This is a long and convoluted story. It all began over a year ago, while I was in law school. WestLaw, one of the research databases, offers "points" for using their system. They do this so that you will only use their system and become dependant on it. (Lexis does the same thing). Anyway, in September 2004, I used my points to get an espresso maker from Delongi. I got the DeLonghi EC140B Espresso and Cappuccino Maker.
It came in October 2004 and worked well. It made excellent espresso, it frothed wonderfully. I started drinking 2-3 lattes a day. I loved it. It was priced at $99, so I figured I had gotten a pretty good value.
Then, in January, the light that indicates when the machine has finished warming up stopped going on. Everything else worked fine. I figured the bulb was probably out, and decided to take it into a local repair facility to fix it while it was still under warranty. That was when my troubles started....
I brought it to the store in late March. They said it would take about a week, and they would call me if it could not be repaired and needed to be replaced. I thought that was an odd thing to say. She said that the light may be indicative of deeper problems. They would open it up and find out and let me know. I didn't think too much more about it -- after all, it was just a light. The machine worked fine otherwise.
Sure enough, a week later they called me to tell me that the machine could not be fixed, and that a new one had been ordered. It would take 4-6 weeks. They never could tell me exactly what was wrong with it. And they would not let me have the machine back while I waited bacause it had been taken apart.
So I waited. And waited. And waited. After 4 weeks, I called and they said it was still on order. After 6 weeks I called again, and they said that they should have told me 6-8 weeks. After 8 weeks I called again and they said they could not do anything about it because they were waiting for it to be shipped from Delonghi's warehouse.
So, I called Delonghi. They said that it was delayed because they warehouse that it was supposed to ship out of was all out. They couldn't tell me how much longer it would be, but they would get back to me. A few days later, they called me back and said I should get it within the week.
About a week later, it arrived. Well, not really. What arrived was a much lesser model (the DeLonghi BAR140 Espresso Maker with Exclusive Pod System) that had been used. It was dirty, chipped, and didn't work well. This model also sells for about 1/2 the price (52.99). It only draws one shot at a time, has much less power, and was much smaller (I couldn't even use the same cup underneath because it was too tall).
So, I called their customer service to complain (1-800-322-3848). I spoke to the same person. She was pretty helpful, and said she would "escalate" the complaint. A higher up would call me back. And one did. The vice president of US sales called me back and apologized profusely. He said that he was appalled at what had happened and said he would send a UPS label to me to return the product so he could investigate. In addition, he would send me an upgraded model, brand new -- the DeLonghi BAR42 Pump-Driven Espresso Maker (retails at around $275).
I got the machine in only a couple of days (now the end of May 2005). It was very nice. Much bigger than the first machine. It worked nicely, but really, I would have been just as happy with a new one of my first model.
Then, the unthinkable happened. It broke. And I mean really broke.The steam pressure stopped working, and the water just barely dripped out of the filter. I couldn't believe it. This was only the beginning of July. I had used it for only a little over a month. And it was broken.
I called customer service again, and she said I had to take it to the same repair store I had gone to before. But I had already played that game. I asked to speak to her supervisor, and she said one would call me back. In the mean time, I found the VP's number (the one who had called me before) and left a message telling him what had happened. The next day, customer service called back and said that a new one (of the upgraded model) had been ordered for me.
So great, right? I waited. And waited. And waited. It is now the end of September. Still no machine. I called back yesterday and they said they would check on it, and that because it had been "escalated" they did not have any other information available to them. They would have to check with the VP.
So today the VP called. Apparently, the other (newer) model has been discontinued. They now say they are sending me an even more upgraded model -- the DeLonghi EC701 Espresso Maker. It retails for about $300.We'll see what happens. But during my 9 month adventure into Delonghi's customer service, I have noticed that the web is littered with people complaining about not only the quality of their products, but also their customer service.
DeLonghi BAR140 Espresso Maker with Exclusive Pod System
DeLonghi EC140B Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
DeLonghi BAR42 Pump-Driven Espresso Maker
DeLonghi EC701 Espresso Maker
You would think that problems such as mine would be fairly easy to fix. But somehow they are not, or at least haven't been. I don't know if I would ever get one of their products again (I am glad I started this journey off with a free one at least). While each issue has been resolved, given enough time, it has been like pulling teeth to do it. Hopefully, the new espresso maker will work. So far I have gotten seven months of use out of the machines in the last year. If I can get at least another year out of it, I'll feel some sort of vindication.
Well, that's my rant. Hope you enjoyed reading it. Let me know if anyone else out there has had similar problems with DeLonghi. Also, can you recommend a good, high quality espresso maker ... just in case.