A jointer saga part II

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For all of you who may have missed the original post, an overview: I purchased an extra set of knives for my 20 yo Craftsman jointer (113.20650). While the originals were being sharpened, I installed the new set, turned on the jointer, and ran a piece of scrap through it. One of the knives came out, tore up the cutter head and ended up in the chip collector. Bleep says I and orders another set thinking that I had not cleaned the new knives well enough, or had not set the screws in the wedges well enough, or...
Cleaned and installed these, turned on the machine, and two blades came out hitting the guard, taking a chunk out of the infeed table, scoring the underside of the outfeed table, and messing up the cutter head again. I measured the knives and discovered that they vary in thickness up to .008" from one end of a blade to the other. Width and length also vary. I wrote to Sears explaining the situation and asking for repairs to the jointer or a new jointer. They replied by refunding the cost of the two sets of knives and two wedge screws (bent by impact). I wrote back offering pictures of the damage and testimony/affidavits from LOML and neighbor as to its condition prior to the incident. Following is the letter I received in return.
--------------------------------
I have requested that a credit is issued in the full amount of $71.48. Thank you for the information provided to us, so that we may assist you with your situation.
I realize that our decision may be disheartening, and I apologize that we are not able to fulfill your request for a new jointer at our cost. You may contact your store to see if they are able to assist with repairs at a lesser cost than a new replacement jointer, or we will gladly take 10% off of any future price on a jointer of your choice. If you do choose to take advantage of the 10% I have approved, please contact Sears.com to place the order, and refer the customer service representative to your previous Sears.com order, seax-004642034-seaz. I have notated the order so that the rep will fulfill the requested 10% off. I appreciate your willingness to provide further documentation and witnessed, but we still would not be able to accurately verify prior performance or proper handling of the tool during replacement. If we had damaged the tool during blade replacement, then a new model may certainly be an option.
I am sorry that we have not fulfilled all of your request. You are valued as a customer. Thanks, Brian Boka Sears Product Support & E-mail Customer Direct Team Manager ----------------------------------------------------
I wrote again offering to repair it myself if they would supply the infeed table and cutter assembly parts: -----------------------------------------------------
Dear Mr. Boka,
I now have $71.48, no extra set of knives, and a jointer broken by your defective parts. I am not about to buy a replacement from Sears if this is how you stand behind your products. I returned the knives. Did you even measure the thickness? If so, you would see that no matter my replacement technique, the knives would not have stayed in place.
I had hoped to make this right by dint of a dose in integrity, mine and Sears. There is also a chip out of the outfeed table, but it is underneath. Thus, if you will not replace the jointer, replacing the infeed table and the cutter assembly will be acceptable. I will bolt the new parts in place and return to old to you. Or I will consent to taking the jointer to a facility of your choosing for repair by you. I will be happy to return the damaged parts if you want them.
... [some stuff about courts and the wRECk snipped]
If I am truly valued as a customer, at least meet me half way. -----------------------------------------------------
Somehow, I doubt my value at this point. Will keep you all posted.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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http://www.sears.com/
Click on "About us". See the bottom of the page on the 'Copyright' line.
"Satisfaction guaranteed or your money refunded."
Simply take back the whole item......
--
Chipper Wood

useours, yours won't work
  Click to see the full signature.
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I'd take knives, jointer, the works into my local sears, and speak to a manager mano a mano.
Not only can you get your point across, you have a strategic advantage of the other customers in the store seeing how angry you are, and this potential loss of business will proably cause some movement.

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Sue the bastuds! Caveat: Remember free legal advice is worth what you pay for it, but I'd file a small claims complaint; they'll have to hire a lawyer, it'll cost them plenty, and you will likely get a default judgment against them for the price of a new jointer. Then you send a sheriff down to the local Sears store and levy on the cash in the registers!

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Yeah. I would think one of those injury lawyer types would be interested in hearing about improperly made knives that have the potential to seriously harm or kill someone flying out of your jointer. I think they would be very interested.

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One of those 'graduated last in his class from a 3rd rate law school' types taking on Sears? Sheesh - Sears likely has scores in house, and scores more on retainer.
It would be a suicide run... Amusing, but suicide.
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yeah. maybe. but they are cheap. dont pay unless you win.
Big companies have been successfully sued before by em... Hot coffee at Mc Donalds ring a bell?

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Sure does. But did you forget they appealed and won ? The woman got nothing but a judgment to pay McD's legal bill's. Puff

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Was meant to point out that big companies can be beat. But spilling coffee on oneself, and having pieces of metal flying around the room, are two pretty different things. I submit that a judge would think the latter would be a bit more serious.
ecspecially since he told them something was wrong, and was ignored.
And from what I can see, the award was reduced, and the parties entered into a secret settlement, not that it was thrown out. The judge called Mc Donalds conduct reckless, callous, and willful.
read it yourself here.
http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

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Talked to one once after I had got rear-ended and felt I was getting taken by their insurance company. Spent 30 minutes in the meeting - spent 3 hours in the shower trying to get the stink off... Kind'a turned me off.

Yeah...
Go for it, I guess. Let me know how it turns out. I'm more than willing to Fight City Hall if it's damned sure I don't have to pay court costs.
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Mutt states:

Probably not. Sears probably has a phalanx o flawyers, ready to jump. And a judgment against the corporation would not be filled through register cash at a local store.
Otherwise, great idea.
Charlie Self "If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." Charles Darwin
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Are laaaaaaaawyers allowed to participate in a small claims case ? Puff

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Of course.
--
Was that last sig line lame or what?

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Once again, incorrect or incomplete information has been passed.
You can sue them in Small Claims Court. Lawyers are not allowed in. I sued Bank of America once of $15.00 I collected. Note: It was for a fee they charge to business but not to non-business customers. It was a principal thing. Long but very funny story!
Chipper Wood has the best solution. "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money refunded." Just take it back. If they refuse to refund it or replace it at the store then find out who the "Agent of Service" is for Sears in your state and file a Small Claims action. Be sure to name the local store manage as well. Their lawyers will call/write to intimidate, but hang tough and get your refund or take your chances with the Judge.
Dave

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Of which _you_ are guilty as well. <grin>

The rules of Small Claims Courts *VARY*WIDELY* by jurisdicton. There _are_ some where lawyers are allowed. However, it's true that in -most- Small-claims courts lawyers cannot appear on behalf of clients. In a fair number, the party can bring a lawyer along, and 'consult' them, though.
In most jurisdictions, anyone who is the defendant in a small claims action has the right to *demand* that the case be removed to the 'regular' courts. The court _must_ grant the removal, if the defendant requests it. Whether or -not- the plaintiff agrees. And, suddenly, defendant's lawyers _can_ get into the act. And _all_ the formalities kick in. As well as the court costs of the 'real' court system.

Must be. What kind of a school was it that got their chief administrator involved in such a mess? Or was the principal issue a different kind of principle? <giggle>
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Robert Bonomi wrote:

He was talking about a bank. ;-)
-- Mark
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Perhaps this is a good time to consider the purchase of a different brand of jointer. Would a Jet, Delta or Powermatic work for you?
I had one of the jointers you describe. In my particular situation, the replacement knives worked as well as the original ones. However, this was 10 or so years ago. And I didn't get rid of it because it was Craftsman, only because the size of projects was too large to reliably joint parts on it.

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I would love to see you load up the machine and bring it into the local Sears store. Make a loud stink about the 'dangerous' machine and do it during a busy sale weekend. <G> Mark
jo4hn wrote:

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If you put this model number into the sears parts website you can clearly see that it was built in 1971 on the diagram. It also looks like a reletively small one, deffinitely not industrial. That thing is 30 years old, not only that but Sears was willing to give you a discount on the new one and they gave you back your money that you spent on knifes that you damaged. Tools age just like people and don't work as well when they get older. Sounds to me like they went out of their way to help you out. I know from first hand experience that no other retailer would even talk to you on a 30 year old product, IE Menards or Home Depot. Stop complaining and be happy that your tool actually lasted that long.
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Marc wrote:

The knives did not have a uniform thickness from one end to the other (off by as much as .008" IIRC). This means that the wedges were not seated properly at the same distance from the center of rotation from one end to the other. This means that the center of mass of the rapidly rotating mess is not congruent with the center of rotation. Hence it vibrates enough to move the knives and let them fly out. Could'a been a big owie so I'm not complaining about that. Quality control is another thing.
Oh and one I think does not expect this sort of damage to a lump of cast iron after only 30 years. More likely to give up are motors and bearings, stuff that moves.
I got another letter from Sears just now explaining that I am stupid. I will send this along in another post. I am happy that they cleared that up for me.     grumble,     jo4hn
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