Dial Says It Will Replace My Leaky Antiperspirant, Sends Measly Coupon Instead

Joe’s antiperspirant sprung more holes than WikiLeaks sources, so he called up the Dial Corporation to ask about a replacement. The customer service rep promised a coupon for a free replacement but sent him a lowball manufacturer’s coupon instead. He called back to complain and Dial passed the buck to the retailer.

He writes:

When the promised replacement coupon arrived it turned out to be merely manufacturer’s cents-off coupons for a handful of other items I Called Dial again only to be told their policy is not to replace products that had expired.

When asked why there was no expiration date printed, I was admonished that “anyway, once a product is sold to the store, it becomes the responsibility of the retailer not the manufacturer.”

Whoa! I am out the $3.99 I paid for the leaky product.

That’s bad luck for Joe, getting stuck without antiperspirant when a corporation is making him hot under the collar.

Do you think it’s worth continuing the fight for the low-cost product to prove a point?


Edit Your Comment

  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    I really, really think people need to take a look at what they spent before trying to fight these things.

    Dial didn’t do it for you? Well, you spent $3.99 to learn you don’t like that brand. Move on.

    • opticnrv says:

      If this is your suggested way of dealing with a sales transaction that didn’t execute correctly, regardless of the amount of funds involved, I suggest ‘The Consumerist’ may not be the best website for you to frequent on a regular basis.

      Out of curiosity, what is your suggested cut off amount when determining whether to ‘fight these things’?

      Would you agree the answer to that question is highly subjective based on a reader’s own financial situation?

      • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

        A good starting point is to take how much you make per hour, and divide it by the cost of the good in question. If it takes longer than that fraction of an hour to resolve the issue, it wasn’t worth your time.

        Now, since my free time is far more valuable than my professional time, I tend to multiply that by 2 or 3 to get a closer valuation of my time.

        Now, obviously, services are a different thing entirely, and something can be low cost but high value, and that will skew the equation some… as I said, this is just a starting point.

        • thompson says:

          This is absolutely the correct answer. Say you’re making $35/hr. If you spend more than about 7 minutes dealing with the problem, you’re losing money (or at least allocating your resources inefficiently). That’s just on straight time, I tend to agree that for those of us who work 50, 60, 70+ hour weeks, that little bit of free time is probably worth significantly more than straight time.

          • Limewater says:

            No way. Your time is only worth what you make per hour during hours that you can directly turn into money. If you’re capped at 40 hours per week and make $20 per hour, only those particular 40 hours are worth $20. Your free time has no direct monetary value except that which you put on it.

            • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

              My first decently-paid job was contract with no particular cap on the number of hours I could work. This got me in the habit — in my case, completely justified — of using my hourly wage to reckon the cost of spending time on less-fun things and the value of buying time (mostly by sending out my laundry.)

              I recognize that that is no longer a valid way to do things when you’re salaried, but it took a while to remember why I was doing things that way and to stop buying time.

          • RandomHookup says:

            An interesting point, but the value of your time isn’t determined by what your employer pays you (unless you are foregoing available work to pursue outside activities). It is determined by what you would have to be paid to engage in an alternative activity. If I can pay you $20 an hour to not watch TV, then that’s what that hour is worth. It will vary by time of day, other hours worked, the nature of the paid activity and what the alternatives are. Maybe in your case, your free time is worth more than what your employer pays you — but for most people it isn’t.

            Besides, the value of the time and effort is really how much you value that time. If he wants to spend the time and effort, why do you care?

      • txhoudini says:

        You have to put a value for your time spent fighting them.

        For many people it’s not worth the phone calls, emails, letters, etc for a coupon worth $4. For many people making corporation make good is a hobby. I think both groups can be regular readers of The Consumerist.

        • Conformist138 says:

          It’s false logic to put money on my time. I wasn’t being paid for that time in the first place, so that time has no monetary value. It has *potential* value, but that is like saying I am worth a million dollars because of an idea I haven’t implemented. If I assigned a dollar value to all my free time and made choices based on whether I was willing to give up that non-money to do an activity, I would never do anything. Few things seem worth the time spent when you add an hourly rate; it just gets silly when you fully realize that hourly pay never existed in any way to begin with. It’s all in your head, how we spend our time is our own choice and many of us choose to live without starting our thoughts with a $.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      To me, telling Dial about the defect is a decent thing to do, even if you’re not looking for a make-good deal. I will send an email to someone with the batch number if something about the manufacturing is a little goofy. If a company is having an issue with their line, they’re only going to find out about if people tell them. And so if I am going to buy that product again, it makes sense time-wise for me to tell them so the next time I don’t get another defective product.

      When they promise something and don’t deliver, then it becomes a different issue. I HATE when CSRs lie and then it’s about principle, not about the couple bucks.

    • msbask says:

      I don’t know about that. There’s also a “greater good” involved here. If a manufacturer makes a crappy product and no one can be bothered to say or do anything, why would the product ever improve. The manufacturer made their money already.

  2. chefboyardee says:

    I’m confused. It was expired? The post mentions nothing about that except in the quote from Dial.

    Also, why *didn’t* he try to get a refund from the retailer instead of going back to the manufacturer? If I buy chicken at Giant and it’s bad, I go back to Giant, I don’t call Purdue.

    • craptastico says:

      there’s very little in the way of details here. i hate to blame the OP, but the OP doesn’t give us any information about what was wrong with it (am i to understand that the deodorant had actual holes in it?) then the OP should stop their bitching.

      • MauriceCallidice says:

        The way it’s written, I suspect Phil snipped down a longer email explaining the situation.

  3. MamaBug says:

    saw what you did there with the picture….nice.

  4. sirwired says:

    This is bizarre… literally every single time I’ve called/e-mailed a consumer products company, I’ve gotten more-than-generous coupons that more than cover the cost of replacement product. 3M sent me coupons for free tape even though the retailer sold me stuff eight years old.

    I’ve had plenty of companies blame the retailer/distributor/poor handling, etc., but that’s never stopped them from sending me the coupons.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Right! It’s “We’re sorry you had a poor experience with our brand. Here, have a couple bits of of free stuff from our brand, and don’t let one bad experience ruin our company in your eyes”

      While it might truly be Retailer A’s fault, if the brand doesn’t want to lose the customer, they’re going to make it right because even if it sucks from can always buy the product at Retailer B.

      A customer-oriented company would NEVER go “Well, it’s the retailer’s fault for selling it to you in that condition.” As a manufacturer, you need to stand behind your product and make sure it doesn’t get sold in an undesirable condition. BS on the whole “It’s out of our hands once they put it on the sales floor.” Manufacturers pay through the nose regarding signage, shelf placement, and all that good stuff. :/

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      That same situation has been my experience as well. I had two bottles of Pledge Multi-Surface that would barely spray out when half-full. Got 2 coupons to replace them and they are around 5 bucks a bottle. Which reminds me, I need to buy more. See they made me a loyal customer. When my Gain fabric softener kept staining my washing mashine when using the auto-dispenser they sent me a free coupon for the big bottle and I still use gain but with a Downy ball. Same thing has happened when calling food manuf. I say just write off Dial and use your money on a better product and company.

    • nbs2 says:

      Agreed. An email to DP just letting them know that the rings on the 4-packs they are/were selling at CVS weren’t secure (as the soda on my pants could attest) netted me 2 DP coupons. They weren’t for free cases, but I had only lost 50 cents in soda.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Nealry every company that sells disposable items like this advertises a refund is dissatisfied. If Dial is one of them, they should honor that.

  6. ChuckECheese says:

    Good ol’ Dial Corporation, now that it’s a subsidiary of German corporation Henkel, has been discontinuing products, lessening the quality of others, and plain-old-all-around sucking at customer service. I’ve noticed a cheapening of products I use regularly, like Right Guard deodorant spray and Purex Ultra detergent. Other products and sizes (such as Right Guard 3 oz spray) are disappearing from stores. Their customer service is worthless. They can’t help you when you call, they promise to call back, and never do. They take weeks to reply to email, if they do at all.

    • JANSCHOLL says:

      Wow-I thought I was the only one who noticed the change in Purex. It was the only laundry detergent I could find that truly was scent free. It seems I have to use twice as much now and nothing else changed for me. I would hate to see someone use this product if they has messy/muddy kidlets.

  7. Enriquez the Water Bottle says:

    I think he just needs to move on. A complaint and public shaming is worth the $4.

  8. Gruppa says:

    Take it back to the store. Physically show the manager the leaky product and say “Hey, this packaging is faulty. May I exchange it for another of the same product?” I’m pretty sure they will accommodate you. Why go through the extra hassle that is Dial Corporate? You’re going to have to go back to the store anyway if they sent you a coupon for a free product.

  9. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    So did the antiperspirant “melt” and leak over things, or did he use a really old one, and he sweated more than he though he should have? I am very confused.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I just checked my medicine cabinet, and every container has an expiration date on it. In the back, I found a container of Secret deodorant/antiperspirant that has an expiration date of April 2006, so I don’t know how old the OP’s container was that is doesn’t have one. That one was tough to find, but it was stamped on the bottom of the dial.

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      If it’s brand new and it leaked, it probably wasn’t sealed properly. It’s one of the reasons I switched to a solid. That and I didn’t like the gritty feeling of the roll-on.

  10. Ephraim says:

    If the product is from Costco, take it back to Costco. If it’s from another store, take it back and ask if they will replace it. Most likely…. they will. Don’t spend another minute on dial or their products. It’s obvious that they don’t care about their products. There are other manufacturer’s out there that do care. Heck, by the store brand, they often will stand more behind that then the other manufacturer’s brands.

  11. smo0 says:

    “anyway, once a product is sold to the store, it becomes the responsibility of the retailer not the manufacturer.”

    I had this SAME bs happen to me at Fry’s. I bought a chair where the base cracked 2 months after purchase. I called Fry’s.. anyone who’s ever had to call Fry’s knows that you will never speak to anyone, it’s always, “this isn’t my department, let me transfer you” until you give up. I called the manufacturer, they told me to contact Fry’s. I dragged the chair to Fry’s, showed where it had cracked at the base, rendering the char unusable… they said since it was purchased more than 30 days ago, there was nothing that they could do. I called the manufacturer the next business day, because at Fry’s they had suggested about the manufacturer’s warranty, typically valid for a year, and the rep told me that it’s not valid because the chair was in the posession of the store. She said that if you purchase an item directly from them, they honor the warranty, but since I purchased it from Fry’s, I have to abide by THEIR warranty/return policy of 30 days. So I’m stuck with a $160 broken chair that’s barely 3 months old, now.

    My question is… and this is something I’d like consumerist to look into – is the manufacturer’s warranty valid even if you purchased it from a middle man (retailer)?
    I always thought it was, but apparently my arguement and this OP’s is rendered invalid…
    Personally, I smell bullshit…

    • sirwired says:

      The manufacturer is feeding you bullshit. Get a copy of the warranty; if it doesn’t specifically exclude chairs bought from a 3rd party, then they need to honor their warranty.

      Of course, unless the manufacturer is based in your state, you may have a tough time doing anything about it.

      • brinks says:

        I’ve worked in places that sold furniture. If it’s over 30 days, you deal with the manufacturer. I don’t know what the warranty states, but that’s something that’s usually covered for a year. I agree – that’s a load of BS from the manufacturer.

    • RandomHookup says:

      You may want to talk to your Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection (or something like that). They can give you the specifics and help you back up your claim against whomever by citing the law. Sounds like you have some level of claim around the implied warranty of merchantability, if not an implicit warranty.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Who buys everything directly from manufacturers? Sure, some things, but most crap is bought through retailers. That entire idea of a manufacturer ignoring their own warranty because a retailer sold it is just plain retarded.

  12. aleck says:

    I think I wasted too much time just reading this post. Joe wasted much more time on this calling dial, writing to Consumerist, etc. Life is too precious to waste on $3.99.

  13. pantheonoutcast says:

    Whatever happened to saying to oneself, “Wow, this product sucks. I’m never buying it again!”?

  14. JMILLER says:

    I’ll take a different tact on this one. Dial (and most mainstream anti perspirants) contain aluminum. I would suggest spending the extra money on a non-aluminum based deodorant. Common sense tells you that blocking the secretion of sweat (the aluminum actually clogs the pores) can not be a great thing.

  15. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I’ve never had that problem. I’ve bought deordorant that has crumbled on the first use and gotten a coupon (and in some cases two) for a free product. I suspect whoever took his complaint didn’t enter the right info or the right code to spit out the generic letter and coupon.

    I think a call back and a request for a supervisor is in order. Clearly the rep either doesn’t want to be bothered by this or they’re not trained to handle the situation properly.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Dial used to be more generous with their coupons, usually one or two for a free replacement plus a few extra – after all, just like with crack, the 1st time is always free (or cheap) – it’s a way to build brand loyalty. The last time I got a Dial/Henkel coupon for defective product it didn’t cover the entire cost of the product, it had a 90 day use window, and they didn’t give me any extras.

  16. jimmyhl says:

    Unless a customer has bought the defective item while out of town or has other some other common sense reason for not going back to the point of sale, it makes little sense to take up an issue like this with the manufacturer.

    With that said, however, Dial didn’t do itself any favors either. If a retailer is selling expired stock to the public, the manufacturer usually wants to know about it for quality control reasons and customer feedback is a valuable source of information in that regard. I once contacted a manufacturer about some (really) stale cigarette tobacco I got at a chain drug store. They sent me a ton of product although I didn’t ask for it and also learned that stores throughout the city were routinely selling out-of-date product. They were glad for the information (which they couldn’t get from their drivers since they shipped the product through third party freight) and took up the issue with the drug store chain.

    It may be that in this case, Dial is concerned about people acquiring expired product (from store dumpsters, etc.) and bypassing the retailer to get a replacement for something the customer never actually purchased. But, if this is not the reason here, Dial should have replaced the item rather than discounting the customer’s next purchase of its product. Recouping part of sale price is usually not satisfactory to a customer who purchases a defective item.

    In conclusion, the OP might recognize that are lots of companies out there making deodorant every bit as good the stuff that Dial makes. He can do better things with his time than chase this $3.99 payday.

    PS: If the OP doesn’t want the coupons I’ll take them.

  17. Matzoball says:

    Depending on the retailer he bought the product from he might have recourse. My company sells to retail grocers and customer complaints are automatic $15 fines and if they are not addressed in 5 business days the fine doubles.

  18. dolemite says:

    Sounds like a good time to switch to Old Spice. They have that guy.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Seconded. First thought.

      I have yet to be disappointed with my Old Spice *deodorant*. People should stay away from antiperspirants, anyway. They clog pores.

  19. Robert Nagel says:

    A note to any retailers or manufacturers reading this post.


    You can choose to lose them, and sometimes that is the thing to do. Whether or not they are right, they think they are and they will act accordingly. In my business I have more than once swallowed my pride and given in to an unfair demand by a customer. Your only defense is to set parameters on how badly and/or how often you are willing to get screwed before you throw in the towel.
    I they are truly screwing you on purpose they will come back, if they really thought they were right, they won’t. It is unfortunate, but who said life was fair?

  20. MrsLopsided says:

    I don’t understand what is wrong with the product… but if it has holed maybe the retailer made them when he scraped off the expiration date. That’s why I prefer national chains that have product turnover and good return policies.

  21. common_sense84 says:

    Screw that, get old spice.

  22. scoutiebear says:

    I’m a proponent of the broken windows theory of policing…and customer service. If you don’t speak up about all the little crappy problems, you’re sending the message that the little things don’t matter…and the rule breakers get more and more brazen, until the little guy doesn’t matter at all, and then you end up either with a crime rate like that of the Bronx in say, 1979, or the modern day equivalent, which would be shopping at Sears.

  23. JANSCHOLL says:

    I bought a can of shaving cream and it sat in my linen closet for about a year as I used up older stuff. When I went to use it, nothing came out. It was heavy, so I knew there was product inside. I politely inquired to Gillette if there had been any other reported problems with this brand but heard nothing back. About 6 weeks later, I got a coupon for a free item with no letter. When I wrote I gave the UPC and whatever codes were on the can, so maybe there was a problem but I will never know. I do however appreciate their fixing the problem with a new can. I will continue to buy this brand.

  24. Brainphart says:

    I think the original poster did everyone here a favor. It’s always good to know what kind of company one is dealing with. I use several Dial products (soap, Ajax, Right Guard, etc) and just may reconsider my purchases.