Product and Company Non-responsive.
PENN YAN, NEW YORK -- This is a copy of a letter I wrote to Hoover summing up my experience with the Wind tunnel and the Hoover company. I am writing to inform you of my experience with your product and company that led me to decide never to purchase and/or recommend Hoover to anyone ever again.
Having had a dependable Hoover Elite for 11 years, on 9/21/05, I purchased with confidence a Hoover Wind Tunnel Self-Propelled Ultra (Model U6439-900) to replace the Elite when it needed repair for the 2nd time in the eleven years.
Having used the Wind Tunnel approximately once every 3 weeks for about an hour, it suddenly started smoking and stopped working in December of 2006. Because I was sick, it was a few weeks before I could bring it to a repair place. In looking online for Hoover Service, there were none inside an hour from where I live, so I brought it into a local person just to get an idea of what was wrong. In fact, I brought the Elite in too.
When I went to pick them up, the Elite, just needed a new belt and was returned to me working fine. The Wind Tunnel, I was told, needed a whole new motor and it would cost approximately $179 for the motor alone, not taking into account labor charges to replace it.
Now, the 1-year warranty did indeed expire in September of 2006, however, with just three months over the warranty, it seemed wrong to have a machine that cost $240 break to the point where an entire new motor was needed. Did I expect belts to break? Sure. Maybe even to have some clog problem? Sure again. But for a motor to die completely after such a short time? No way- that screams out bad product.
In an attempt to figure out if the price for the new motor was accurate, I called two Hoover certified vacuum repair shops in the Binghamton area for comparison. When on the phone with the first shop I was told that they no longer service Hoover because of all the problems they have had with the company honoring warranty. They also stated that the Wind Tunnel has been the most frequent broken vacuum that they have seen in a long time.
The second shop essentially stated the same. They still service the machines but would never recommend anyone to buy them. I found these opinions fascinating because I made the purchase based on a Consumer Report recommendation of the product. So, having a hard time believing this, I finally contacted your company on 2/5/07.
The first person I spoke to, was of course sympathetic to my plight but told me since the warranty was up there was nothing she could do. I then asked to speak with a supervisor on the issue.
I asked the supervisor (Alison #8454) if she could extend the warranty and pay for the repair, if I absorbed the cost of shipping the vacuum to an authorized service person (it is a very heavy vacuum and is likely to cost upwards of $30 to ship). She said she couldn’t make that offer without knowing what was wrong with it. She apparently didn’t trust the report from the other vacuum repair shop that the motor was dead. Ironically though, she was willing to offer me an extended warranty plan that would take effect after this repair had been taken care of. When I told her that didn’t make sense, she simply stated that is all she could offer.
I then carefully spelled out the financial loss on my part of her plan. If I understand correct, I would have had to pay S&H to get the vacuum to an authorized service person. If they told me it needed a new motor (and in all likelihood they will), then it would still cost approximately $200 to fix. At that time, I am to call the company and see if they might cover it. If not, and it didn’t sound likely by the supervisors tone, then I would also have to pay S&H and a service charge to have the vacuum looked at and mailed back to me - that is if I chose not to fix it. If I choose to have it repaired then I would be putting in approximately $230 into a machine that one year and 4 months ago cost $240.00.
Now I have to ask myself, what kind of company allows this to be the process after one year’s worth of light use on their machine. The answer seems that it is a company that doesn’t care about its consumer or it’s name or reputation.
I find it horrifying that that state of being a consumer is to be at the mercy of warranty plans because companies no longer want to make good products. If the product is worthy, a warranty plan shouldn’t be necessary within the first several years of use.
So with this said, a copy of this will go to Consumer Reports. I think they should be aware that their Quick Pick Recommendation might be costing consumers a lot more money in the long run. I am also submitting the contents of this letter to My3cents.com and review sites such as Amazon.com and Nexttag.com to warn others on this product and the company service.