THE GAPEN TRUTH….. Better Business Bureau, family, friends, and outdoor enthusiasts. My wife and I would like to first of all thank you for taking the time to read this and to consider what happened to my wife and I while using Gapen ‘Wilderness North’ series rods. Both rods broke within the first two hours of using them, then the ensuing ‘battle’ with Gapen Company to even honor their warranty. On 2/7/04 me and my wife purchased two Wilderness north series rods from, (Gapen’s National Sales Director) Bill Patton, at the Walleye Classic in Shakopee MN. We told Bill that we were going to Alaska to fish for the Red Salmon, average size 5-12 lbs. on the Kenai River. He said he has fished for them, and recommended the 8ft. med.- heavy rods. For a price of about $150.00 each and two reels for about $50.00 each. About $400.00 in business. Bill Patton told us they had the best warranty in the business and that this is a rod that you can expect to last a lifetime, so I bought them. The Rods sat in our basement until one week before our trip. I strung the reels with 20 lb test line. (Well within the recommended line weight for the rods). I packed the rods in ‘padded’ heavy duty PVC pipe for our flight to AK. On the first day of our long awaited fishing trip we decided to go fishing. We caught a couple of fish, then while my wife was battling a fish I heard a loud ‘Crack’….., and a ‘AAAAWWWwww’….. from the other fishermen around us. Her $150.00 Gapen rod had snapped in half!!! Disappointing to say the least, and my wife felt bad that the rod had broken. I told her it was not her fault. I handed her my rod to fish with. We did not have another rod to fish with so I sat and watched. About one hour later, my wife is again having a good time battling another Salmon when, ‘again’, I saw the rod break, heard a loud snap, and another round of, ‘AAAAWWWWwwww’….. from the crowd waiting their turn to fish. Now we have to quit fishing because ‘both’ of our ($300.00 worth) of Gapen rods had snapped in half, on the first day of using them, and in the ‘first two hours of using them’! I could not believe it and My wife felt bad because both rods had broken while she was fishing with them. I told her she was not doing anything wrong while using the rods and so did others that saw what had happened. Other fishermen around us said that that simply should not happen and recommended that we go and get less expensive Ugly Sticks from the local hardware store in Soldotna for the rest of our trip. May I say, the Ugly Sticks performed flawlessly and they were a joy to fish with for the remainder of our trip. My wife and I love to fish and both have 40 years experience. I have never had a rod I was using break or ever seen a rod break in my life until now. Not even my first Zebco 202 and Snoopy combo. (Nothing against Zebco, or Snoopy) ‘Heck,’ in my opinion, they performed better than any rod Gapen could sell or give away for that matter!!! On 7/26/04, the day that we got home I promptly called the Gapen Company to discuss our misfortune and disappointment in their rods. I got a hold of the receptionist/admin person, and left a message with her for Bill Patton to call me. Two days passed without a call back. I called them back and this time requested to talk to someone that can deal with my issues with their rods. (Either Dan Gapen Sr. or Bill Patton). I had to leave another message…. Another two days of no call back! I left messages at Gapen for two weeks straight, before anybody bothered to return my calls. On Monday August 9th, I finally got a call back from Bill Patton. He said that it was hard to believe that both rods broke. He kept asking questions about how we were using the rods, as if he was looking for a reason to point fault at Me and my wife. He told me that he needed to see the rods so that they, (Gapen) could look at the rods through their microscope so ‘they’ could determine what ‘really’ happened to the rods before they would honor their (“”best in the business””), warranty. I asked Bill who determines if it is a manufacturer’s defect? Bill said, they do!.. Then Bill went on to tell me all about all the other dishonest people who tried to take advantage of their company, and what ‘really’ happened to those rods. (Supposedly they can tell how every rod broke with their magic microscope.) On Wednesday August 11th, I ‘Priority’ mailed the two broken rods along with a letter that read. ‘I have enclosed the sales receipts, two broken Gapen rods, and a picture of my wife and I along the Kenai river holding some Red salmon and two broken Gapen rods. There was no mistreatment of the rods. I do not want two new Gapen rods. I have already tried ‘two new Gapen rods. We certainly will not be bringing any other Gapen rods back to AK. in the future. I need Gapen to step up and just give me my money back. Feel free to call me any day to make this situation right!!!’ I felt it was appropriate to ask for our money back considering the fact that my wife and I would never be able to trust another Gapen rod again. On Monday August 16th, I called to see why nobody has called me back to let me know they got the rods. (No answer, left message) The next day I actually got a call back from Bill who said, ‘they just got the rods’ and ‘they can not tell what ‘really’ happened to the rods using their microscope so they were going to send the rods to their manufacturer so they could determine what ”really’ happened to the rods.’ I told Bill again, about all the extra cost and aggravation this is causing Me and my wife, about how it happened, and that both rods broke in the first day of use. He replied by telling me that, ‘the cork on the handles looked too dirty for just one days use’. Thus questioning my honesty, integrity and character, once again! Thursday August 19th, I received a letter from Dan Gapen Sr. addressed to Hopewell Rods. (There manufacturer) which reads, ‘Under separate coverage I’m returning two only 8 foot, two piece rods, which were broken by Tim Patterson’. Then goes on to talk about his costs, and asks for them to determine, in their ‘expert opinion’, what ‘really’ happened to the rods. Then he goes on to say, ‘By the way these are the only 2-piece 8, 8-1/2, or 9 foot rods we’ve had returned broken’. My wife is now upset so she calls Gapen to ask to speak to the owner (Dan Gapen Sr.) who had just left for Florida, so she left a message for him to call her. On Monday August 23rd, Dan Gapen Sr. called my wife’s cell phone, and leaves the following message on my wife’s cell phone. (Quoted exactly and spoken in a harsh tone) Dan Gapen at the Gapen Company. Your husband has been told by Bill Patton what were doing with the rods! I sent you a letter what were doing with the rods, and as soon as we discover how the rods were broken, and we cant take your word on it because every body lies to us about how they break rods! And that will be done down at our factory in Arkansas! The rods have been sent and as soon as we hear from our production people down there we’ll let you know. And it’ll come from Bill Patton, not this office. T he other thing is by the way, we used our two piece rods. Just came back from Key West Florida and we caught Tuna up to 35 lbs., King Mackerel up to 45 lbs. So none of them broke. Never broke a thing! So I don’t know what you people were doing, or why you did it, or whether somebody broke them over their knee, to get new rods, or money back! But we don’t give money back, as bill told you! We will satisfy you as per our warranty in the catalogue that your husband already has ! Thank you, Bye! (we transferred this to tape) This is coming from the ownership of Gapen. Who takes vacations to Key West, using the money he makes, from all those ‘lying’ fishermen and fisherwomen! Let me tell you who we are. I have worked for the same company for 25 years. My wife is a sales professional and has been in sales for 25 years also. We have a son who is 15. And we have two dogs, a 7 year old Labrador and a dog we got from Second Chance animal adoption. We are hard working, honest, God fearing, and a church going family. We love the outdoors! We do a few fishing tournaments a year and I participate in a few hunting and fishing forums on the internet. It has been an absolute joy to teach our son to respect the outdoors and all that it has to offer. We do not go around looking for a way to scam companies like Gapen. All we want to do……. is to ‘peacefully’ enjoy the outdoors and to be the best people we can be. But this time we got insulted and scammed! Not only by the staff of Gapen, but now by the owner as well, Dan Gapen Sr. On Sept. 1st 04 we received a certified letter from the Gapen company wanting us to pay an additional $175.66 more’ to replace the rods, and $18.50 for their’ shipping and handling costs. In this letter they claim that, after close examination by professionals it has been determined that the rods broke because of overstress. (I could have told them that without the magic microscope!’) Isn’t that what fishing rods are for? To be able to take a certain amount of stress, thus enabling us to catch fish of 6-10 lbs? Dan Gapen Sr. said that he thought I broke them over my knee, and that I am lying to them about what happened. Why would I want to break a “”supposedly”” good fishing rod, Just to get another supposedly good fishing rod and pay for shipping to do it? There logic, or lack of, does not make sense! I feel that they don’t care about your honesty, your outdoor adventures, or your happiness in their products and all they do care about is getting your money and keeping it under any circumstance! They are full of blame’ and got all the excuses’ not to back their warranty or their products. We have not tried to have any further phone conversations becouse of Mr. Gapens tendancy to be verbally abusive. I can not begin to tell you the insults, aggravation, embarrassment, and financial loss, that my family and I have experienced thus far dealing with The Gapen Company. Because of the choices Gapen has made this has gone beyond, simply wanting our money back. As I’m sure it would for you and your family, had you had this experience. This “”is”” how the Gapen Company has treated us and it makes me wonder how many other people have had the same experience as us. “”Rods breaking and the rude and accusational nature of Mr. Dan Gapen SR. (owner), and Bill Patton (National Sales Director), and then the warranties not being honored.”” My best to yours on your next outdoor adventure! Timothy Savage, Minnesota U.S.A. .
This review (Gapen Tackle Company Review) was originally published at Holy Smoke !.
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