Dyson Provides Service In A Vacuum
Originally Published April 11, 2012:
I was thinking about titling this story: Dyson Sucks. But since Dyson is best known for its vacuum cleaners, that may have been interpreted as being a compliment. While I’ve been a fan of Dyson products and its customer service in the past, I’m starting to change my mind. Before I post my most recent experience with Dyson Customer Service, allow me to first tell you why I’ve purchased multiple Dyson vacuum cleaners in the past.
I share my house with two Dogs, one of which has long hair and both of which seem to constantly shed due to the South Florida climate. My house is vacuumed at least every other day and it seems that with the exception with a Kirby I once owned, the Dyson seems to do the best job at picking up Dog hair. I used the Kirby as a possible exception, but that sucker was heavy and it required the near constant changing of bags and (at the time of ownership) those bags could only be purchased directly from Kirby. The Dyson, by comparison, uses a convenient, no-bag-needed canister system that empties the contents with a press of a button.
I’ve owned a few Dyson models over the years and all but one was purchased as a refurbished product from Woot!. I have no hesitancy about buying certain refurbished products as they are often noticeably less expensive than the same model in new condition. As long as the manufacturer offers a warranty, I’m all for saving a few bucks when possible. Since Dyson’s vacuum cleaners are modular, when a model is returned for refurbishment and resale, one would expect that the non-working part would simply be replaced with a working one and then properly tested…right?
My most recent Dyson experience was with the Dyson DC35 battery-operated handheld vacuum cleaner. While I was not planning on vacuuming my entire house with this rechargeable model, its lightweight and portable design seemed ideal for vacuuming Dog hair on carpeted stairs and hard to reach places. (If I can ever get the DC35 to operate, I’ll let you know if this product is up to this task.)
Allow me to state that my past experiences with Dyson have been pleasant. In every case, the phone is answered quickly with the minimum of push button prompts. In one previous incident, the operator-guided diagnostic was performed quickly and the replacement part was shipped and received within a week. During another call with a different model, I was instructed on how to attempt to repair it and when that didn’t work, I was given the information on where to take it for a local, free repair. (I’ll let you know how that goes after I drop it off and receive it back).
In the case of the Dyson DC35, I’m a bit frustrated. That’s because out of the box this vacuum cleaner did not operate as promised. In fact, if it had been tested prior to shipment surely the manufacturer would have seen that it wasn’t working properly.
Per the instructions, I charged it up overnight and the next day, when I went to press the trigger, nothing happened. If I pressed the trigger ten times, it may have started once. So, I called Dyson Customer Service and the problem was identified and I was told the replacement part would be sent out asap and I should receive it within seven to ten days. While I was told that the mechanism housing the “trigger” would be replaced, imagine my surprise when more than a week later a Dyson box arrived containing only a replacement battery. Huh?
The original battery seemed to accept a charge fine and the charging indicator was functioning exactly as the instruction book stated. Why did they send me another battery? Figuring that Dyson knew more about its product than I do, I charged the unit overnight and the next morning when I squeezed the trigger only to see it was reacting the same way.
Yup, still broken.
Now, with all that preamble, here’s my problem with Dyson:
During the initial Customer Service call, I was told that the replacment part was being shipped asap. When I followed up today, approximately ten days later and spoke to an Operator, I explained that I was miffed on why I received a battery and not the switch housing. I was then told that the necessary part was on backorder and was tentatively scheduled to be ready for shipment the following day.
Wait a minute. What does tentatively scheduled mean?
That’s when the back and forth started that reminded me of the Abbot and Costello “Who’s On First” comedy routine. No matter how I asked the question or no matter how I requested to learn if the part was actually in stock, the question was evaded. When I asked why I wasn’t told this during the first call and then was told that the part was in stock then.
What? If it was in stock, why wasn’t it shipped? So, they waited until it wasn’t in stock anymore to fulfill my order only to have it partially ship? In this day and age of computerized inventory, there’s no excuse for anyone not being able to tell you if a specific product is in stock and when it should ship. These days you can go online and track an envelope that’s being shipped via FedEx and pretty much know exactly where it is at any given moment. In this 21 Century, you can see if a product is in stock one of Amazon’s warehouses, place an order in the afternoon and have it show up on my doorstep the next day. But for whatever reason, the Customer Service folks at Dyson can’t tell accurately tell you if a specific product is in stock and if not, when it will arrive and when it will ship?
Of course I asked why I wasn’t notified via email that at least a part of the order was shipping and I was told that I did receive an email update. However, although Dyson requires a caller to give a name, address, phone number, serial number and an email address just to inquire about service, for some odd reason, its computer system lost my email address.
For some reason, I’m not surprised.
Yes, I’m being picky…but that’s my job. The issue here is that when its vacuum cleaners work, Dyson makes a good product. But for some reason, the past few Dyson vacuums I’ve owned have at some point required a call to Customer Service.
Simply stated, without good service Dyson seem to working in a vacuum.
UPDATE: April 20, 2012
The part still hasn’t arrived nor have I received any email status reports, so I called Dyson Customer Service to get an update.
Guess what? The part did not ship on April 12th as “tentatively scheduled” and now I’m told it will be shipped tomorrow and that I’ll have it next week.
So far, Dyson is failing in terms of adequate customer service.