Lowe's Complaint - Excessive failure of plastic clips on holiday rope lights
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN, MICHIGAN -- Last year I found what I thought was a great holiday accent for my home that I had not seen before. Well, I liked it so much that I bought 19 sets of rope lights. The installation process consists of mounting plastic clips/hangers along the edge of the roof line with a screw and then securing the rope light on the clip. What is great about this product is that it has been designed so you can run several sections of rope light together in a series and only have to plug in one power cord. The initial installation process takes a little time because of the prep work involved (predrilling the screw holes and than screwing the clips to the house). I figured that once the clips have been mounted they could be left up year round and you would only have to remove the rope lights after the holidays. The clips are made of a clear plastic and don't stand out in a bad way the rest of the year.
The initial problem I had with this product came when during the installation of the rope onto the clips (you must press fit the rope onto the clip) some of the clips broke. I spaced the clips about 18" apart so I had a few spares was able to finish the job without any more problems.
The next problem I had was after the holidays as I was removing the rope I started to experience more clip breakage. Again, I still had a few spare clips to replace the broken ones.
The major problem I have this holiday season (the second for the rope lights) is that what I expected to be a fast installation has turned into anything but fast. I found a 75% failure (Breakage) rate after trying to mount the rope light on the first 8 clips. I stopped the installation and called the 800 phone number and was told that they don't have replacement clips. They only had fuses. They told me to go back to Lowe's which I did.
The guy at customer service was no help (he told me to call the 800 number) and that the warranty had expired (there is no stated warranty on the box or on the instructions). Not getting anywhere with this guy, he suggested I talk to the floor manager which I did. He understood my problem, but was reluctant to offer a solution other than to call Lowe's home office to find out who the manufacturer was and contact them directly. I mentioned to him that the instructions on the box did not indicate that I could not leave the clips up year round and I thought that maybe being exposed to a years worth of sunlight may have degraded to plastic clips.
He agreed that may very well be the problem with the clips. I than told him that if that was indeed the the problem, that that was a design defect and Lowe's should agree to replace the defective product. The floor manager seeing that I had a valid point, reluctantly agreed to let me take a package of clips from a current box of rope lights that they are selling again this holiday season. I told him that I thought that was the right thing to do and then told him that by my calculations based on my 75% failure rate, that I would need 240 clips. Well, he said that he could not do that, it would ruin to many sets that he was trying to sell. I understand the problem that he had and he understood the problem that I had.
The end result is, a unhappy customer and a unhappy floor manager who wanted to help but could only do so much. I am exploring replacing the broken clips with brass 'coffee cup' hooks which I think will last more than one holiday season.
I want to let all potential snowflake rope light purchasers too buy with caution because these sets have a design flaw that should have been discovered during the design process.
When I light up the house with these lights, I think they look great, I just wish the clips worked as well.