Good customer service

15 11 2012

After our last toaster nearly blew up the house (!), I bought a Sunbeam 4-slice toaster (‘Toastum’ model 6410) about 14 months ago from Harvey Normans for about $70 (not the cheapest toaster, but not the most expensive either). Sunbeam has always been a reputable brand, in my eyes, but these days everything seems to be made in China or somewhere where labour is cheap so I’m not sure that brand reputation means all that much anymore.

I’ve only used the toaster maybe once a week, and my husband doesn’t use it at all — I’m the only one who’s ever used it. So perhaps it has toasted bread/naan bread maybe 50 or so times. I learnt early on that it had to be plugged into the power and the power turned on before the handle would go down and engage. Even then, sometimes the handle is tricky and I have to press it down hard a couple of times to get it to stay down (see someone else’s rant about this toaster’s handle here: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/melb.general/LZMyj8pdXq4 and other reviews here: http://www.productreview.com.au/p/sunbeam-toastum-ta6210-ta6410.html).

Well, after about 50 uses, the handle snapped off the other day! That is, the plastic handle piece that goes over the metal lever. This handle piece is ‘painted’ the same as the stainless steel of the toaster, so I had assumed it was also metal, but no — it’s plastic! And it snapped right off. I now have a useless toaster.

I checked the warranty, and guess what? It’s only for 12 months, and this happened about 14 months after purchase. I figured I’d at least call the Sunbeam support line to see what I could do, and whether taking it back to Harvey Normans would be an option. Well, I got such a surprise!

I told the support guy what model toaster and that the handle had snapped off. And he immediately said he’d send me out a replacement and asked me for my postal address! No questions about how it happened, no discussion of the toaster being out of warranty, nothing.

So either this is a known issue for Sunbeam or else they are aware that social media and internet reviews can really damage their reputation. Whatever. I just know that I was impressed with the helpful and ‘no questions asked’ response I got from their customer support person. Well done, Sunbeam!

Would I buy another Sunbeam toaster? Maybe. And that decision would mostly be based on this interaction I just had with them as I think the toaster I have is average at best.

It’s always difficult with an appliance like this as you can’t test it out first. Toasters range from cheap $10 jobs to $250 or more, so you really don’t know whether you’ll like it until you get it home and actually use it. Reputation becomes quite important — we purchased a Fisher and Paykel washing machine purely based on the reputation and experience we’d had with all our other F&P appliances, including our previous 20-year-old washing machine. But I don’t think F&P make toasters 😉


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One response

15 11 2012
treadlemusic

Interesting, positive, outcome!!! Let’s see, ummmm,……note previous post!!!

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