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CBI Rear Bumper Swing-out Latch Failure

TL;DR - The latch broke, and I need a new one. CBI's customer service leaves something (major IMO) to be desired. Destaco (who makes the latch) really stepped up though!

Bit of a rant here, you've been forewarned.

I was seriously surprised when the latch that secures the swing-outs closed on my CBI Outback 1.0 bumper broke in the middle of the trip. The roads in the Mojave Preserve were in such good shape that @mrs.turbodb and I commented on it to each other several times during the trip. But the latch breaking isn't what really got my goat about this experience - rather, it was CBI's handling of it that left a bad taste in my mouth.

Let me start by saying that CBI has every right to respond the way they did - it's their company and they can run it how they choose. My bumper is over 1 year old, and perhaps things would have been different if it were newer.

At any rate, after the latch broke, I contacted CBI, and asked them if they could send me (for free) a new u-bolt - or even better, two... just so I could have one in my kit in case another one broke on the trail. And I included several photos showing the broken part and how I jerry-rigged the bumper for the remainder of the trip. The response that I got was essentially, "We have those - they are $12.99 each plus tax and shipping; give us a call to order."

Hoping they'd just missed my actual request, I reiterated it to them, adding that it'd be great in the write up of the current trip report and rig review - to be able to relate a totally awesome customer experience with CBI. Still, the response from them was, "No."

That of course is their prerogative, so I asked if they could let me know the part number of the u-bolt, since for such a small part, it might be cheaper to find it locally. The response I got was simply a photo of a number, and a note that said they "could find no other information" - manufacturer, etc. - about it. Two things about that are crappy - first, they clearly know who made the part because they have to order the parts themselves. Second, the only reason they would have replacement u-bolts (in stock!) is if they are known to break.

At any rate, armed with the part number only, I set about researching swing-out latches on the internet. It took a while, but I eventually stumbled on Destaco - a company that makes the latches - on a Jeep forum, and I was pretty sure that the latch I had was the same as the one I saw on their site. So I sent a similar email to Destaco that I'd originally sent to CBI, along with the same photos. Within hours I had an email from Destaco saying that, "Of course we'll send you two new u-bolts - we're sorry this happened to you."

Now that's a company with some great customer service. They could have easily told me to pound sand and work with CBI, since I've never actually given them any money at all, but they didn't. They recognized that this shouldn't have happened and wanted to make it right. Kudos Destaco!

So, this is the second poor customer experience I've had with CBI - the first being when I initially installed my bumper in their parking lot and they (a) gave me a really hard time for it - as though I was somehow inconveniencing them on a snowy day when no one else was there and (b) several parts - ironically including the Destaco latch - were missing from the bumper, and if I hadn't been installing locally, I would have been totally screwed.

So, does the bumper work well and do I generally like it? Yes. But can I really recommend working with CBI? Ehh, not really. And that's too bad. But hey, there are plenty of other fabricators out there who I've had only great experiences with. Eric @Relentless Fabrication and Jerry @BAMF come to mind.

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