This is a rant, it's about bad customer service and I think it's a valid one. Please read on.
I had some troubles with a HS Precision HRT rifle last year.
If you run some searches to my user name you'll find some of the post about it.
This is the only link I could find have specific to the problem, I con't remember if I posted more on the matter, here or elsewhere:
This is a link relating to another problem I had with HS and the same rifle:
I got the rifle here in Italy from a local dealer through the national importer Bignami, I'll add that it cost me 2,800Euro, approx $3,470US after import tax and shiping.
Initally I was concerned with the bedding. The alluminium blocks had spillage of the stock material and it really was messy.
Nonetheless, the rifle came with a test target of .178MOA I got it to shoot to .3MOA with my handloads so I let it go.
Apparently the test target was shot with Federal Gold Medal Match ammo, which I only got to trying later on when it was ruined.
Back in August or September 2004 the groups started opening up and I started to get frustrated. I tried everything I could, a mechanical shooting rest that blocks the rifle, had a ex army sniper try it, tried shooting my other rifles to see if it wasn't my shooting. Nothing, th rifle was shooting around 3 inches @ 100.
I got some Federal Gold Medal Match ammo, 67Euro later and still no joy.
I checked the scope, mounts, inspected the bore, everything looked ok. I changed the scope and found it still shot uncontrollably.
It wasn't until I picked the rifle up off the bench that I felt the barrel turn in my hand that the penny dropped.
The barrel had come loose. I had never done anything that could have loosened, nor would I have any reason to, nor do I possess (or have access to) a barrel vice or any such equipment.
I contacted HS and expressed my concern, they were happy enough to carry out whatever work need to be done to fix it so I went on happy with the knowledge that I could get it fixed. In the mean time I tried tightening it by hand, together with a freind to see if it would fix it. The two of us twisted the barrel and action holding it rith rags as tight as we could and tried it. Still the same.
I called HS and told them I was going to send it in for repair as well as giving some very specific instructions and requests.
I made it absoluately clear that I would not be satisfied by any means of repair other than those of the HS Precision factory in the US.
I reitterated that I did NOT want the rifle to be handled by the Bignami gunsmiths because I do not have suffecient faith in them.
I also did not want Bignami to deal with the rifle because I feared it would be a year before I got the rifle back. Sending it back and forth would take the same amount of time but I figured at least I was going to get the most competent people to deal with it.
This is based on past experiences.
I also wasn't happy because I had a rifle that was supposedly capable of shooting .178 groups and I had ascertained that it could shoot at least .3 so I would have been slightly pissed to get a new rifle out of the deal and get one that only "just" made their .5MOA garantee.
That might sound a bit nitt picky, but after you shell out that much money for a rifle, I think it's reasonable.
I spoke with a man named Todd from HS Precision, (not the first time; see bedding link) who has handled the case. He was appolagetic enough said he would speak to Manfred and Andy, their correspondants from Bignami, and instruct them to send the rifle to him rather than deal with it in house.
He also rightly expressed concern about the incedent and wanted to get a chance to inspect the rifle himself.
Assured that the matter would be handled properly and also content that after I mentioned the trigger was very bad on the rifle, Todd said they would slip in one of their new triggers which are said to have been improved. Bonus.
I took the rifle to the local dealer I got it from, who, among other things, being a total wanker started a big argument because I told him exactly why I didn't want Bignami to touch it and he, being a gunsmith himself took offence it to all, going so far as to threaten not to send the rifle at all and accusing me of having unscrewd it myself... (why?)
After some time, I tried e-mailing Todd several times and got no response, it wasn't until I called that he told me that the e-mail address on their website does not work.
He still hadn't heard anything from Bignami, and I coudln't get in touch with Bignami. They do not deal with mere mortals, so I had to sit tight.
Time passed and I spoke with Todd at HS again about it, same response. Bignami hadn't mentioned the rifle.
At this point I'm wondering why I didn't ask him nicely to CALL Bignami and find out about it...
Well two weeks ago I heard from the local dealer that the rifle has arrived, repaired. He doesn't know who fixed it or what they did, it's still sealed but he does not think it went to the US.
I call HS again and Todd tells me he heard nothing of it. The rifle never made it to HS Precision, nor did Bignami mention it.
So...I have made maybe 5 phone calls to Todd at HS regarding this matter, sent numerous e-mail that never were answered or recieved, been fobbed off by Bignami because they don't deal with private persons, only dealers, argued with the local dealer and still didn't get the work I had requested.
My request was not only absolutely clear, but aslo I was told that it would be granted by Todd from HS, all along.
Again he was appolagetic enough but still hasn't been able to offer any kind of solution.
I think this is absolutely pathetic, on the part of HS Precision I hadn't expected it, I had put blind faith into the famed American customer service and diligence.
The rifle is still with the dealer, I have been out of town but tomorrow I'll go pick it up.
I have conceeded that if it still shoots .3 groups with the same ammo I'll keep it, because, as it has become clear, there is little hope of getting anything done about it.
Todd agreed that if the rifle should not shoot as it did before or if the repairs are not satisfactory then he would have Bignami send it to him and another look.
What is that worth to me now?
I do not have much faith that the rifle will be the same as before, I came up with and heard all manner of theories of what shooting with a (very)loose barrel(untill I realized it) could have done to the headspaceing, barrel/reciever threads, throat, chamber...I just don't know, but I know it didn't do it any good.
Bignami didn't ask HS to send for a new barrel, so at a guess they probably just screwed it back on to spec torque. Todd believes they are capable of fixing the headspace(if it is a headspace issue) and said he is optimistic that it will proove to be a good repair job.
If the rifle does not shoot as it used to I would like to send it back and have HS reimburse me the full amount I paid for the rifle, but I don't know how that will go over, nor do I have any means of enforcing my wishes from here should it come to that.
I feel that people should know about this, it I hope it casts the desired amount of bad light on HS Precision because I have only them to hold responsable, the barrel most likely came unscrewed due to an assembly error, and they promised to take it in for repair/replacement or whatever was in order.
What should I do? And if and when I discover that the rifle is not up to scratch and opt to return it to the factory for a full refund, do I have any legal ground to stand in on the US? Is there a cumsumer affairs agency who could take care of such a matter on behalf of a foreigner?