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Posted By Tendencies,
Mar 23, 2007 at 8:35 PM
Yeah that's quite a delay. We're all back and more or less operating normally.
I'd email the rep back and let her know all your industry friend on HearthNet are back and operating from Reno, so what's the problem? Might make here take things more seriously.
Sound like its "pass the buck time". Here we go. I don't think the local rep. should of made this judgement call on her own. Who does she represent the manufacture/dealer or the customer?
Is she a Sales Rep?(How many units have you sold lately Mr. Dealer?)
I had the same situation with Heat & Glow. The Dealer Sales Rep.,(Sherrie Gobles),was trying to do it all. Represent the dealer, install a new unit, change pan burners, check for gas leaks, make judgements on peeling paint problems, etc.
The last unit that was installed to correct the problems I was incurring was done by the Chief Of Research and Developement,(Steve Tate), who told me Miss Gobles,(Sales Rep.), had no buisness to be involved with all these extra duties.
I think your running into the same situation here, T.
I just got back from Menards and looked at the Dutchwest insert sister stove Century. The only difference between the two I can see is the door. I can see what your talking about. The firebox is tack welded to the outer shroud at the 4 upper corners. And there is actually about a 1/4 " gap underneath the firebox bottom. Could be a place for leveling bolts under there to help support, but I couldn't get at it good enough to lift it and see. If I were you I would demand my money back and look for a different insert. Good luck.
After this one, I don't want to hear anybody ever dis barrel stoves again. At least they have four legs squarely on the floor.
Now that's what I call a "floating firebox"
Lame that VC/CFM rep is feeding you BS on a show that was over last week. Even lamer the problem hasn't been remedied ASAP.
A "higher gph" SUMMIT would'nt fall apart like that. Looks like quality on the VC front is sliding back down hill lately.;(
Ah very true Hogwild, quite lame....but may I point out that the Summit BLOWS THE DOORS OFF this insert which actually weights in at 4.7gph.
Forgive me for being blunt but there is a lot of overreaction here. For Pete's sake, it's a piece of metal. A weld broke. The house is not going to burn down because the stove body slipped down a bit. Sure, it's a pain in the ass and a quality issue. It's unfortunate that there is a defect. But is it really necessary to go to court and make a big flap?
There is a process for handling defects. When the stove was purchased the consumer bought into that process, be it VC, or Subaru. Why not let the process take care of the issue. Will it be pleasant? No. No one likes to get a stove, or a car, or anything else, that has a defect. But it does happen. In an ideal world all products would be perfect, zero defect. That's what consumers want. On a percentage basis most consumers are satisfied. But I know of no manufacturer in any industry anywhere in the world that has a perfect record. If there is such a company I would imagine that the product they make will not cost under $1500.
I am not excusing the poor customer service. But that also happens. I have been in this business a long time and I don't get it right all the time, even though I really do care and want to do what is right. For god's sake. We don't live in perfect world. Why can't we work these things out without threatening one another with court action? I suggest we reserve court action for those situations that require it. I do not think anyone involved in this broken weld is a crook. Let's give them a chance to make it right before we go for the jugular!
Now, for what it's worth, here how we handle such things in our dealership:
I, or another qualified technician, do a site visit and visually inspect the stove. Once it is determined there is a defect we explain the warranty and suggest we follow through with a warranty claim. We work with the manufacturer to complete the warranty claim. In this case we might have pulled the unit and replaced it or repaired it. If the customer is upset and does not agree to follow the warranty we ask them what they think is a fair solution. We listen. We consider the options and we do what we think is in the best interests of the customer. Sometimes we negotiate and the customer agrees to go through the process even though they do not want to. Sometimes, we give the customer their money back and take the unit away. Sometimes we exchange the unit for some other model. In all cases we make an effort to satisfy the customer. However, some customers are not worth the effort. If we get a customer who is unreasonable we will suggest we refund their money and part ways. We have learned that some consumers cannot be satisfied and we are not in the business of baby sitting.
I hope everything works out in the favor of the consumer here. But lets stop this nonsense of beating up on VC, or anyone else, over such a little thing.
I don't think honestly anyone is beating up on VC at this point, those are just avenues to take in the event nothing happens. as of this point all thats happened is a couple emails, some pic's being sent and 2 phone calls. In all actuality I really like the stove, it easily has saved me over $1800 if fuel oil this winter, so after 1 seasons use it almost paid for it self. Everyone wants fast service including myself, and my family's safety is #1 to me. I came here asking for a little help/info because I thought VC and my dealer were not giving me the service I expected after spending $2500 on this stove. As for this being a little thing as you said, come talk to my wife, You don't have to live with her!! It's not a little thing..... Again I appreciate all the help/wisdom I have gathered here and hope to hear/see even more! Thanks!!
Hummm let's see-
- $2500 on a new insert, literally falls apart after 6 months due to 3 failed welds and a bad design.
- Company recommends that the customer fix it themselves since they are a welder.
- BS excuses about techs still being at a trade show that is over.
I think tendencies is pretty calm considering, I would not be. I am not recommending taking legal action, I would let it take it course first, but the foot dragging would sure piss me off.
Sean, you are right about most aspects of the situation. However, the fact that the unit is in it's first season and also the fact that the firebox actually dropped is, IMHO, much more serious than the average warranty claim that our shop received. In fact, I have a hard time thinking of a similar situation in my 20+ years of retailing! Certainly we have had steel warp, cast crack and all kinds of other things....but I don't remember a firebox dropping!
That said, a forum like this often gives points of view that are exaggerated in many ways.....although well meaning. The fact is that we do really care.....if this is a problem with the design and engineering. We do care if it is addressed in the way we would want to be treated.
The funny thing about customer service is that (most) all is forgotten once the situation gets taken care of. I wasted 4+ hours with US Airways yesterday with a situation that should have taken 10 minutes. Yet, now that it is taken care of to my expectations, everything is fine!
I think this situation will be the same. VC will take care of it, and it will become evident whether or not this is a design problem or simply a fluke. Given that the unit is an insert, it is highly doubtful that such a failure would result in a house fire, etc....so things could be worse.
Just saw this thread,
I have the same insert. Now I'm scared. Should I get something to support my firebox? How many of these units do you think they sell? I will do a full inspection of my insert tonight. (i work sundays). Damn, after the money I spent on instert and install, I hate feeling less then secure right now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I think the fact that the dealer hasn't fixed or swapped it out might be a bit of a problem as well
I've got a similiar story from a different trade....
My company distributes hardwood flooring. I sold 2000sqft of Brazilian cherry to a contractor, who after begining installation determined that the flooring was littered with shorts (1 footers) and that the milling was off. I got this call on a wednesday. I called the vendor and got a run around... they couldnt swap out the material....blah blah blah the owner's out of town.... blah blah blah.....my sales rep isnt insured on thier delivery truck....blah blah....the owner thinks i'm lying.....
So, After getting ZEro help from the vendor,, I got in our truck with replacement material (from another mill) and burned the better part of a very cold saturday swapping out the wood......2000sqft off the truck, 2000sqft on the truck.....
To me, as a distributer, it was more important to make the customer happy and deal with the vendor later......
Why should my customer get the run around because my vendor is a jackass?
I believe the dealer should make this right.
I don't think I would be scared. This could be one faulty weld out of thousands. But if all it takes is some 1/4-1/2" shims to provide better support to the box, I'd put some washers or steel shims under the 4 corners of the box for peace of mind. Then forget about it and go back to enjoying your stove.
Thanks BG, will do. I'll go on to say that although this insert is getting bashed here I have been pleased with its performance thus far, even if the fan is a little noisy. For a 1.3cf firebox the little thing can throw some heat. I've even had enough coals to refire after 10 hours. Not putting out heat at that point but still enough coals to get er done! with just the door open.
First of all this is a mom and pop dealership. I doubt they have inventory in storage to swap it out. What it really sounds like is poor distributor support.
Originally I thought I could help in this situation, but I have doubts. All my connections are of VC this is a plate steel sttove not manufactued in Vermont, but either Indiana or Canada
Part of the Century line of CFM.
I know not all have the tools or mechanical ablities but This stove would have been fixed with out much to do. One i would be pissed that it broke. then My rational would come around that If it is going to be repaired I might as well do it myself. It has nothing to do with warranty. Its trust in my own abilities. I know I will grind off the faulty welds and do it better that the original. Why should I trust someone else, unless I know they are better than me ,at doing something. The other factor I loose no work waiting around for installers I pick the time of repair and I know its done right Not all feel that way and that the company should reinburse me something, that would be fair.
I have owned a fair amoung of heavey equipment and if I waited around for mobile repair I loose a lot of money even if covered by warranty. I had situation where trucks are involved and multi pieces of equipment waiting around could cost me
more than $800 an hour. My car has free oil changes for life. The dealer is 24 miles away by the time I drive their both directions, I find it easier to do my own oil changes. I pick the time.
It takes me less than 15 minutes but I would loose 3 hours having the dealer do it. When one reads the warranty CFM has the right to repair. Simmilar warranty is common in most appliance manufactures. Honestly 3/4 tack welds is not a big deal or that time consuming. I doubt it would take more than an hour. ITs not like CFM did not offer the most expedient way for it to be repaired and also offered you the choice of hiring the best welder in the area and they pick up the tab
I bet Vogelzang would replace the stove no questions asked if it was one of theirs Elk.
providing it broke in the 7 day warranty period. Never happened in my town none were ever installed and the ones I missed sooner or later they end up in the scrap yard
By the latest report from wxman, this is starting to sound like a design or production defect. VC/CFM needs to step up to the plate here. This may be recall material.
Here is my take on what i understand and can see in the pictures.
This is not a bad weld or a weld flaw ..... its an engineering stove design flaw.
Tendencies , you have a many years of experience with welding and the 20 in the Navy welding puts you right up there on top of the game , we both know what tack welds are and what they are about , this stove shouldn't of had tack welds as a structural design . to me it looks like side heat shields of the stove and if so and not part of the stove it should of been bolted or screwed on to the stove with the room for movement ad the heat of the stove expands and contracts. If welding was the correct answer then tack welds were not the best choice.
IMO i would go with a different design stove as this design/model doesnt look like a good one from the information i am reading. A new stove of this same design that calls for tack welds to be structural can do the same thing. ( I'm reading two threads of this same flaw ? )
When your working for someone and building stoves and the engineering blue print designs call for a tack weld here and a butt weld there then its what has to be done , its the stove engineers blue print that has the last word and how the stove is made.
I can’t help but feel, because I laid out some tools T. COULD use, if VC’s subsequent responses were as ridiculous as their initial response, that you feel my post was part of “a lot overreaction here.”
Before I get into that, let me assure you that I know YOU understand good customer service. In the latter part of your email, you describe an excellent thumbnail sketch of good cust. svce.
Too bad that NONE of what you suggest was done, initially, by VC.
That is why the actions I and others are suggesting that T. may pursue, as options, should VC persist in their horrible cust. svce., are not “a lot of overreaction here."
Let me make this perfectly clear to you and Elk:
a) The suggestions I made were ALL TO AVOID going to Court, by enabling T. to prove he’s an EDUCATED CONSUMER with certain rights. If T. educates VC, (not that he should have to) everyone wins, when VC does the right thing, and LEGAL ACTION IS AVOIDED.
b) My outrage is not b/c of a bad weld (unless, as I suspect, Roo is right and this is a DESIGN defect). But for now, my comments are directed solely at VC’s RESPONSE, not at VC because one stove failed (though now it’s two stoves and counting…hmmm).
Once more, for clarity—it’s not the end of the world b/c a weld (oops, THREE WELDS) broke—it IS an outrage when the cust. is ACCUSED OF ABUSE, right out of the box, then stonewalled.
Great! No problem. But, let’s see what VC said:
Let me explain—I’m only an amateur welder, but I am a customer service PROFESSIONAL, and a licensed attorney, though I no longer practice.
....and you are correct that some customers cannot be satisfied.
However, it was my job to BABYSIT ALL CUSTOMERS, as the first voice they heard on an 800 “hotline” at the National H.Q. for one of the most prestigious luxury import cars.
It was my job to PREVENT CLASS ACTIONS by making happy customers. Not as a lawyer, but as a cust. svce rep.
My point here is that what the company says, on that initial call, IS CRITICAL.
Suggesting T. reweld his own stove is insulting, outrageous and, if he were not qualified, or if the basemetal is somehow flawed, and the weld fails, could be FATAL. That is not overreacting—it is stating (what should be) the obvious.
When you say
...you mischaracterize what I said. T. has given them TWO chances so far, and they’ve effed up, seriously. But neither I nor anyone else has suggested “going for the jugular.” (That would be hiring a plantiff’s atty and filing suit.)
T. has done the morally-responsible thing and notified his govt-sanctioned product safety group, so that, in the event that this is a recall-worthy defect, some other stove doesn’t burn down a house with someone YOU love inside. That is not “overreaction” either.
Now, you said
But T said:
If there’s only four welds total, that’s pretty serious! Yes, it’s “only an insert” so it’s in a fireproof enclave. But what IF T.’s hearth is NOT “to code”?
You seem pretty willing to play fast and loose with others’ safety.
Let’s change the scenario slightly:
Free standing stove, and three welds break.
You pick which ones: three legs? Or how about two door hinges and one leg? The stove tips forward, the door pulls away from the stove, and the coals roll out on the floor.
Hey man…it’s only THREE WELDS…. Right?
Like you said:
T. CAN do as you suggest:
But as a cust. svce. professional, with experience as an atty, and in the INVESTIGATION AND SETTLING OF WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS for a HUGE insur. co., and “face-to-face” experience with angry auto dealer customers, and extensive cust. svce. in the NATIONAL H.Q. of a major car co., I can tell you that nothing VC has done here, to date, is going to help work this out.
Gunner has said it in fewer words than I can:
Again, the process you describe that you would follow, in this scenario, seems fine to me.
I was simply suggesting that, as T. has experienced THE 100% OPPOSITE of what you would do, (i.e., using good cust. svce. skills) he has other options.
And again, my suggestions WERE MERELY THINGS TO SAY, to educate VC. I did not suggest he go to Court—I SIMPLY TOLD HIM WHAT TO SAY, to AVOID COURT.
It's unfortunate that I needed to explain this to you, Seaken, based on your mischaracterization as "a lot of overreaction here"--everyone's time is precious--even mine.
So...how long have you sold VC?
You make a lot of good points, one of which is:
I saw that in cust. svce. in the luxury European car market, where I dealt, in part, with recalls and emergency breakdowns. And my g.f.'s, brand-new Subaru lunched it's engine at 40k, AND THE SECOND ENGINE at 112,000. (As a car enthusiast, I personally change her oil every 3,000 mi.) Lest you doubt my g.f. is easy on cars, it's an automatic (I rarely drive it for that reason) and yet on it's 3RD ENGINE, she was still on the ORIGINAL TIRES--at 113,000 miles! IOW, gently-driven, enthusiast-maintained, so--we got two bad engines. It happens. Although, under VC's logic we may have been abusive, because we were "using gasoline to start it." LOL
But seriously, because I've been on both sides of the consumer fence, in the autobiz, I know what you mean when you say that the good news is not what people call to scream about--definitely. And if you put twice the product out there (not the case where I worked, however) you should, statistically, hear about twice the number of "lemons." And that's assuming your quality is equal to the competition, not worse.
I hope so too. However, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, I would stress to you that NOT handling a consumer's complaint about a serious quality defect is one of the shortest, surest routes to business failure.
The best way to minimize a problem, as we say in the cust. svce. biz, is to "take ownership of the problem."
Well, let's see:
Strike one: Insult the customer's intelligence and care/custody/control
Accusing the customer of misuse or abuse is not "taking ownership of the problem," yet we have this, as VC's intial response, to Tendencies:
Strike two: Fail to rectify the problem
Suggesting the cust. reweld his own stove is not "taking ownership of the problem." It's lunacy, liability-wise.
Strike three: Delay action
Stonewalling the cust. about the co.'s lack of response, with easily-shot-down-excuses about trade shows (which says, "our sales volume is more impt. than your safety") is not "taking ownership of the problem."
By my count, VC has had three bites at the apple, and is still spitting seeds.
Now, I'm not saying, "3 strikes--now sue!" I think I made that clear in the above post to seaken. ;-) I'm just saying that T. can calmly educate VC (though he shdn't have to) until they "get it" and refund his $.
Shipping defective product and mishandling the complaints is, again, the surest way to financial ruin. Remember Merck and VIOXX? At one point, there was speculation that the CLASS ACTION SUITS would, literally, cause the co. to fold.
You and I are in agreement when you say
However, as I say, VC's response has, to date, been mostly footdragging, with allegations of customer-abuse being VC's opening bid. Insulting the cust. is not the way to go.
I care about US jobs too--in fact, I am not just ******-off about the loss of America's manufacturing base, I'm scared, for our economic future.
Which is why the statement by the B*sh administration that "outsourcing is good for America" did not sit well with me.
I'm not "dissing the crap out of VC." I am just trying to share my expertise (resolving consumer claims), because it's something I've made a living at.
I respect the expertise you, and all the other experts in their various fields, bring here. But I have 20 years of cust. svce. experience, and worked in high-profile, recall-happy industries like $130,000+ automobiles, as well as having a law license and insurance-claims experience. That gives me a certain level of "expertise" that may just be helpful to T., but which all are free to ignore.
You and other experts share, frequently, to help individuals, and it is appreciated.
I would appreciate it if, when I attempt to help a member with my tiny sliver of expertise, you did not make (groundless) allegations about a lack of patriotism, or assume that I don't care about American jobs.
I did not come by my screen name lightly (though I did not serve in the military).
As a mechanical engineer who installed his own stove and generally likes the "fix it yourself" option, this one I think is different. Not that the owner can't weld it himself but if a weld failing means the inner stove shifts downward, then there is something else afoot here......I can't believe that the engineers at VC would knowingly put their name on a stove whose innards are supported only by a few welds without having designed-in support elsewhere and since VC is a first-rate company this tells me me that there ARE meant to be other supports......that said, if I were in engineering at VC I'd be BEGGING management (and whispering "lawsuit from the customer" in the lawyers ear if they didn't listen to me) to get this stove ASAP to the VC engineering department and get a new stove, no questions asked, to the customer....NOW! Then I'd be going over this stove with an engineering team to see if 1) it's missing supports elsewhere, and/or 2) if indeed only a few welds support the innards and then I'd be ordering engineering changes or demand that the stove line be dropped (no pun intended).
My gut feeling is that (as I said before) no one higher up at VC and certainly nobody in VC engineering knows about this otherwise they'd be clamoring to get access to this stove and get this person a new one today!
Elk....my advice would be to call someone in engineering and tell them this.........once they hear that when one small weld broke the entire innards canted to one side, they'd run the problem up the flagpole for you and this guy would have a new stove by the end of the week. Why? Because companies generally only act when they have first hand knowledge of a problem at which point if they don't act they're legally liable....to get this to happen, you have to get this information into the chain to someone in the engineering department to run it to management....and let them know you're going to document the call to them.......
I still think that there is/was some other method of supporting the firebox other than these welds. Maybe it was missed at the factory or they forgot the adjustable feet that go under the box...or something, the has to be something! This design flaw is so obvious, a blind man could have caught it. Think about it.... plans were drawn up, they are approved, a prototype is built, it's tweeked, another is built, engineers and tech's look at the thing, they give it the green light to sell to the public, IT IS TESTED AND CERTIFIED.... come on :roll:
Has anyone found an exploded view of these models?