21 September 2009

The Vacuum Dealer

About eight years ago, I bought a vacuum. A nice one. From a VacuumBrand dealer here in town. Before I bought my current vacuum, I was going through vacuums about every year and a half. The service on an old Wal-Mart type vacuum really is prohibitive. Cheaper to buy a new one when one of the low-end models acts up because vacuum places charge labour by the hour.

The bad thing about having a nice vacuum is that you have to go to the dealer to get service and parts. Even the bags aren't available anywhere else. Which means you can do your business with the local dealership or travel to another, usually a good way away. That's it. It makes the "pick up a vacuum bag next time you're at Wal-Mart" mentality impossible with your vacuum. I think offhand, each paper bag runs just under $4. D once said that what we should do is just pull all of the dirt out of the old bag and re-use it. Yeah, that would work. But I guess I didn't realize all that before I bought the vacuum. Still, it's a nice vacuum and to say that it lasted eight years is really saying something. And you know? I don't think I've had to change the belts on that thing once. Rollers work well. I'm pretty happy with it overall, but not sure I'd want to buy one with a rolling canister again.

The VacuumBrand dealer in town is in a tiny little place. They sell sewing machines and "clean air" machines there, too. (The air smells bad in this place, but probably because they're servicing everyone's old vacuum and opening them up there. But I wouldn't be inspired to buy a machine in a place that smells like "old vacuum.") As you might imagine, I buy a lot of bags because I never have taken D's suggestion. Maybe it's a convenience issue or something. Or maybe I just don't want to know what's really on my floor when I pull all the gunk out. Or maybe I do this because Patrick has a severe dust mite allergy, to the point where he takes medication, gets shots, and has special covers on his bed.

Lately the detachable head of my vacuum cracked where it snaps into place on the pole. I brought it in and was told that it would be a $35 charge. Well, I suppose since you tell me a new head would be $350, go ahead and do it. It would be worth it, because no way I'm paying $350 for an eight-year-old vacuum. It will be ready tomorrow afternoon? Great.

Two days later, I'm in the shop. Oh... they didn't have the part, so they had to order it. And then it took another week to be finished after that. Can you imagine what my house looked like after two weeks without vacuuming? On second thought, don't you think about it. We have an older house and literally two hours after dusting and vacuuming, you can see a thin layer. But I feel better after the dusting and vacuuming because it's no longer fluffy grey fur and dust season in the house.

When I came by to get the vacuum head, I was charged $49 instead. Well, I let things like that go. Maybe it just took longer than he figured to attach the part, or whatever. But I get annoyed. Things like that seem to happen to me all the time. Maybe I just am not clear on the idea that he THINKS it will cost $35, but winds up costing me $49. I keep figuring, "I can get this done for you for $35," means that my bill will be $35, or a little more with tax.

I have been dissatisfied with my interactions at this VacuumBrand place for a while. It isn't just that one time unexpected price hike. I've also ordered things and been told yes, they'll be here in two weeks... only to find out two weeks later that that kind of bag is no longer available. But we have cloth ones people LOVE! You want those! (Um, yeah, at $7,000 a bag, you're guaranteed satisfaction. I'm slightly exaggerating the actual cost... but... no one wants to admit they're a sucker, so they'll rave about what great bags they have. I wanted the paper ones!) I ordered the last of their paper stock and a few cloth bags. But I would have preferred the cheaper paper at the rate I go through 'em.

Anyway... when I brought the vacuum head home after "repair," it didn't work! The vacuum head kept popping off of the stupid pole! I took it in and asked them to fix it again. He hemmed and hawed about it, and how look... he fixed it. It just doesn't fit on the pole anymore. Well, you leave it and I'll try to get it done tomorrow.

I notice no price is quoted, and tell him I realllly don't want to spend MORE than another $60 on this problem again. I've already spent nearly $50! So I get the line about labour, don't know what you're getting into until you get into it blah blah blah. But I thought it was fixed before! And I paid to have it fixed!

Well what was I going to do? I went home and cried. D told me it was stupid; I should not have let them do that to me. You paid for the vacuum to get fixed and they'd better fix it! And why are you going to spend some unlimited amount of money on a problem that should have been fixed in the first place??

Well, I hate being mean. I hate being not nice to people. But D is right. I called, told him I was unhappy the more I thought about it. Told him I thought the problem was fixed, and I was charged to fix the problem.

He gave me some sad story about training "the new guy" and orders from VacuumBrand ... blah blah.

I told him I wanted the vacuum fixed.

Well, we'll try and blah blah...

No. I mean fixed. And for free. It should have been tested the first time. It should have been fixed the first time.

(New guy story again. I've had it...)

OK, so, you can either fix it for me for *free,* or I will take my stuff back, go to another Riccar dealer and call corporate on you.

*zing* I must have misunderstood. He wasn't going to charge me. He'd hate to lose one of his best customers etc. etc. and I'll call you when your vacuum head is done. I hung up knowing that I had been lied to at the beginning of the conversation and wondering if I had been lied to at the end.

to be continued...


  1. Your vacum story is a bit like my sewing machine story... neverending, and reducing us to tears! I actually WANT to throw my sewing machine on the concrete now! *sigh*.... I hope your vacum is all better soon, and for free.

  2. I just hate it when things like that happen. I feel the same as you do. The problem is--people like that count on people like us to be "nice." We owe it to ourselves and others to hold them accountable. I am so proud that you did that! Go Mrs. C! Too funny that both of your comments are from NZ. You're like our hero down here!!! Feel better!

  3. I had to laugh at the old vaccum smell lol. But I am very proud of how you got on top of that guy. I also hate being mean! But you did very good with it. Now lets see how it goes...


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