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LOPI Customer service and dealer complaint.

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by peedenmark7, Nov 3, 2013.

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  1. peedenmark7

    peedenmark7 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    66
    Loc:
    wisconsin
    I've thought about this posting long and hard and have decided to bring to bring my recent Lopi Customer service/tech and local dealer experience to this forum so that others may potentially make a better decision before purchasing a stove.

    Four years ago this month I was fortunate enough to find/purchase a clean used Lopi Berkshire with all the bells & whistles from its original owner . The seller scantly used the stove over a 5 year period , switched to wood ,hence its sale.

    This stove was to be our main heat source while away from our secondary home which is located in north eastern WI. Now if you have property in Northern WI or have had the misfortune of having to find a tradesmen of any kind in extreme rural areas in your state , you'll know exactly where this is going.

    At the end of the '11 heating season I noticed that we had some very light soot build up on the glass. Cleaned and ran it in '12. At the end of '12's heating season the soot build up made me think that it was time to have a Lopi dealer come out and check the stove out fully. As summer gave way to fall, I used the Lopi dealer locater and found "Hearth Expressions" out of Minocqua WI , roughly 1.5 hours from me.

    I called the dealer on a Thursday afternoon in late Sept. , who [owner] stated he would be in our area the following day.
    He [the owner] came to our home that Friday afternoon and began taking the stove apart to check if the stove was set properly. He found that the stove was not getting enough air and that another was incorrectly set based on the piping etc, which was done by the now out of business installer. Basically not getting enough air. [No noticeable soot after one month]

    The Lopi dealer then said that some of the mastic was coming off the bottom of our burner plate, which was a known and had been up to last season been a 100% warrantable issue as Lopi had changed from a stainless burner plate to a heavy duty cast iron one as the s.s. was flexing and thus pushing off the mastic caulk bead , which in turn caused premature burner fail. I told the dealer I had seen some of this white caulk on the bottom of my stove last season and had no idea what it was or from. The dealer then called Lopi to see if lopi would still warrant the burner as he had replaced "many" over the past few years. He asked some technical questions while on the phone with Lopi, all the while spitting his mouthful of chew around our yard, later to find it all over some of our white patio furniture.
    After about 20 minutes, the dealer came iback in our home and said that Lopi would sell him a new burner for $120 which he would pass on to me. I asked to pay for the item and his service call to which he replied that he would bill me when the new plate came in.
    2 weeks pass, no word. I call asking status about the plate as we do come and go between 2 homes with frequency as my seasonal business slows , and did not want the burner sitting at one place or the other while we were away. The dealer then tells me that the plate came in, but that Lopi did not send the horse shoe support, which he now needs to order. I call a week later asking status and am told that it has been shipped via UPS to me. Another 2 weeks pass and I have no burner , and he no longer answers my calls or emails. All the while I am wondering if I should be running my stove while I am away.

    I finally call Lopi last week and ask to speak with a customer service rep in hopes of finding out if this item has actually been ordered or if I can simply purchase the item in the event that this "dealer" flakes. The tech I spoke with was less than friendly bordering basically telling to get lost as he states the stove is 10 years old and that Lopi "Is doing nothing for me" . I question the known manufacturer recall issue whatever you want to term it and he shrugs my question off buy saying he will call my dealer to ask him to call me.
    I get a call back from the lopi tech a few minutes later with "I got his voicemail too", to which I reply , your surprised after my previous call to you ?

    Roughly 5 weeks have passed , I have no burner, no bill for the service call, no dealer support and a company that refuses to rectify a known defect in its product. Mind you, I don't expect them to replace the burner for free, but a known defect that was as told me by their "dealer" which was being replaced free of charge until last year, one would think they would be more apt to potentially rectify, or better police its dealer network which in my opinion " Represents the Lopi Line" as well as its warranty replacement policies,who is in my opinion doing the Lopi name a great disservice .

    Prior to this, my wife and I were strongly considering adding a Lopi Greenfield next season [when we remodel ] for the main heating area of our home, thus using the Berki as a zone heater. However, after being told by Lopi that my business/complaint is not important ,and the lack of quality dealer support in our area, the Greenfield is not only off the table , we , rather than pay $220 to replace the defective burner in the lopi , may now replace it as well.

    A longer story than I had intended, but one that I felt compelled to tell. Elation about a product has changed to total disappointment.

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    This is fairly typical of the stove business, sad to say. The level of service you will get largely depends on your dealer and, even then, on your purchase of a new stove from them. Buying used is a total crap shoot. Almost no company would provide warranty...and most not even advice or answer the phone...after that period of time.

    I'm not making excuses - but rather telling you like it is. You are unlikely to get better results with most other brands....unless you have a enlightened dealer or rep nearby.

    As we speak our family is spending north of 15K replacing high end shingles which are defective and 12 years old....which look like they are 30+ year old. I am 100% certain the maker (IKO) will be making us jump through hoops (not the original owner).....before they would even consider helping...and online searches show even then they would not do much.

    I was a dealer for Travis products for many many years. I did all the backup and warranty work. I only ever remember asking them for anything a couple times over thousands of stoves. That's the way most of this (and many other) industries work. It's the dealer or no one.
  3. peedenmark7

    peedenmark7 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    66
    Loc:
    wisconsin
    I understand fully. The stove worked fine the first 2 seasons. I spoke with the original sellers dealer and the seller was a reputable guy.

    My issue is that this is a known defect that Lopi WAS warranting.
    My dealer is obviously another in a long list of the type of Backwoods chuckleheads we've had the misfortune to deal with. I am still waiting for driveway quotes no on 3 years. Needless to say I will be importing that help from my part of the state from now on.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    One of the advantages of high population (we have our vacation house in a place even busier than our reg house) is that you often have more tradespeople around....

    When you are in the stove (and many other) businesses, "known defects" are something you usually don't address directly. Unless the issue makes it to the CPSC or is truly dangerous to the consumer (and this scares the maker), they are not going to be really proactive about them. Also, many warranties are to the original purchasers with valid receipts, etc.

    I'm obviously not speaking for all manufacturers at all times. But I was a retailer for 20 years and also a manufacturer and importer and that was most of my experience. There were some exceptions at some times...but those were always based on the fact that we were continuously buying more product from the makers.

    If I were you I'd still try to get it going....that is, the replacement burner, etc. - a couple hundred bucks is cheaper than a couple thousand.
  5. peedenmark7

    peedenmark7 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    66
    Loc:
    wisconsin
    I run on principle. I was told one thing by Lopi's dealer, while he was on the phone with Lopi and have yet to receive , So in my opinion both have failed me. The stove is coming out.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,252
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I hear ya. . Good luck and I hope you can get something working installed.
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