I also included this in my original T15 bumper thread, but wanted to make sure it gets out there. Mods feel free to delete if you feel it's too redundant.
I wanted to share my experience with TJM customer service, and also include an imbedded longer-term review of their products which I have purchased. I have a TJM T15 bull bar and a Stealth 9k winch.
So…one day my winch would not roll the line back in. It would let it out under power, but would not pull it back in. No clicks, no noises, no nothing. It has worked reliably up until then, which was early September. I bought it in May of 2012. I never pulled another vehicle with it; actually I never pulled my truck with it either except when I first got it, just for fun. I have pulled several fallen trees out of the woods with it though, and also used it to pull a shrub out of the ground in a neighbor’s front yard. It had a pretty easy life and was always mounted in the T15 bumper, which kept it very well protected, though it can still get wet.
So I called TJM customer service in Riverside, CA. They said it has a lifetime warranty, and they will fix it. I just have to pay to ship it to them. They said they’d need it for about 4 days, and they would pay to ship it back. The person I talked to (names withheld) was kind enough to advise me to strip all the parts off of it they wouldn’t need, like the power leads and rope, to save on shipping costs. I wasn’t happy about having to pay $50 to ship it across the country, but I realize that is the industry standard. Guess I am spoiled by Smith and Wesson who will pay for everything and has given me free parts. I shipped it out with an arrival date of 9/12/2013. A Friday two weeks after the arrival date, I called to see what was going on. The person I talked to said that they had replaced the control box, which looked like it was damaged in shipping, and they were going through the rest of the winch. They told me that it would ship out the following Monday.
I waited until the following Friday to call again, when I had not received anything back. The same person told me that there had been a big trade show or something, and they were waiting for an allen wrench to come back to finish my winch. This pretty much sealed my opinion of TJM. It’s no big deal to me if it took a little longer than 4 days, but to tell me it is several weeks longer then I was told to expect, and now it is being held up because you don’t have a .50 cent tool??? If that was my business, I would be out the door to buy an allen wrench to get this thing put back together as soon as it had become a problem. So I’m breathing deeply and reminding myself that after all, the winch is being fixed for free. They said they’d throw a shirt in for the inconvenience. Woo hoo. They said it would ship the next Monday. I did not hesitate to call back again to see if they had actually shipped it this time. I got a tracking number from the same person, immediately checked it against the FedEx site, and it didn’t come back. So I called FedEx and talked to someone…nothing. Called TJM back again to be sure the number was right. They gave it to me again but this time it had another digit that it didn’t have before…who knows if that was accidental or not. Anyway, it checked out this time and I saw an arrival date of 10/18, only about 6 weeks after I sent it in.
As soon as I received the winch, I immediately inspected it and found that one of the two ALLEN HEAD bolts that holds the control box onto the winch body was several turns out from being snug. It wasn’t just loose; someone didn’t even run the bolt all the way in. So I tightened that.
Got it back on the truck a few days later. Now the wireless remote doesn’t work with the new control box. So I called TJM again. Spoke to someone else this time and they explained how to reset the remote to the control box. Hmm…I would’ve thought someone would tell me that as soon as they told me they were replacing the control box…or at least put instructions in the box.
So after spending all that time under and around the bumper while taking it on and off the truck, I noticed that the powdercoat was peeling off the lower lip. It had chipped off in several places and was peeling everywhere else. I got the bumper at the same time I got the winch, May 2013. This truck is not my daily driver and I always try to avoid driving it on salted roads. Also I have not done any offroading difficult enough to scrape the lower lip on the bumper.
While talking to this person about resetting the wireless remote, I inquired about the warranty on the bumper finish. He said he thought it was a year, but he would contact the Australian HQ and get an answer within a day or two. After hanging up, he sent me an email very promptly asking if I could take pictures of the damage.
I used my phone to take the pictures, and getting good detail and lighting was a problem, but you could at least see the chips, but not so much the peeling. So I waited a week and called him again. I asked if he got an answer from HQ yet and he said “oh no…I haven’t…” in such a tone and pace that my training, knowledge and experience leads me to believe he never initiated contact with them. He then went on to tell me that the pictures I sent looked like scrapes, which are not covered under the warranty. It was not worth arguing to me because it was clear at this point that their customer service really isn’t. But the damage indicated in the pictures had sharp, linear lines where the paint ended and rusted metal was exposed; the transition from paint to bare metal was an immediate ledge where you went from fully intact, undamaged paint, to no paint. They were not long scratches where the depth of paint damage would have been progressive along the plane of those scratches. He confirmed the warranty was a year, so I was out of the park already anyway. I asked what the remedy would’ve been if it was within the time frame. He told me they would’ve paid to have it powder coated locally. He then went on to tell me that his TJM bumper had paint damage as well (didn’t indicate if it peeled or was scratched by him), and he just sanded and spray bombed it.
Anyway, I wanted to warn other people on this site about TJM. After my experience, I wish I would’ve spent the extra money and gotten an ARB bumper and Warn winch. I paid $875 for the bumper with free shipping, and $550 for the winch, also with free shipping. The bumper came with fog lights and the winch came with a wireless remote, synthetic cable, and a huge hook. I know a Warn and ARB would not have come with those extras and would cost more out of the gate, but I would gladly pay for actual customer service, and even better, the much greater chance that I would never have to interact with them in the first place.
Hopefully some of you take the time to read this and can avoid an experience similar to mine. Their products may in fact be a good design, but obviously the powdercoating is an issue, as is the control box on the winch. If being shipped breaks the control box, and sitting in the driveway destroys the powdercoating, there are definitely some issues. I could’ve lived with both of those short comings if it had been handled professionally, but at the end of the day I completely regret buying TJM products. Sorry for the length, but I felt it was necessary to include details to get the full story out.