DeLonghi Takes Six Months To Replace Five-Cent Piece Of Plastic

Marc’s top-of-the-line DeLonghi Combination Coffee/Espresso Machine was felled by a five-cent piece of plastic. Marc called DeLonghi for a replacement part, but was directed to their accessories website.

    “So I went to DeLonghi Accessories, and found that I needed to replace the entire milk tank assembly. I’m okay with this. $7.95 for a dollars worth of plastic but I’m still okay. Then I find that it’s $9.99 in shipping. So 125% shipping, but still I decide that it’s better than buying a new coffee machine, and it’s a small percentage of the $200 I spent on the unit to begin with.”

We would, too. Nothing stands between us and our morning coffee. Despite paying 125% shipping, after two months and one letter, Marc still had not received his milk tank assembly. Marc did what any of us would do. He wrote another letter.

Marc’s letter and DeLonghi’s puzzling response, inside…

Marc’s letter:

To whom it may concern,

This is my second e-mail. The first was never answered. You have been “processing” my order for 33 days. I paid $9.99 for shipping a $7.95 part that broke in my coffee machine from regular wear and tear, and you can’t even PROCESS is to ship it within a month? You certainly charged my credit card in a timely fashion. I see that on 12/6/06 a charge processed from FOX INT LTD BEDFORD HTS OH XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-6765. So you have my money, have charged me 125% to ship a part by ground, not to mention $7.95 for a milk assembly is already an outrageous amount.

If I do not hear from your company soon, I will have no choice but to 1) go elsewhere for my coffee maker needs and 2) spend my free time in 2007 informing as many consumer groups as I can about my treatment here, starting with, moving on to Consumer Reports,, and so on. I spent over one hundred dollars on your coffee maker, and this level of follow-up support is unacceptable.

Three days later, DeLonghi responds:

Thank you for contacting us in regard to your DeLonghi product. We are sorry for the delay in responding to this email.

We see we sent an email on January 4 to advise that your part is on backorder. We currently do not have an expected date from the manufacturer and it can take two to six months for parts to be received from Italy.

It is the policy of Fox International to charge the credit card at the time of purchase. This ensures that orders are filled in the sequence they are received.

We apologize for the delay and inconvenience this has caused you. We would like to assure you that we are doing everything we can in order to ship your order at the earliest possible date.

If you have any further questions or would like to check the status of your order in the future, please do not hesitate to e-mail us at,
or you can call us at 1-800-322-3848 Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

Does anyone have an idea for a DIY milk tank assembly?

DeLonghi should at least refund Marc’s shipping expenses. While they’re at it, next time they should ship the part from Italy by plane, not pack mule. Cows produce 35 liters of milk in one day. Why does it take DeLonghi six months to produce one milk tank assembly? — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER


Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    On the other end of the spectrum- The egg tray on my cheapo “Back To Basics” egg sandwitch maker got used so much that I wore all the nonstick off of it. I called B2B to get a replacement tray (expecting to pay for it) and they sent it to me free… got it a week later.

    High price does not equal high quality or high service.

  2. swalve says:

    Does he say whether he got the 12/4 email or not?

    Also, shipping costs what it costs, it has nothing to do with the value of the item in the box.

  3. notlazyjustdontcare says:

    Along the same lines as homerjay’s comment: I lost the whistle from my Copco teakettle and they sent one for free. I got it three days later. They could easily have just sold me another teakettle.

  4. swvaboy says:

    I use a good old fashioned Mr. Coffee. A $75.00 Mr. Coffee with all the bells. However, I wanted a DeLonghi, I couldn’t justify the cost considering I do not drink that much Espresso.

    After after having the Mr. Coffee for 7 months, some of the “plastic” chrome was peeling off the top near where the coffee drips out.

    I emailed customer service expecting another cover and having to pay something. No, I did not get the cover, I received an email indicating that I would be getting a replacement coffee maker and a sincere apology.

    I had the replacement in 3 days via Fed-Ex.

    Sorry about your problem, Marc. I am glad now that I went with the Mr. Coffee now.

  5. skyyguy says:

    Shipping doesn’t cost what it costs. It costs what the shipper wants to charge. The most expensive Ground shipment rate for a 1 lb package coast to coast costs around $5.00.
    Its not until the weight reaches 10lbs that it exceeds $10. These are based on FedEx Ground rates.

    So I doubt even with packaging we have a box in excess of a few lbs.

    Obviously swalve has never negotiated a shipping contract or worked for a company that ships product. Those type of consumers are loved by companies who charge flat rate shipping, so they can add back the 5-10% they discounted off the price to snare that consumer.

    However, I must all wonder, I thought that a credit card couldn’t be charged until the merchandise had shipped, or at least, had to ship within 1 month. He should dispute the charge, that would cost the merchant a chargeback fee, and further increase their discount fees with the bank or credit processor, as the more chargebacks they get, the higher the fees the bank will charge the merchant.

  6. bokononist says:

    Some credit card companies prevent charge to the credit card before shipment. Perhaps threats that you’ll be informing the credit card company that they violate their merchant agreement on a regular basis might get them to speed things up.

    Also: where’d you buy the coffee maker from? Maybe you can get them to help out. Or, if your credit card comes with buyer protection, try that out.

  7. bokononist says:

    Another good threat is that you’re going to call every day until they handle the situation. Many companies spend $10-$15 on a customer service call. You could eat away at the profit margins on the coffee maker very quickly.

  8. krunk4ever says:

    The thing you should do immediately now is:

    Notify the company you’ll be filing a charge back because a charge usually has a 60-90 day period before it becomes difficult to get your money back. With a upto 6 month window, who knows how long before you’ll be able to get your part.

    Also companies tend to avoid charge backs as much as they can because I believe the incur extra charges and they’d rather refund the money themselves than have you file a charge back.

    With expensive stuff like this, I prefer to purchase at Costco with their satisfaction guaranteed policy. If you had bought this coffee maker from Costco, all you need to do now is bring it back in, get a refund, and buy a new one.

  9. zingbot says:

    Or you could just call a DeLonghi independent repair place. They might have one on hand. Otherwise, I’m sure this part is available on ebay, etc.

    Tha allows you to cancel the order from DeLonghi, being done with it and their crappy customer service. Avoid the drama, then tell the company your experience in a letter. If you don’t get an apology from them, never buy anything from them again.

  10. LAGirl says:

    i also have the Mr. Coffee maker with all the bells + whistles. it began to have problems with leakage. after starting the brew process, small amounts of coffee would leak onto the counter.

    after doing some research online, i found that others were having the same problem. seemed to be a defect with this machine. i emailed Mr. Coffee, telling them about the problem. i didn’t ask for a replacement, or money back. i only explained the problem.

    about 2 weeks later, a box mysteriously arrived from Mr. Coffee, shipped FEDEX. it was a brand new coffee maker, same exact model. works great, have never had another leak. talk about great customer service!

  11. lore says:

    If you bought your DeLonghi from Bed Bath and Beyond, you can take it back and they’ll swap it out for a brand new one right on the spot, even without a receipt. They have an amazing return policy for the appliances that they sell. I have a DeLonghi Magnifica espresso machine, which has more “manual” controls than the top of the line one and it works great, so I feel your pain of not having a working espresso machine. Now the real question: where’s a good source for Starbucks syrups and powders?

  12. DCAview says:

    Ah, Fox International, my old nemesis.

    I bought a deLonghi coffeemaker back in the summer of 2004. Just over a year later, the seal between the glass carafe and the plastic lid and spout weakened to the point that I was pouring as much coffee onto my counter as into my cups. Warranty had expired, so I surfed over to the handy deLonghi accessories Web site and ordered a replacement carafe. About a month later, I realized that it had never arrived, although my card had been charged by Fox International (the Ohio company that handles deLonghi’s parts and accessories in the United States).

    Over the next four weeks, I engaged in an exasperating series of phone calls to Fox International in which employees told me everything from “It’ll ship tomorrow” to “It’s backordered and we might have it to you in eight to twelve weeks.” Escalation did nothing, nor did voicemails left for one of the Fox International executives. Eventually I just cancelled the damn order and bought a replacement pot from the Web site of some electronics parts store on Long Island (got it three days later). My wife and I also swore never to buy a deLonghi appliance ever again.

    Postscript: Within six months of getting the replacement carafe, it developed the same seal issue as the original one. Now I’ve got a Mr. Coffee sitting on my counter.

  13. scottso says:

    1. Like swvaboy and LAGirl, I had the same experience with Mr Coffee. Some leaking from my machine, a phone call to see how I could fix it, and voila! A brand new coffee maker at my door within a week.

    2. I believe it’s illegal for a mail order company to charge a credit card for goods before they are shipped. DeLonghi may be seriously in the wrong here.

  14. royal72 says:

    that’s ridiculous… think i say that every 2nd or 3rd post on this site… anyway, you may also consider a creative attack, besides informing consumers through your web campaign.

    it may be worth sending a letter to the president of competing companies and letting them know just what is going on. then suggest a marketing campaign to trade in their competitors products for a very, very nice discount on their product and they may even send you a free one. just a thought.

  15. DutchFlat says:

    Well, this is really simple. I have read all the comments. I believe them all. I will NEVER BUY a deLonghi product. And, no matter what, the next coffee maker I buy will be a Mr. Coffee. So, deLonghi…


    Oh dear. I said the “F” word.

  16. Hoss says:

    Confirming what others have said, if you google “delonghi parts” you’ll get some alternate sources. Then send a letter to delonghi headquarters letting them know of the Ohio experience.

  17. john_nyc says:

    Step 1: Credit card chargeback for non-receipt of goods.

    Step 2: Buy new (non-DeLonghi) coffee maker

    Step 3: Live out remainder of life in caffeinated bliss

  18. TWinter says:

    Well, Italian products are known for great design not reliability. Maybe somebody should convince the Japanese to get into the espresso business.

  19. homerjay says:

    I took the liberty of sending this link to Delonghi and Mr Coffee- in case we’re not on their radar screens (I hate that term).

    Doesn’t mean we are now… but still…

  20. latemodel says:

    While not illegal, VISA/MC merchant agreements that I have had said that the merchant can not charge the card until products,or services, are delivered,ie shipped. Chargebacks cost the merchant at least $25 in the way of a service fee, regardless of the outcome. Maybe you should mention all this to deLonghi in another email and offer them the opportunity to correct their product performance issue with a new unit.

  21. Jon Parker says:

    To those who are applauding Mr. Coffee’s customer service, let me add a hearty agreement. Too bad I can’t say the same about the quality of their products. If you’ll look through my past posts (and there aren’t that many) you’ll see my tale of woe.

    Good customer service is great, but it doesn’t make up for a crappy product. Cuisinart for me from now on.

  22. spanky says:

    I have a Chemex. It’s basically a big glass beaker with specially designed filters.

    I got tired of buying coffee machines that a) didn’t make good coffee, and b) had a bunch of stuff on them to break. The last thing I need first thing in the morning is to be troubleshooting some fractious coffeemaker. There is exactly one way that my coffee maker can break, so troubleshooting would consist of observing whether it is smashed or not.

    I can use my existing electric kettle to heat the water to the correct temperature myself (which almost NO coffeemakers do), then I just pour it through myself.

    And I have a French press for backup and for a little variety.

    (I do have an electric espresso maker somewhere in storage, too, but I don’t drink espresso enough to justify the counter space.)

    I do not miss those newfangled electrical coffee making robots even a little.

  23. I’d just call my credit card company to do a chargeback, sell the DeLonghi on eBay, and buy a coffee maker from a company with better customer service.

  24. Slosh says:

    i’m pretty sure charging a customer for an item that’s on backorder is illegal. you should not be charged untill your order is shipping.”

  25. bravo says:

    Their excuse for charging the customer before the product is shipped is absurd. All they need to ensure that orders are shipped in the order in which they are received is a pad and pencil, just write the orders down, date them, and send them out in the order in which they are received, stupid.

  26. medalian1 says:

    DO NOT FILE A CHARGEBACK OVER THE PHONE as you are not covered under the Fair Credit Billing Act.

    * Write to the credit card issuer at the address for “billing inquiries,” not the address for sending your payments (the address for billing inquiries is often found on the back of your most recent monthly statement); include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error.
    * Send your letter so that it reaches the credit card issuer within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you.
    * Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof of what the credit card issuer received. Include copies (not originals) of sales slips or other documents that support your position. Keep a copy of your dispute letter.
    * It is important to send the letter to the correct company. In the case of Visa and MasterCard, you should send it to the bank that issued the card.

    The credit card issuer must acknowledge your complaint in writing within 30 days after receiving it, unless the problem has already been resolved. And the credit card issuer must resolve the dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after receiving your letter.

  27. Jeannette says:

    I purchased a Magnifica from Starbucks in March 2006. I started having trouble with it after 3 months of use. I contacted technical support several times, (The number that was listed on the machine which isn’t the correct one.) After resetting the machine several times and the steamer valve still would not work and I continued to get the grind too fine error. (It would make a thumping sound and stop steaming and the error grind too fine would show up on the display) The agent decided that the machine would need to be sent into a service repair center and they would send a box to send it in. I didn’t receive the box and I called back to the same number and was told they didn’t handle the technical support for the Starbucks purchase and was given another phone number to call. I contacted technical support again and they had no record of me calling the other support line. The agent was pleasant and apologized and said they would send out a box to my home, which they did in December. I did mail the machine in January. The problem is I was home 20 days last year and I work over the road installing mobile communications, so it is virtually impossible to know where or when I am in one place. I received the Magnifica back at the end of February and flew home for Easter to get it. Only to find that not only was the machine still not functioning (the exact same grind too fine error), and now it had a leak in the water container. The service center also shipped it back filthy with mold in the catch for the coffee grounds and scratches all over it. That machine was spotless when I shipped it! I called technical support and they had Fed-Ex pick it up and ship it to the service center again. I received a phone call in April 25th from a Delonghi representative, informing me that the machine was fixed. I asked the agent if we could pick it up since we were going to be in the Bethal Park PA area, he called the service center and asked them to hold. The following Monday I called the Bethal Park location to verify address and I was told the machine was not fixed and the part is on back order until May 5th.

    I have endured the run around and have called technical support only to be passed to a supervisor that told me he would call me back once he had some information and get to the bottom of this. I have yet to receive a call back from him, and that was over 2 weeks ago. I called back this week only to be told it’s still not ready.

    I am so incredibly disappointed and disgusted with this whole process. Is this the way Delonghi does business? If it is this, is the worse purchase and customer service I have ever had. Is there anyone willing to help me, because I am mentally exhausted dealing with this continuing problem.


  28. CoffeeAddict says:

    DeLonghi ussually seems to make good things but apparently it takes forever to replace should anything break. I used to have a british car and I am used to waitinf for parts but 2-6months is insane. I would be calling them and giving them what for and cancelling the visa charge.