Sunbeam Electric Kettle problem
and company unresponsiveness

Sunbeam's consumer services division provides no service!  We got a Sunbeam electric kettle as a gift.  It has a water level indicator that is operated by a small float inside the kettle that, obviously, contains a magnet.  The magnet attracts a small red bead inside a transparent tube.  The theory is that when the float rises, the magnet drags the bead up, and observers on the outside of the kettle can see an indication of the water level inside the kettle.  Our float wouldn't.

So, I went to the sunbeam website and submitted a message requesting a replacement float.

Form Message

Form Name: BBQHQ
First Name: Ralph
Last Name: Kenyon
Email Address: diogenes_at_xenodochy_dot_org
address_1: 191 White Oaks Road
address_2:
City: Williamstown
State: Massachusetts
Country: USA
Postal Code: 01267
Telephone: 413-458-3597
Brand: SUNBEAM
Product_Category: Electric Kettle
Model: KJ17CL
Date Code: unknown
Date Purchased: November 2000
Approval: 0
Comment: We received electric kettle model KJ17CL as a gift. The float to indicate the water level does not work. Can you send us a replacement float?
Thanks, Ralph.
B1: Submit

I got an answer back asking me to send the unit in for repair!

To: Ralph Kenyon <diogenes_at_xenodochy_dot_org>
Subject: Re: Form message from http://www.sunbeam.com/ProductSupport/page_3.asp (KMM311284C0KM)

Dear diogenes_at_xenodochy_dot_org,

This is in response to your inquiry regarding the KJ17CL kettle. I will be glad to assist you.

I apologize for any inconvenience you are having with your electric kettle. In order to repair or replace your product, please send it to our factory as indicated below. The estimated turn around time is 3 to 4 weeks.

Servicetek Canada Ltd.
1351 Matheson Blvd. E.
Units 5&6
Mississauga ON L4W 2A1
905-602-5191 905-602-2355

Thank you for your e-mail. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Carla M.
Consumer Services

I thought this was a bit silly, and I responded to that effect.

Hi Carla,

Don't you think it's silly for me to have to go without the kettle for nearly a month and for both of us to have to pay significant shipping expenses (both ways) when you could send me the part and I could install it for a fraction of the cost and without my having to go without the use of the kettle? Let's apply a little wisdom here. Attached is a picture of the float that doesn't.

You send me the float.

I take out the soft retainer, replace the float, and put the retainer back in.

And, if you wish, I can send you the defective float for you to examine.

If you don't have the authority to make this kind of decision, please pass this request on to someone who can.

Sincerely,
Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr.

I had hoped that the wisdom of this suggestion would get me the part, but there appears to be no wisdom at Sunbeam.  Here's the, somewhat condescending, reply:

To: "Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr." <diogenes_at_xenodochy_dot_org>
Subject: Re: Form message from http://www.sunbeam.com/ProductSupport/page_3.asp (KMM313288C0KM)

Dear diogenes_at_xenodochy_dot_org,

This is in response to your inquiry regarding your kettle. I will be glad to assist you.

The float is not a part that myself nor anyone above me can send out to you. I do understand you frustration and I can see that you are more than qualified to repair this unit yourself, but the part is not for sale to consumers.

Thank you for your e-mail. If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Carla M.
Consumer Services

Not satisfied with this, I followed up with:

Carla,

This is a brand new unit received as a gift. Replacement of a non-functioning part UNDER WARRANTY is not a question of selling to the customer. Ask your superiors to explain to me why I should not post this set of transactions on the Internet for all to see as an example of the Sunbeam's customer unresponsiveness.

Well, the response I got was NO response.

Sunbeam is unwise and unresponsive.

Subsequently I contacted their authorized repair unit in Massachusetts.  I had a pleasant conversation with the "repair-man" about the situation.  It turns out that they don't repair any of these units.  The "authorized repair facility" is just a drop-off shipping point.  Defective units are collected and sent back to Sunbeam, and Sunbeam ships out a replacement.  He said they do not even make spare parts for these units.  They simply replace them in toto.  What a waste of energy!

Send comments to: consumeraffairs@consumer.sunbeam.com

This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2009/11/16 at 10:58 and has been accessed 9461 times at 30 hits per month.