Rimowa Luggage: Laughably Bad Customer Service

Shortly before the pandemic the handle on my Rimowa carry on bag broke. Or, rather, the rubber piece that forms the bottom of the handle of the bag broke off on one side. I tried to figure out how to fix it but had no luck. I wound up putting the bag aside for the pandemic, and only just came back to it. And boy have I been down the rabbit hole.

  • They don’t have an authorized repair location in Austin. They have a West Coast and an East Coast facility for shopping repairs, based on where you live. I couldn’t figure out where to send it, since I live in.. the middle of the country.

  • I called, but each time I called I was disconnected – no matter what menu tree item I chose.

  • I emailed, but my email was never returned… just like a year and a half earlier. (That year and a half would turn out to be important.)

  • So I direct messaged them on Twitter. I was told someone would reach out to me. No one did, so I followed up via Twitter DM.

  • I was told no one reached out to me because I had not provided the serial number from my bag, which they hadn’t asked for. So I provided it, and I heard from their East Coast team.

  • The East Coast team let me know that they couldn’t help me, because I live in Texas which is service by West Coast. But they did help me get in touch with West Coast!

Evaluating with pictures of my bag, the West Coast team asked if I wanted to bring the bag in to their center in Southern California, or ship it to them? They let me know that over the year and a half since I first contacted them my warranty had run out, so I’d have to pay for any repairs.

I do like my Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Cabin Multiwheel. I’m not sure that it’s worth the money, but I sold myself on it based on the number of trips I take – I amortize the cost over a lot of use – and it’s certainly held up except for this one item with the handle. But I’m definitely through the looking glass trying to deal with this company.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Comments

  1. Bravo that you have a newsletter on which you can publicize bad customer service, or worse. After an episode like yours, I usually write a letter – yes, a snailmail letter to the president of the company if I can find his/ her name and address. A response is almost always forthcoming. Good luck!

  2. Buy Briggs and Riley. It’s all I use, I beat the heck out of them, and they always fix everything for free with no questions asked. My son even finally broke one of my old B&R bags and they sent him a brand new upgraded model.

  3. Is it worth the hassle of dealing with them? Is it a good use of your time? Most cities with large airports have luggage repair shops. Maybe spend the $10 or $20 to fix it?

    Your move.

  4. Three days ago I was in a Rimowa store in Vienna. There was a small white carry on I liked and considered buying it, even though I do not need it. I discussed it with a friend from Germany who had a bad experience with the product, now I read this. I will stick with my Briggs and Riley’s, they are almost indestructible. Their customer service is also very good. I do have a few design recommendations for a next generation.

  5. Weird, I got mine repaired in Dallas. In years past all repairs were free in Dallas, but seems they’ve changed and this latest one was a good percentage of the original cost.

  6. Yes but why should you have to go to the trouble to mail it? Even if they send a postage paid for you. I had a problem with Rick Steves’ luggage and they mailed me a grand new one and said I could keep or donate the old one.
    Seriously, what is happening to customer service?!

  7. Rimowa was bought by LVMH in 2016. Like all high quality brands that get absorbed into huge conglomerates, they become garbage because the only thing that counts is milking the brand for profit.

  8. I’ve always wondered if I was missing something buying my luggage on discount at Marshall’s/T.J.Maxx — thanks for letting me know I haven’t been! Yes, my carry-on breaks every 5 years, but they’re only $40-50.

    A bag that costs $1k should come with a lifetime warranty and white-glove service!

  9. Dallas used to have a service center right next to DFW but that has since closed.

    Warranty was checked via serial number but they were generous with the period. For delayed work they even gave out some souvenir type goodies.

    Dallas Rimowa retail store in Northpark does some repair but very limited. Mentioned that DFW used to have a repair center and had great service with gifts and SA said probably that’s why they closed – not a good sign of customer service FMPOV. (High price tags should come with good quality service. My Air Salsa is flying without the Front Rimowa sticker – it came off years ago)

    Since the LVMH purchase, looks like they are more style than substance. More than before.

  10. Aren’t these the insanely expensive carrryons? Don’t these people know WHO YOU ARE?? What fools to not give you excellent service. Like Jered, I buy my luggage at discount stores or on sale. Never paid more than $35 for a carryon and some last for years. Not concerned about the ‘status label’ thing at all. I look them over after every trip and buy a new one if necessary. I’d much rather buy 3 of them in ten years than go through this kind of BS.

  11. I’ve had great luck with Tumi and even as they’ve raised prices over the years, I’ve stuck with them.

    I’m a heavy traveler (150k+ miles per year and 150+ nights) so really put a lot of strain on my luggage.

    My Tumi laptop bag has lasted 11 years so far and other than some minor wear around the zippers, looks almost new. The only repair I’ve had to make to it is getting a new shoulder strap after ~7 years. My Tumi carry-on has lasted 7 years so far. It has needed to be repaired every 2-3 years (handle, wheels, zippers), but each time, I’ve taken it to the local Tumi store and they’ve fixed it, no questions asked, for free.

    If you’re going to spend a lot on luggage, at least make sure it comes with a lifetime warranty, so that you can be sure to get your money’s worth.

  12. I’ve got 6M miles on my first Briggs and Riley rollerbag. All sorts of things have been repaired on it over 3+ decades and it’s still in great shape. (in Austin, Austin Shoe Repair handles the repairs or they will mail it in for you). I remember complaining to my wife about how much she spent on it (it was her bag first and then when she stopped traveling, gave it to me) … and now I she likes to tease me about it.

    Just last year, I bought a new B&R bag because I liked the new lighter weight material and the design of a split compartment bag, but we’re still using the old one. Given my history with the Briggs and Riley brand, I didn’t flinch at the price.

    I will never buy another brand of luggage.

  13. Another Briggs & Riley fan here. It’s my go-to brand whenever I travel through Africa, as it can take practically anything thrown at it, while it sits atop a bus, a safari vehicle, or a sandstorm.

    My smaller commuter backpacks are Tumi. Not as rugged as B&R but great for everyday running about town. For a large, lightweight travel backpack I use the Jansport Cool Student in Letterman Gray, 34 L capacity and less than 1.5 pounds. About $40-. Lifetime warranty.

  14. I have historically had great experience with Briggs & Riley like others. I bought a Lufthansa Rimowa aluminum because, honestly, I thought it looked cool and I wanted it. I’ve had it for 4 years now, although it’s been in my garage for the last 1.5 years plus. It’s still cool, and I love it, but it’s not as good as my B&R bags were/are. And yet, I still carry it. Less practical? Yes. Doesn’t roll quite as smoothly as B&R? True. Vain and egotistical? Yes. Do I care? No.

    Carrying a Rimowa is like dating a supermodel (or so I’ve been told) – high maintenance and expensive.

  15. I know Rimowa’s supposed to be a different league, but Samsonite at least used to have a policy over in here in Germany (of all countries) that you will get any spare part that they can ship by mail free of charge. Had to use the service once a while back and got the parts, as promised.

  16. I have been beating the crap out of an Eagle Creek bag for close to 20 years, it has gone back for repairs once. Unfortunately EC was sold and I believe the line will disappear later this year. I also have an Andiamo (remember them?) that my bride beat the crap out of for over 12 years as a FA, the “company” made her switch to the official Travel Pro bags. Those last about 3 years max under FA use.

  17. I like another German brand, Titan. Very tough and light rollers for FFs who need durability. Normally expensive, but often deeply discounted on Amazon.

  18. I”m with @Jered on this. Every T.J. Maxx or Marshalls I’ve been to has had a fair selection of decent brands like Travelpro or Samsonite, often on clearance for around $50. My 2 lightweight Travelpro bags have been around the world many times over and have never broken, but even if one did break, I’d be out only about $50 if it were not easily repairable. I can’t fathom how the $500+ luggage pieces could be that much better, especially not 10x to 20x better as the price suggests.

  19. Briggs and Riley or Tumi. I lived in China at the time. And the lady on the phone asked if I wanted to ship or drop it off in person in Denmark I believe. This was like a week after a bought the bag to. All the shipping at my expense to.

  20. Rimowa has been nothing but a hassle for me. One of the wheels broke off after only a one month. Was a nightmare trying to get it fixed in Shanghai. Customer service was nonexistent.

  21. I have given up on expensive bags. Now I buy whatever is cheapest and looks reasonable. In the past I bought some carry ons for around 20 USD in chinese knock off markets. They hold up fairly wee and if they ever break (rarely) I don’t need to worry about repair.

  22. I also live in Austin and I’m surprised they no longer advertise independent repair centers like the one I used in Houston for my own Salsa Deluxe a few years ago. That was when BA had broken one of the wheels, and they were happy to cover the $100 or so repair.

  23. There’s no way I’d ever pay $700+ for a carry-on bag. When I was travelling very frequently, I went to Costco and got a decent carry on (+ a bigger suitcase for longer trips) for less than 1/2 the price of the Rimowa.

  24. Had an astonishing Rimowa experience in Hong Kong a few years ago. Checked into the (unfortunately now closed) Excelsior Hotel for a long weekend (aka mileage run) with my husband. The hotel agent noticed that some sort of divot had come out of my husband’s Rimowa, and asked if we’d like them to have Rimowa repair it. But we’re only here 3 more days, so…? No problem, it’ll be ready (and it was). How much? Oh, no charge. We were blown away. Of course this may have been right before LVMH bought them.

    Main reason I bought one myself is because I like a top-loader and Rimowa was the only one I could find. Had a Tumi top-loader for years and got my money’s worth out of it. But eventually I needed to replace it and Tumi no longer made them.

  25. We switched from Tumi (which is a fantastic product) to Briggs and Riley because Tumi dropped their lifetime warranty and B&R is not only an excellent product, but they still have their lifetime warranty.

  26. United broke a wheel off my Star MegaDo Rimowa Salsa Deluxe. Rimowa Customer service would do nothing but told me to complain to the airline. United sent it to Rynns Luggage. They could not fix it but sent me a new Rimowa Salsa Deluxe. Unfortunately, one of the latches kept popping open. It was out of warranty. I threw it away.

  27. I always check the warranty provisions BEFORE I purchase luggage and that’s why I’ve only purchased TravelPro Crew luggage since it has a lifetime warranty. I’ve had a broken handle and a couple of broken wheels replaced at no charge over the years. And the TravelPro Crew luggage is made such that handles and wheels are able to be repaired by the customer with TravelPro supplied parts.

  28. Wow, Gary, your post gives me pause. Have been a devoted Rimowa client for 20 years. Have loved the bags. The one time something went wrong, it was 4 1/2 years into a five year warranty and they sent me a brand new bag (which I am still happily using). However: Have been on the line about buying another, and this experience, plus some of the comments, pretty much convinces me to try another brand….

  29. Interesting. Conversely, I was passing through Las Vegas and dropped my slightly damaged, out-of-warranty Rimowa Salsa Air Cabin Multiwheel off at their location in Crystals and they… fixed it in ~2 hours right in the store. No cost, no questions asked.

    I wonder if you’d had more luck in person, explaining that you attempted to contact before the pandemic, but… here we are.

  30. Sorry for your terrible experience. The Prague store fixed a broken lock for me in an hour and for free and the Dallas store was able to get me a replacement bag quickly a few years ago when BA damaged my bag beyond repair (BA quickly sent me the funds for a replacement bag.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *