Monday, June 30, 2008

Do NOT buy a Kirby Vacuum.

I just got off the phone with Kirby. I’ve had a Kirby vacuum since a month before my wedding, so about 5 1/2 years. Never a problem. Loved it, etc. Then, today, out of nowhere, while vacuuming, the heavy plastic handle busted off my vacuum! I called their customer service line, and was informed that manufacturer’s defects are covered for three years. I am beyond that, obviously. That’s fine, although it does leave me wondering exactly what is still covered, if anything. They transferred me to service and parts. After I was informed that the woman on the other end of the line has no idea how or why my handle broke, I was told it would be $20.25 to get the new part. That’s all well and good.
My mother says in the background “I told you to buy a Dyson!” Debbie from Kirby chuckles.
She proceeds to ask for my address, etc.
My mother says ”I’ve never had a problem with my Dyson…”
Debbie says “You can tell your mother that I’ve never had a problem with my Kirby, either, and I’ve had it for 14 years!” (complete with NSBR worthy snark. I wonder if she’s “one of us”?)
That was rude, and inappropriate, I thought. I was willing to let it go, in order to get my vacuum fixed. Then, it’s time for my credit card information. Suddenly, the total has changed to $27 and change. I wasn’t quoted shipping and tax originally. I got Debbie’s direct line (so I thought), and hung up with her to call my local vacuum repairman.

After a little research, he found what he needed, and it turns out my repair will cost $22, parts and labor. I’m a bit confused as to why it’s less expensive for me to have it repaired locally, by an independent dealer than it is to order the part direct from the factory and repair it myself?

Frankly, I’m a stubborn woman, and after Debbie gave me an attitude, it wouldn’t have mattered what my local guy was charging, he still would have gotten my money.

I then attempted to call Debbie back, and give her a chance to make it right, so to speak. I wanted to let her know that I didn’t appreciate her tone or attitude, and let her fix it. Alas, Debbie didn’t give me her direct line, and I had to be transferred. I waited on hold, and then was given Debbie’s voicemail. I left her a message, then sent Kirby an email, voicing my opinion.
In that email, I stated that I’d be telling the people I knew NOT to buy a Kirby, due to their poor customer service. So, here I am. Telling you. Don’t buy a Kirby.

Here's the email I sent to Kirby:

To whom it may concern:

I purchased a Kirby Ultimate G in Oct. 2002. Today, the handle broke off the vacuum. There was NO unusual wear and tear, as I am very gentle and careful with my belongings; especially those that I've paid over $1000 for.
When I called your customer service line, I was told that manufacturer's defects are not covered under warranty after three years. Upon purchase, I was told that this vacuum would be a lifetime purchase. I am curious, therefore, to know why after only 5 1/2 years, am I forced to pay to replace the handle (something I consider an integral part of my vacuum)? Exactly what is covered under warranty, if not defects? Do you not stand behind the product line you sell?

Then, I was transferred to the service department. Fine. I have to pay for a new handle. The woman I spoke with was less than chipper with hearing my mother in the background, extolling the virtues of her Dyson over my Kirby. I spoke with Debbie, by the way. She quoted me $20.25, then when it was time to give her my credit card number, the amount was suddenly $27+. I wasn't quoted for shipping originally. So, I got Debbie's phone number, and hung up, to call my local vacuum repair store. He was able to get me my handle for $22, installation included. I must admit, I am very curious as to how an independent retailer is able to give me a better price AND better service than the people who sold me the very item I am looking to have serviced???

I wish to tell you that I am very disappointed and dissatisfied with the "customer service" I received today when calling you. I called Debbie back, by the way. I wanted to let her know that I was dissatisfied, and give your company a chance to rectify the situation before I made my final judgment. Alas, Debbie does not answer her phone. Perhaps you should take a few of my thousand dollars, and properly train the people you have on the front lines, answering calls, and representing you.

I will be telling everyone I know how dissatisfied, and upset I am with your company. My husband's parents were very intrigued by my Kirby, and I had nothing but praises to sing of you. They were about to purchase one. They, like me, highly value customer service. I will be calling them today to tell them about my experiences, and rest assured. You needn't worry about their money. Dyson knows what to do with it, I'm sure.

My mother wanted me to buy a Dyson, not a Kirby... I guess Mother does indeed know best.

~(my name here)


Perenelle "Lucy" Cauldwell said...

I hate when customer service is nasty like that... It really makes me crazy!

CentyB said...

I've heard about Kirby - good things. Sorry to hear of your problem and the bad / lack of customer service.

Anonymous said...

I agree to not buyinng a kirby vacum. DONT BUY ONE! I just got one, and boy was it a mistake. I didn't recieve my vacum till a week later, and my shampoo vacum till two weeks later. The salesperson who sold me this piece of crap said she would make my first payment, she still hasn't. So I just got scamed. To top that my shampoo vacum is now not working. I have also been unable to contact the kirby company for help or any assistance on this manner. They are so hard to get ahold of and never return your calls. Have any ideas.
Manor, Tx