MY EXPERIENCE OF ACTIVATING A MISTRAL SUP BOARD WARRANTY PURCHASED IN LIDL
If you have read any of my SUP boarding posts you will know that this year we trialled a SUP boarding lesson and enjoyed it so much we decided to purchase our own inflatable Stand Up Paddle boards from Lidl. They had a superb package offer for €299 which included a Mistral SUP board and accessories. They sell out so fast so we were very lucky to buy 2 on 02/08/2021. We have travelled to so many new places and paddled to our hearts content: river beaches, lakes, lagoons and even our very own Love Island! We even named them Nemo and Dory (ha ha). It soon became my new favourite hobby over cloud spotting so I was sad when hubby noticed a tiny air leak in one of the seams of my board. Although it wasn’t anything too major you could clearly see tiny air bubbles escaping when it was submerged in water and I didn’t want it to get worse over time so decided to activate the warranty. We have discovered tiny air bubble leaks from the valve on hubby’s board which is very common and easily fixed with a tool provided in the kit. An air leak from a seam is a little different and potentially more serious. If we had tried to fix it ourselves with special glue it would invalidate our warranty so best to leave it to the professionals. At this point our boards were just over 12 weeks old so well within the 12 month limited warranty timeframe. When I googled Lidl Mistral SUP boards and tried to find out other peoples experiences of activating a warranty and returning their board due to a fault, I could not find anything at all hence why I decided to write this post. It might not be the most exciting post in the world but if it helps just one other person it is well worth my time.
I read the information on the Mistral website and my board is covered for manufacturing defects for 12 months. If you have an issue with your SUP board you first need to return it to the dealer where you purchased it from, in our case Lidl. I stumbled across a couple of blogs about Lidl SUP boards who said although the boards are fantastic for beginners beware of your warranty. Many people would rather buy direct from Mistral as they are concerned that they may have difficulty accessing their warranty via a supermarket. Well I am here to tell you that this is not true in our case. Our experience, although initially a bit stressful, was a positive experience overall with a great end result. To be honest I was a little apprehensive returning our SUP board to Lidl, Arganil in Central Portugal. I did assume that they wouldn’t do anything and say that we had to contact the supplier Mistral. This worried me as when I read Mistral’s website it said that under the warranty they will try to repair the board and replace it if they can’t repair it but the customer needs to return it to a Mistral SUP dealer at their own cost and also provide proof of purchase and photos of fault. It turns out that there isn’t a dealership in Portugal and the nearest dealership is located in Spain and nowhere near the border of Spain and Portugal. This meant it was going to cost me a heap load of money to courier it to Spain. In the hope that Lidl would help us and return the item on our behalf, I wrote a basic letter with our contact details on, outlined the fault and included a photocopy of the proof of purchase and photos of the fault then I slid this information into the box.
Purchased 2 SUP boards from Lidl, Arganil, Central Portugal.
On 27/10/2021 we returned our item to Lidl. I found a man on the shop floor who looked like the manager and explained the situation. He didn’t speak much English so got a young lady employee to assist with translation. She said that we would either get a full refund or a replacement depending on when the item was purchased. The man took our receipt and disappeared out the back for a while. When he returned the lady explained that we needed to phone Lidl Customer Service and the telephone number was on a sign on the wall in the store. I asked if the Customer Service department spoke English and she assured me yes. I was a little annoyed that they just fobbed us off with a telephone number but sat in our car and tried phoning. The initial telephone message was in Portuguese but I just about managed to press the right numbered option for warranties then we failed as the lady who answered didn’t speak English and hung up on us.
I returned to the store and explained that they don’t speak English. The man was not that happy but he went into the back of the store again and he returned with some paperwork which was all in Portuguese. I filled in our name, address and telephone number and handed over the SUP board and accessories and waved a sad goodbye to Dory (ha ha). The man said someone from Lidl would contact us. We were both very uncertain on how this would resolve as we assumed they would try and call and we would be lost in translation. At this point I didn’t know if I would be receiving my old board back with a repair, a brand new one or an alternative board. Would they send an exact replacement or just a board without the accessories which would mean I would have to at least re-buy the paddle and ankle strap. I even thought that it may all go wrong and they will establish that they don’t have any in stock and will ask me to visit Lidl for a full refund. I even had nightmares of them asking me to come and collect the board and accessories because in fact they can’t deal with the issue and I need to send it to Mistral myself. I know my mind goes into overdrive and I overthink a lot, I have OCD so it’s not my fault. I will detail the next steps which happened below. I am actually super proud of myself for not getting overly stressed out about this situation as the old me who lived in the U.K would have not slept at all with worry. Since I have relocated to Portugal I am more calmer and less stressed. Mainly because I don’t work now and lead a very frugal, country homesteading life. My conclusion was that it’s only a €299 item and it’s not the end of the world. It didn’t cost thousands, no one has died and the situation will work out eventually. I think the Portuguese use the word “Pois” which kind of means whatever, what will be, will be. I use this word a lot now (ha ha).
Returned item to Lidl.
Received an email from Lidl Customer Service asking me to provide the following information: Your first and last name, full postal address, photos and video of the board defect by email. I sent the information requested minus the video as I had already returned the board to Lidl and had only took photos not a video.
I received an email saying I would receive a new article from headquarters and once they have confirmation on shipment they will let me know.
I received an email stating that Lidl have received my request and they will have forwarded it to Optimex, Germany to prepare and ship a new product – standard postal package. Estimated delivery time: 20 days and if I haven’t heard anything in 3 weeks to let them know.
I received an email from Lidl stating that the courier would be DHL and they provided me with a link to track my order which said delivery would be 22/11/21.
The New Dory (Dory 2)
I received a brand new Mistral SUP board. The box looks like it had competed in a few rounds with Muhammad Ali (and lost the fight) but the product inside looks new and in A1 top condition complete with all accessories. I have scrolled in to show the damaged box not to get a closer look of the man’s left nipple and impressive bicep (ha ha). I think I should send Mistral a photo of hubby for their marketing purposes and they can portray a real middle aged paddle boarding grandad on the front of their boxes rather than a male model. Sales might go down (ha ha).
I am really pleased with the overall service from Lidl. 3 weeks and 5 days after initially returning it to Lidl I received my new board from Germany. Some may think that is a long time but I actually don’t. I wonder if the old Dory has been returned or if it’s still sitting in the back of Lidl presenting itself as a trip hazard. Where there’s blame there’s a claim (ha ha). I am yet to test out the new board but I am sure it will be fine and I can go paddle boarding into the Portuguese sunset with a smile on my face. We will try and test it at the weekend if it doesn’t rain.