The magic of the "Official Statement"
This post was supposed to be published yesterday, but I needed to wait for my solicitor to go over the contents and a bundle of correspondence first as a matter of habit. This is about one of the most effective tools in the world of commerce, be it fishing tackle or other merchandise, that is the "official statement".
What prompted me to write is this recent "official statement" from Daiwa Australia
They are claiming that the recall affects only reels sold in Japan and that it doesn't concern reels sold in Australia, and they mention "false and misleading information" posted on "websites/forums". As far as I know I was the one who broke the news to the English speaking web then forums copied it from me, so I can't help but believe I am being referred to in this interesting statement. Well, it defies logic to imagine that reels containing faulty parts would be limited to local market only. The manufacturer obviously didn't know the parts were faulty as they put them in their reels destined to the global market, and the chances are pretty remote that they were making a batch for the local market when they discovered the fault, then miraculously it turns out that they made/ordered the faulty parts just as they began making that particular batch. Some wild imagination is in action here!
As insulting to people's intelligence as their claim is, I won't go only by that. Australia happens to be one of the few overseas markets where Catalina is sold, so I kept hearing from my Australian readers about the exact symptoms that initiated the recall being on their Australian purchased reels, with one of them even stating that his newly purchased Catalina is as tight to spin as the tight old 2007 model. Naturally private correspondence isn't appropriate to point out the falsehood of a company's public statement, so have a look at what Australian fishermen have been posting on some of the popular offshore fishing sites, and credit goes to my readers finding and forwarding me all this stuff
There are many more like these about Australian bought reels all over the web, but you get the idea. This is the exact issue of the recall, identical to the symptoms in emails from my Australian readers, and this should leave no doubt that the statement from Daiwa Australia is bogus.
Now let's go back in time and recall other "official statements" that came in response to my reviews or warnings in days gone by. After my 2013 Stella SW review a rubbish floodgate opened, just as expected when I criticise the star reel of the world's biggest tackle maker with the vastest network of retailers, associates, sponsored shops, affiliated sites and charters. Complete denial that there are any issues, with a concentration on the most serious issue of the rotor play. I chose this one example of an "official statement" by Shimano's people on another popular forum
The same old predictable, unimaginative, mindless dreck and ad hominem typical of his oleaginous ilk, which I had predicted in the review, topped with the suggestion that if Shimano's engineers design and test a product there will never be a fault in it. If only Boeing let Shimano test their Dreamliner! Regardless of the manners, there is an authoritative and definitive denial of the presence of any issue, and a suggestion that I caused the problem because I don't have the "correct jig" whatever that means. Then my readers started sending me complaints, and the web was scattered with these
Just a few samples of the many I collected as well. Sure enough, eventually Shimano had to acknowledge the problem and posted this on their FB page after another fisherman tells them that he verified that the play exists on several reels
What they said was true indeed and Shimano Japan has apparently acted and addressed some of the issues highlighted in my review and I will at the nearest opening test another reel to verify and revise my verdict accordingly. The point here though is that the initial "official statement" was obviously untruthful.
I should probably stop here, but it would be such a shame that in 15 years of doing reel reviews I would only have two examples of the magic of official statements, wouldn't it?
A couple of years ago I made a warning about Canyon reels selling a spinner claiming that it has a Japanese made frame, American parts among other superior components, and assembled in the USA, when in reality it's a rebranded stock reel 100% Chinese made. In response to that came our now familiar friend; the "official statement", and like Daiwa, they too used the word "rumour". Man I'm such a prolific rumour-monger!
I then had to source my own stock reel direct from China and did the review most of you must have seen HERE unquestionably showing the origin of the Canyon reel
I really should stop now, but since I have about 30 minutes to bedtime and only need 10 to floss and set my mouth on fire with that hellish Listerine thing, I'll carry on.
In 2008 I reviewed a Tufftackle Diablo reel HERE that was supposedly a Stella/Saltiga slayer assembled in Australia from "Australian and imported" parts, and found it to be a cheap Chinese stock reel which to this day remains one of the crappiest objects I've touched. Few years later the same company released another reel which I tested and in response to a reader's inquiry posted my usual straightforward evaluation showing its faults and praising its strengths
The official statement this time was pretty huge, and here is the bit that summarises the company's take
Then guess what happened? People who bought the reel started posting photos showing problems that I warned about. Here is the faulty line roller angle issue posted by a fisherman in France on a big saltwater forum over there
And the stem design that I criticised led to this happening to another fisherman, posted on an Australian forum
Now the company seems to have gone, and there are a few posts on the web from owners who are trying to reach them for repair and warranty claims but can't find a way to do so.
I still have a little time, how about another round? Final one, I promise!
I reviewed the Penn Spinfisher V a year ago. Among the issues I found were a big difference between advertised weight and actual one, and I criticised the "water tight" claim and said that by design these reels are not water tight and can never be. The official statement
They said the weight difference was due to extra grease (!!) and that the reel was indeed watertight save for a few faulty ones. But then came this
They acknowledged that the advertised weights were actually wrong and changed them for all reels to match what I found, and later on they changed the "water tight" claim to "water resistant" as can be seen in these two photos of the original packaging and the updated one, both of the regular V spinner and not the live-liner version
Now let's talk. I did not post this because I'm upset with any of the companies or hate them. For instance I have two of Daiwa's reels on my "Finest Offshore Spinning Reels" list with the Saltiga being in the #1 position right now, and actually going by the number of recommendations I made to my readers I do believe that a non-negligible number of Saltigas and Catalinas were bought based on my recommendations. Few of Penn's reels are also on my various lists including the top list, and Shimano is probably the one with most spots on all my lists. Nothing personal here. Also I DO NOT mean to say that in every instance where an official statement was made in response to something I said malice was involved. I do believe for example that Penn people are quite honest and never meant to mislead, but rather jumped the gun. While I can't judge intentions in every case, a fact remains that statements were made, and that they were wrong.
My point is I want you to always use common sense and question things and never take anything for face value just because it came from an official source or was spoken with authority, not even things that I say. The internet has taken over all other means of advertisement and word of mouth and magazine ads are no more the leading means of promotion and sales in a large number of industries, and as the influence of the internet keeps growing you also need to grow more vigilant. In real life if a sponsored person gives you a recommendation you will most likely know that he's sponsored, but online it's much harder to tell. A shill can only reach a small number of people in face to face encounters, but on the web his reach is exponentially bigger. You would never really know, so just use common sense and learn to always question things that are told to you.
The timing of this post is also important. I did my best over many years to tell you what's real and what's not, never shied away from confrontation, and even learnt to lawyer up before I said certain things so I can be as rude as it gets when dodgy people make legal threats. I'm not going to be around forever though. This is taking a lot of my time and efforts, and after 15 years of blogging about tackle I might need to slow down and concentrate on other things soon. You guys have become a virtual family to me, and some have even become real life friends who took me fishing more times than I can count, had me meet their families, and even invited me over to Christmas dinners. Ultimately you will never hear that I made a penny from my reviews, no banners were ever hosted on my sites, and all the testing and debugging work I did/do for manufacturers was/is unpaid. It's all done out of my passion for this sport and the sense of camaraderie I have with you. I want to know then when I eventually go you would have grown more aware of the way things are in the fishing world, and that would probably be the most rewarding feeling I could feel as I go on with my life.
Cheers all and be safe on the water!
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January, 26th, 2014