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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

27 March 2013

Coleman Warranty Epic Fail / Canadian Tire Epic Pass

My last BBQ blew over in a wind storm and consequently some of the welds broke.  Thus it is time for me to purchase a new BBQ.  So I looked around and bought a Coleman Evenheat 3-burner Barbecue.  I got the package opened up to discover that some yahoo had carelessly thrown one of the cast-iron cooking grates into the cook-top of the barbecue and while rattling around during shipping it had damaged the enamel on the inside.

As per the instruction in Coleman's Warranty Statement I contacted their Canadian Warranty Centre at 1-800-275-4617.  Their solution was to supply me with some high temperature paint.  I asked for a manager, the manager told me the same thing.

This is an epic warranty fail in my opinion.  Warranties are a PR battlefield for brand name companies like Coleman.  Fail to meaningfully honour a warranty and word gets around hence this blog.

As I said to the supervisor on the phone, "If I went to take delivery of a new car and the salesman handed me a touch up pen and said...sorry about the scratch but you can touch it up with this...I'd take the touch-up pen and write void across the the check." 

I then expressed my deep admiration for their sterling, ironclad gold-plated warranty and told them I would be returning the BBQ for a refund.  Rather than facilitating this act by giving me a return authorization for the store in question they just stuck to their guns and continued to offer a can of paint.  Saying that they couldn't authorize a return and had no control over what the retailer would do.

So after I calmed down I phoned Canadian Tire and the girl on the phone told me to bring it in for a replacement.  I asked for a refund since given Coleman's Epic Warranty Fail I'm now leery of owning any of their products.  That's an epic pass.  No question just bring it on in and we'll help you out.

As I said before warranties are all about PR.  Coleman's first move should have been to get me a replacement for the damaged good.  I'll probably buy three or four more BBQ's before I croak and given that my wife and I enjoy the outdoors I'll be looking for alternate products when I'm in the market for tents, lanterns, grills, sleeping bags, camp beds, camp chairs, air pumps, outer wear, backpacks, coolers, furnaces, air conditioners...

As a specifying engineer I pay close attention to warranties, companies that don't honour warranties or provide indifferent warranty service don't get specified.  In the course of one decade that can mean tens of millions of dollars in lost business for a company.  Just for one lone specifying engineer.   Get enough specifying engineers to come to the same conclusion and it can result in a death knell for a company. Philip's is an excellent example, if I buy an electric shaver and get unsatisfactory warranty service then I'm unlikely to specify Philip's light fixtures or lamps. I probably specify 1 to 2 million dollars worth of lighting equipment in the course of a year out of one small piddly little engineering office. One bad shaver can lose a company a fair amount of money.   Get a few engineers to repeat my experience and then you're talking some real money.

As I said PR is a battlefield and the big American Company Coleman has lost to a Plucky Canadian Upstart!


Coleman continues to fail. The supervisor left a message at my home phone directing me to call back since she had come up with some more options.  The options consisted of the paint (no eff'n way) or they'd ship me the burner box (the damaged part) but I'd have to assembly the box myself.  The burner box is part of an assembly that includes the propane manifold, the burners and of course the lid.  The gentlemen on the phone described this as difficult to do.  Apparently the current generation of twenty-somethings don't know which end of a screwdriver goes into the screw.  Not to many Sons of Martha in the next generation.

This is the course of action I expected from the first encounter.  Send me a replacement part.  Install replacement part life goes on.  From the moment that I got irritated (okay angry but I never swore) they lost me as a customer unless they went the extra mile to redress the sense of grievance that they've created.  In my opinion Coleman still fails and will still be subject to Canadian Tire on the PR battlefield.


  1. Thanks for reassuring me on buying this Coleman grill. I actually had an issue with them sometime around two years ago, with an A/C unit. Bought it, way too loud, so i tried to return it or exchange it for a different model. I never used it persay, just opened it and tried it for like 10 mins. Sound like a war zone when i turned it on, and they wouldn't budge saying it was for hygiene purposes. because i "used it" Spoke to manager and she basically gave me attitude, (Main Street and Danforth Location) Arrogant and unwilling to help, so i went around other Canadian Tire and managed to just get a store credit. Forcing to buy something i don't want. I then went around to other companies, like Home Depot or Sears and asked about return policies, they said no problem. They don't see any issues with it.

    Its that time around and i was thinking of getting a new bbq, and as time passed you start to mellow out about what had happened and thinking. Well, maybe it s a one off thing. But after reading your blog, it just brought back memories of what i had to deal with. So yelp, NO MORE CANADIAN TIRE.

  2. oh ya and to add to this, i need a new tent and some new sleeping bags this summer with a few new additions to the family i figured its time to take them out and enjoy the great outdoors. I did swing by the camping area too and was thinking of a getting a few items. With the reminder of my rage with customer service. I even contacted Canadian Tire and they basically laughed in my face.

  3. Never buy any Coleman Products..
    I have problems with the tent where it leaks this tent is the tent that most expensive one from the canada coleman series... and it leaks the first use. Long story short. I was being so patience... I sent the the mail, receipt the first time by register mail and all the stuff was gone, I have to chase them to get my tent sent.... I got replacement 2 times the same tent and it still the same leaking to all the seams corner, and they said because I didn't setup the tent properly. the worst thing is I try to called them and they hangup the phone as they pickup the phone. the tent they sent me is the older model of the tent which the light switch have problem..... and to all the warranty department... it let me wait for almost 1 hr for me to talk to a Services Rep. as the rep pickups the phone and hang up........ is no more Coleman... Products. is never good.

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  7. i disagree completely. I bought a coleman dual fuel bbq 2 years ago. I had some rust issues with it which, really, were my fault. I sent Coleman an email. They asked for pictures, and proof of purchase. Once I provided that, they send me order confirmation for replacement parts, free of charge, all in less than a day.

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