Does Neato Robotics Carry Parts To Repair Their Vacuums? Here’s A New Replacement Vacuum Instead

When David’s Neato robotic vacuum cleaner stopped working after more than a year, he flipped it over and tried to figure out what was wrong. It was out of warranty, but maybe it was something simple that he could fix himself. Yes, a tension spring was missing, and the vac wouldn’t be able to maneuver properly. So he called up Neato Robotics and asked if parts were available, since this was something he might be able to fix himself. Nah, forget that: Neato Robotics just sent him an entire new vacuum, no questions asked.

I always see a lot of stories of people having problems (myself included), but I wanted to write about a good experience I had:

Last year, my wife and I purchased a Neato XV-11 robotic vacuum cleaner. It worked pretty well for about a year. Once day this past March I noticed that one of the wheels no longer had spring tension, and the robot seemed to have a hard time moving around. I flipped it over, and unscrewed the panel holding the damaged wheel. The wheel assembly had a protruding tip where a tension spring is supposed to connect to it. The tip was broken and the spring was nowhere to be found.

It was about 13 months after the purchase, and I figured it was out of warranty. So I called Neato Robotics up and asked if they sold individual parts (the entire vacuum is well-engineered and each component of the vacuum comes right out). There was no extensive automated menu to work through, someone just answered the phone! The woman on the other end simply asked what the problem was, and then asked for the serial number on the bottom of the vacuum. That was it – they sent a new one in the mail free of charge. No hassle, no suspicion that I abused it – nothing. The only thing I had to do was provide a credit card number to ensure that I sent the damaged vacuum back in the same box as the new one within 30 days. They even provided me with a return shipping label. The new unit works well, and we are very happy customers.

This kind of service is what keeps me coming back to certain businesses. It’s so simple, and I’m continually amazed that many other companies don’t act like this.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. crispyduck13 says:

    Well, I know what robotic vacuum I’m looking into…

  2. YamiNoSenshi says:

    The battery on my Roomba stopped holding a charge after a while. The company’s customer support was actually quite good. They sent us parts and a new battery free of charge. I actually got fed up trying to make it work before they did.

  3. duncanblackthorne says:

    I think it likely that they’re willing to send someone a replacement free of charge so that they can get a failed unit back from the field to do a comprehensive analysis of how it’s held up overall so they can improve their design and/or QA processes.

    Either that, or it’s actually a spy device that’s been collecting data on the OP for the last 13 months, the failure was designed into it, and now they’re retrieving it so they can download and analyze the data from the unit’s memory.

    Just sayin’..

  4. Costner says:

    This makes me want to try Neato instead of continuing to buy parts to support my Roomba habit. The rotating brushes in my Roomba stopped after about nine months and they exchanged my unit for a refurb, but the refurb was an older style in a totally different color – and since I had to keep my dust bin I’m left with a multi-colored Roomba.

    Not a big deal – and it worked fine, but just after my warranty expired the battery died, and the rubber sweep on the dust bin developed a tear. I ordered a new battery and MacGyver’ed the bin, but the new battery was dead a year later. I’m now on my fourth battery – they simply don’t last more than 10-12 months. I even tried a third party battery and it was the same way… the charging circuits in those things are horrible – they are battery killers.

    Add to that that I have to buy new filters all the time and one of the IR walls burns through D cell batteries faster than Jenna Jameson’s vibrator. The only IR wall lasts three times longer, so it isn’t the batteries or how long it is being used since both are used the same amount of time.

    I think it is time to retire the Roomba once and for all.

  5. jeepguy57 says:

    While this is a good example of great customer service, its also another example of the disposable, lower-grade products that companies manufacture today. This happened with my Keurig. What should have been an easy fix was instead made simpler by them just replacing it – and my Keurig taking up space in a landfill, along with this guy’s vac.

    BTW – I love my Neato robotic vac. I have the XV-12 and it has made life with two large dogs so much better. Its nice to see that the company is customer-oriented, but I am also annoyed to see that they treat their products like disposable items.

    • jeepguy57 says:

      After reading the comments above, perhaps they want the unit back to examine it, hence their willingness to simply replace it. Provided that it goes to some use like that, I guess its better than sitting in a landfill.

      • CrazyEyed says:

        I’ve had my Keurig for a couple years and it works fine. I use it multiple times a day.

        • jeepguy57 says:

          Don’t get my wrong – I love my Keurig as well. I have had my replacement one almost two years now and it works great as well. But my point was about their willingness to simply replace it rather than make a small fix. In the end, the customer is happy but what is the impact of all these broken ones sitting in landfills? What does it say about a product when the company thinks its cheaper to just replace it than to fix it?

          • RandomLetters says:

            If you’re worried about the impact of waste in landfills why are you using a Keurig? Aren’t they one of the most ecologically unfriendly ways to get a coffee fix?

            • jeepguy57 says:

              Yes, if I bought K-Cups. I use coffee grinds and an insert rather than wasting k-cups daily.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I was having problems with a Logitech game controller for my computer. The regular Windows drivers were completely functional and it worked, but Logitech’s custom software which enables macros and other neat features refused to acknowledge it’s existence.

      After multiple back and forth with Logitech, they sent me a new controller, free of charge and no additional questions out of me.

      Yet, the problem wasn’t really the controller, It was the software. I kind of wanted to send it back, unopened, because what I really wanted was properly operating software with the currently operating hardware, but they seemed to have tried so hard to make me happy I just let them close the ticket and accepted the controller.

    • sixsevenco says:

      How do you know they didn’t refurb it and resell it?

  6. msbask says:

    I had a Taylor scale that I bought about 3 years ago, and had the same experience.

    It stopped working one day. I emailed them for help in troubleshooting the error code the scale was giving. When the first set of instructions they sent me didn’t work, they just had me mail it back to them and they sent me a replacement scale (which was a much newer model, too). Got the new scale within about 2 weeks.

    (This is nothing to do with robot vacuums, but isn’t it nice to know that this isn’t the only company that does business this way?)

  7. evilpete says:

    Given Neato is somewhat a newish product, my guess is they wanted the old one for QA

  8. Costner says:

    Ok I suppose I should also give my example of a company going above and beyond. I was given a Gladiator Tool Caddy as a gift (it is a garage organizer thing that hangs on the wall in the garage). However, I didn’t open it up right away since I was in the process of painting and working on some other projects.

    About six months later I open the box and find the rubber coating on the hooks that hold the tool bag was cut. Not a huge deal – the unit still worked fine so it was mainly cosmetic. I emailed the company and simply asked if that one part (the actual hook) was available. They asked me for some information such as purchase date etc and then they asked for pictures of the damage.

    A couple of weeks later I received a whole new unit. Not just the hook – but the entire organizer complete with tool bag. They didn’t even want the old one back… just told me to keep it. That my friends is amazing customer service, and due to how they treated me I have purchased several of their cabinets and hooks and Geartrack and accessories. They have a customer for life.

  9. milkcake says:

    I have iRobot, and it works well and has not been broken… but I’ll go with Neato next time. I just feel that I am lucky that my iRobot has not been broken.

  10. Auron says:

    I think it should be pointed out everything that Neato did wrong in this situation:
    1. A live human answering without a phone tree.
    2. Frontline CSR’s who actually have the ability to do something.
    3. Not blaming the customer for damaging the product and just looking for a freebie.
    4. Replacing a damaged out of warranty item without being asked.
    5. Going above and beyond without being prompted to by the media.

    Feel free to add anything I left out.

  11. oldtar says:

    My Hamilton Beach BrewStation started to leak from the tank. It was out of warranty. Called about buying a new tank. They sent a new tank free of charge.

  12. AllanG54 says:

    It takes me about 3 or 4 minutes to vacuum a room. I can’t believe people are so lazy that they need to buy robotic vacuums to do a job that takes much less time when it’s done manually.

    • SpiffWilkie says:

      I can’t vacuum the room when I’m not home. My roomba can.

    • jeepguy57 says:

      Because it does it daily, on a timer and the floors are clean when I get home from work. Plus, more importantly, it goes under the couches and chairs where our upright cannot.

    • Costner says:

      So you are able to vacuum under your bed, your desk, your couch, and your coffee table / end tables all in an average of three to four minutes per room?

      You must be in a lot better shape than me. Meanwhile my Roomba goes under my bed, and my desk, and my couch, and my chair, and my dining room table while I’m at work. This means when I get home My carpet LOOKS clean because there are these neat little random tracks all over and the pile is “fluffed” up. It makes me feel better – it looks better – it is cleaner – it saves time – and it allows me to do things I actually prefer doing such as spend time with family or whatever.

      I still use my “regular” vacuum once every other week or so to get a deep clean, but for maintenance tasks the Roomba does a pretty good job overall. It isn’t about being lazy – it is about allowing a device to do something I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do… since it runs daily it does a much better job of maintaining my carpet than I could do on my own.

    • sadie kate says:

      I have three cats and an 8-month old, and I covet a robot vacuum. My husband vacuums every other day, and I’m still afraid the baby’s going to get a hairball.

  13. kuhjäger says:

    My wife says “you’re welcome”.

    She is in charge of Neato shipping and customer support.

    • Nighthawke says:

      Whatever she is paid, it ain’t enough! XD You got a ton of happy Consumerists here pleased as punch that the company she works for is going Above and Beyond what is considered the norm in the industry for customer support.

    • coffeeplease says:

      Tell her I love my Neato (and the replacement sent after my first one failed).

      Customer for life…superior product, superior customer service!

  14. jeepguy57 says:

    For all those who are commenting about buying one, keep an eye on woot.com. We bought ours there for $299 earlier this year and I have seen it another 2 or 3 times since. Its the previous model to the current one, but worth every penny, IMO.

  15. coffeeplease says:

    As the owner of a Neato I can also attest to how awesome Neato customer service is while Roomba is actually the pits.

    That said I also LOVE my Neato, way better than my old Roomba.

  16. vyper says:

    I love my XV-11 too. Got it for cheap on Woot (they are on there all the time) and the filters are cheap on Amazon. It doesn’t get stuck very often and does a nice job cleaning my place.

  17. dangermike says:

    This story highlights one of the best consumer tactics I haven’t seen written about on this site: Asking for just the broken parts or information on how to repair or replace the broken parts can often get you a whole new complete item. I’ve gotten whole replacements (without having to return the malfunction parts, to boot) for things from rifle scope mounts to guitar effects pedals.

  18. Robert Nagel says:

    I bought a first generation iPod which carried a 6 month warranty. After 7 months is stopped working. Since is was out of warranty I decided to crack the case and look inside. Interesting. A few months later I was perusing a web site and came across a tidbit indicating that the iPod now had a one year warranty. I checked the written information and mine was, indeed, only 6 months. Besides I had marked the case in such a way that it was obvious that I had cracked it. Just for the heck of it I called and acted ignorant of the warranty period. Lo and behold, it seems that Apple had made the warranty change retroactive to include my now 11 month old unit. A few days later I had a brand new unit. Go Apple.