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March 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Those Flimsy Dive Bags

from the March, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Long-time subscriber Chet Hedden, Ph.D. (Tucson, AZ) wrote to TUSA after two identical RB10BK roller bags he bought for his diving equipment became useless in the same way after only two years and two dive trips. It appears that the internal structure of each simply fell apart.

Josh Schoenwald of TUSA wrote back to him to say that the company had no repair facility and unfortunately, only offered a one-year warranty.

When Hedden then asked if there was any guarantee that if he bought two more, the same thing would not happen, Schoenwald dismissively replied: "I wouldn't be able to say if the same thing will happen again or not."

This indicates to us that maybe Hedden's experience with these bags is not unique. Divers should be aware that the popular dive companies that sell dive bags with their logo generally buy then in single batches from manufacturers in the Far East (usually China). When they sell out a batch, they seek bids from other companies for the next batch.

So scuba equipment 'manufacturers' only fulfill their guarantees by just replacing any bags that prove faulty for whatever reason. They're not repairable by them, though you might find someone locally who can repair your bag for a price -- though a poorly made bag is unlikely to survive its next overseas journey.

You almost take pot-luck when you purchase an inexpensive dive-branded bag (as does the company that buys them). We doubt if TUSA or any other brand would do better than this. If you want to buy a strong bag, forget about buying a bag with a dive logo and seek a product from an American manufacturer -- and spend a lot more money. Alas, even Stahlsac, a company that made exceedingly strong bags, has moved its production from the USA.

However, we do think that Josh Schoenwald, on behalf of TUSA, might have been a little more sympathetic. It's a wise way to keep customers loyal, and he has certainly lost one in this instance.

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