Travelon Anti-Theft Backpack and Customer Service Review
Prepping for any trip, no matter the location, is always a mixture of fun, excitement and frustration. What do I take? What can I live without? And, will my belongings be safe? I hadn't really thought too much about that last one, until my recent trip to Europe, where our guide repeatedly stressed one particular thing at every one of our destinations, "Watch out for pickpockets."
Growing up in a small tourist town, being around crowds of people from all over the world was nothing new to me, but the pickpocket aspect of that tourism life was. Maybe it was because I've lived my life in relatively small towns where pickpockets were people seen on TV shows and movies, or maybe it was because the tourist town I lived in was extremely safe and the crowds, although large for our little area, were rather small in comparison to what I was about to experience.
So, in my true-to-form over thinking and planning ways, I scoured the internet for the best anti-theft backpacks available. Time after time, one company name came out on top, Travelon. The products were sleek and the reviews seemed to back up their claims, so I took the plunge and spent above my planned budget for two backpacks, ensuring the safety of my belongings. Or, so I thought.
The first backpack I ordered was the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Light Backpack in Deep Purple. I was excited to find this backpack on sale through eBags for only $60.00, quite a bargain compared to the retail $115.00 on the Travelon site, and the fact that the deep purple color happened to match my new suitcase set, was a huge bonus.
When my bag arrived, I inspected every nook and cranny. Let's face it, if I was going to put two cameras, a video camera, GoPro and a tablet in this thing, I wanted to make sure it was sturdy and my items were going to be secure. I was also happy to know that it included RFID blocking slots to keep my credit cards safe from unwanted scanning as well.
Everything looked perfect, so I ordered a second backpack, this one, the Anti-Theft Classic Backpack for my son to use, $75.00 through the Travelon website, but again, I got a deal through eBags for only $48.00. The design of this is slightly different from the Classic Light, in that it's slightly smaller in size and the zipper for the main compartment is smaller, opening around the a top of the bag, rather than side to side. It also included the RFID blocking slots, so I knew it would be safe for him to carry our backup credit card if needed.
We loaded up our backpacks to take as carry-on's on the plane, and we headed to the airport.
At our very first stop, I removed the larger electronics from my backpack to scan through airport security, only to find my backpack on the other end of the conveyer belt with the main zipper split wide open. I was shocked. This was the only backpack I had, and it contained all of the valuable items I was bringing on our trip. Was this really the way I wanted to spend the next nine days?
I frantically ran the zipper head from one end of the zipper to the other, over and over. Finally the teeth grabbed and the zipper stayed closed. That set the tone for my entire trip. I ended up wearing my backpack in front, rather than on my back, just to keep tabs on my zipper. And it's a good thing I did. I was continuously feeling around on the zipper at every stop; touring around the Colosseum in Rome all the way to Parque Güell in Barcelona, and time and time again, the zipper would split open and I had to zip and unzip repeatedly until the zipper teeth would finally catch and I could continue on. I even had one of the other travelers in our group ask if I was really that paranoid about pickpockets. Nope, just worried my zipper would split open and all of my stuff would be up for grabs.
The backpack my son traveled with on the other hand, worked perfectly. Well, I guess that's something.
As soon as we arrived back home, I contacted Travelon customer service for a warranty claim; they do come with a five year manufacture warranty against defects. I found their return policy on the company website very easily and followed the instructions for emailing the Customer Service Department for my replacement. The representative I was in touch with, although nice, was not going to let me continue on with the claim because she said the backpack I bought didn't come in the deep purple, therefore questioned the validity of my claim. What? Not only had I sent a copy of the purchase order from eBags, but that purchase order also included a photo of the backpack, clearly in deep purple.
I finally ended up going onto their company website, getting the full name, item number, color description and price of the backpack and relaying that information to her before the claim could continue to the next step. Once that information was researched and confirmed on her end, the process went very smoothly. I was instructed to take a photo of the tag on the inside of the backpack for item conformation, take a photo of the broken zipper, and then I was instructed to cut the backpack with a large knife or scissors, ensuring that the bag was no longer usable and email all of this back to them.
Within two days of doing all of this, I received an email letting me know that the replacement backpack was in the mail.
The total time I spent, from my very first email, to receiving my replacement backpack, was thirteen days. And you can be sure I put the zippers on the new one to the test!
All things considered, not too bad for the return/replacement process, but I wish the representative would've been a little more knowledgeable in the products that the company offers.
Would I buy another Travelon product? Absolutely, but I will be putting every one of them through a rigorous zipper test.