Friday, December 11, 2009

Merry Christmas from Black and Decker

I just received an email from Black and Decker, offering me a special deal for their loyal customers.

Let me tell you about my experience with Black and Decker.

In the spirit of trying to reuse and recycle, I wanted to figure out a way to fix my toaster oven.  The toaster button would not stay pressed - sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't.  I didn't want to just throw it away since the oven part was fine and I figured the button just needed to be replaced or something like that.

I searched the Black and Decker website for repair information and found a customer service email.  An email was sent to them, explaining the problem and asking if there was an authorized repair place in my area.  The response was "Black and Decker has no authorized service centers".  Period.  No other advice.  So I reply, saying, you're telling me I can't get this repaired and my only alternative is to throw it away?  The response from B&D was "you can take it to your preferred service repair center but we can not recommend one".  Okay.  My response was to tell them that they were not helpful and that I thought B&D made crappy products that broke down after not much use and forced customers to buy new products.  The response from B&D was "we are sorry you are not happy with our response and we will send your comments on to our supervisor"

I did end up calling my favorite service center, Waters Appliance Service Inc, in Gaithersburg, MD.  As soon as I said Black and Decker, the very nice man on the phone said "oh no.  Not Black and Decker" and he proceeded to tell me the story of how the company sold their small appliance division to another company and the service and quality had gone downhill and that they no longer repaired B&D products.

This happened over the summer and was the last I heard from Black and Decker until my holiday email.

I also had a Black and Decker weed wacker that stopped working this summer.  For tools, I was able to get a phone number for customer service.  I explained the problem to the rep and was told it sounded like I needed a new battery pack.  Ok, where can I get one?  I was given the name of a service center in MD and gave them a call.  After explaining the problem and giving them the model and brand the response was "oh that model was discontinued."  The original B&D customer service rep couldn't have told me that from the start?!!

One last story about small appliances.  I had an American Harvest dehyrdrator.  It stopped working this summer. I called customer service who told me that I could pay to have the machine shipped to them but they couldn't tell me whether or not they could fix it and I would be better off buying a new one.

Am I the only one who wants her appliances/tools to be fixable?


  1. Planned obsolescence. If you can get items fixed then these big corporations wouldn't have anything to sell you, now would they? Capitalist conspiracy. Kari

  2. So frustrating! I did have something break down on a Sony camera I bought recently - of course I didn't send in that little warranty card, and had to dig out the receipt, but they did a great job and fixed it quickly. Thanks for the warning about Black & Decker - will avoid!!

  3. I had a dehydrator (Mr. Coffee) that broke after too short a period - you could tell the fan had just come loose and that it just needed to be screwed back in place - but the case had these funky screws that only that no screwdriver could unscrew. That thing sat in my closet for years before I finally cried Uncle and trashed it.

    I feel your pain.:)