggage.

  77. @robertw makes an interesting point. I think it would be fair to say though, that luggage snobs would not be seen dead at a Costco store under any circumstances.

  78. I bought into Briggs & Riley in 2007 when I needed a bag that had a natural pack weight of 50# (before I had one that had a pack weight closer to 65# and I kept having to pull things out.) It was pricy. However my TravelPro Crew 3 roller-blade wheels had shredded, so I didn’t go TravelPor. I am still using the Baseline Checked Bag. I have also bought a Baseline Carry-on, a Transend International Spinner Carry-on, and two Duffles (Small and a now discontinued larger one that still can’t be easily packed to 50# but I have a specific use for it that it is perfect for.) In that time I have lost the handles on the checked back and because I abuse the big one using it like a hand truck I have had maintenance done on that one. As I live near a shop that is a B&R repair center getting them fixed is easy. That said if someone is a casual traveler I tend to tell them that they should just wait for Christmas and see what is being discontinued at Macys.com, or go to TJMaxx and buy a similar sized bag for $200 or less instead of $600+ for B&R. It will do the job. Even if you have to replace it due to wear and tear you are likely to come out ahead of B&R. On the other hand, all my State Dept friends use B&R. I didn’t know that until after the first one, but it has kept me buying them. When going off B&R the other thing to watch for is that more mainstream brands have cheap versions that sell at Macy’s and some sort of Elite version. I have a bought on sale Ricardo from Macy’s and a Ricardo Elite I bought in New Zealand. The difference in quality is large.

  79. Sorry Lucky,

    but these posts just seem like you trying to leverage your Blogger-Status to get more free stuff and take make the manufacturer suck up to you more.
    You’ve been using the bag for years heavily and now it’s broken. Get over it.

  80. I have owned my hard shell samsonite since 2005. My typical annual travel is around 400000-600000 miles, many of which are in economy. I have never needed repairs to this carry-on bag. Perhaps some research on the polymer composites and materials used for the bags would help?

  81. I used to always purchase Tumi luggage and I thought they were wonderful in every way. Then they got purchased by Samsonite (about two-three years back), and all resemblance to “the customer comes first” seemed to vanish. I too now have a Briggs and Reilly suitcase

  82. Osprey always for the win – true lifetime guarantee. My girlfriend bought hers 14 years ago and has had it replaced for free twice – no questions asked. 🙂

  83. This goes to show buying the most expensive item isn’t always the best. I’ve bought American Tourister and have had them for years with no problems.

  84. I’ve owned Tumi “man purses” for many years. I started with a leather one, and it’s still in perfect shape. I have several others which have held up well. I bought a computer backpack about 5 years ago, and the main compartment zipper broke last week. When I took it in, the store manager wasn’t sure if it could be fixed, but said they would contact me before doing the repair. They have a loaner program, so they gave me a briefcase style bag which I had to give a $225.00refundable deposit for. It wasn’t at all unpleasant. I’m still waiting to hear from Tumi whether they can repair the bag or maybe give something toward a replacement. I hope they can fix it because I like the older styles better than the current ones.
    BTW……….I had several zipper pulls replaced at the store for no cost. I tend to keep rather heavy locks on them and it has caused the metal to thin and break over time. I can’t complain too much…………..yet.

  85. Pretty sure the salesperson said it would be free of charge to fix it since you said you bought it less than 5 years ago.
    You bought it in 2012 and you travel a lot. Bag needs a wheel and a couple zipper pulls. Sounds like a good bag to me.
    Not in warranty anymore? They give you a $300 credit to buy a new bag or anything else that you might want, and you still complain about it…
    I do not get it.

  86. I have a bag with a lifetime warranty at the Tumi office at this moment. I’ve had at least 10 emails back and forth trying to get them to stand behind their warranty. The seam on the front of the bag has separated, the plastic covering the bag is coming off. Both of these issues are defective material. They refuse to honor the warranty. We travel internationally, we believe in integrity and felt a lifetime warranty by far outweighs the cost of the bag. I’m switching to Briggs and Riley, Tumi’s problems are compounded by Samsonite who purchased Tumi two years ago. Tumi now offers a five-year warranty on an inferior product. The new line of Tumi is a Samsonite bag with a Tumi logo, don’t fall for it.

  87. Well, Tumi is owned by Samsonite so not surprising of the lack luster customer service. And someone commented about samsonite having a lifetime warranty, that is not correct at all.

  88. I posted somewhere else, but bottom line, the Tumi of today is a far cry from what Tumi used to be; they used to stand by their products and provide amazing customer service. I remember when I had a large suitcase that had somehow turned Red on the inside; I sent it back to them and while they couldn’t fix it, they simply replaced it with a BRAND NEW BAG. I was a customer for life and actually bought another piece. Then the Samsonite purchase and what was a customer focused company is now something completely unrecognizable.

    I’m trying to get a packing case repaired, but sadly, because they discontinued the bag, they seemed to forget the customer base and cannot or will not repair it as they claim they don’t have the parts. They offered me $240 which given the cost of a new bag probably isn’t worth it as I can get something better, less expensive and with a company that provides better customer service.

  89. I have been a Tumi customer for over 15 years. This is the second time I have had an issue with bag repair. About a year ago, I sent a bag for repair of some straps, the zipper and the handle. I received an email saying the bag was too old and could not be repaired. They offered me $250.00 towards an new bag. I replaced the bag and bought a new one for $795.00. Now I find myself in the same position. Another bag needed to have the handle replaced, the straps replaced and fix the wheels. This bag is twice the size of the first one, and they only offered $150.00 credit towards a new bag. Keep in mind I paid $25.00 to ship the bag to Georgia. I’m not sure if they even try to repair these bags. I am insulted by the offer and think that it is all a big scam to get you to purchase a new one. After all, why should they fix the bag when they can sell you a new one. I think I’ll just skip the scam and move on to another brand.

  90. We have a least 4 sets of Tumi luggage, used them for years. But no more. What a rip off, I can buy a cheap suitcase at Costco and get a 10 year warranty. Tumi’s new warranty is 5 years, but I doubt they stand behind it either. Time to move onto another brand. We used Hartmann before, but Briggs and Riley seem to be the new choice. Forget Tumi!

  91. Hi @jandagher – Sadly, Hartmann is now owned by Samsonite too.

    I have used Samsonite products for years. They used to be good. Unfortunately, the quality of their merchandise has waned over the years as has the warranty.

    I also own Tumi, Hartmann, Bric’s and similar brands. Sadly, I find the less expensive luggage (while still pricey to some degree) is much less problematic than Tumi. It’s disheartening, but a reality of monopoly – charge more for less.

    Good luck in your change to B & R @Lucky. While some commenters may view your comments as “whining” or “complaining,” they are informative for many others, or minimally serve to confirm the authenticity of other consumers experiences.

  92. Just so you know… That was a lazy employee who sent your bag in.

    1. They were supposed to change you zippers in store for free.
    2. Then.. they could have checked to see if your bags wheel could have been ordered and then fixed it in store no charge for you.
    3. If you refuse to pay the repair, they will ship it back for free and you can request a refund for the lazy employees’ charging you a fee and falsifying information.

  93. Until a while ago Tumi would repair the bag in store (changed wheel, handle for free) sadly now they send it to a repare center to charge you later and entice you to buy a new one with a discount… Their range is not very attractive so you end up taking back your bag and go to next store. I had exactly same experience as yours and ended up spending 1000 USD at RIMOWA . Good buy tumi farewell!

  94. My experience was similar to Benjamin’s and many of the other posters. Quite disappointing

    After spending $125 to ship my in warranty bag to Tumi for service I received an e-mail confirming the bag was in warranty but not “repairable” and so was instructed to send an separate e-mail to [email protected] to find out my “options” which I did. Tumi then offered $160 courtesy credit (cheapest equivalent bag on the website was $699), so I called and they increased the offer to $260, not even 50% of the cost of their cheapest replacement. Given that Tumi bags cost 2x to 3x of the equivalent product from their Samsonite parent the whole experience falls short.

    The issue goes beyond whether Tumi is properly honoring their “Comprehensive & Straightforward” warranty (they’re not), it’s also the onus they put on their customer to find a resolution. It feels like Tumi is hoping you will just give up and buy something else in exchange for a small discount.

    Like many of the other posters here I’m going to give the gear from Briggs & Riley a try.

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