Details of CWD’s Sale of a Misrepresented Saddle Size and Poor Customer Service to Me
To be clear, I am a greenie in the arena of saddle selection and a Very adult beginner rider (as of July of 2019). In August of 2019, I needed a saddle for my first horse lease. My proportions are unique: normal femur length (read: a woman of a certain age with some “junk in the trunk”), super short knee-to-ankle length, short upper body. That translates to an 18” seat with short flaps. ( The saddle equivalent of a unicorn or the holy grail.) There was never any doubt that I would eventually have to get a custom saddle but, since this was all new to me, a used saddle seemed to be the right choice.
On its website, CWD advertised a 2011 Amerigo Jump saddle with an 18” seat and it was described as being in “good condition”. When the saddle arrived, the flap length was just right, the condition was as described, but the seat was somewhat snug. Given the 18” description, I thought I just needed to lose weight and did so.
In June of this year, I bought my first horse and my trainer said, “I can’t train you to jump unless you buy a saddle that fits properly”. The problem is, with the pandemic, I cannot get a new one fitted. So, again, a used saddle would have to suffice. Given the size of the Amerigo, I went back to CWD and ordered a used 18.5” Voltaire. Before the Voltaire order shipped, an experienced horse friend told me to be sure the width would fit my horse by “checking the stamps”. I did not know what that meant. It turns out that what I thought were “serial numbers” includes a whole lot more information - including seat size. It took some sleuthing on the Google machine to decode the stamps but, it turned out that the Amerigo is marked as a 17” saddle. Color me concerned.
I called CWD immediately upon the discovery and told them that they sold me a saddle they represented as an 18” that is actually a 17” seat. Isabella told me the 18” was based on a hand measurement. Now, I retained the web ad for the Amerigo. Nothing on it says that the seat size is based on a hand measurement or that something about the size might not match CWD’S description. But, giving her the benefit of the doubt, I took a tape measure to the saddle. Sure enough, it measured at 17” from mid-dot to center cantle. In addition to the $1900 I paid for the deceptively described Amerigo, I had just paid CWD another $2900 for a larger saddle that might be too large. And what assurance did I have that CWD’s measurements for that saddle were accurately described? Color me upset.
I sent an email to CWD with pictures of the ad for the Amerigo, the hand measurement and the stamps, demanding a refund in exchange for the return of the Amerigo. Due to several medical issues, it has been lightly used and well maintained. CWD’s response? Since I did not complain within the return period and so much time elapsed before I caught their dishonesty, they refused to do anything. Color me angry.
Though I intended to refuse delivery of the 18.5” Voltaire, delivery companies have suspended signature requirements during the pandemic. So, the Voltaire was delivered and, although CWD described this $2900 saddle as being in “good condition”, it had obviously been poorly maintained; the leather was badly sweat and moisture damaged. Yet another misrepresentation by CWD. This was damage not disclosed in the pictures on CWD’s website and I immediately sent pictures of the damage so that they would not attempt to accuse me of causing it while the saddle is in my possession. Even if the Voltaire had been in acceptable condition, the 18.5” seat was too big. The saddle had to be returned. CWD wasted my time. Color me furious.
I escalated my complaint about the Amerigo and spoke with “Allison” at CWD. She insisted that, having not complained within the return period (about a misrepresentation I did not discover for 10 months), CWD would not make the situation right. Claiming that she had not seen my email to Isabella (sent 2 weeks earlier, on June 29[SUP]th[/SUP]) and that she had no information about the ad for the Amerigo, Allison said she would look at the email and attached pictures. (That would be the same email that Isabella claimed to have discussed with Allison before her first refusal to correct CWD’s error.) Allison said she would get back to me – and I know this may surprise some of you – she never called or emailed. I now feel litigious.
So, I’m back to searching for a used saddle. A used CWD is out of the question, as is any brand of used saddle offered for sale by CWD. But, FWIW, CWD did me a favor. My body proportions and my need for a custom saddle will never change; the custom purchase is just on hold until the pandemic no longer prevents getting me and my horse to a saddle fitter. Meanwhile, I can invest time learning about the many lovely brands on the market that offer lots of configurations and upgrades to achieve the perfect fit. Since CWD clearly cared little about retaining my business, they removed their brand from consideration. To quote Forest Gump, “That’s good. One less thing….”
Post script: I tried to find one last opportunity for CWD to make this right. Currently, their website lists a used, Amerigo jump saddle that is described as having an 18" seat. I did some research on the stamps. Unless the seat size of a saddle can be changed after it is built, the saddle was manufactured with a 17” seat. Fool me once…