Why I Would Not Buy a Broan/Nutone CentralVac

In 2007 I purchased a Broan/Nutone VX550CC central vac to replace my aging CanaVac that never did turn itself on when you plugged in the hose and flipped the switch on it.  The unit was on sale, and the specifications seemed quite good compared to much more expensive models by other manufacturers.  I didn’t install the unit right away because the current CanaVac was working, and I was busy.  Replacing a working vacuum with a working vacuum was a little bit further down my list.  Eventually, the CanaVac bit the dust and I installed the NuTone unit only to discover that it too didn’t turn on automatically using the switch on the hose.  It’s a pain to turn it on and off manually, but I tolerated it for a while until a friend of mine checked out the wiring for me.  He confirmed there was connectivity, so it wasn’t a wiring issue.

That started the whole reason for this post.  I called the 1-800 number in the Nutone warranty booklet and was told the warranty service is performed by Transglobal Service.  I called Transglobal Service at 1-800-360-2742 spoke to Claudia on Feb. 4, 2010.  I told her my story, and asked for a service call.  They indicated they needed the original proof of purchase.  I thought there was no way I could find it.  I even contacted Home Depot to get a timeframe for when I made the purchased on my Home Depot card.  That helped narrow down where to look for it, and eventually I did find it.  I faxed it in to Transglobal on May 4th to the attention of Charmaine (not sure of the spelling).  I got a work order (2128724) and was told I would be called to arrange a service call.

I didn’t hear back from Transglobal, so eventually I got around to calling them on May 4, 2010 and found that they had cancelled the work order because I had not called them back and because they assumed it was no longer under warranty.  I read the warranty info to them and they asked that I fax it in because they have no database that tells them what the warranty period is.  I faxed a copy of the warranty in but that didn’t seem to satisfy them.  Every time I called in, I got challenged that there was no warranty on the unit.  It in fact has a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser home in which it was installed.

On May 7 I called again finally asked to speak to a service manager.  I was getting tired of having to repeat the entire sequence of events to each person I talked to, and they kept reading from a call log that was not being updated.  Apparently my fax was not readable, but no one bothered to call me back to see if I could fax an enlarged version.

On May 28th I called again and spoke to Debra Makaruk about the warranty and they didn’t have my warranty info on their call log.  Debra asked me to email a scan of the warranty page to her.  I did so on the 29th, and on June 1st she arranged to have Diane call me.  Shortly after that call, I emailed Debra this:

” I got a call from Diane, and I must say I wasn’t impressed!  She asked me all the same questions Trans Global asked me in terms of what was the problem with the unit.  When was it purchased, did I have a receipt.  The only thing I hate more than chasing people to get them to do what they should have done in the first place, is repeating the whole story and re-supplying the same facts to someone else when the buck gets passed.”.  That pretty much says it all IMHO.

After completely ignoring the basis for my frustration, Debra asked for my contact information, and home address, which I supplied and asked her to me contacted in two weeks as I was going to be out of town the following week.

On June 13th I received a call from George from Transglobal.  I emailed Debra this account of our conversation:
“George told me he was calling in regards to my service appointment on Monday between 1:30-3:30pm.  I told him I hadn’t scheduled any service appointment, that the last time I had contacted you I had asked to be called on Monday to arrange a service appointment because I was out of town all last week.  Later during the conversation he said the service times are what he determines based on his schedule, but he never asked if it would work for me, he made it sound like that was the time I had arranged.

He again challenged my claim that the product was under any warranty.  He didn’t listen when I told him we had tested the connectivity of the wiring, so we were pretty sure it was a control unit problem.  He said he had no information on the situation other than the unit was dead.  I corrected him, and also told him that I had supplied the warranty information several times, and was tired of repeating myself to every TransGlobal service representative I spoke with.  I told him it wasn’t my fault that you guys don’t record the information I provide in one centrally accessible place, or disseminate it appropriately.  Although he said he had no information on the call, he then tried to tell me he wanted to confirm what the problem was, in pretty much the next sentence.

Needless to say, I was not as polite as I would normally be, even to someone who called me during the supper hour, because he was not straight with me, he did not listen, nor did he explain himself very well. Also, I do not appreciate having to repeat myself, especially when I have brought it to the attention of TransGlobal on numerous occasions.

I just thought I would advise you of this so perhaps you could take some corrective action and provide a more pleasant customer experience in the future.”

That didn’t get any real response from Debra other than saying she needed a “Date Code” from the unit.  I looked all over it and sent back the one thing I thought may have been it on June 21st.  I was determined I wasn’t going to jump whenever TransGlobal decided they needed something else in order to service my unit.

Then one day I was in Home Depot with a buddy and he suggested that I talk to Customer Service there about my experience.  The person I needed to talk with wasn’t available at the moment, so after waiting a while I left a message and went home.  Fareed called me later that day, and that is when things started moving again.  On July 5th Fareed called my cell and informed me that Marilyn or someone whose name starts with M will be calling me at 1pm to arrange a service call and that Home Depot will cover up to $100 for the service call but I have to put it on my credit card initially.  Transglobal didn’t call.

On July 7th I called Home Depot to let Fareed know that Transglobal dropped the ball again.  I spoke to Wendy and then to Peter, who said he would talk to Fareed on Thursday and they will address this together with TransGlobal or take it to Mark their store manager.

TG contacted me and arranged a service call for July 20th.  They told me there would be a $82.95 + GST trip charge when they called to confirm the service call the day before.  The service representative arrived, was very courteous, and checked out the vacuum.  He looked all over the unit for the “Date Code” but could not locate it.  He concluded that the unit had a defective controller board and he needed to get parts.  He said that would be about a week.  I asked him how long it might be before he got back to install it, because TG had told me he was only in town 2 days a week.  He said that wasn’t at all the case.  He was based in Calgary, and was only out of town about once a week if I recall correctly.  He never collected the trip fee or got a copy of the warranty page as I was told would be required.

I called TG again July 30th and got my new work order #2167929 from agent Alda.  She said she would call dispatch and find out why the service rep hadn’t been back to fix my unit and why I hadn’t been contacted.  I never heard back from her, and on Aug. 4th I called again.  This time I spoke to Shelley who said there is a note on the work order indicating “please cancel”, without any reason given.

I decided I had had enough!  On Aug. 4 I called Home Depot spoke to Peter and told him I wanted to return the unit for a store credit, because TG seems unwilling to service the unit so even if I get it fixed now, I might have the same issues down the road.  He said I would need to talk to Fareed who was not working for a couple of days.  Later that same day Shelly returned my call.  She said that parts would be COD but could not tell me the amount.  She didn’t know why the tech hadn’t called me, or why there was a note on the work order to please close it.  When I asked her how much the parts would be, she couldn’t tell me.  She said she would have to get back to me.  I chastised her for not thinking ahead, and surprisingly enough, I didn’t hear back from her.

On Aug. 7th I called Fareed @ Home Depot.  He had forgotten my last name so hadn’t called me back.  He had to talk to his store manager to authorize the return.  He called me back to say that while they couldn’t offer me a stored credit, but they could exchange the power unit.  He suspected that the unit I got was defective from day one, and that a replacement should solve the problem, even though it meant if anything ever did go wrong I would still be stuck dealing with TG.  After supper I went and picked up the unit.  I returned once to get a missing piece because Nutone had changed the unit so much, but I am very happy to say that I now have a working VX550CC that turns on and off using the hose switch as it should have from day one.  This is thanks to the customer service at Home Depot, and not the “service” provided by Transglobal.

What did I learn from this experience?  Home Depot values their customers, and if you’re buying a major appliance, consider who services it as part of your buying decision.  It might be worth paying a bit more to buy from retailer who stands behind the products they sell and a manufacturer who does the same for what they make, but it pays for itself sometimes.

Thanks again Fareed, Peter and the Home Depot.

One Response to “Why I Would Not Buy a Broan/Nutone CentralVac”

  1. Paul H Says:

    I had the same issue occur but I took a different route. I have a VX550C that failed. Instead of calling a warranty number or my retailer, I called NuTone directly and told them the issue. After explaining my problem, they gave me the shipping information to return my bad vacuum to them and immediately sent me out a brand new one. No questions asked.

    This was in the US so I am not sure where you are located. However, I have nothing but the highest regard for how NuTone handled the situation.

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