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July 2007    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 22, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Thumbs Down: Sherwood Scuba

from the July, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Not only does Sherwood Scuba make a defective BC, it does a poor job of giving out its contact info to customers, says Undercurrent reader Thomas Cranmer (Great Falls, VA).

Cranmer went to the Web site Scuba.com and, on its recommendation, bought a Sherwood Magnum 2. On his fourth dive with it, the left rear integrated weight pouch broke while he was getting back on the boat. “My weight in the mesh pouch was four pounds, but the Sherwood brochure says a diver can use up to a five-pound weight,” says Cranmer. “If the weight had dropped out while diving, I would have ascended without knowing what happened, because the rear weights are not accessible while diving.”

He e-mailed Sherwood but got no response after twice filling out its Web site’s “Contact Us” form. There was no physical address listed. He sent Sherwood a certified letter to the Irvine, California, address listed on its brochures, but the post office returned it with a “moved” notation and had no forwarding address.

Cranmer also had a hard time getting a response from Scuba.com, which still features the Magnum 2 BC on its site. Thumbs Down: Sherwood ScubaFinally, a repairman there mentioned that Sherwood Scuba was now part of Cramer Decker Industries, a conglomerate that also sells non-diving items like industrial gas equipment. Cranmer sent certified letters to Cramer Decker’s president, but it wasn’t until he alerted PADI and the U.S. Product Safety Commission that he finally received a reply, expressing concern and asking for his Sherwood BC’s serial number.

Kent Roorda (Denver, CO) also had trouble. When he noticed a problem with the hose of his Wisdom dive computer, he sent an inquiry letter to Sherwood. “I got zero response,” he says. “I’m very disappointed that Sherwood would ignore a purchaser’s attempt to gain more information about a potential defect.”

After losing one of our voice mails, Sherwood got back to us about the matter. Customer service manager Kelly Grimes says Sherwood doesn’t place an address or phone number on its Web site because it wants customers’ main relationship to be with an authorized dealer. “We’re not trying to avoid anyone, but we cannot do any repairs, returns or sales for our end customers.”

Still, most manufacturers in other industries list some type of contact information on their Web sites to help customers. Once upon a time an industry leader, Sherwood seems nearly invisible now. Why, we don’t know, but they certainly aren’t user friendly. We’re all for supporting local dive shops, but there’s no need for scuba gear makers to work in stealth mode. If you need to contact Sherwood, call (800) 347-9766, or e-mail scuba@cramerdecker.com. But there is no guarantee you’ll get a response.

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