Here’s an example of a great EECB that worked: even though Joe’s generator was out of warranty and the first two levels of customer service refused to help him, he was able to convince the company’s execs to make good on a defective starter.
Here’s the letter Joe sent to Generac Power Systems concerning his backup generator’s failure to work during a recent outage:
Dear Mr. Jagdfeld,
I am writing this to you to share my recent experience with one of your products.
I am the past owner of one of your standby generators (at a previous residence). While that unit was not trouble free, I recommended your products to family and friends, and installed one for my brother in 1999. When we built our new house in 2006, I decided to purchase your 13kw NG standby generator because of your reputation for quality and customer service. I liked the fact that it was made right here in Wisconsin.
Yesterday, however, when this like-new and meticulously maintained unit was called upon during a power outage, it failed to start. Upon investigation (in the rain) it became apparent that the starter had gone bad. I pulled the starter to examine it, and confirmed that this was in fact the problem. The ‘nose’ (countershaft support) casting had broken completely off, and the starter bearings were thoroughly worn so as to make even turning by hand difficult. In operation, the starter would chatter and get very warm.
In talking to one of your authorized dealers, I was told that this was a rare case, and that this did not normally happen. When I called your customer service department, both Andy and later Angie admitted that this should not have happened. On a unit that has been run only 10 hours on 2 occasions (besides its weekly exercise time), this was admittedly premature failure.
I have offered, both to Andy and Angie, to send pictures of the casting failure in order to let them judge whether or not this was something that merits their attention. Both declined, and said Generac would not help me in this situation.
So there you have it. The starter failed. Only two conclusions can be reached: either the customer is at fault, or the starter manufacturer is at fault. Since the expected life cycle of the starter is significantly greater than the 150 or so times it has been used (admitted by your two agents and your authorized dealer), that leaves only the manufacturer at fault.
The question, then, is: why won’t Generac stand behind their product? I realize that I am beyond the warranty period (by less than a year), and that Generac needs to have a set warranty period in order to limit liability in cases of customer abuse, and even normal wear-and-tear. This, however, is neither of those.
Mr. Jagdfeld, I own older cars, and have a good understanding of mechanical failure. Your own agents and dealer admitted that this was premature, and should not have happened. What I would ask, then, is for Generac to provide me with a new starter (Generac Part # 0E9323) in order to make up for the defective one. I am happy to provide the old one for your examination, if you want to examine it. I will take care of the installation.
Even though we went without power for 10 hours overnight because of the failure of the unit, I would like to look at this as an unusual event, and confirm my faith in Generac products. I am hoping you will do the right thing here, so that I can continue to recommend Generac to friends and family, and rate them highly on the internet sites I visit.
This is a great case study of how to write a level-headed, smart EECB that makes a sound argument in favor of the customer:
- He describes his past relationship with the company and illustrates the value he’s brought to that relationship, both by being a repeat customer and by bringing in other customers.
- He also clearly explains the problem in a logical way that never resorts to emotional appeals. The unit shouldn’t have failed, especially since he was a model owner who did everything by the book.
- He acknowledges that they have a sound business reason to enforce their warranty restrictions—but that this is an exceptional case and therefore an exception should be made.
We’re not sure such a reasonable letter will work in every case, since you sort of need a level-headed person on the other end who can recognize your value as a customer, but here’s at least one example where it worked.