Thursday, December 12, 2013

Two Sagas. Part I

I haven't written in months.  Life just got in the way I guess.
I'm not going to try to fill in the gaps, just get going.

Saga I the Pellet Stove
Last year our 8 year old pellet stove started smoking and bit the dust.  We decided that it worked really well for 6 years and to get a new one remembering that they don't last forever.  We researched and chose a US Stove that seemed to have more modern features like an internal ash pan and a circuit board that controlled the feed and air.  We bought it in July on purpose.  We wanted to be ahead of the game.  Get the stove installed before the fall rains and winter snows.  Get pellets into the basement in the same time frame.  We did all that and felt good.

Then fall came and the heating season started in October.  Nothing serious, just night time heating. We'd put in one 40# bag of pellets and let the stove work through them on low.  It heated the house very well and we felt good.

Then November came and with it more cold.  The first time we called customer service was 11/5 as the motor stopped working. Jim was very good about trying to fix it but it took a lot of his time and was frustrating.  By that afternoon the stove company decided they would send us a new auger motor.  They refused to ship it expedited unless we paid $89.  Instead we paid for 6 days of propane usage.
Then Jim had a lot of problems installing the motor as it is located someplace a monkey might be able to reach.  Plus the pin kept shearing.  By now it was 11/12 and I was over this but Jim continued to talk with many Customer Service reps.  I wanted them to replace the whole stove but Jim is more laid back than I.  I did not feel good.

Well he called 6 times on 11/13 and they decided it was the micro switch and needed resetting.
That worked until 11/25 when the auger stopped feeding.  But that was a holiday so we had another 4 days of propane usage. He made 2 more calls on 12/2, the one on 12/3, then another on 12/4.  The thing worked sort of until 12/9. On 12/10 Jim said he had finally had it.  I blew up.  How long did he wait  before doing anything serious?  Why hadn't he yet spoken to a manager?  Why did he wait over a  month yet had not yet even asked for a replacement stove?

Meanwhile I had written a review on the Home Depot web site but just then got a rejection email saying that review should not discuss customer service.  That Home Depot should be contacted if there was a problem like that.  OK I thought, let's put it in their hands.

I called Customer Service and was really listed to.  Joyce asked me if I would agree to be on hold for 5 minutes while she contacted Customer Resolution.  She came back telling me they had picked out another stove for us and if we agreed with their choice to call Colina and let her know..  They would replace the US Stove with this one and deliver it to us.  We looked over the choices and agreed.  When I next spoke to Colina we talked about the problems we had and the fact that we used a whole lot of propane as well.  She not only sent the stove to be delivered right to where it will be installed, but also gave us a $450 credit on our Home Depot card plus an eGift card for $75 for more pellets. We both felt good.

We've concluded that since no one at Home Depot wanted proof of our problems that this was not the first time they had heard complaints about this stove.   Sure enough, the reviews from this fall are horrible and if we had waited we would never have purchased anything from US Stove.
We need to live with the existing malfunctioning one for another week and then the new one should be here.  Oh yes, and once it is here and installed we call Home Depot again and they will have someone come take out the old one and junk it.
 Soon the house will be toasty instead of 62 degrees and we will feel very good and warm.

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