Fair is fair. When a company gets it wrong, I blog about it. When a company gets it right, I also blog about it. This week, a couple of companies got it right.
The first company is Grohe, makers of high-end kitchen and bath products. They have the rare distinction of being the only non-Kohler faucet inside our house. All of our bathroom fixtures (showers, toilets, sinks, faucets) are Kohler. All three of the stainless steel sinks in our kitchen are Kohler. But the faucets in our kitchen are Grohe (sorry, Kohler). After years of worry-free performance, I noticed that the metal cover on the faucet hose (visible when you pull the faucet handle away from its neck) was beginning to unravel. The faucet was originally installed 16 years ago, and otherwise still looks and functions wonderfully. I called Grohe’s toll-free number, they walked me through identifying the correct model (apparently I have a LadyLuxe Plus), and popped a new hose in the mail… free of charge. An email confirmation and tracking number hit my inbox within minutes. Impressive.
Next up is InSinkErator. They’ve earned by blog praise before, when they replaced one of my instant hot water tanks for free, even though it was out of warranty. I actually have three of their tanks, and my oldest one (and therefore the one furthest out of warranty) ran great for many years in the Utah house (where the water is very hard and required a few DIY flushes to keep it going). But this month, a flush wasn’t enough to keep it working, and it finally died. I called InSinkErator with my model and serial number, and while they weren’t able to replace it completely free of charge this time (probably because it was so old), they offered me a one-time discount code for 65% off a replacement HWT-F1000S tank in their online store. My old tank was years out of warranty, and I really wouldn’t have been able to complain if they’d just said “sorry” and hung up. But I appreciated that they wanted me to have a positive customer service experience with them.
To be honest, when I wrote down the discount code, I didn’t really think it was a big deal. I figured that if they were so quick to hand out that code, I’d probably be able to find a better deal from an online retailer (like Amazon) that discounts the products anyway.
I was wrong.
The retail price for a new tank at InSinkErator’s online store is $398. Amazon’s price (including shipping) is $234.49. With the discount code, I got it direct from InSinkErator for only $139.30 (including shipping). That’s almost $260 off retail, and nearly $100 cheaper than Amazon’s best price. Score!
The moral of these stories is that while it may be possible to save a bit of money in the short term by purchasing discount brand appliances, paying a bit more up-front to companies that will stand behind their products long-term (like Grohe and InSinkErator) will always pay off.
So the next time something in your house breaks, don’t just toss it out and buy a new one. If it’s not something you can fix with some simply DIY skills, try calling the manufacturer and see if they’ll help you out. Customer service agents generally have a wide range of options available to them… so being calm, courteous, friendly, and non-demanding on the phone will go a long way toward convincing them that you’re the lucky customer who is going to get their most generous solution of the day.