Milwaulkee warranty problems?


Hi All, I am a new guy in this group. Being primaraly a home machinist guy, I posted the stuff below on rec.crafts.metalworking as there are lots of hard core tool guys there. Someone there suggested that you guys would likely have some good take on this.
OK, here's the saga so far. I burn lots of wood for heat. During the winter every week or so, I grab 4 or 5 clean pallets before they end up in the dumpster and cut them up for supplemntary firewood. Great stuff for getting the stove going. Anyhow, needing a reasonable way to cut pallets into stove sized pieces, about 18 months ago I bought a Milwaukee worm drive saw (model 6377). A bit heavy, but great for my purposes. I am the only one who has ever used it, and only for cutting pallets about once a week during the cold months. I figure that this saw has maybe 20 or 25 hours on it, tops. Using it a couple of weeks back, I end a cut, pick the saw up off of the wood, the blade guard snaps shut and the the little rubber stop for the guard snaps off and gets shot out of the front of the saw by the coasting blade. I figured that it just came loose and fell out, but on closer inspection see that the aluminium post on which it mounts (which is part of the saw body casting) has snapped off. Lacking this stop, the saw is very awakward to use and perhaps a bit less than safe as it now always requires you to manually pull the guard up with your left hand to start a cut.
This tool has a 5 year warranty. So I bring it to the local Milwaukee authorized service place. They call me a few days later and tell me that the Milwaukee rep is refusing the warranty repair because there are "scratches" on the bottom of the blade guard that suggest that it was dropped. I counter that:
a) It was not dropped, I was using it.
b) The overall appearance of the tool is near new. It has clearly not spent its life on construction sites. He agrees that it is very obvious that it was never dropped from a roof or a ladder or otherwise abused.
c)Whenever one sets the saw down, the design is such that it rests, at least partially, on the blade guard. As the saw weighs in at 16.8 lbs, I don't think it is surprising that it is scratched and dinged up a bit.
d) it is enough that a $235.00 "pro-grade" tool with the reputation of Milwaulkee Electric behind it would have parts flying off of it, but seems silly to then have the company refuse to repair it. I know nothing is perfect and that stuff breaks, it's the second part that I find most bothersome.
e) I know nobody will believe this, but if I broke it, I would just fess up and buy the casting (which costs 37 bucks, not outrageous, IMHO) and change it myself. That's just how I am. But I DID NOT break it!
As I am only talking to the bench guy at the repair place, and it is not his decision to make, I politely ask if he could please refer me to the Milwaulkee rep to ask him to reconsider. He said that he would pass my complaint along to the rep, along with my phone number. I have not yet heard back from the rep. I have a call in to the regional manager as well, am awaiting a call back. To be fair, I just called the reigonal guy this morning, so it is still early on that front.
Have any of you guys had this sort of experience with Milwalkee? I own lots of their stuff, and love it all. I have never had occasion to seek a warranty repair, so I found it rather annoying that I get this sort of thing for the one time in 25 years that I do.
Am I being unreasonable here? I am interested in your experiences. Thanks very much, AL A.
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"Al A." wrote:

Doesn't sound like it for the former and re: the latter, I, like you, have a ton of Red and have yet to need the warranty.
Be interesting to hear the resolution. Good luck.
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I too am a long time Milwaukee owner. Just recently have almost talked myself into a new router. I am glad to see this post, and eagerly await to hear the outcome. I've never had a warranty problem with Red, but I want to know how the new management will be handling the customers before I buy more.
Please keep us posted on the resolution, and how fast, Milwaukee responds to your request.
Regards, Roy

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On Thu, 06 Oct 2005 20:48:14 -0500, Duane Bozarth

I wore out a milwaukee hammer drill. it was prolly 15 years old... warrantee long gone. the tool guy looked at it, told me what the parts would cost and suggested I get a new drill.
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Al A. wrote:
<snip a tale of 6377 woe>
Couple of things:
1) I would probably have used a chain saw to whack up pallets for fire wood, but that is me.
2) I have always had good luck with Milwaukee, their products, their warranty; however, they have been bought out by a holding company.
My guess is the new company bean counters are putting on the squeeze to bleed as much money as possible out of Milwaukee.
Screw the customer.
Good luck.
Lew
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Al:
You have to go around the "rep" and around the tool repair station. Call customer service and speak to a representative. I have, and they fixed my old sander with no problem, even though they had not made my model in some time.
Sometimes the local guys don't get the point across of EXACTLY what happened.
And as for the rep... the tool distrubutors change reps like I change socks. (Once a week whether I need to or not!). They always have that poor dummy out on the road burning the shoe leather making his client list. They don't have much time for an individual.
Robert
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I don't think you are being unreasonable in your desire to get your saw fixed and I'm like you in that if I break it due to my negligence, I am willing to eat the cost of fixing it - but if it's a legitimate warranty issue, I want it covered. That said - I would not have posted this long diatribe to this group and to another group before this one, prior to hearing from the Milwaukee rep. That's sorta stirring things up before you even give the company a chance to either make good or not. That part I do find unreasonable.
--

-Mike-
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Thanks for the replies/ideas.
I am trying to speak to the local rep, but nobody will give me a name or number for him. I asked if they would pass my number to him with a request to call me, and they indicated that they would. They may be lying, I have no way to know just yet, though I am not sure why they might do that.
I did call their customer service number and spoke to someone. She did give me a voicemail only number for a regional manager, who I am waiting to hear from.
I did not intend for this to come accross as a "diatribe", I was simply recounting where I am with this and asking if others have had such experiences. If this is an unusual occurance, my reaction may be very different than if it seems to happen all of the time. I have been calm, polite and courtious to every one I have spoken to. I am still operating on the assumption that they will make good on this, and will let you all know how ever it develops.
Thanks, AL A.
PS - I tried the chainsaw, but while it was really fast and efficent, the occasional stray nail would do a number on the chain. I am OK technique-wise with my chain file, but slow. I got sick of chain sharpening, and found the worm drive to be a good compromise. I finally killed off the Skil worm drive I had for 20 years (that was old and abused by a concrete form crew when I got it) and got the Milwaukee. With a mid-grade carbide blade, I can cut a lot of stuff up before needing a blade change, so long as I minimize the nail collisions.
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Hey Al - I'm sorry if I incorrectly used the term "diatribe" and if I was out of line in my reply. My confession is that I really get so sick of seeing posts here that seem to cry out that the author just can't wait to get to his keyboard and go off about some silly thing just because this is a forum in which you can say anything you want. A good amount of the posts that complain about tools, or vendors are nothing more than someone with too much time on their hands, taking the free opportunity to blast the vendor or the tool. Hell - just look at most of the BORG posts here. I'm sorry if I lumped your post into that category incorrectly in my response. I just feel that these types of posts would serve everyone a lot better if the author waited until the matter was resolved, or at least give it a fair amount of time and effort to be resolved.
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-Mike-
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A reciprocating saw with a demolition blade is what I would choose.
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Al: You might take a run at filing a written complaint through their web site. They have links to their service center and also a basic "contact us" link. Your original post pretty well laid out your problem.
I took a problem to Powermatic a year or so ago via their website and got both written and verbal attention.
Worth a try.
RonB
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Keep going on your quest for service, but don't stop too low. When I hit a wall, I write a letter and send all available evidence to the CEO or President of the company. While he never answers, someone from the executive office usually calls me in a few days. It's amazing how fast a problem can be rectified if the CEO thinks that an employee is not doing their job.
It's too bad the same doesn't seem to work with the USA Corporation, I mean government.
Alan
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