I Just Think Things Should Work Properly too, Mr. Dyson. UPDATED 7/7/09
I don’t own a lot of stuff that’s considered top of the line. Hardly anything in fact. But I do have the “Rolls Royce” of vacuum cleaners – The Dyson DC14 Complete (well, it was top of the line when we bought it, costing over $500). And it sucks. Boy, does it suck.
When my wife and I first got married, we couldn’t afford the holy Dyson. We wanted one. We lusted after one. But instead, we bought a Kenmore from Sears and it did us proud for five years. It needed a clean now and then, but it was quiet and ran well.
Then, in 2006, we decided to bite the bullet and use what little savings we had to buy the vacuum cleaner we would keep forever. The vacuum cleaner that never loses suction. The vacuum cleaner that all sorts of people were swooning over.
We ordered our DC-14 Complete and I picked it up a few days later. It sure looked pretty. And it cleaned the floor like nothing we’d ever had before. In fact, we cleaned an area with our old vacuum, then went over the same area with the Dyson. We picked up dirt that the old vacuum simply couldn’t lift. Terrific! We sold the Kenmore for about $50 (it had originally cost about $250) and put our beloved Dyson in pride of place on the top floor.
Then, after about 18 months, problems began. Very occasionally, it would make a noise that sounded like a lawn mower having a panic attack. It was horrendous. The kind of noise that makes you think the whole thing is falling apart. We would turn it off, turn it on again and it would go away.
But after another few months, the noise became more than an occasional event. And after just over two short years of owning a Dyson, a $539 marvel, it had gone from something we loved to something we loathed.
We called Dyson and the customer service department was far less appealing than the eloquent Mr. James Dyson in his ads. I was on hold for a while, then a quite abrupt CSR took me through a “home fix.” It didn’t work for long. When I called back, just a few weeks later, I was taken through the same fix. It didn’t work at all.
That’s when I asked about my five-year warranty, the one that comes big and bold on all the packaging and the adverts. I was told that my warranty had already ran out. “After two years?” I said, shocked. “Yes” I was flatly told. “Two years.” I was given the name of a local authorized repair shop, but I would have to cover the fix myself.
Now, I did some digging. As it turns out, the earlier Dyson machines didn’t come with the now famous five-year warranty. It looks like it was introduced because the machines that Mr. Dyson just wants to work properly, don’t actually work properly. A lot of them have faults ( I looked through over 100 complaints before writing this article) and that was just the tip of the iceberg. So, perhaps the five-year warranty was introduced to overcome some of the complaints being registered on the web?
I wrote to Dyson to see if I could get some kind of help with my own Dyson vacuum, a machine we can now only use when our little girls are outside because the noise scares them so much. I was hoping that I could get some kind of good will resolution, after all, I paid top money for a vacuum that lasted less than two years before developing a fault…you’d expect better than that from a $150 vacuum from WalMart.
I received a short reply from Dee Carter, another helpline representative, who told me:
“Thank you for contacting us! I apologize for any inconvenience this issue has caused you. According to our records the vacuum was purchased in 2005 and at that time the vacuum came with a limited 2 year warranty. We will be more than happy to refer you to a local Dyson authorized repair center to have the vacuum inspected and repaired. Unfortunately the repair will be an out of pocket expense. Again I apologize for the inconvenience.”
I'm not sure where Dee got her information from, but I still have my receipt from March of 2006, so Dyson's records are wrong. But that's of little consequence, because the two year warranty has expired anyway. Ironically, if I'd bought the same vacuum a few months later, this wouldn't be an issue.
So, I’m on my own. And I’m left with three options:
1: Pay a lot of money to have my Dyson repaired
2: Sell my Dyson and buy a new one
3: Sell my Dyson and buy a Hoover bagless model
4: Do nothing and vacuum wearing earplugs.
Right now, I’m looking at option three. I worked hard to pay for a vacuum of this quality, and it turned out to be a façade. And I write this to warn you all of the Dyson vacuum cleaner and the possible consequences of buying one. Yes, you’ll get a five-year warranty. But it may suffer from many problems in those five years. And when they’re up, you’re looking at stiff repair bills.
If only things really did work properly. It’s nice in theory, right Mr. Dyson?
Well, after I posted this story I was contacted by a Dyson customer service representative. From the sounds of it, she was the head of customer service relations. Anyway, after a few minutes of empathizing with my situation, AND telling me that I was just a few months short of buying a vacuum with a 5-yr warranty, I was told that there was nothing she could do. Actually, let me rephrase that...there was nothing she was allowed to do. She could, in fact, have easily picked up the bill for the repair of this broken machine, but it is against Dyson's policy to treat any customer any differently. Although, I suspect if I were someone famous or rich, that would work a little differently. I did wonder why she had contacted me to tell me something I already knew; they weren't going to help. She said she'd get back to me. That was a few weeks ago. So, I bit the bullet and forked over the money to have the machine repaired. While my machine was in the shop we borrowed a Miele, and yep, my wife fell in love with it instantly. So, I guess the Dyson will be going away soon, never to return. What an awful situation that Dyson could have so easily put right.