Purchasing online and having a new rod turn up at your house is a great thing.
Marine Deals prides itself on this service, and we do all we can in regards to packaging and shipping, rods come in tubes and are inspected by the staff before heading out. Occasionally, despite our best efforts, something gets damaged in transit.
Normally this will be obvious as the outer packaging will be damaged. However, it's still very important that you inspect your new rod before putting it into the corner of the garage and forget about it until you get out fishing a couple of months later.
Get the rod out, inspect the guides (where the line runs through) as well as any visible marks or damage to the blank (body) of the rod.
This is especially important with graphite rods - as they don't take much of a knock to damage them. This is sometimes only discovered after the first fish on - and if this is a couple of months after the original purchase date, you can appreciate the warranty claim gets a bit tricky. Regardless, you don't want the fish of a lifetime on a damaged rod!
If we have a rod that comes back in that was only sold a few weeks ago - then the discussion about warranty is a lot easier.
However, when someone comes in with a rod that's been used for a couple of months, we often find the supplier won't accept it for warranty replacement. At that point, it's been used a couple of times, and a manufacturing fault would have already been apparent. Rods don't 'wear out' and then break - they snap early on or don't until they are accidentally knocked or damaged. There are, of course, exceptions, but they are rare.
So, do yourself and us a huge favour - inspect your new rod as soon as you get it - and let us know if there are any issues. We want to do right by our customers, so help us, help you.
What am I looking for?
So, congratulations on taking the time to have a proper look at the new rod!
This can get a little pedantic here. But we are looking for major issues with the rod that might cause it to fail.
Plenty of rods have minor cosmetic blemishes. Little marks in the paint and dents in the foam of the grip. These are generally cosmetic only and will cause no issues with the function of the rod.
Certainly, it is fair to expect a difference in the final finish between a cheaper, mass-produced rod and one of the higher-end rods. Unsure? Get in touch.
What you are looking for is obvious dents in the carbon fibre blank. These indicate knock damage and will likely cause a weak point in the rod. This will be more than a slight mark or scratch in the service level paint - it will have gone down through the paint into the rod material itself.
Guides should be aligned, but again, if you are having to look hard - it's probably not a problem. Major misalignments, of course, need fixing. Get in touch.
If you are unsure, feel free to get in touch. Even if the conclusion is that it is only cosmetic - discussing with us will lodge a record - if the rod does snap in a month, we already know its history. Of course, if it snaps somewhere unrelated to the mark, we are looking at a different reason!
Multi-piece rods require inspection of the fitment between the sections. You can read a little more specifically about multi-piece rods over here - https://help.marine-deals.co.nz/support/solutions/articles/44002335799-caring-for-multi-piece-rods
Is it warrantable?
To be blunt, most rods returning to us are not warranty issues. However - checking before you use the rod, even once, and identifying a problem there both makes it clear if it's a warranty issue and saves you having a problem out on the boat with a massive donkey hooked up!
Things are easy for us to fix if the rod still has its tags. ;)
This one was, unfortunately, a bit painful for the customer. New rod, graphite rod blank sitting in the holder, he put it there momentarily while helping mate land another fish - hooked up, whacked the graphite against the metal holder and snapped it. That little foam piece at the top is designed to be pulled down to where the blank would sit against the rod holder and protect it from knocks. However - these rods are not designed to be fished from rod holders. If you put a graphite rod in the holder, make sure the blank (rod) is protected, or put it into free-spool so a fish hit won't cause damage to the rod.
Guides don't tend to spontaneously 'pop' out or break. They get knocked and damaged. We know this. Customers know this. How else does physical damage occur? However, if you open your package, check them and realise there is damage - then, of course, we are going to replace the rod without issue! The conversation becomes much more difficult once you have been using it for a season though. Because - well - something has to have happened for the damage to occur!
The small fish always seem to be the ones breaking rods! Where this rod has snapped indicates more blank damage than tip loading - but because the rod was around nine months old, it's safe to conclude the rod has taken a bang at some point and suffered a fracture. If this was the first fish on, then yes, potentially a warranty issue.
A double whammy! It's not uncommon for multiple breaks to happen at once. In this case, the rod was sitting in the rod holder (seeing a trend yet?), a fish hit it, snapped the blank at the base, and then the top of the rod was snapped as the angler grabbed the top of the rod to try and save it. Often you also see damage to the top guide and potentially the one below where the upper snap occurs.
You might note - none of this is talking about tip breakages yet - because once we see a break in the top 1/4 of the rod, there is a much more likely cause - tip loading.