Back in early January—after many hours spent researching—I decided to finally pull the trigger on what would become the second boat in our family (the first being a WS Tarpon 135T). The boat I decided on was a Dagger Katana 10.4.
Living in St. Louis, MO, the ability to actually try out a boat, in person, before making a decision is limited to the big box REI, & a local, outdoor recreation store w/ an equally limited paddling department.
For this reason, purchasing my new yak was going to be an online affair; & I eventually settled Austin Canoe & Kayak (AKC.com)—largely due to the Affirm monthly payment option.
Like every other site, if I didn’t want the toothpaste Aquafresh–colored Katana, I would have to purchase via backorder.
For the record: I was VERY much NOT a fan of the toothpaste color pattern, so I backordered a Red Katana 10.4.
Again, it’s early January & the backorder fulfillment said March 16th—so, no big deal, I didn’t have any plans for this boat until April or May.
As the second to last week of February rolled around, i was admittedly getting anxious, so I decided to call ACK customer service to get an update on my backorder.
I was pleasantly surprised when the ACK customer service associate informed me that there would be an earlier than anticipated shipment of two Katana’s (one being RED) arriving from Dagger the following week (last week of February); & that, in fact, I was first in line of 6 people—so this red Katana would be mine(!).
Well, that week rolled along—& passed— & I never received a shipping confirmation. So I called AKC again to inquire. This customer service agent, said that my backorder fulfillment was still showing March 16th; & that she didn’t know why I was ever told about an early February fulfillment.
… okay. Whatever. Slightly bummed, but no big deal in the greater scheme of things. #firstworldproblems, right?
Fast forward now to March 19th, I once again called ACK, & spoke to—I believe—the same gentleman I spoke to the first time, whom told me about the earlier than anticipated, February fulfillment.
He acted empathetic about the order falling through & then hit me w/ a WHOPPER of more bad news—my Dagger Katana would now not be shipped until JULY(!).
I. Was. STUNNED … JULY(?). For an order placed in JANUARY?! The ACK guy said that this was quite atypical, but it was indeed the unfortunate reality of the situation.
He then went on to tell me that Confluence (parent company of Dagger) & Austin Canoe & Kayak have had a bit of a souring of their business relationship. That once upon a time, ACK & Harmony (another subsidiary of Confluence) had a partnership. That partnership went south, & now Confluence sometimes changes ACK’s order fulfillment’s @ their whim.
I informed the ACK customer service agent that I could not wait until July for my Katana. He provided me w/ Confluence’s customer service # as I requested.
I immediately called Confluence where I heard the OTHER side of the same tale …
The Confluence agent confirmed that the prior Harmony/ACK partnerships did indeed go south. However, that is was due to ACK seemingly & increasingly having some internal problems/irregularities that caused some “flaky” business behaviors. & then the Confluence agent outright denied any canceling of order fulfillment on their end. Essentially saying “I mean, WHY would we want to cancel sales/distribution of our OWN product?”
He said Katana orders have been & continue to be regularly fulfilled to all of their other dealers across the country, but ACK has been a bit erratic.
The Confluence rep then recommended I check out Appomattox River Company as he thought pretty highly of them.
I said, okay. Phone call number three …
Upon calling Appomattox, I spoke to Charlotte, gave her the cliff notes of my Katana saga & upon mentioning the Austin Canoe & Kayak dilemma, she chuckled & said something along the lines of “Ohhh yeah, this doesn’t surprise me, lol.”
It was then that I had a bit of a “Mmm hmm” moment to myself, as I now received confirmation as to who’s tale was the truthful story : ACK’s or Confluence’s.
Charlotte very pleasantly set me up w/ a red, Dagger Katana 10.4 that would be acquired & shipped by Appomattox w/ in the week(!).
In the end, I had to settle on the damn Aquafresh toothpaste Katana😣—as Charlotte called me back later in the afternoon to inform me that a red or lime variant would be unavailable for an undetermined duration due to Confluence’s decision—mere minutes prior—to shut down kayak production due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
FWIW, Charlotte & Appomattox River Company offered new 15% off a toothpaste Katana … it wasn’t ideal, but I was—FINALLY—getting my Katana
WHEW! That was quite a novel
Does anyone else have an unfortunate sales experience with Austin Canoe & Kayak? Or w/ another retailer?