DSS (Deep Sea Supply)---Warning

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divad

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I bought a DSS rig as a new diver and was truly amazed that Tobin promptly replied all my emails, explaining things unrelated with his business. For example, how to find out the buoyancy of my wetsuit and suchlike. Not even an inkling of being rude. Everything I bought from DSS is very well made.
Maybe he's from Latvia?
 

ams511

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I get where you're coming from with this line of thinking, but I would still take the position that no actual "promise" was made as far as I ever saw on DSS's website or in Tobin's SB posts, and anyone who purchases something from a small company based on a belief that the company will be around forever--indeed, who doesn't recognize the small but real possibility the company may not be there tomorrow--is living in a fantasy world. My dad had a small, niche-product manufacturing company, and I'm sure when he suddenly went bankrupt (we nearly lost our house) and his machines needed service there were some annoyed customers. I too have bought Halcyon gear from EE, and I did so based mostly on my perception of the quality of the gear but admittedly also on a belief that their service is great and the likelihood of Halcyon and/or EE disappearing in the next few years is very low. I have visited Halcyon's facility, and I saw what's going on on their manufacturing floor. It looked like a tiny manufacturing operation to me, but my overall impression was they were doing well. When I bought my DSS gear a few years ago I knew it was a small company but that's about it--for all I knew it was a one-man operation. What if instead of DSS moving to Nevada, the event we were discussing here were Tobin simply retiring, or having to suddenly and unexpectedly cease work due to his health? Those are always real possibilities when you buy from a small business that is reliant on one key person. I made a calculated decision they weren't going out of business very soon, and in my case, my DSS gear is still holding up after several years. I do feel sorry for those whose timing was less fortunate, but if they are complaining here about broken "promises" then I believe their expectations were unreasonable.

It's true that the DSS wings are not designed to be "user serviceable," but I'll go back to my smartphone and other non-user-serviceable consumer products analogy. These are things that are not designed to be opened up by the user and cost on the order of hundreds of dollars--we're not talking about cars--and when they break, unless you are able to do the research and have the time and tools to do it yourself, your only choice is to spend a hundred or more dollars to have someone else repair it. I suppose a clever person could find a way to repair their own DSS wing, even if that takes tracking down an industrial sewing machine. To me, opening up a wing and doing surgery on it would be just as daunting as opening up my smartphone and mucking about on a tiny circuit board. I am guessing others might consider it feasible. Whatever the product, if there's enough demand, someone will offer service for it. But as we all know, wings are a niche gear item in a niche sport. Some of the manufacturers are likely small businesses. Any reasonable person would recognize there is some risk buying these kinds of products.

Thank you for your civil reply. I am not sure what DSS actually is/was. When I called them on the phone for the wing repair, I talked to someone other than Tobin. The receipt came back saying Performance Lighting, but the envelope said DSS. I assumed that DSS is his side business. In my opinion, his move was handled wrong and shows his total lack of concern for his customers. He did not announce that he was moving to let people know that if they wanted something to order up. The only clue was his inventory was getting lean. I am sure he did not decide to move on a whim, he is not stupid. He could have set someone up to repair the wings. On many occasions he mentioned that he would repair the damaged wings for a reasonable charge. Whether or not this can be construed as a promise is for the courts to decide, if someone wants to pursue this legally. For a $300 product, I cannot see that they would.

The difference between your smartphone example and a wing is that smartphone manufacturers (other than Apple) do not advertise that they will repair the phone. I just bought a new Motorola phone, the battery is not replaceable, so I know the life of the phone is only 2 years, three if I am lucky. I don't believe that was the expectation of anyone the bought a DSS wing. The wing was not marketed as disposable.

I would be much more sympathetic towards Tobin if it was a health issue because that is beyond his control. Moving and retirement are his decisions and should be announced to let people know.

My big problem with DSS, is as soon as someone asks about a backplate and wing, the DSS cheerleading squad comes out and recommends DSS. Saying the wing is high quality (it is not), the customer service is great (it is not), and that they need to consult Tobin (which they do not). If someone pointed out that DSS is not a well-designed product, they got attacked either by Tobin or part of the cheerleading squad. If someone complains that Tobin is difficult to deal with, you are told he does not tolerate fools. In other words, you are a fool if you disagree with him. I was a fool for expecting that a wing returned from repair would actually hold air. It was my fault that it didn't. A newbie diver is not going to know that DSS is a small manufacturer and it at the mercy of Tobin after purchase.

To repair the wing, my thought is that you would need to rip the seams (where the zipper would be on a normal wing) to access the bladder. Then patch the bladder, and take it to a shoe repair or uniform shop to have it resewed. Alternatively, I guess someone could Rube Goldberg it and punch some grommets or eyelets into the wing to hold it together. I don't think Velcro would be strong enough. This is another problem with DSS, Tobin does not explain how to fix the wing and access that bladder. Full disclosure: I have LCD wings and they have zippers. I have no idea if my thoughts above are correct as I never seen a Torus wing in person.
 

divad

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My analogy, long ago, was that if I can't get under the hood, I don't want it. But DSS was straight forward
re me not getting under the hood, so I have no beef (or right to a beef) with the policy. ..There was no deceit ..I did buy several of the nifty gauge boots which I really like and appreciate every time I use them.
 
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ams511

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I have a Halcyon wing right now and it doesn’t have a metal inflator. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. Metal inflators are meant to be worse than plastic anyway as they can corrode on the inside.

The Halcyon inflator recall was back in 2004. My wing was purchased in 2006 (made in 2005) and has a metal inflator. I can post photos if it helps you. A metal inflator only corrodes if you to not clean it properly. A plastic inflator can also corrode, obviously not the plastic but the metal springs and fittings inside.
 

admikar

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My only conversation with Tobin was via email, while trying to decide how much lift I need in my wing. I have outright said I am probably not going to buy his product, due to my location. It was "dry", but never insulting. OTH, I have personally seen post by Tobin, some "hidden" some outright offensive. He is who he is and I think most of us here know it.
To me, opening up a wing and doing surgery on it would be just as daunting as opening up my smartphone and mucking about on a tiny circuit board.
So, you're saying that patching a car tire is the same as soldering a tiny resistor that could kill your phone?
I have two wings, Apeks and Sopras, both of them zippered bladders , so it's easier to get to them, than to get to a car tire. Rest of the process is the same, apart from different glue and patch.

EDITED TO ADD: Conversation was dry, but Tobin did help me with my decision, instead of sending me off.
 

ams511

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You are mistaken...which is comical since you claim to be a college professor and an expert in both criminal and civil law.

Whether criminal or civil, fraud generally has several legal elements, including the following:
Misrepresentation of a material fact
  • Knowledge on the part of the accused that they were misrepresenting the fact
  • The misrepresentation was made purposefully, with the intent of fooling the victim
  • The victim believed the misrepresentation and relied upon it
  • The victim suffered damages as a result of the misrepresentation
When and if Tobin “promised for monetary gain” to repair or warranty his product....his business was...well...in business. You don’t have a leg to stand on.

Tobin stated that if the wing is damaged he would repair the wing for a reasonable charge (the fact). If he knew he was moving and could not service the wing then this is a misrepresentation. I am sure the victim relied on it because who would purchase a non-repairable wing. The victim has suffered monetary damages because he spent $460 dollars and has a product that does not work. I see all the elements being present.

Correct, which makes it hard to levy charges or civil claims against him or his Company...

I am sure the legal form of DSS is changed or soon will be. He will close out the CA corporation or LLC and open a new NV corporation or LLC. I would assume to state tax purposes he wants to cut all ties with the State of California.

My assumption stands. He will probably honor a warranty if and when he gets back in business if that warranty expired at a time his business was closed.
*pure assumption, but Tobin strikes me as an @$$, But he is one with integrity.

I disagree. My disagreement with DSS stems from a botched bladder replacement from DSS. I received a wing that did not hold air, as in flat within two hours. Certainly not safe to dive. I contacted DSS immediately and was told that it could be the inflator the dump, the fittings, etc. and I should diagnose the problem. I could send it back and pay a charge to have it looked at and more charges for parts etc. The fact that they never tested the wing before shipment was of course not his fault. I did swap out the inflators and dumps with a know good wing and they worked fine. So I don't believe Tobin is a man of integrity.


Do you know it was a pinch flat? Who makes that determination? For all we know the seam of the bladder separated...thus the warranty matters.

The warranty doesn't matter because the wing is out of warranty. I think the Chairman was the one that mentioned it was a pinch flat.

Happy? No. I also wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

The OP is did not say he was losing sleep over it. He is just giving a friendly warning.

Being an instructor and owning a business are 2 different things. An instructor could be an employee. Keep assuming things that make you look foolish.

I realize an instructor can be an employee. I should have been more specific, I would not use you as an instructor or patronize any dive shop you work for.
 

The Chairman

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Thank you for your civil reply.
That's the real message: civility. Leave the rancor for your political foes and treat customers and potential customers with respect. No need to vilify others over a difference of opinion or even philosophy. No need to demean peeps because they are disappointed in your service either. There's simply no need to piss people off further or even justify pissing people off with snark. Me? I'll be glad to be DRIS'ed, Back Scattered, Shearwatered and even Ceriched. Those are some great examples of businesses who take lemons and make lemon meringue pie. No, you can't always give a customer what they want, but you don't have to rub their faces in it either. Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. NIV
 

cerich

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Ya know..I have been known to post and say things that..raise eyebrows.

I try to give the best service I can and some days for whatever reason between life and the combination of me and the person I am dealing with it doesn't always happen.

Tobin is also known for having his moments, in fact I am not sure if he and I would survive being in the same room. BUT.. he's actually super helpful to the vast majority of his customers, sometimes a bit strong in "that wont work do this" but from his perspective I am pretty sure he always believe he is right.

I know he cares about quality as well.

Just saying, we all have off days.
 

cerich

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My only conversation with Tobin was via email, while trying to decide how much lift I need in my wing. I have outright said I am probably not going to buy his product, due to my location. It was "dry", but never insulting. OTH, I have personally seen post by Tobin, some "hidden" some outright offensive. He is who he is and I think most of us here know it.

So, you're saying that patching a car tire is the same as soldering a tiny resistor that could kill your phone?
I have two wings, Apeks and Sopras, both of them zippered bladders , so it's easier to get to them, than to get to a car tire. Rest of the process is the same, apart from different glue and patch.

EDITED TO ADD: Conversation was dry, but Tobin did help me with my decision, instead of sending me off.
I'm in the dive business and would prefer fixing my phone to doing BCD patches or drysuit repairs. I'm good ta them but I hate doing them. Electronics repair is fun
 
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