Pickleball has exploded, and in turn created a growing market for everything we as players need. Naturally many new high-tech paddle manufacturers and equipment providers have rushed to fill the previous semi-vacuum of only a few providers. Those three or four initial manufacturers, for instance, have now expanded their ranks to maybe 15 or 20 that we know of, and this without even trying very hard. The numbers include some of the big boys, like Wilson, scrambling to hopefully capture parts of this new market. (By the way, we do NOT recommend Wilson paddles yet as what we’ve seen of theirs we haven’t liked – and we think they are also overpriced – but we’re sure they will get their act together.)
The real question, then, is not “Can we find a good paddle?” but “Can we get CAZ Customer Service from XYZ Corp. if we do buy one?” For instance, “Can we expect that a paddle we don’t like can be returned, and do we have to explain the return if we choose to return it? If it’s defective 9 months down the line, what about that? Can we get custom grips? Do we have options in weight? Are all of XYZ’s paddles USAPA-legal and certified as such?” And on and on.
Admittedly we have pretty darn high expectations in this regard. For instance, we would not buy a paddle from ANY company that does not answer yes to every single one of the above questions. Nor would we buy from any of the private reps out there who may well represent two, three or five different manufacturers if they couldn’t answer “Yes!” just as fast. Nor would we ever buy a paddle from any Big Box store (e.g. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, etc….and we’re not picking on them ‘cuz we like ’em for other stuff) mainly because their prices are ALWAYS too high. (It’s all that mortar and concrete you’re also paying for, right?) We want CAZ customer service, nothing less need be offered!
So who WOULD we buy from, no questions asked? The answer to that is a little more complex. If we were looking for something specific, e.g a particular model of a particular brand of paddle, we might only buy from that manufacturer or their reps assuming they could answer “Yes!” to the questions spelled out above. (Otherwise, no matter how intriguing the paddle, and we are both paddle junkies beyond any question, we would simply not buy that paddle. Believe this…at some level we really do know we can’t buy a game.)
We always would, for instance, buy paddles from any of the manufacturers we identify here. Every one of them can answer “Yes!” to all of the questions. But a few of the suppliers, who offer more than one brand of paddle, also offer absolutely outstanding customer service, and thus we may choose to go to them first. Of them all, the one we are most impressed with is Pickleball Central. Of course they offer far more than just a few lines of paddles and may be the largest single pickleball supplier today. But in spite of their size they run their company as if it were a model of the Golden Rule. You (and we) can virtually guarantee a good buying experience from them. They are personal, deal with you as individuals, offer good (not always the lowest but good) pricing, provide guarantees at several levels, customize what can be done to your specifications without question, ship promptly, take returns gracefully….well, to go on is to duplicate what we’ve already written about them. In a word, their customer service is, indeed, CAZ! We suggest you go to our page about them and read the interview we recently did with Managing Partner Anna G. Copley. We think you’ll be impressed. We were.
There are other great customer service companies, individual reps and manufacturers operating in the pickleball world as we’ve already said, and we will feature them from time to time. We assure you we make no money through this referral service but we want to share our satisfaction where we can as we think it will make your buying decisions easier. And where you have had a great (or not so great) experience, please feel free to comment and let us know. Thanks!