By August 14, 2008

Timbuk2 customer service problems

I own two messenger bags from Timbuk2. I have bought a few more for friends and family over the years. The bags are well made and very practical. The bag I bought about eight years ago still looks basically brand new. One of the best things about Timbuk2 is the ability to customize the fabric, color, and features on their bags, so you could create a bag that was unique.

Unfortunately their order fulfillment and customer service teams must be asleep at the wheel, and I can no longer recommend Timbuk2 as a reliable vendor.

I placed an order for a custom bag on June 25, 2008. I also placed an order for two shoulder strap pads, one for a mass-produced Timbuk2 bag I bought for work, and one for the custom bag I just ordered. The bag arrived on July 7th in great shape and as I requested. However, I only received one shoulder strap pad instead of the two I ordered (and paid for).

No problem, accidents happen, Timbuk2 is awesome and they’ll help. Right? I fire off an email to their customer service department:

to [email protected]
date Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 6:31 PM
subject Order 5157227 incomplete

Hello there,

On June 25th I ordered a medium messenger bag and two ballistic black
w/ silver swirl strap pads (item #919-4-074). I received the bag and
only one strap pad, even though the packing slip says that two were

I would like my second strap pad, what do I need to do?



I was a little nervous that I didn’t get a prompt email reply. Timbuk2 is a virtual company, they only exist as a Web-based business. I was kept very well informed during the order fulfillment process, and my expectations were high. The next day I got this:

to DrFaulken
date Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 3:16 PM
subject RE: Order 5157227 incomplete

Hi DrFaulken,

We will send the second strap pad out right away. Sorry for the
mis-ship on your order.


Okay, whew. Crisis averted. No problem, accidents happen, Timbuk2 is awesome and they’ll help. Right? I expected a follow-up email with a tracking number, or at least a “hey, we sent you something.”

Twenty days pass. No strap. Time to put on the Angry Face.

to CustomerService At Timbuk2
date Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 9:54 PM
subject Re: Order 5157227 incomplete

Hello Melissa,

I have yet to receive my second strap pad.

Please supply me with a tracking number for the pad sent out as indicated below.

I have been a vocally loyal Timbuk2 customer over the years and this
experience has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. I would
rather not request a chargeback from my credit card company for
undelivered goods.


You’d think that threatening a merchant with a chargeback would get their attention, right? Nope. Three days later, I get this:

to DrFaulken
date Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 7:13 PM
subject RE: Order 5157227 incomplete

Wow, I’m so sorry about that. I have no idea why it never arrived. It
was sent US mail so there is no tracking. I’ll send another one out UPS
so we get a tracking #. Again I apologize for the delay.


Again, no email when my replacement strap pad went out, no tracking number, nothing.

After another nine calendar days, a very small package from Timbuk2 arrives. Based on the dimensions, I don’t think it’s a strap pad. I open it up anyway.

They sent me a shoulder strap, not a strap pad.

Holy shit, I gave them the fucking part number. I referenced “strap pad” or “pad” in my email. I also included my order number in every email subject line.

to CustomerService At Timbuk2
date Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 7:41 PM
subject Re: Order 5157227 incomplete

Hello Melissa,

I received a package from Timbuk2 today … and it was a strap, not a
strap PAD(see original email). I even provided the part number.

Please refund my money, I am done trying to deal with this and will
order a strap pad from a third party.

Please provide prepaid postage if you want the strap back.

I’m done with Timbuk2, both in regards to this order and them as a company. I immediately went to and bought a shoulder strap pad for a dollar less than buying it directly from Timbuk2. Hopefully I’ll get the right item in the mail, and I can forget all about Timbuk2 and their inept customer service.

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