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Dealer Ratings - Good and Bad - Naming Names ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Grumpy, Mar 2, 2006.

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  1. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

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    Loc:
    Puget Sound
    Hearthnet has a lot of information about specific stoves and has a rating system. Most of the stoves get pretty good reviews, but the dealers/installers seem to get much lower ratings. These specific dealers are not identified. I searched through a lot of the past posting and resources and specific dealers are seldom identified, either good or bad.

    A lot prospective buyers post questions asking about the best stove to buy. They get a lot of specific stove recommendations, are often told there are a lot of good stoves and it does not make that much difference if they pick a quality stove, just insure that they get a good dealer . How do these prospective buyers weed out the dealers in their area and find that dealer that provides quality installation and service ??

    I recently purchased a pellet stove from a local dealer and paid them a healthy price to install it. I have no complaints about the brand and model of stove. The dealer did a very poor installation job and even with my limited knowledge, I wish I had installed it myself. I have had to redo most of their work and the job was not that difficult. I would not even consider this dealer for a woodstove installation. How do I pass my opinion on to potential buyers? Should hearthnet have a rating system for specific dealers, like they do for stove brands and models??

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  2. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Framingham, MA
    Most dealers in my area don't do their own installs - they contract with a outside chimney sweep to do it. Doesn't excuse poor quality, but did you contact the dealer and give them a chance to fix the problem?
  3. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Regardless of the job Grumpy received, I agree. A dealer rating would be nice.

    Allot of forums "rate the dealer". I am into cars and am a member of a few "gear head" forums. We do rate the dealers or repair shops. A sticky provides info on "modification friendly" or "quality" dealers for warranty work, competency, pricing, etc. on cars. It allows people to list "bad" experiences also, but, people need to be aware of being held accountable for their statements.

    It sure would be nice to have a list to check prior to making a purchase. It could save a fair amount of time and hassle. I do not hesitate to tell people my positive or negative experiences, word of mouth is one of the best (or worst) friends that a business could have. I probably share more about my positive experiences than I would about my negative ones.
  4. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    My experience with a dealer may not equate to your though. As in stove ratings, you'd still have to take all with a grain of salt. An experience with a dealer is half in your approach, your attitude and your treatment of him and half in his attitude, approach and treatment of you. I love the owner where I bought my stove. He is rough, gruff and straight to the point. Doesn't bother much with the niceties or the softening the blows, but a straight arrow. He doesn't mess around. I like it, can deal with it, but I know some people who are turned off by that. I'd just hate to see a dealer bad mouthed on the web when much of the experience may be caused by the attitude, treatment or expectations of the customer.
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Taking your suggestions and expanding them. I think this would be helpfull but it works for local areas
    Being in the northeast I am not going to buy a stove in Or or Wa. I can see if we started on internet dealers,
    where a broader market is involved.
    Maybe we should come up with a check list installation guide. I do this when the owners are obtaining permits. Trying
    to walk them threw the process. Another problem, no two installs are alike
    A guide to purchase and a guide for installations. Hell the installation guide is already in Print NFPA 211
    Formerly BOCA now The International Mechanical codes. I think it is part of the inspector's job to ensure, you the owner,
    of a correct and code compliant install. Then again, even inspectors preformances have been called a Joke.
    That pre application meeting is the best chance to get all parties on the same page. That's the way it should be done.
    In reality, most of the time the stove is installed before the permit is accuired. Not suposed to go that way, without a permit there should not be that stove in place. When things go wrong, the installer has been paid and is long gone. I find fault and now you have to find this guy to correct it. The best advice I have,is to know what is required by code and your owners manual.
    Just as important do not pay in full. Divide your payments, x down, if the stove has to be ordered, x when it arrives at the dealer,
    x to cover the cost of materials for the installation and x after the job is completed and passed inspection

    This is an example not etched in stone. The important payment is the last one. It is a lot easier to get the installer back, when you hold the $$$ Yes feed back ratings would be helpfull. infact the forum has this in its consumer ratings the dealer is rated in a 1 to 5 grading system. Many have included the name of the retail outlet they purchased from. Check it out.
    The consumer has to be responsible he /she should read the manual and know what is required. You can request refferences of the installer to check out others who have had their stoves installed by that installer. Ask if the installer is licenced. Require the installer to obtain the permit. That way there, I will ask all the info of him licences insurances ect. Another factor is, if the installer knows he will be inspected,you stand a better chance of getting a code compliant installation.
    In the past I posted many discoveries of less than good installs. I have been quite the past 4 months, Why? The local installers know they are going to be inspected, the installations are up to code, so I have nothing to complain about

    Do your homework,use the systems in place, and choose a wise payment schedule
  6. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I think an issue with rating dealers is that for most people it is a one time interaction. Anyone can have a bad day at the "office", and many times the badness comes from factors outside your control. You just got to hope that bad day doesn't happen when their at your house.

    Rick
  7. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    The scope of this forum is worldwide, i dont think that naming dealers here on a public forum would be the best for everyone. You can always PM people that are local to you and see who they bought the stove from and see how they liked the dealer. I would also contact the BBB. And more importantly i would talk to co workers and neighbors. This forum exists to help people with products releated to the hearth industry, not to have a open place to gripe about dealers.
  8. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Puget Sound
    Thanks for a lot of thoughtful responses. I would not think dealer/installer reviews would be a subject to clutter up the forum, just a separate area of hearthnet, like the stove manufactures ratings. Of course, most of these experiences are one time, but after a lot of reviews the trend (good or bad) will be obvious. I was thinking along the line of the Ebay feedback system. Just a few thoughts. With the safety of the potential buyers house and family at stake, I think this is a very important issue.

    The local dealer told me that no permit was required to install a pellet or wood stove insert. Trying to save a buck, I like to avoid the local permit delays and fees. I did not check this out. I wish now that I had the warm and fuzzy feeling of having my installation inspected by a professional. I have learned a lot reading this forum since November and wish I had spent a little more time reading some of this information before I stumbled into the dealer looking for a stove.
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I think it would be fun to know how many posts on the trade forum are griping about customers. :cheese:
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest


    on an average it takes less than 2 days to pickup your permit in my office.
    Inspections are ususlly done the next day after the request
    And for a warping fee of $30 you get all this professional advice and inspection.

    And how good do you feel knowing the dealer is lying to you. got to wonder what his angle is or what he is trying to hide
    Naturally if his hired installers are doing a crappy job, he does not want it discovered by the inspectors?

    Don't believe read your manual. It is required to inform you of code requirements and compliance.
    It takes permitting and inspections to obtain the certificate of comliance, required by most all homeowners insurance companies
    and for warranty purposes as proof of installed correctly

    $ 30 is the cheapest price one can pay not to be aphixiated. trying to save a buck
  11. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Western Massachusetts
    I agree with elk....should always get a permit, for safety's sake amd insurance sake. BUT....payment after inspection? No, sorry, I DO NOT agree. What ensures and protects the dealer that he is gonna get all the money owed him? The customer has the stove, has it installed, has it working.......will he pay the balance? Too big an "if", if you ask me. How about installing said stove, make sure it works, then remove the curcuitboard until you get paid? Stove can still be inspected, right? Only problem with this is it connotes distrust, correctly, and costs the dealer yet another trip out....time is money......
    What we do, is we require payment IN FULL after the install. If the inspector wont "ok" the stove, we go back and fix it. Its key to know whats allowable here. Know the owners manual.

    I dont know what good a rating system would really do. One fo the things you want to do when buying a stove is buy from someone who can service it. So, someone local. If you go to the dealer 3 hours away, I can understand him not coming out to your place because its having difficulties. So, a rating system would be basically useless. Also, folks who tend to post in the forums tend to be only the PO'd folks. The happy folks rarely come here. Take a look at the number of post of alot of these folks...very few....often less than 10. Im guessing if you had a rating system, it would be more of a WORST dealer rating system, rather than a BEST dealer rating.
    And someone above did make a GREAT point. Some customers like a certain type of salesman. Some like the gruff old geezer who knows his stuff, but might not be personable, while others want the salesman who gives them hugs, tells them their sweater matches their eyes, and....etc...you get my drift.
    Look for knowledge........do they seem to know their stuff? does what they are telling you seem consistant with what other dealers are saying? Are they only telling you what they think you want to hear ("oh, yeah, and this pellet stove also makes a great alfredo sauce...")? How long has the dealer been in business? Does he have a service person/people? Do they sell fuel, or are they "hooked up" with anyone who does? How long have they been selling that particular stove?
  12. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I agreee harry about final payment I am a contractor I do understand getting beat out of it
    that is why I suggested the installer obtain the permit. I issue compliance to the person who takes out the permit.
    I do not issue the compliance to the owner unless you give me a call and tell me it is ok. The permit is the leverage you can use for payment. I have it setup that applications can be faxed you do not have to even come into my office.
    Especially if I already have your personal info on file. I deel I am a partnership to fair play be it the installer or owner. I have no quams with calling the owner and telling them I can not issue compliance to them till the applicant tells it ok. If they are a PITA
    I have 30 days before required to issue it and then IT is still issued to you If I have to I let them know that you have the compliance and suggest they settle with you. If things are going bad I may not even draft or sign compliance till you are paid I might have to remind them tha not to opperate that stove till Issue compliance it is not to be put in use Should I see the smoke exiting I can demand its removal. these are drastic measures which I have never had to enact. Usually once the owner know the situation it never goes this far. I have been placed in the middle of disputes before and I have reminded owners I do not take kindly to being a pawn so they can avoid payment.
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