As promised this is another wrant on corporate USA and some steps taken to alleviate the “We don’t care” attitude that many companies seem to take these days. So, sit back, read on, and pick up a few more tidbits on what you may do if you find yourself in a similar battle with a Goliath.
I’ve been in my present house for six years. The exterior of the house is stained, not painted. The past owner left some of the stain they had used, which was good as I then knew what brand and color to buy for my future needs. The stain used was a “wood-toned” stain, not transparent, not semi-transparent, but wood toned. And yes, this does make a difference. This particular brand is sold through the local mega-fixer-upper store, you know the one, located in virtually every hamlet in North America.
I have used this stain on my decks for the past six years, mainly becasue the color has been consistent, definetly not due to longevity in wear and tear. But it has made my staining jobs simpler, which I’m all for. Note that this stain is a factory color and doesn’t require the store to formulate and make for you, which is good for consistency in appearance.
This year I went to my local mega-fixer-upper store to buy the four gallons of stain I would need. The store had only three. I asked the paint mixologist if they had more, I was told “Uh, geez, I don’t know, but I can mix some for you”. I told myself ” Uh, Geez, I don’t know”………. but was assured by the mixologist that they could do it. Mistake #1.
So I trod home with my four gallons of wood-toned stain. Generally I mix all cans into a bucket to ensure any slight deviations in color will be blended together. I open cans one through three, pour into bucket, no problem. I open can four; Mistake #2.
I go back to the mega-fixer-upper store to return can #4, to which I am told that because it was a special mix they can’t take it back. I explained that their color mixologist assured me the stain would be the same as the factory mix, which it clearly was not, and that as the mixologist offered to make the stain, I believed they should refund my $36 for the gallon. (And you thought gasoline was expensive……..ha!)
My pleas went unheard, I left wanting to spill that gallon all over their parking lot, but my senses got the better of me so me and my new gallon friend went home. You must understand that now I was in the dilemma of trying to figure out what to do for the staining projects. I used the ‘good’ three gallons to finish off all but my largest deck. I knew that semi-transparent or transparent stains would not help as the wood-toned one I had used for years would show through. So now what?
Discussing this with my wife we came to the decision to finish off the final deck with a solid colored stain. This decision made me go back to mega-fixer-upper and buy three gallons of solid colored stain. So I had to spend more money due to, what I later found out, was the stain manufacturer’s decision to no longer offer the wood-toned stain, which they produced for at least twelve years to my knowledge.
Since the mega-fixer-upper store wouldn’t budge with customer service it was decided that the manufacturer be contacted. So that ‘chore’ began.
Using e-mail it was explained that the wood-toned stain which was used at my residence since it was built was no longer available. It was noted that the manufacturer’s sole purveyor of said stain offered to, what they referred to as “duplicate” it, that the duplication was hardly that, and because corporate whimsy decided to eliminate the original wood-toned color that I had to buy almost twice as much stain as originally needed.
Their customer service person was courteous but didn’t fully grasp what was explained in the e-mails. Somehow the wood-toned stain became transparent. The solid color that was mentioned seemed to disappear in their correspondence. A refund was offered for the semi-transparent stain (Huh?) and basically it was a real merry-go-round of e-mails.
After the fourth go around, and missing that brass ring each time, I couldn’t take it anymore, stopped, caught my breath, and wrote my final e-mail to the manufacturer. I was kind in my wording, and typed slowly so it could be better understood by the reader.
I went through the entire situation, again, and explained that I would have to rethink using, if ever again, one of their products. I went on to explain that for years and years I had used the same product, that their discontinuance of the wood-toned stain had cost me more than I had budgeted for, and to let them know of future problems I will face since my free-standing garage was stained with a stain they no longer even have a product close to in color. (And if you think stripping stain on a two car garage is something I will do, no way! and using paint would be a sin on the wood siding!) I additionally indicated that, in my humble way of thinking, that it may have been a good idea that they inform their sole seller when a product will no longer be made, and to remove said product from the shelves so others will not run into the same situation as I.
Finally they heard my plight and although they could not make the stain any longer they did refund my purchase price of the additional stain I had to purchase. So a rave goes to them for that.
All in all – if you have a problem with a company, their product, their personnel, quality, etc., do yourself a favor and begin the process of contacting them, stating your issues or concerns, and seeing what will they do to assist in resolving those issues or concerns. In this case I was refunded a good amount of money that I didn’t plan to spend in the first place.
If you don’t think it’s worth the time to contact a company regarding an issue then send your extra money to me. Companies will gladly keep your money because many will not hear from you when you have a legitimate concern, so they are very happy if they never, ever hear from you.. I don’t know about you but I worked long and hard for my money. Don’t throw yours away. Stand up for what you believe should be the right of a consumer.
In this blog I noted that the seller, mega-fixer-upper, couldn’t give a hoot…..guess what, they will no longer be getting any of my greenbacks, and shame on them. I will gladly driver farther to a better place of business. Yet, that didn’t stop me. With my wife’s help of researching, and initially contacting the actual manufacturer, and my follow up, we were able to recoup some of our money. My point is – if one states “No!”, then work your way through the chain of businesses associated with the product, one may eventually say “Yes!”
My next wrant – Going Once, Going Twice, — Bend Over