03 February 2009

Philips Customer Care Apparently Doesn't

I have a Senseo Coffee Machine, made by Philips. It is a great coffee maker - a perfect cup every time, complete with a crema-like foam on top. Although it uses coffee pods, they're easy to make with my choice of coffee (currently, I'm drinking Second Cup's Sumatra Mandheling for everyday). It also has a plastic lever that engages and releases the locking mechanism.

Occasionally, a vacuum forms (particularly if the grind is too fine or it's tamped down too enthusiastically), and the lever is difficult to lift. The instructions say that it might take some force to release. Unfortunately, a week ago that force ended up breaking off one of the axle connectors on the plastic lever.

I downloaded the service manual and disassembled the head assembly in five minutes. The lever part number was in the service manual, together with a Philips Customer Care phone number. I called. After I explained that I wanted to find out how to source the spare part the polite attendant put me on hold while he went to find that information. He came back and told me that he did a Google search and could not find how the replacement plastic lever could be obtained. A Google search! The same one that I did (he found the service manual). He advised me to take the machine to an independent appliance repair place (typical minimum disassembly charge: between $75 and $100). "From where," I asked, " would they get their spare parts?" He didn't know.

I then went online to Philips Customer Care website, filled in the web form with all the details, including the part number, and the fact that I had already disassembled and diagnosed the problem. Their response? "Contact our Customer Care phone line." I wrote back, once again relating the complete story, including the fact that I had already gone through the Customer Care call centre to no avail. Response two: Our Customer Care Manager will investigate and contact you within 2 to 3 business days.

It is now 5 business days later, and no word from Philips. I ask you, how difficult is it to call the Service Depot and arrange for what must be a $2 part to be sent out to a customer? Philips might make some great products (like the Senseo), but their Customer Care is minimal and frustrating in my experience.

Epilogue: I do recommend Loctite Super Glue All Plastics for hard plastic repair. I've never had good luck in the past bonding hard plastic that had to take a lot of pressure, torque, or heat. The broken part of the coffee maker lever has to take all three. I used the Loctite product, let it sit for a day, reassembled the Senseo, and had great coffee this morning.

Yay for Loctite! Boo for Philips!

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