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Let's see how my dealer handles this problem

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by wahoowad, Feb 14, 2006.

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  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    OK, I admit I just flamed a lot of dealers in another thread - and generalizations are sometimes harsh, especially when there are some dealers online here that are nice and share good information. But yesterday I initiated a request for help to my dealer so we get to see how well he services me, his customer. This thread will track his efforts to make me happy.

    My Jotul 3CB is a month and a half old and I'm sure I paid absolute top dollar for it. I did the install, even had to pick it up and deliver it myself. I'm having some burn issues, have noticed some slight gasket issues, have noticed some soot repeatedly forming in one area, found some small pieces of gasket material that fell out inside, have noticed one bolt that appears to be installed differently than another stove I compared to. Let's not debate the problem, this is about how well he responds to my concerns given that I am providing him several clues and photographic evidence.

    Just curious what others think - I installed it. Should he send someone out to look at it on his dime or charge me for a service call?

    Day 1 - emailed him pictures and explanation since his email is on his website. I will call him after 24 hours if no response.

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  2. martel

    martel Member

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    I like this experiment. And I agree. I am in Western Pennsylvania and am searching diligently for the correct wood insert. I have spent a lot of time in here researching, reading old threads, PMing with some of the people who seem the most astute- the problem is I have gotten terrible service as I have visited most of the retailers around. The sweep that I had come in and inspect did a great job- very knowledgable and answered a bunch of my questions. The problem is he is not a retailer and is only able to install a certain brand (buck) which only makes a stove with a heating capacity smaller than what we want (that fits our existing FP).

    I am visiting two more retailers this afternoon.

    I had considered doing the install myself (ie liner and stove) but due to time and my wife's lack of faith in me installing a liner that won't light our house on fire I am going to have someone else do the whole shabang.

    So- I look forward to the experience you have. Update often!

    Anyone know a retailer that is good, fair andexperienced in the Western PA area? specifically we live 40 minutes north of pittsburgh.
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Jotul has its response setup, that you have to initiate your request this way. It will be interesting to follow how this is handled.
    I feel your anger towards your retailer. I would exclude the dealers and their shops, that post here. Reason being, they have proven they care and go the extra mile, time and time again. They are here, offering free advice on their time. Jotul know their qc is not exemplanary. Too many post here have proven that. You have my support. I think you paid for quality and recieve inferior goods
  4. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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    I think they should give you a quote for a service call, and if it turns out to be an install problem, you pay, and if it is an appliance problem, they take care of it free. Of course, good luck deciding who's fault the problems are, hopefully it is obvious.
  5. SeanD

    SeanD New Member

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    Zoeglassjd,
    I had a good experience at Ferguson's Free Energy on Rt 228 in Mars, even though I ended up not buying my stove from them. At the time I was considering putting a traditional stove in my basement and hoping the heat would rise and warm the entire house. The owner came to my home, checked out the setup and told me that, while he would love to sell me a stove I would be very disappointed in the outcome. I think if I had pressed him he would have refused to sell me the stove! Very honest, friendly and professional.
    Then I saw a wood furnace at Home Depot. Check the mfgr's web site and saw that they listed Ferguson as a retailer. Went back to Ferguson's thinking I would be willing to pay more to get it from them as opposed to HD. Turns out the website was wrong. Ferguson no longer carried that line.
    Also went to Ed's Wood Shed. Didn't get the warm fuzzy feeling I guess I was looking for, although nothing specific I can describe.
    SeanD
  6. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    My dealer called me back within an hour of my voice mail. That's good. But he said my email (with pictures) wouldn't be seen because they don't check their email. Gee, makes you wonder why their website says "If you have some questions for the technical department here at ####### Stove Company, please give us a call or send us an email. Our email address is.."

    Ignoring the email waste of time then....

    The guy was an poophead. He said "we've never had a burn problem in any of our stoves in 30 years." I asked him if that is actually what he meant to say and he said yes, then said maybe one problem. He's never sold a stove with a design, assembly or warranty problem that affected the stove? See, right away he is lying to protect some company image as well as justifying why he won't be helping me out.

    He flat out said "there is not much we can do since you didn't pay for the install." I kid you not.

    I reiterated this seemed more like a stove assembly issue and not a chimney/install issue since the rest of the stove burns fine, and overall it burns OK. But i do have some specific 'evidence' that suggests an assembly issue and less that efficient burn in just one part of the stove.

    He agreed to call Jotul to "see if they are having any problems with this stove and the left corner." I suggested my stove could have a unique problem not appearing in all models yet he did not want to consider that.

    Goddamn, it just seems he wanted to hedge from the git-go to justify why he would not be able to do much. His wording, his attitude - it all keyed off the fact that I did my install.

    I pointed out how a key bolt protruded differently and he said I could tighten it if I wanted. I said it looked improperly installed from the factory, possibly, not simply loose, and I was not an expert to judge nor did I want to dissasemble a brand new stove and rebuild it just to check a bolt.
  7. martel

    martel Member

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    nice- i am going to ferguson's today. who did you end up going with around here? what'd you put in.
    zgjd
  8. martel

    martel Member

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    perhaps you shouldn't censor out the name of the shop- bad service=bad press. I say pass the word around, which shop and where.
  9. SeanD

    SeanD New Member

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    Ferguson's is owned by husband / wife team. I can't remember the husband's name, but he is the one you want to talk to. I put in the wood furnace from HD. It is an Englander 28-3500. Did the install myself. Very happy with the performance. My gas bill has averaged $35 / month this winter, basically for cooking and hot water.
  10. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    This a great idea, I'm willing to share. I purchased last fall, this was after shopping 25+ dealers over a 2 year period. Even tried to buy from my local guy's new shop, wanted to help them out and keep the money close to home. Had the sales guy say that he didn't know much about wood stoves, then he showed up two days later for the preview apparently an expert (NOT!). I waited 14 months (not kidding!) for a quote, got one from them last fall after I stopped by to let them know I bought elsewhere. Funny. Another guy from the same shop called in Dec to let me know they had stoves in. Kid you not. Anyway, the shop I bought from are pretty good guys, except when it came down to warranty service. Yeah, same routine, you installed, must be your problem, we'll need $150 for a visit. After I contacted the manufacture rep who told me to drill another hole in the fire pot (pellet stove), yeah "just go ahead and drill a hole in there". No support on the hole drilling idea from the dealer, I must have forgot to drill that extra hole when I did the install, huh? After many emails, some not nice, the dealer sales guy said he may come by to check the problem out (not a service call). I told them to hold off for now as the problem is intermittent, I'm trying to vidoe tape a .mov clip so they don't have to stop by. Not sure why I can be so nice, and they can't. Should have just gave them the $600 for the install up front I guess, even tho it was a 1 hour job that with the help of my twin 4 year old boys. Ok, my two cents, I'm done for now! Kudos to all the good dealers out there (many on this board!), wish I happened to run into one of you last fall.

    B
  11. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Why don't you send a letter to you local better business folks?
  12. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    it been said...."If you want somthing done right, You better do it yourself".
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What a bummer. Although I had a less traumatic mystery, I ran into a lot of head scratching by the dealer and eventually Jotul tech support. But at least my dealer followed the book. He had me speak with his service manager first. The service manager asked many reasonable questions and offered good common sense to determine whether I knew how to burn wood and what quality wood I was burning (so did this forum). Once we went through that checklist (about 5 days worth of try this and that) and the problem persisted, I was referred, by the book, to Jotul tech support. At this point the dealer and I were discussing replacement of the stove or at least a service call. I called Jotul tech support, got a case number, and once again went through the matrix of questions. The tech ended up not knowing a lot about the 3CB and was glad to pass it back to the dealer for resolution. At this point, I had fulfilled warranty requirements and we were ready to see about replacing the stove. I serendipidously meditated on uninstalling the stove over a glass of merlot and decided to really look at every step of my install. I tried absolute leveling of the stove which had a minor effect, but not a major improvement. Then meditating again over a fine chardonay, I noticed that although the stove was level, the top was not parallel to the base. The next morning upon pulling the top, I found the soot trails that illustrated the problem with the gasket not seating correctly. From that point the fix was relatively easy. I called my dealer and the tech and they were grateful for the input (and that the problem had been resolved).

    So you are at the same juncture, but with a more complex issue wahoo. I would document all the issues you've had - the black goo from the back, the gasket, etc. Something is clearly wrong. Then call the owner of the store, stay away from the sales people. Politely explain that you have a warranty issue with the stove that points to faulty stove assembly. List the problems. Ask him what the official process is to have a warranty resolution by Jotul and let him know that you want to proceed. If they start hinting that this may be an installation error, ask to speak to their service tech to certify that this is not an installation problem. Hopefully, the owner will value the reputation of his shop and will be most helpful. Try to get them involved in a resolution. If they offer no recourse and help, then let them know, politely and calmly, that the internet microphone is on and recording this so that other users learn from this experience, and that your next course of action is to publish these details and his company name on the world's best and most popular wood stove site. Let him know many eyes are watching. Provide him with the URL and threads. Also inform him that you will next go through the formal charging of his business with the BBB and that you will be contacting Jotul corp. and the state's attorney general for advice on how to proceed. You can probably fix this yourself, but dammit all you've paid for a new stove and it has a warranty for a reason. Then have a nice glass of wine and meditate.
  14. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    BeGreen, funny you mention that you "fulfilled warranty requirements" given what I just read in their warranty. My take is they suggest a homeowner has no warranty if the dealer does not install it:

    Good advice. I wait to hear back from them.
  15. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    A homeowner can be a qualified installer. They should cover any warranty issues you have so long as the issues are not directly related or caused by a bad install.
  16. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    I think it is good to not name names. It only makes you stoop down to a low level. Once said, you can't take words back. For all you know, the dealer could come around and fix the problem, and you would then feel you shouldn't have named him. People make mistakes - everyone deserves a second chance.

    That said, if they haven't fixed your problem after calling them several times and dealing with them for several weeks, then they deserve the bad press.
  17. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    Unbeleivable, Wahoowad......It doesnt seem as though your install would affect whats happening with your stove. I cant beleive Jotul would stoop to a little BS disclaimer in their warrantee either.
    When we deal with these issues, we are up front with the customer. If he did the install, the stove may still be covered under warrantee, no ifs,ands, or buts! We also make sure to tell the folks that if it is a warrantee issue, its covered, with no cost to them...after all, its mechanical, it CAN be defective. BUT.....you surely must allow that if the issue is due to abuse or a poor installation, the stove company is due the money for the service call and/or repair at their rate, door-to-door. We try to get the folks to agree to this prior to coming out to their place. We've had folks agree, then we go out there, find out its their fault, or due to abuse, and try to collect from them. Some refuse to pay. At which point we tell them that we will no longer service, repair, or warrantee their unit. Generally that doesnt work until they have another issue tho.
    It still seems unbeleivable that the company wont come out and look at it tho. Im sure you agree that if you screwed up installing, you'd pay them for the fix. And if you are really far away, you'd pay them for their travel time as well, right? You are right in calling Jotul as well. You seem a knowledgeable person, and sounds like you have valid points to me...good luck.
    Also, if you get a satisfactory result from the dealer, I hope youd post that here as well.
  18. martel

    martel Member

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    hmm, perhaps give some time for the dealer to "make things right." but, if his short response is accurate and his inability/unwillingness to really pay attention to the complaint is accurate, IMHO this should be aired for other potential consumers. if a biz wants good word of mouth, give good service. if someone is providing poor service he/she should be held accountable for this by the consumer spreading the word to other consumers.

    I don't want to sound like a jerk, but i actually feel pretty strongly about this. I want to hear about dealers/installers/salespeople in my area that are both fabulous at what they do and also the ones to stay away from. I have found an amazing local retailer through this site and I am so appreciative for the information. I would hope to also be directed away from poor service.

    That said, i do agree with hotflame that people deserve second chances. i often tell local retailers that if they don't fix something they are responsible for i will be spreading the news of bad service. this is not as a powerplay, but we are their bread and butter. the local retailer usually knows this. that is why we get better service from them normally. Can't walk into WalMart and tell them I am going to tell my ten (okay, four) friends about their bad service.

    Okay, getting a bit long: I am open to hearing feedback from this, especially from local storeowners (whether Hearth oriented or not). I'm always willing to change my mind!

    krm
  19. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    Ok....I agree with possibly naming names, but only on one condition....that the accuser also gives his/her real name as well. Shouldnt it be fair that the accused be able to face his accusers? Unfortunately, folks on these forums are quick to point fingers, maybe name folks, but you never see their real name.....why is that?
    And there are two sides to every story. What of the dealer who doesnt choose to read that particular forum? Hes guilty, right? If i know the accusers name, and I find him listed on a bunch of forums with a bunch of different claims, I will ltake his/her name with a grain of salt....habitual complainer. Not saying this is the case with Wahoowad, as I think he has a valid complaint, but I am just trying to point out there are two sides to each story.
  20. roac

    roac New Member

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    Yeah I'm not sure it would greatly benefit the masses to post names here. Just call the local BBB and tell them if the dealer fails to help. Better yet call them now and see if this dealer has a bad record. We should always call the BBB before making a large purchase like this just to get an idea. Unfortunately most people don't report bad CS to the BBB. If the store isn't a member then you might want to steer clear. Also the BBB might be called something different in your community. I would think the local Chamber of Commerce could help find the right local org.
  21. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Don't forget about tutu_sue having similar problem, too. I posted pics on the Jotul F 3 CB Not Burning Evenly? thread. You're welcome to print them out and take them with you.
  22. martel

    martel Member

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    Yes, I like this- there are two sides to every story. It could be a bit like feedback on ebay. Someone can give you bad feedback, but then you have a chance to post a response.
    As for the BBB, I am wondering how many of us utilize this? I know I should more.
  23. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I wish that I could get more people to call the BBB. No one seems willing to do it though, too much hassle I guess.
  24. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    You can file complaints with the BBB Online. I've had to do it once with a very bad phone service provider.
  25. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Let's see where we are. Dealer's please chime in (or message me if you have some specific advice)!

    Day 1: emailed them photographs and detailed description. No response.

    Day 2: called, left voicemail. Was called back within 1 hour. Was told "there is not much we can do because you did not pay for installation" although they will call Jotul and call me back.

    Day 3: nothing

    Day 4: (today) nothing
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