North Aware Smart Parka Review – My Not So Smart Buy

Long rant because wtf North Aware you are driving me crazy and I feel really stupid with my recent purchase. Also because North Aware, you did not keep to your words and this is dishonesty and I feel terribly deceived!

11 months ago, I bought a Smart Parka from Kickstarter.

Ok first… why did I choose to pay $325 and wait for a winter coat when I could get one in store easily?

This was definitely a case of impulsiveness.

The built-in functionality

As a minimalistic slob, I also really like the idea of not having to bring a bag whenever I leave the house. The jacket was also advertised as being water-resistant and to come with a built-in scarf which I thought would be very convenient.  Look how promising it was! It was like a dream winter coat came true.



Shortly after, they started going back on their promise.

  1. The jacket will be produced in China instead of Canada
  2. It will be filled with synthetic down instead of real down as promised
  3.  The actual production timeline is totally way off than the estimate

I just googled. The changes they made actually created quite a commotion in the media!

CBC – Canadian parka company giving them the cold shoulder, customers say

BlogTo – Toronto crowdfunded startup embroiled in controversy

Throughout the whole process, I did not think of a refund because it was June / July – ish when they announced the change and the shipping estimate was August. Besides, there was also no mention of refund from their end, so I thought that refund wasn’t an option and the jacket must have already been produced.

But they were very very wrong with their shipping estimate and I was very very wrong to have trusted them.

The Estimated Timeline according to North Aware

So initially it was August 2016 and in June-ish, I received an email that October 25, 2016, would be the furthest (I am assuming the latest) delivery date.

They even said everything was on schedule


But guess what, it was not and I finally received the jacket on December 29. Wtf? So much for anticipating it in August?! And lots of love? Or lots of lie, North Aware?

Dec 29, 2016 

Finally, the jacket arrived in a huge white mailer/envelope.

Finally, my long, awaited jacket…

Phew, really finally. I was really really excited. How can I not? I waited 11 months for it! LOL never in my dear life have I waited for a purchase this long. 

Here’s my take on the Smart Parka (a break from my complaint):

What I really love about the jacket:

The Outer Shell

The outer shell of the coat is soft and as promised, waterproof. The jacket makes you want to snuggle in it for a long time. In fact, I am actually impressed with the quality! Yes, I guess I am guilty of judging a made-in-china product way too soon.


There are pockets everywhere! Pockets for your iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Gloves, Winter Hat. What I find amazing is that stuffing additional items to the jacket did not make it any bulkier.

Built-in Glove Pockets

They call it “Built-In Gloves” but it is actually a pocket that’s added to the sleeves.

And I think it is a superb idea especially for someone (me) who constantly forgets how cold the weather can be during winter!

Ok. Back to ranting. 

However, despite all the good stuff I’ve just mentioned, there are things about the jacket that I really, really, cannot compromise:

The Warmth Factor

I haven’t tried wearing it out since I am planning to return it. However, I did compare it with my Eddie Bauer Down Jacket and realized that my Smarka is as not as warm. My Eddie Down has gone miles with me from Sunny Los Angeles to Bitter Cold Yukon. While I was in Yukon, even with my Eddie Down, I was still shivering (feel like I was about to freeze to death). So if my Eddie Down is warmer than my Smarka, I am assuming I’ll still be freezing with my Smarka.


The buttons were not tightly sewed to the coat. Unbuttoning them took a while because I had to be extra careful lest I drop a button! I foresee myself either losing buttons from this coat because they are flimsy and poorly sewed or having my coat forever unbuttoned.


Zippers do not zip up smoothly. The front zipper got stuck half way (the coat lining got in the way of the zip-in liner and the zipper) so I had to be really careful when unzipping.


The gloves in XS, are too tight for my petite hands. I seriously thought my hands are pretty tiny and I actually remember measuring my hands briefly prior to choosing my glove size. If I try hard enough, the gloves could actually fit but damn it, fat hands.

So, ya. I am definitely returning it.

You’d think getting the product was a crazy, long wait process but guess what, returning it is way worse. It is a bloody chore and it’s like talking to a brick wall – no one has responded to my email when I was told that they’d get back to me within 48 hours. 

Damn it, North Aware, I am feeling really scammed because of your dishonest business practice.

You lulled backers (like me) into believing that our jackets will be arriving on time and everything is on schedule but they were not – they were terribly delayed and winter is almost ending. 

(See Timeline above) I backed this up in March because you promised this jacket for Winter. It arrives in time for 2017 with Winter almost ending. Wtf.

You never once mentioned that we could get a refund

We could return the item once we’ve received it – yes but what about getting a refund prior to us receiving it?

If you could change your decision half-way while trying to invent this “Smart Parka”, why can’t we also have the option to change our decision to support you?!

Retail price for the jacket is way cheaper than estimated

Explain this to me, please? You said the estimated retail price was $725!


You promised it’d be made in Canada (if you have over 7,000 backers) and the jacket will be filled with duck down.

You broke your promise. If you’ve marketed the jacket as being manufactured in Asia (as in China) and filled with synthetic fiber, I will not have made the purchase.

Ok. North Aware, if you are reading this, please don’t try to comfort me by saying:

We are trying our best to accommodate everyone’s needs but there are only so many of us for so many of you… 

Yadayadayada. If you think you cannot handle all the complaints, then hire a new person, or be consistently active on Social Media or you know what, send an email to comfort us and tell dissatisfied customers like me (pretty sure I am not the only one) what the next best solution is. Plus if you are unable to respond within 48 hours, don’t make such promises. If you can constantly update us on the production process, you should be able to actively respond to our woes. Plus, this will not have happened if you did not break your promise.

We believe in ethical and responsible business practices

If so, why did you initially promise the jacket as filled with DUCK DOWN? So, prior to envisioning the Smart Parka, you have not the slightest clue that animals (like ducks) will be killed for your project?

Isn’t it obvious that when you mention DUCK DOWN, there is definitely a duck involved? I mean, I don’t make parka but when I buy a down coat, I know my purchase doesn’t make any animal rights activists happy.

Therefore, I do not believe this bullshit at all.

If you cannot turn a blind eye, it breaks your heart to see animals getting killed for your cause, then go all in, don’t even let early-bird buyers pick between fake or real fur and make sure that this project is cruelty-free. So animals did get killed for this project – lesser animals, but animals still died – the only difference is that you are probably profiting more from the lower manufacturing fees.

Also, the way you handle complaints show how irresponsible you are. Funny how you are responding to my tweets but not my emails. I am assuming my tweets make you look really bad on social media.

You can always return the jacket and get a refund

Yes, this is what I’ve been trying to do but no one has responded to my email. Also, guess what, I even have to pay shipping fees to return this jacket to you – What kind of sorcery is this…seriously.

OK. I don’t care what other excuses you have but please kindly return me my $$$ and stop scamming others and make it so difficult to process a refund.  This is not cool and definitely not a way to demonstrate ethic and integrity in your business! Also how to love this supposedly “Smart” Parka when you treat your customers in this manner?

Ya ya. I am one of those indoor people who stay home all day, purchase things online (Recently just bought a pack of toilet rolls from Amazon) and from time to time get enthralled (right now, scammed) by e-commerce stores promising one-of-a-kind, unique products.







Backers / North Aware Smart Parka Buyers reading this… how are you liking the jacket / the company? Am I the only one feeling so irritated and vexed?

Click here to read my refund experience.

69 thoughts on “North Aware Smart Parka Review – My Not So Smart Buy”

  1. I still haven’t heard from them, and am waiting for my 2 parkas (one for me and one for my husband). I ended up ordering an oros jacket. You should look into it and they’ll come as expected…on time.

    1. thank you for the recommendation! I guess my first experience with Kickstarter has made me really wary now…

    2. I finally received a refund after contacting the BBB, and ONLY necause NA shipped to the wrong address, so I never received it.
      About 2 months ago, I received an email from Brendan Panikaar that they had decuded to sue me for $150,000 for slander. They didn’t like my posts speculating they needed the money from the sale of returned coats before they could give any refunds.

      1. U have a right to free speech in this country!! Thank u so very much for letting me know about this so called business.

  2. Before you think I am going to complain, I will not. I am a backer from Denver but living in NYC. I received my new vogue parka yesterday and I have to say that I absolutely love it! I thought the packaging that they sent it in was really cute and unique. Then when I opened up my parka, I couldn’t believe how great the finishing details like the zipper and logo really make it look so elegant. I decided to go for a walk today and test it out and the quality is unbeatable, it’s so warm and comfortable yet so lightweight. I was extremely warm and had no issues on my 20 minute walk. I think that since there were delays with the shipments, people are just trying to find issues at this point which is sad. I am completely satisfied and it was more than I expected. I recommend to anyone out there looking for a great jacket to go ahead and invest in one of North Aware’s smart parkas.

    1. Hi Anne,

      Everyone is entitled to his own opinions and I am glad you love your parka. I’m also glad that your packaging is cute and unique. Unfortunately, mine came in a white envelope and there was no uniqueness or adorability in the package – could you please show me how cute your package it just as a comparison? I am so curious! Also, if you enjoy yours, go ahead and keep it.

      More than the delays with the shipments, what angered me most is how they respond to their customers. I understand this must be a busy time for them but surely, they could process my refund soon (it’s been a week plus)- they did it for my friend who emailed them way later than I did.

      Plus, their jacket is not on par with my other jackets. I have mentioned the good and bad points of this jacket and eventually, for me personally, as much as I’d love to keep it, the bad outweighs the good.

      Imo, the jacket is not worth the investment with all the hassle I have to go through, the money wasted and after all the misleading information from them.

    2. Anne is a fake account created by North Aware – She was removed from Facebook for the same reason. Nice Try.

      1. So North Aware prefers to invest time in posting fake reviews rather than get into their warehouse to send us our coats (16 months since I paid and still waiting…) or issue the refunds their customers are waiting for. Those thinking of investing in one of their Parka’s: do you really want to take the risk of going through all the trouble we are experiencing? Please do think twice before sending them your precious money!

    3. @Anne: please explain how the jacket was “more than I expected”: how was it so much better than what was advertised so it would be worth the risk of going through all the trouble people are writing about here and elsewhere?

  3. This might be the worst written review I’ve ever read. You give the company no credit for creating an apparel line in under a calendar year. Sure, there are delays, and better communication would have been helpful and calm down people more, but seriously, this is terrible. From my understanding, the customer service team JUST got a new resource. The team was ONE person for a customer base of 20,000 people. Seems to me that you simply have a lack of understanding of retail, Kickstarter, or the ability to comprehend how difficult it is to manage a consumer base of 20,000+ people for just a team of 2. I’d take this down if I were you unless you have some sort of understanding as to how hard this must have been for them.

    1. Hi Joseph Green, I assume your name is a pseudonym and I don’t think you even read this review carefully.

      First, if I DONT understand that it is a team of one person, I would have emailed them regarding this in December. I would have made a fuss about it some time in August because they promised to deliver what they said they would. I DID NOT. I waited until the last minute before getting really frustrated.

      Funny how I was actually talking to North Aware on Facebook regarding my refund and this comment also appeared at the same time?

      Why would I take this down when I did mention the good points of the jacket and this is a review of my complete disastisfaction towards a product. If you are a reader who dislike my review, then don’t read it!

      If it’s hard for them, why don’t they hire more people to manage these 20,000 people. They raised $3.5 million and even have the cost cut down significantly I bet when they decided to produce the jacket in China.

      Look the frustration with this purchase is their failures to deliver what they promised and poor customer service. Being in a kickstarter or not, it is obvious that these 2 factors are vital for a business to succeed.

      Unfortunately, you are not me and ya, I won’t take the review down.

      1. Hello Thinkspacerides, you are very astute woman. The founder of Kickstarter is a single person who has worked his whole adult life in online marketing. In fact, it would not surprise me if he has more people working on online presence than he does in customer service, and he is certainly not above lying. They are currently paying for native marketing in multiple languages (see current Twitter hits for smartparka). So yes, you will get response from social media posting well before calls or emails. He’s also pretty petty, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you are not hearing back *because* of your online complaints. Hang onto all proof that you attempted a return within the appropriate timeframe.

        1. I know! I just sent in my jacket for a refund. Hopefully I get it soon. It is so vexing how easily he takes backers’ $$ and how difficult for us to reach him after.

          1. It’s actually not the worst of it. He had a girlfriend helping him build the whole thing and then just before launching he up and left her with thousands in debt. But nobody is talking about that :/

    2. They knew the demand. They should’ve staffed accordingly. Of course people will not be understanding of terrible customer service; Especially if they’re not delivering the product as advertised (I.e down vs synthetic)

  4. I am dissatisfied with my coat! I emailed twice for a refund and have left two voicemails and absolutely no response. I am extremely frustrated.

    1. I know how you feel! Refunding should as be as easy as paying for it. Try social media, tweet and send them a Facebook message. I hope you get your refund asap!

  5. I could have written your post… my experience with them is almost exactly the same. E.g., I too have small hands and could not get the gloves on…. I shipped it back to them on January 24, which cost me $52.25 because they insisted I had to return it to Canada (even though it was shipped to me from New York… I’m in CT). I’m expecting a full refund of $369US plus the shipping, but of course, not a peep from them. Never again … no more kickstarter or the like for me.

    1. wow that is so frustrating!! I really feel you. What they did is totally not right and me too, I’m really wary about getting things from kickstarter after this experience. Although I have friends who bought stuff from there and love it… It’s unfortunate what we have to experience.

  6. Info for North Aware Smart Parka backers in Germany:

    Complete North Aware Order container at FRA airport held back by german customs because of possible tax fraud (North Aware or the chinese shipping company declared 22 USD as item value).

    Deadline before the whole container contents will be destroyed by german customs and North Aware will be charged a fine plus the real import tax plus the cost of the destroying of the container contents is Feb 28th 2017.

    I assume anyone trying to get a refund in Germany (600 USD in my case) will have to file a law suit against North Aware as sending back items you have never received is kind of tricky.

    1. Indeed, today, mid July, we still did not receive anything yet. Refunds are refused as we are told we should return the goods first. Anyone has any information on how to return goods that were never received? I really wonder what will be the next excuse once the warehouse has “reopened”, September/October is fast approaching. In the meantime, North Aware is still sitting on our money. For all those considering to preorder from North Aware: please do your homework and think twice before sending them your precious money!

  7. Omg.finally I’m not the only one experiencing this! I thought it was just me. Guess not. So happy to find more people that I can relate to.

    I sent in my return on January 13th and I haven’t recieved my refund yet. I emailed them numerous times and they take FOREVER to reply back. On top of that, i was having some issues with canada post (I’m from toronto) with the tracking and the delivery status. If the shipping warehouse is in NORTH YORK, IT SHOULDN’T TAKE THAT LONG TO DELIVER!! I emailed north aware on FEBRUARY 7TH asking if they recieved my jackets, and they said no and to contact canada post. So I did. Once I contacted canada post they said they had delivered it on JANUARY 17TH. So I emailed north aware once again on FEBRUARY 16th stating that canada post did indeed deliver it and the day now is FEBRUARY 21st. NO REPLY STILL. I am getting so frustrated because not only am I waiting for the refund of one jacket, I actually had bought a jacket for my sister so that’s TWO JACKETS that I’m waiting for a refund for.

    north aware customer service sucks! They don’t even want to deal with our calls because they used to have a number to call for refunds and they took it out completely so we can’t even call to speed up the process.

    Can somebody please reply back to this if you are having a similar problem and if your problem ever got resolved???


    1. I shipped mine back to them January 24, and I was finally notified the other day that they received the return. I now communicate with them solely through their Facebook page because that seems to be the only way that works. They assure me they will process my refund “soon,” but they won’t refund the $52.25 I had to pay to ship it to Toronto from Connecticut, even though I sent the piece of shit back because it was a piece of shit. What a truly terrible company… I wonder how they sleep at night

    2. Why is people returning the product so much? I saw the gloves size being an issue and also the duck down change. Those 2 are already bad enough; Any other common issues?

      I was really eager to buy this for next winter but after reading you all, not so much. Hope you guys get your refunds (or receive good products) soon!

    3. I have had the same experience – or worse – than many of the people commenting. I backed them on Kickstarter and didn’t receive my jacket until late December. The gloves were super mini – and I had ordered a small. The gloves fit my 10 year old daughter. Anyway, the hood on this coat is really heavy and when I tried it on, the hood pulled down in the back so much that it was uncomfortable. I just did not feel the quality (and warmth) of this coat was worth the $395 I paid. So, I started the return process. Nightmare! After many attempts, they finally approved for me to send it back. I mailed it to the exact address (in Canada!) that they gave me, and paid $49 for shipping. After about 2 weeks I hadn’t heard anything so I checked the postal tracking. It showed that it was being returned to me! I got my package with the coat back a couple days later and it was marked REFUSED with 2 different delivery attempts noted on the package. They refused my return at least twice. When I emailed customer service about this – and demanded my refund and for them to send me a shipping label so I could return it again, I didn’t hear from them for 2 more weeks. Then the customer service department replied that I needed to email orders@northaware as that was the department I should be dealing with. I replied to them and said – NO! You need to handle this and contact your orders department and figure this out for me! I have not heard back from them now for at least 3 weeks, and I am out the $395 for the jacket and $49 for shipping the jacket. They suck so bad. I am about to write emails to all the email addresses I can drum up for this company just so I can see if there is someone that will respond and take care of this. Per the suggestion on this thread, I think I will try their facebook page also. Ugh!! Never have I had such a hard time communicating with a company or returning something.

  8. I COULD NOT AGREE WITH THIS BLOGGER MORE!!! North Aware is nothing but a bait and switch. I too was given fake tracking numbers to stall on their delays. Then magically, when I threatened to call my credit card company, the coats got shipped. They are not high quality:
    – they are EXTREMELY HEAVY (4.5 pounds) as they lied about it being down filled.
    – zippers are difficult to align; buttons are sewn on poorly and tough to button up
    – the fake fur is cheap (they had promised real fur initially) and the hood is ENORMOUS which makes it hard to see
    – the gloves look like extremely cheap vinyl from even far away

    Google Maps have reviews. A week ago, there were lots of BAD reviews on it. North Aware contacted Google and had their address and reviews removed. They also conveniently removed their address from their own website.

    Now, I am waiting for a reply regarding a refund but no one is replying. I doubt I will ever get a reply.

  9. Here’s my $0.02.
    My wife and I both got our parkas on Dec 22. Both were the right colour, and both were EXTREMELY warm. Finally, we had the winter coats we had been looking for for years!
    Fast forward 1 month. Mid-January – my wife is out for dinner with friends and a clumsy waiter spills sour cream on the extension piece of her red Expedition parka. No problem, let’s FOLLOW THE LABEL ON THE COAT AND HAVE IT DRYCLEANED!!
    We bring it to the most reputable dry cleaners in Eastern Ontario… one which cleans Canada Goose and MooseKnuckle jackets daily. We get the coat back, and the black microfleece scarf, and black microfleece picket liners, have bled BLACK dye into her RED jacket.
    It looks freaking terrible!
    In addition, the buttons are all chipping and zipper paint is also chipping.
    All from FOLLOWING THE DIRECTIONS provided by North Aware on their product labelling.

    So, we contact North Aware (through FB Messenger, as they’ve been responsive there in the past)…
    I explain the exact situation above.
    I’m told “The best we can do is offer you a new coat at 50% off”.

    Excuse me? You said “the black microfleece and all other materials are colorfast, so this is not a jacket issue.”

    I call them on their bullshit.

    They then say “Sorry, we cannot exchange an item that is damaged.”


    I then say I’m officially making a warranty claim against their 10-year warranty, which sounds all great and well on their website.

    I now have not heard back from them in 3 days.

    Officially 100% freaking pissed off. Does anyone know what type of recourse I may have to at least get the money back, so I can go buy a coat made by a real company and not a bunch of scam artists?

  10. Ugh at least I’m not the only one experiencing this.They charged me twice, kept the charge on the wrong card, then forgot to ship to me. The coat I finally got was the wrong color and I had to pay $60 for the privilege of shipping it back to Canada.

    Also, it was ugly as hell.

    I’m in the US, can we alert the Better Business Bureau or something?

    1. After two months of bullshit, I finally received a refund of $329 from this unconscionable company. It cost me $52.25 to ship the piece of crap back to them, so they still owe me $92.25. Who thinks I’m ever going to see that money? Yeah, me neither.

  11. Wow, I could’ve written the same review. Not only that, when I attempted to return the coat, I ran into a new problem. Despite them confirming on FB that my jacket was received and they would be processing a refund, guess what showed up in my mailbox today?

    The coat. That was mailed to North Aware from overseas APO in Germany. Marked as “REFUSED” by North Aware and sent back to me. I now have the coat and gloves back in my possession. The ones that were sent at a cost of $40 so they could supposedly process an exchange.

    At this point, I’m ready to file some claims. They won’t accept my return? And they won’t refund my money, despite the returns policy. I’m calling an all out social media blitz until it’s resolved. I got allllll the time in the world…

    I want to return the item for a refund, and now I want the BOTH sets of return shipping costs refunded to me as well. I want a Return Merchandise Authorization number to associate with my return. Please respond with your information and expedite processing this return.

  12. Hubby and I could have written the same post exactly, we were so disappointed with our jackets after waiting far too long for them to arrive after our winter holiday in Canada, (living in Japan). We returned them almost immediately, paying over $50 dollars CND and then we were sent a import tax bill from FedEX for an additional $70 CND which they are saying we have to pay even though we have already returned them. Still waiting for the refund and it has been almost two months since we sent them back to Canada. Feeling very sad and scared that we’ll never get our refund. This company should be investigated and shut down.

  13. Our sentiments exactly. They should be shut down and everyone should get their money back! We’ve been awaiting our refund for over 2 months now.

  14. Thanks for posting this. Seeing one of the clips on FB and then visiting their site, I was really enticed to buy one. Good thing I like to try and research the crap out of something and look at multiple sources to make an informed decision before I purchase…because I tend to be pretty impulsive. However, try not to let this deter you from future Kickstarter projects. Sometimes it is a gamble, but when it works out, you were able to support a company who may have not had the resources to fully launch on their own and now they are able to.

  15. I tried to return my coat within a few weeks of receiving it.
    They won’t allow me to return it. It doesn’t fit. Brendan wouldn’t let me talk to anyone else, give me phone number, or even allow me to exchange it.
    All he says is ” I wish I could help you but I cannot.
    Have a great day! ”
    Do you really wish you could help me? Because I can think of a really easy way! Be like any other good company with good customer service and let me return it for a refund.
    Its not goose down, its not made in Canada, I didn’t get it til January. And it doesn’t FIT So I can’t WEAR IT!
    Please help me.
    Has anyone had any success getting a refund, please let me know what to do.

  16. Yes, the shipping of my coat took an extended amount of time. With that said, I knew it would take longer as the was a startup with no experience in large scale order fulfillment and it is the same with all crowdfunding (I know from backers experience). But the coat that was delivered was a high quality coat and exceeded my expectations and I love it. There were changes with the coat along the way but they explained their reasons for changes and I think it was necessary. People commenting are forgetting that most companies that are on Kickstarter don’t even offer refunds and usually don’t even deliver products. This company did both which I think despite delays, deserves to be commended. They did great for what they were working with.

    1. Connor ..David – is it? Ah. yes, the other fake account used to attempt to spread a (false) positive image of the company? The Same Connor who was also Reported + Blocked from facebook because you can’t think to use anything but generic stock photos to mask your fake as hell accounts? give us more credit than that. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.

      This is a company run by an insane narcissist who thinks he can abuse contracts and crowdfunding loopholes to make a quick million, and then outrun his skeletons by tricking the weaker impulsive-purchase sheeple online to fund his escape route also…

      But this is what happens Jamil. you get backlash from actual people and THIS WILL NOT GO AWAY! And now your rep smells like a butt.

      Also, just because NA has OFFERED refunds does not mean they’ve delivered them. In most cases they are still actively stalling people who deserve their money back – trying to out-wait the problem – hoping this will all just go away.

      They did not do great and they are not “working” with anyone. This is horseshit.

      1. Indeed, North Aware thinks they can get away with it. They probably will during a certain period of time. One day however, this will catch up with them and will blow up. I will probably not see my money back, too bad. However, I will continue to fight and escpecially do whatever possible to stop them and to prevent other potential customers to fall into the same trap.

  17. I must respectfully disagree with you. I have only had pleasant dealings with this company and the coat that I got was of superior quality. The only issue that I had was that my gloves were of incorrect sizing so they promptly sent me a new pair. I must mention that I was not a Kickstarter backer, I had ordered from their site.

  18. OMG I am so happy (yet sad) to read all of this. I NEVER got my coat and ordered March 2016. After constantly harassing them and communication continuously dropping off I was able to get someone via their Twitter to message me back on there. They told me they would send me a check for a refund. I asked for some sort of confirmation and they said they couldn’t give me a confirmation but the check would be cut and to let them know if it doesn’t come by the end of the following week (last Friday). Well as you can imagine, the check never came (just like the coat). I let them know and they gave me the good ole “the check is in the mail” telling me it was sent March 10. Coming up on 3 weeks now and I am in NYC so even snail mail shouldn’t take that long. I don’t know what to do 🙁 I am so freaking pissed. I’m ready to link this post and others to every social media site of theirs I can find as well as file a complaint with the BBB.

  19. I had a similar experience and had to wait to ship my exchange, but come April, still have not received the new jacket and want a refund. Sadly its like talking to a wall – any suggestions??

    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 10, 15:14 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    We’d be thrilled to offer Smart Parka 1.0 at no extra cost to you! 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 10, 14:48 EDT

    So what you are saying is that is is completely within your authority to give me a refund and understanding that North Aware messed up and failed to deliver the coat I purchased, you are refusing to provide me a refund?

    That does not sound like the hassle free experience you claim.

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 10, 14:28 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    I unfortunately cannot offer a refund. I’d be happy to come to some sort of other solution though! Please let me know.

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 7, 17:59 EDT

    Thing is I don’t want a new coat, I want a refund.

    The coat looks awesome, but I have had a terrible experience getting it, I have been very patient but now I have no interest in continuing this. You have had my funds for 6 months and are asking me to wait another 6 months.

    I’m really not interested.

    This was your mistake, I filled out the survey months before it was supposed to ship, I knew it would not fit and still had to wait for it to ship because my change could not be processed, I waited another month before my return could be processed, I had to send my new order information before by return was accepted, I spent an additional $70 to ship the return, and 3 month later I have no coat.

    Please process my refund.

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 7, 17:41 EDT

    Hey Rose,

    Yes. I will happily come to a resolution with you. I do have that authority.

    Our new coats are going to be much better. I think you’ll be very happy with them.

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 7, 17:37 EDT

    I’d like to talk to someone that has the authority to give me a refund… is that you?

    Because you have had my money for over 6 months and you have had my (returned) coat for over 3 months. The delivery was 2 months late and I was not permitted to even start the return process for another month. This is not the type of company that I want to buy from and I have no interest in your promise of a different coat in another 6 months *IF* everything goes well. I need my refund please!!

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 7, 13:37 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    Unfortunately I cannot. I will happily mark you down for Smart Parka 1.0. It will involve no extra funds.

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 6, 17:53 EDT

    The coat was great, but I was looking for it this winter. It is now April and I have no coat. I need a refund and will gladly consider a new purchase as the winter months come around later this year. Please provide my refund per your hassle free return policy. You had my coat in your possession will within the refund period. This was your mistake, please accept it and honor your commitment.

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 6, 11:21 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    I am in charge of the customer service department, so I’d be happy to assist you with a desired resolution that does not involve a refund as that window has passed.

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 5, 17:01 EDT

    Please consider your own messaging. The experience is not living up. Who do I need to speak to to get this resolved.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 5, 16:51 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    Unfortunately, as stated below, the refund window is closed. Let’s get you all booked in for Smart Parka 1.0 or Smart Parka Select:

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 5, 16:44 EDT

    I shipped the coat within the window with the expectation that it would ship as soon as you received my package – the new size and style were requested before I shipped the coat. Since then I’ve had a half dozen trip to the north east were I would have loved to have the coat. At this point it’s 80 degrees in Texas. You had the coat within the window and did not deliver on your part of the arrangement. I’d like a refund at this time.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 5, 16:31 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    Unfortunately, as stated below, the refund window is closed. Let’s get you all booked in for Smart Parka 1.0 or Smart Parka Select:

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 5, 15:50 EDT

    I’d like a refund please.

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 5, 15:11 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    I lead the customer service department. I’d be happy to find a great resolution for you. What is your desired resolution?

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 5, 14:57 EDT

    That is really not acceptable given how long it has taken to provide my coat. This was an option when I shipped it and I expected to have a coat shipped in a reasonable amount of time.

    Can I please speak to a manager about this? I provided the new sizing info when the exchange was processed, if you were not able to process it at that time, I’d like the refund.

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 5, 14:31 EDT

    Hey Rosa,

    Unfortunately the refund period has closed. Can I please be provided with the requested information? Thanks so much for your cooperation.

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 5, 14:18 EDT

    At this point, I’d really prefer a refund please.

    Brendan J.
    Brendan J. Panikkar (North Aware Inc)
    Apr 5, 14:13 EDT

    Hello Rosa,

    Thank you for writing in today. We’d be happy to complete this exchange for you.

    We are currently in the middle of moving warehouses, so exchanges will take a few weeks to have the products sent out to you. In the meantime, we will document the products you want sent so we can put the orders through as soon as we’re set up at our new warehouse.

    Can you please reply to this email with the following information so we can have it documented?

    1. Products you want sent back to you.
    2. Your delivery address.

    Thanks so much!

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    Rosa Trach
    Rosa Trachta
    Apr 5, 13:56 EDT

    In October I sent a note about having selected the wrong size, I had lost quite a bit of weight and was hoping to adjust the order. In November I was told it was shipping and it was too late, in December I was told to wait on a return, in Jan I shipped the return ($70!!), it is now April and I have no coat.

    I would like a refund please.

    On Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 1:47 PM, North Aware Returns & Exchanges wrote:

    Hello Rosa,

    I have processed the exchange on our end.

    Please move forward with sending your product(s) back to ShipFusion by generating a shipping label with the shipping company of your choosing and sending us the tracking code. Once your goods are received at our warehouse, we will then send back your new goods.

    Here is ShipFusion’s address:

    Ship Fusion

    32-34 Ashwarren Road,

    North York, ON, M3J 1Z5


    On Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 7:06 PM, Rosa Trachta wrote:

    Want to exchange for fit…

    Going form an expedition xl to a classic L same color (red) and gloves from a s/m to a L/XL

    not sure what my order number is or how to get it (dont see it on any of the emails confirmations) but it is the only order to this email address.

    Order was placed to Rosa Trachta 7506 Barcelona Dr Austin, TX, 78752


    North Aware Inc.
    357 Bay St,
    Toronto, ON, M5T1A5
    Toll free: +1 (844) 667 8400 ext. 104.

    Cell: 647-239-5689
    Website: (

  20. I’m with you. Mine came in January finally, but the hood is so big that I can’t see anything when I wear it so I took them up on the return. It took them 2+ months to accept my return, including one time when I paid to ship it following their instructions, and they failed to accept my delivery and returned it to the US. They finally accepted the second return last month but still haven’t paid me so I followed up today and got this response:

    Hello Lauren,

    Our warehouse has now closed for the season. I will do my best to get on the phone with our warehouse manager to see what we can do.

    What I can do for you is book you in for Smart Parka 1.0 for next winter at no additional cost:

    Alternatively, I can also mark you down to receive a refund once our warehouse opens back up in Oct. Please let us know how you want me to proceed.

    Have a great day!
    Brendan Panikkar
    Vice-President, Customer Service
    North Aware

    They didn’t have to accept returns, but they offered one, and they asked me to pay to ship it so they owe me my money back, especially as I won’t get the hours back from my 31 emails, several failed calls, three trips to the post office, and calls with Canadian postal customs service.

  21. Just a follow-up to the drycleaning disaster. NorthAware would not budge on their 50% off a new coat BS. So I went ahead and filed a report for fraud with my CC company. They had to go back 15 months but they found the $600CAD charge and put the reversal request in with Kickstarter. (I had to provide a wealth of documentation to prove fraud, but I did save all messages, photos, tags w/ warranty statement, etc.)

    A month later, I got my $600 back.
    In the meantime, Brendan had actually sent my wife a new coat. So at least now I know I did my part to take down this terrible company — we have 3 coats and paid $0. Take that Brendan – stuff it up your backside and enjoy your job while the company still exists.

    1. Hi Eric,
      So happy things worked out for you. Too sad that we all have to fight so hard to return our well earned money. Enjoy!!

  22. I have had nothing but trouble with this slimey, unethical company. I also funded Northaware Smartparka and ordered 4 jackets for my family which cost $1205. I was excited to fund a local Canadian company. The delays, changes in design or fabric etc kept pushing the coats back. They were initially promised in August of 2016. I was happy to help out a little Canadian company…especially when they said they would be making the coats in Canada when they hit a certain amount of money raised. I received the coats in December 2016…too late! Winter had arrived and I’d bought coats for my family and no longer needed the NA coats. I sent them all back exactly as I had received them – in excellent condition to the NA warehouse with a tracking label and insurance. I have proof of their receipt. I followed up with an email and was promised a full refund in 10-15 days, but NA really wanted me to take their new coats for 2017 season instead of a refund. I think this is because NA has been using out funds to cash flow their slimey business. Then next came another email that I wouldn’t be refunded until October 2017 because their warehouse was closed. What is interesting to me is that you can still purchase coats through their website. I know of a person who threatened a class action law suit. They miraculously received a refund…even though NA says they can’t refund anyone because their warehouse is closed until October!! HMMMM…I smell a big lying rat! They try to direct all emails to but don’t respond. Brendan Panikaar floods the backer comments with the FAQ list to confuse people. They’ve blocked me from any social media and they don’t allow any comments to be posted. Slimey business practices. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING from them…you’ll never see your money! I’m sure any good reviews out there are fake!!

  23. Waited 11 months for my coat, and am still waiting another 5 for my return. We will have controlled weather on earth before I get this thing figured out.

  24. Watch out for this company. I had a similar experience. Very poor customer service and the managers are incredibly arrogant. I ordered this jacket to be delivered in time for a special event as it was supposed to be a gift. I was assured on multiple occasions that it would arrive on time. It ended up getting to me two weeks after the set arrival time! No apologies or even acknowledgement of this error from the North Aware management team. Extremely unprofessional when I tried to contact them to rectify it. After doing some research I find out they are basically a bunch of college students running things from an empty office outside Toronto. Plus, even though this is a Canadian company, they charge you in US dollars (just to really rip you off given the awful exchange rate). I would be very hesitant in ordering from this company overall…..awful experience!

  25. Watch out for this company. Very poor customer service and the managers are incredibly arrogant. I ordered this jacket to be delivered in time for a special event as it was supposed to be a gift. I was assured on multiple occasions that it would arrive on time. It ended up getting to me two weeks after the set arrival time! No apologies or even acknowledgement of this error from the North Aware management team. Extremely unprofessional when I tried to contact them to rectify it. After doing some research I find out they are basically a bunch of college students running things from an empty office outside Toronto. Plus, even though this is a Canadian company, they charge you in US dollars (just to really rip you off given the awful exchange rate). I would be very hesitant in ordering from this company overall…..awful experience!

  26. I had the same experience. Received my coat on Dec 29 after waiting an eternity. Was totally disappointed in the product – it was too large (I used their measurement guide when placing my order) and the quality was just so far from what they described and promised. The gloves were tiny. I was surprised when they offered their backers a refund option and went through pains trying to get a refund processed. It took over two weeks to receive a reply and instructions for mailing my return (at my own cost, which considering I am in the US and they are in Canada is not inexpensive). I sent them tracking information as instructed and then never heard back. I tried to contact them via Kickstarter and Facebook, and they only replied instructing me to email them, which I did multiple times. If they did not decide to offer refunds, I would’ve been able to accept this as my poor decision-making. But they did, only they got their product back but never provided the promised refund. This makes them the worst kind of scammer. I would not trust any interaction with this company.

  27. Thanks for the review! I actually found an ad for this jacket on Facebook and since winter is coming, I thought hey, why not? The product isn’t a kickstarter project anymore but is an actual existing product, so I felt inclined to make the purchase. However after entering my credit card details, I decided to do a quick google search for reviews, and stumbled across your enlightening one. The verdict? Well after reading this, I just closed that tab and decided I won’t be buying this anymore. Not just because of your 1 review, but I didn’t want to make an impulse purchase, and I remembered how kickstarter products usually are.

    I have supported over 30 kickstarter products, some were great, some were crap and some never materialised. The vast majority of these projects are started by young people who see a niche or opportunity they would like to take advantage of. They want to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon and think, “hey all these other people are doing it, so how hard can it be?!” They start off with best of intentions (in most cases), but don’t realise the amount of work involved with such an endeavor, let alone one that becomes a screaming success with 20k supporters! In this case, these guys needed 30k in startup capital and ended up with $3.5million. Now that changes EVERYTHING. And with a small team of inexperienced newbies who don’t have the supply chain or logistical expertise to deal with these vast numbers of orders? You’re talking trouble. Add to that the screaming, nagging, spoiled hordes of customers who want their each and every whim addressed in 5 minutes. Because in this age of instant gratification and quick responses through social media, if they don’t get a response within 5 minutes they throw a tantrum and ask for their money back. With this kind of change in numbers, you need to go back to the drawing board and recalculate EVERYTHING. You need new suppliers, manufacturers, employees, and the MOST important thing! You need quality control! Now I mean that on both sides of the spectrum, from dealing with the customer, to the quality of the end product. Also the customers NEVER seem to understand that they are not buying from a store, but a product that is still in development & still has the potential to fail. When you put your money down, you are investing into something that doesn’t yet exist and in people who don’t have any experience with what they’re doing. I always keep that frame of mind when purchasing something on kickstarter, and even though it can be quite annoying with the delays, it is definitely understandable and expected. Especially when dealing with China, where the benchmark of quality differs greatly from our standards in other countries. And I’m speaking from first hand experience of having dealt with manufacturers and suppliers there myself.

    I apologise for this long winded message, I had no intention of going into all this, all I wanted to say was thanks, lol I think I’ll just go down to the mall and buy myself a jacket the old fashioned way. I don’t really need 17 pockets because it’s not like I lug my ipad in my pocket all the time anyway. And I always leave a pair of gloves & a hat stuffed in my jacket pockets so I don’t forget them anyway. Plus I always carry a small bag with me wherever I go, so in reality, I don’t really need all this gimmicky stuff. I’ve also steered away from kickstarter in general because the disappointments are, well quite disappointing. Also I noticed a lot of times that during these lengthy waiting periods, established companies come out with similar, superior products. Oh and also the retail prices of a lot of these products is pretty much the same as their kickstarter prices. Not always, but most of the time. So if I do find that the product in question is worthwhile afterwards, I’ll just buy it then when it’s fully established.

Leave a Reply

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