Bad News, Good News

Saturday, my son and I were cutting up the accumulated brush and fallen limbs from 3 years of dry weather. I try to keep the pile small so it is not unsightly. But with the drought that we have had, I did not feel it was safe to burn. I had started on it a year or so ago when my old McCulloch chainsaw went bust.

Bad news: New Homelite chainsaw in hand, we were cutting off small lengths and burning to make a pile of coals to grill some hot dogs.  We had got about 20% of the pile done, and actually about all that we could do in that afternoon, the exhaust note changed from a motor sound to a sharper, harder sound.  I thought at the moment that it sounded like a large model airplane.  My son pointed to an object on the ground where I was cutting.  I quickly stopped the saw.  It seems the screws had come out of the muffler and the muffler had fallen off.  No wonder it sounded like a model airplane.  It was just like a 2-stroke model airplane engine with no muffler.  As in a model airplane engine the combustion chamber is open to the world when the piston clears exhaust port.  Big noise.  And the screws were nowhere to be found in the rubble and stubble under the brush pile.

That was on Saturday.  I was busy Sunday and Monday but had Tuesday off.  I called the Homelite toll-free help number.  The menu options had changed to better serve the customers.  The number one option on the first menu was “…to get the correct fuel-to-oil ratio for your power tool”. Option 2 was anything else.  The second menu was “Order parts or supplies press 1” and “Talk to a representative press 2”.

There was a hold as all representatives were “serving another customer”.  But that hold was less than a minute.  Shana was very helpful.  I gave the model and serial number.  She responded that “If it has been less than 30 days, you can take it back to Home Depot.  If more than that, you will need to take to an authorized service location”.  Now that is some information system.  That indicates that that lot of tools was sold through Home Depot.  She further suggested that she get my zip code and gave a choice of two locations for Authorized Service, both about 10 miles away.

Next to find the receipt.  My wife went through a pile of recent receipts.  Not Found.  Then she remembered that that receipt was on a magnet on the side of the refrigerator.  It turns out that I had bought the saw 32 days before.  Receipt and map to 5 Points Mower Repair, I headed out.

Home Depot is about 2 1/2 miles away.  I took the saw in to the returns desk, setting off the loss prevention alarm on the way.  A young woman named Meg listened to my story and asked what I wanted to do.  I suggested exchanging just the saw since I had used the oil and written in the book.  She suggested that I just get a similar saw off the shelf and exchange the whole thing.  So that is what I did.  She typed in the return reason in the register and gave me back the old receipt. About 3 minutes elapsed time. Homelite customer service and Home Depot return experience are pretty Good News!

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