SIGG CEO Contacts Customer, Restores Faith In Bottle Exchange

A few months ago, SIGG USA announced that the plastic liners of their metal water bottles actually contain the dread plastic additive bisphenol-A (BPA.) Since avoiding BPA is the reason for the popularity of metal water bottles in the first place, SIGG offered to exchange the thousands of the offending bottles for shiny new ones. Many Consumerist readers have written in to share their tales of mixups, confusion, and mysterious $50,000 gift certificates in dealing with the replacement program, but Matt actually had a pleasant experience, and he shared it with Consumerist.

I wanted to drop a short note about the SIGG replacement situation. Late last summer I, like many, sent two bottles in to be replaced, and heard absolutely nothing back from the company about whether or not they had received them, how I might go about getting them replaced, when I might get them replaced, etc. I saw that you had a contact e-mail for the CEO, so I e-mailed him, having nothing to lose at this point.

I was pleasantly shocked to receive an e-mail from Steve Wasik, the SIGG CEO, apologizing for the problem and promising to make it right. He let me know that due to the fact that SIGG asked people to hand-write their info on the form that accompanied the bottles to be replaced, they had a problem with fulfillment due to the fact they had incorrect data for me. Maybe they couldn’t read my handwriting, maybe their data entry people messed up, what have you. He asked me to pick replacement bottles from the SIGG Web store and just e-mailed me to tell me that replacements were shipping tomorrow. On Christmas Eve no less.

Obviously the proof is in the pudding here, whether or not I get the bottles remains to be seen, but SIGG has turned one of the worst consumer experiences I’ve had into one of the best. Companies make mistakes, but the good ones make it right as best they can.

If you’re having problems with your own bottle exchange, you can reach Mr. Wasik at Steve.Wasik.CEO@sigg.com, or steve.wasik@sigg.com.

Comments

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  1. kimdog says:

    I just took mine to Whole Foods, and they switched it without blinking an eye. Took less than a minute. The only drawback was the lack of pattern choice. Oh well, I don’t mind Hello Kitty that much.

  2. Kaonashi says:

    Nice to see that they’re being responsible and actually care about the quality and the perception of their products. I’d say that it would be nice if other companies could follow this lead but the bigger companies get the less responsible they get it seems so that would be a pipe dream.

  3. chrisgoh says:

    After months of hassle and emails that went without response I finally got my replacement. I emailed Mr. Wasik several times and never got a response. They’ve handled this issue so poorly that I will NEVER do business with them again. I donated the replacement bottle to charity and purchased a number of bottles from Klean Kanteen, all of which I have been very pleased with. I’m glad Matt had some luck with contacting Mr. Wasik directly, but I think his experience is the exception.

    Given that it appears that Sigg flat out lied about the BPA content of their bottles, I don’t really want to take their word that their new bottles are BPA free. Here was an excerpt from the first email I sent to Mr. Wasik, that was never responded to.

    >> I’d like to take up your companies offer to replace Sigg bottles
    >> containing
    >> BPA, per the information I’ve read here
    >>
    >> – http://consumerist.com/5345747/sigg-will-replace-bpa+containing-bottles-for-free?skyline=true&s=i
    >>
    >>
    >>

    >> In that letter, Steve Wasig states “To my knowledge, we at SIGG have never
    >> advertised our old liner bottles as being BPA free.” I certainly
    >> appreciate
    >> your replacement but did want to direct you to a quote from Mr. Wasig in
    >> 2008 that may be leading to some of the cofusion and the impression that
    >> your company has represented that there is no BPA in your bottles. See
    >> this
    >> article
    >>
    >> – http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/are-sigg-aluminum-bottles-bpa-free.php
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> The following is copied from the article -
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> CEO, Steve Wasik. He says that SIGG uses a proprietary liner formula from
    >> a
    >> Swiss supplier with “an impeccable reputation for quality” but that”as
    >> there
    >> are many copy-cat manufacturers in the market (most based in China) that
    >> would like to get their hands on this formula, our supplier has an
    >> agreement
    >> with SIGG to keep his formula confidential.” Wasik continues: “Very
    >> thorough migration testing in laboratories around the world is conducted
    >> regularly and has consistently shown SIGG aluminum bottles to
    >> have no presence of lead, phthalates, Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA),
    >> Bysphenol A (BPA), Bysphenol B (BPB) or any other chemicals which
    >> scientists
    >> have deemed as potentially harmful.”
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> The average person reading this would leave with the impression that the
    >> chemicals used in your liners are confidential, so you won’t release them,
    >> but that you’ve tested the bottles themselves and that they contain no
    >> BPA,
    >> note you don’t say that no BPA is leached, but that the bottles themselves
    >> contain no BPA.

  4. OptoGeek says:

    I’m sorry, I just don’t know if I can trust a man who thinks the proof is in the pudding, when in reality the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

  5. dtc says:

    Sigg received my 3 bottles on 9/10/2009. I email them once a month to ask them for a status update, and all I get are auto-replies. The auto-replies specifically state that I should not CC others as it will slow them down. Right.

    The sad part was that I bought all of them at REI. I totally forgot I could’ve just brought them back to REI.

  6. gamehendge2000 says:

    You haven’t gotten your replacement bottles yet, and this is already one of the best customer experiences you’ve had?

    • sonneillon says:

      Maybe the OP banks with BOA has Time Warner for an ISP and AT&T for a phone company and shopping exclusively at Walmart and Bestbuy.

      Under those circumstances not getting the shaft immediately can be construed as the best costumer service experience.

      I imagine someone is going to defend the CS of one of those companies.

  7. vesper says:

    Personally I think this whole “plastic additive bisphenol-A (BPA.)” is way overblown and not being honestly reported (as usual). In engineering speak, the idea of chemicals leaking into your water from these bottles is called “transference”. It cannot really occur without a change in the molecular structure or integrity of the plastic itself. For instance, plastic soda bottles have a plethora of chemicals that could kill us however if the plastic bottle is kept in the state in which you buy it, you’re safe. And I don’t know many people that light their coke bottles as they drink the fluid, so they remain safe. And as for the water bottles, because we don’t allow our water to remain in the bottle itself for more than a day (probably), transference really cannot occur. This is nothing more that a scare tactic.