I’ve been fairly happy with my Safety 1st Complete Air. It is one of two seats currently on the market in the US that allows me to keep Mr Orange rear facing. One of my complaints about it has been that the plastic tabs/covers on the metal prongs that you use to adjust the harness height are useless. Apparently, this issue is special to my seat as none of my friends have this problem with their CAs. I’ve got a lot of friends with CAs too!
So I finally called Dorel Juvenile Products, which is the parnet compant for Safety 1st. They agreed that this was a problem and thier best course of action would be to replace my entire seat. Great! I get a new seat. The problem? I have to render mine unuseable first by sending them a 5″ section of the harness strap and a 5″ square of the cover. Then there’s a two week window between me destroying my current seat and when I would get the replacement.
Now, I do have five other seats and another on order for pick up at the end of the month. But Dorel doesn’t know that, nor do I think they should. I responded to their e-mail with “I’m curious as to how you would suggest that I safely transport my child between the destruction of my current seat and the receipt of my new one. I understand the theory behind the policy, but I’m unclear on the execution.” I’m looking forward to their response. I’ll let you know what they say.
The reason I’m not telling them I have several other seats to choose from? Most parents don’t. Most parents have one seat per child, and being asked to make one unuseable can and very likely does lead to very unsafe situations. What do I think some parents would do if they were told to destroy their seat and wait two weeks for a replacement for a 3.5 year old? Probably go to Target or Walmart and buy a $15 backless booster to use in the interim. Or just buckle the child in the vehicle seatbelt for those two weeks. Neither of those options are good ones.
When I had a question about my First Years True Fit, their customer service rep was not helpful at all. I wanted to know if Mr Orange could use the third harness position rear facing, as he had about 3″ of shell above his head still. The labels on my particular seat said rear facing harness had to be in the first and second position only; however I know that newer date of manufacture seats had the option of using the third position. The guy I spoke with said that I just had to turn my son forward facing at two and a half. Not an option in my book.
When I called Britax customer service because my Frontier harness was showing signs of wear after only a few months of use, they didn’t make me send my old harness back before sending my replacement. They just sent the replacement. The original harness is still on my seat and being used. It is a bit fuzzy where the buckle tongues slide across the hip portion, but it is not fraying. I have elected to hold on to the replacement harness in case the original one does fray or someone barfs on it or whatever unfortunate event causes the harness to need replacing.
Britax customer service offered to sell me a new Marathon at a very reduced price when I called them outside of my warranty period because my Marathon’s recline mechanism was broken and would not lock in the upright position. They did not ask me to send my broken seat back first. I ended up just moving Mr Orange into a different seat and putting Little Dude in the Marathon that an only be installed rear facing.
I just wish you didn’t have to buy a Britax for great customer service. I guess that’s part of what you’re paying for with your $280 seat…
UPDATE: 10/2/10 I received my new Complete Air prior to sending my old seat back. They responded to my e-mail by stating that they would send me the new seat and I had 30 days to send them proof of the destruction of my old seat. I mailed that stuff to them after verifying that my new seat functions as intended.