A Tale of 3 Companies – 2 Understand Customer Service

We are in the midst of renovating our kitchen.

My husband and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary by renovating instead of going to Italy or going on the Power Tour.  So this renovation is a big deal to us.  We are doing a lot of the work but we are also relying on three companies for product and installation.

Two of these companies get customer service, completely.  The 3rd company was and is a huge disappointment to us.  This is the story of these 3 companies.

We shopped around for the granite counter tops and found Troy Granite had the deepest inventory and the best price of any of the 4 companies we considered.  We ordered our granite counter tops from Troy and they threw in a new under mount, double bowl sink, free.

We also found our environmentally friendly floor at Troy Granite which is truly a one-stop shop for renovations of all kinds.  But we picked up the new faucet — VIGO VG02006ST PullDown Kitchen Spray Faucet, Steel  at Amazon.

Countertops and floor taken care of, we moved to the piece de resistance for me (I cook and can and bake, a lot)  – a new Jenn-Air, down draft, stainless steel stove.

We bought our new stove at an appliance store called Hawkins and Sons - the second company of the 3 involved in our kitchen reno saga. Granted our stove wasn’t a Wolf or a Viking but it equaled 25% of the cost of our kitchen renovation — a sizable chunk of our budget and a considerable investment from our perspective.

Hawkins was paid to do the conversion for the stove – gas to propane – then we would pick it up, take it home and put it in place for the third company — Kauffman Gas - to connect the stove to the gas line which was already in place.

Everything was going well until the morning of January 22nd.

The team from Kauffman Gas arrived on time, worked quickly and efficiently and had the propane gas line to the stove hooked up in less than 30 minutes.  So far so good but not for long.

Steve called me to the kitchen.  First, he told me that the appliance company had not completed the conversion that we had paid extra for it to do.  Steve told me he took care of that but…when he fired up the stove, he ran into a huge problem.  One of the gas lines inside the stove was fractured.

Turning on the grill on the left side of the stove, he demonstrated. Flames shot 6 inches out from under the surface and rose a foot above the grill.

Steve, who works with gas-fired appliances all day long, took the knobs off the front of the stove and told his assistant to turn off the gas valve in the basement and the one on the outside tank.

I called my husband; he called Hawkins, immediately.  The reaction he got was less than stellar.

No concern was expressed.  No responsibility was acknowledged.  Not only did they not offer to replace the stove, they weren’t really interested in sending a repair person to the house.  In fact, they made it my husband’s problem by forcing him to meet their schedule — forcing him to take a day off work to let their repair person in to see what was wrong with the new stove they sold us.

Clearly, the words “customer” and “service” are not in the Hawkins lexicon but we had no choice.  We owned a very expensive and unusable stove.

Hawkins’ repair man confirmed what Kauffman’s technician had told us – a factory defect.  Two more weeks without a stove or oven. Still no offer to replace the stove – parts would be ordered and the repair would be done here even though the stainless steel on the top of the stove was warped, even though I had no confidence in the safety of this gas-fueled stove top.

With my confidence in the product gone and no help from the store where we bought it, my husband wrote an email to the CEO of Whirlpool - the third company in this story and the company that came to the rescue quickly, efficiently and effectively.  

Within 4 hours of sending the email, we received a reply.  Whirlpool would be happy to replace the stove.   The new stove would be shipped from the factory in the mid-West.  Whirlpool’s technicians would do the conversion and installation on site and on our schedule.  And they would remove the damaged stove.  No questions, no arguments just a swift and wonderful response to our dilemma.

How sad that Hawkins refused to take responsibility for a problem with an appliance they sold to us.  How wonderful that Kauffman Gas went the extra mile to help us and to ensure we were safe.

And how remarkable that a major corporation – Whirlpool – listened to our problem and resolved it in less time than it took for Hawkins to try to argue its way out or responsibility for its failure.

Thank you Whirlpool. Thank you Kauffman Gas.  Shame on you Hawkins & Sons Appliances.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Tale of 3 Companies – 2 Understand Customer Service

  1. Can’t wait to see pictures of the new kitchen!

    • patsquared2

      Got all the wall paper and the backing paper off the walls this weekend – my hands still hurt! And the flooring is incoming next week so lay down floor, paint ceiling, paint walls…and maybe the stove will be here by then. Shipping from the factory, directly to our home and being installed by Whirlpool corporate techs….amazing customer service! And will post before and after pix when we are done!

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