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the state of Harman, my thoughts.....

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by HarryBack, Jan 17, 2006.

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  1. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    There are a few thing you need to know prior to reading this post. I am a Harman dealer, and I do think its still the best stoves made out there....I am only addressing pellet issues here, as it seems to be the cause of the greatest consternation in this board. I know I probably am going to get "blasted" here, but here goes.......

    In becoming a Harman dealer, you agree to service all the stoves you sell. The dealer is responsible for all warrantee work on the units they sold. Harman in our case has done an admirable job in supporting us with questions, parts, and problems they may have had. They have had problems, to be sure, and I am not disputing that. At least in our case, they have supported any and all decisions weve made with respect to warrantees and issues.
    Many of the problems I have read about herein seem to be dealer issues. Harman holds classes every year concerning service and their units, and invites ALL dealers to attend. There are also other great resources available, such as the upcoming classes in Salt Lake. A dealer can be as educated as he/she wants to be, some just choose not to. Alot also depends on the tech or salesperson dealing with the customer. Is the salesperson just telling you what they think, and not what they know, or are they just telling you what they think you want to hear? Are you possibly misunderstanding whats being said? ( I know, I know, you NEVER misunderstand ANYTHING). I actually get alot of customers from a neighboring dealer who cant seem to be able to service their units in a timely manner....I think that IS a Harman issue. If the dealer were doing his job, there would be no need for the end user to contact Harman....obviously, thats not the case. Its VERY difficult to diagnose a problem when talking on the phone to someone light years away, who has little technical expertise, and may/may not know what they are talking about. Most issues are cleaning issues which can be solved by READING THE MANUAL, or going to www.homewarmth.com to see how to clean the unit. Sometimes its the installation....another dealer issue. Sometimes its the stove....a Harman issue, but supposed to be handled by the dealer, as per the agreement.
    How can you diagnose issue without draft tests, or seeing the installation, or hearing that intermittent "noise"? "My stove is smoking alot....why?"......um.....what model is it?......OH....its a Harman.....and its black...........whats your draft reading?.......draft?!....whats that?!.......I dont have a draft meter!.......Did your dealer take a reading?....Oh no......I am a {insert your profession here}......and something as simple as installing a stove is very easy for someone of my intellect........
    The dealer has a huge bearing upon how the stove gets serviced, and thats true even if its a Harman, a Breckwell, Whitfield, St Croix, etc. In fact, the dealer should be part of what is considered in buying the stove. How happy are their other customers? Do you see alot of complaints on internet bulletinboards or newgroups? Do you know other folks who have dealt with them?
    Its similar to buying a car in fact. You buy a car...say a Ford. Youve had it 6 months, and you start hearing a noise under the hood. Do you call Ford Corporate and ask them what the noise is? No. You call the dealer. Hes supposed to fix it. Or maybe you ignore the noise. It gets worse. The car stops running. Now you have to have it towed to the dealer. They check it out. Find out noones ever checked the oil. The dipsticks rusty. You need to check the oil. There are those out there that might say that its not their fault...they didnt KNOW they had to check the oil, even tho its in the manual.
    Point is, the fact that the stove isnt working or is making a noise, or is using alot of pellets, or is smoking, or wont light, or just doesnt seem to put out heat....isnt necessarily a defect in the stove. It CAN be, but you know, far as I've seen, it USUALLY isnt the stove, but one of a myraid of other issues. Harman isnt in a physical position to run right out and visit every persons house to check out the unit. The dealer is much closer. The warrantee is 3 years on electrical components, 6 on the stove body, against defects in materials or workmanship. Ive never made a claim to Harman that was refused. My only complaint against Harman is that I hate having to ship back the defective parts....costs me money. I understand why they want them...so they can get credit....but its SUCH a pain! (Harman employees....are you reading this?).
    I could go on, but now Im getting typers cramp. Ok, come and get me.......*shiver*....*cringe*

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  2. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    wimps....surely there must be some of you who this rubs the wrong way.....or did make a post that was so erudite, that its un-commentable!? *snicker*
  3. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    About the only comment I could make is that you've given a pretty good perspective that addresses both sides of the issue, lazy/misinformed or ignorant dealers, and lazy/misinformed or ignorant buyers/users.

    You could take "Harman" out and insert just about any big ticket product that requires a lot of dealer/user interaction and it still works.
  4. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Can't comment on pellet stoves or Harmon. I have a non-Harmon wood burner.

    As I posted before, it seems like people only complain about electrical components of their Harmons. (coal or pellet)

    The stoves appear to be built very well. It seems like the manual Coal burners or Wood Stoves get very few complaints.

    Just a really basic observation: A Morso 1410 vs a Harmon Mark I. 185 lbs vs 335. Something seems right with the Harmon there.

    Another observation: How many stoves does Harmon sell per year, and there are something like 4 or 5 people complaining on this board. I'd bet if there were pervasive issues with Harmon stoves, there would be a lot more.
  5. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    Why are you complaining?

    Servicing crapy stoves along with gouging pellets, keeps bread on your table. :)

    Just kidding.....I am a kidder. ;)

    The points you make are the precise reason some of the car companies are giving free srevice on their new cars. It is the only way they can be sure the cars are maintained long enough for the warranty to expire.
  6. FireJumper

    FireJumper New Member

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    WELL SAID HARRYBACK! if you were the dealer in my area you would definately have my business.
  7. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Harryback,

    Why do you expect bad comments? Your explanation is well thought out.

    I am sure Elk will agree that too many people will install a stove themselves (after all, how difficult is that). And then they run in to a myriad of issues, that are always the stoves fault, not their install.

    I do think Harman needs to check up on dealer and take the dealership away if the dealer does not provide the service needed. Because bad news travels fast and it is always the stove (in this case Harman)s fault!!!!!

    Carpniels

    PS. Installs and stoves are really important. I have exchanged a VC Intrepid II for a Jotul Castine and it burns completely different. The draft is different too, even though I did not change the stove pipe.
  8. pelletheat

    pelletheat New Member

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    HarryBack,

    I agree 110% about customer/dealer comments. Any major appliance in my home falls into the categories you covered. I have always gone thru the retailer or servicing agent for "ALL" repairs. I recently had an icemaker fail on my Amana fridge, did I call Amana? No, I called the guy that sold me the fridge.
    I don't think ANY stove retailer should sell a stove and depend on the end user to install & service it properly, just trouble waiting to happen, especially when your family's safety is in question with an improperly installed stove.

    Just my opinion.
    :coolgrin:
  9. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    Harryback,

    I went to my local dealer recently, and one of the best things he told me was that he only sells two lines, Jotul, and Quadrafire, because he wants to be able to properly service his clients, and with only 2 lines, he can keep sufficient spare parts and inventory on hand to take care of his people.

    Quote:

    Customer service is not the cornerstone of commerce, it is merely the mortar holding the building together.
  10. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Most larger Respectable Manufactures have this you must service what you sell to ward of the internet sales.
    you can service someone 3000 miles away from your store.
  11. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    How do you service from 3000 miles?
  12. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    I think he meant you CANT service someone 3000 miles from your store.
  13. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Hey Some one got my Point.
    You CANT
    I WOULD NEVER buy anything HIGH TICKET out of my area.
    I want to be able to go in the store and say fix this POS
  14. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    [quote author="hearthtools" date="1137785820"][quote author="homefire" date="1137750333"][quote author="hearthtools" date
  15. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    How do you service from 3000 miles?[/quote]

    Hey Some one got my Point.
    You CANT
    I WOULD NEVER buy anything HIGH TICKET out of my area.
    I want to be able to go in the store and say fix this POS[/quote]

    Well, you and I want service, but we all know that at least 50% of buyers buy on price alone, figuring that theyll never even have a problem.....then when they do, rather than admit they are an idiot and made a mistake, they have to find someone ELSE to blame....it might be the manufacturer, the internet sales outfit, or even the dealer who didnt sell the unit and refuses to work on it
  16. FireJumper

    FireJumper New Member

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    I would say it's higher the 50%... I find that most times it's customer error and their trying to get something for free because they don't want to pay a service fee just to get their stove cleaned.
  17. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    Well, you and I want service, but we all know that at least 50% of buyers buy on price alone, figuring that theyll never even have a problem.....then when they do, rather than admit they are an idiot and made a mistake, they have to find someone ELSE to blame....it might be the manufacturer, the internet sales outfit, or even the dealer who didnt sell the unit and refuses to work on it[/quote]

    If you hate people so much why are you in retail?
  18. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    I agree firejumper, I just didnt wanna go out on a limb and say over 50%....here i go tho....id say price is the primary decision making factor in 72% of the sales....then quality...maybe 18%....service......well, you do the math!
  19. stovemanken

    stovemanken New Member

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    I recently signed a dealer who was a service company only. He did sell gas & wood stoves, but his primary business was servicing stoves (including pellet) of all brands. Here is one of his quotations:

    "90% of all pellet stove problems are due to the owner failing to properly clean the stove"

    Here are 2 more pellet stove quotes:

    "Most pellet stove problems are venting related"

    "Stoves do't over feed, they under-combust"

    The last one also is related to cleanliness issues. I have had more than one end user look at me in amazement when I tell him the pipe needs to be cleaned at least once a year, because he hadn't been told that by the selling dealer.

    SMK
  20. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    If you hate people so much why are you in retail?[/quote]


    Because they LOVE me!
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