Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why NOT to Buy a Weil-McLain Product, EVER

A calling out, with the hope that you will learn from our mistake.

You'll recall that we use a hydronic radiant system for whole-house heating and have a super high efficiency boiler as our heat source for both that and our domestic hot water. Our Weil-McLain Ultra boiler is the one and only heat and hot water source for our house.

Or it was up until Monday afternoon, when it catastrophically failed by cracking its heat exchanger at just over three years old.

Which wouldn't be so bad if if weren't for the fact that it's now Thursday evening, 72-plus hours and countless phone calls later, and we're still without a working boiler/heat/hot water because Weil-McLain, an American company that claims to build the highest quality products and be one of the best manufacturers of boilers out there, apparently doesn't see fit to have parts available to repair their products.

So we're here, in the middle of a Minnesota winter with a broken boiler, WAITING FOR THE FACTORY TO MAKE A PART.

Yep. You read that correctly.
And as an added bonus, we get to pay $150 in extra shipping to get it here "faster".

Best case, we might have a working boiler again on Saturday (almost six days from when this began) but I'm not holding my breath because so far the service, or more specifically, the COMPLETE AND UTTER LACK OF SERVICE OR ACCEPTANCE OF RESPONSIBILITY FROM WEIL-MCLAIN, has been astounding.

But it gets better.
The part we need, the heat-exchanger manifold, basically IS the boiler minus a couple of electronic components and pipes. And there is not one but TWO of the exact same model boiler right here at the Weil-McLain distributor in Minnesota that they could have authorized a swap-out with (or gotten the part from) on Tuesday, and we'd have been warm and happy by now. As it went, this was never even suggested by Weil-McLain. They were content to tell the HVAC contractor we're working with they'd get back to them with the date the factory could "start making" the part. It was my trying to come up with a work-around that discovered, to my insane frustration after a day and a half of unreturned phone calls, that what we needed was only an hour from the house.
But getting a part or a swap-out from an hour away instead of putting in an order at a factory for a part that has to be made and then shipped here would have made sense and been easy, and as I have been so painfully reminded these last few days, the plumbing and HVAC industry is wholly allergic to doing anything that makes sense or is easy.

To quote Boy, after yet another long and frustrating day of dealing with Weil-McLain and getting absolutely nowhere:
"I don't trust the Weil-McLain warranty anymore. They are masters of redirection, excuses, and outright lies."
I couldn't agree more, and as far as I am concerned, I would pay double to have their piece of junk Ultra boiler out of my house. Products fail and things break, yes, and that I can forgive, but any company who's business model is this neglectful and ignorant of the customer and this inattentive to after-sales support while touting their high quality, "15 year warranty, American made" as a selling point, is, IMO, selling just that.
I've had better service and gotten parts faster for a $30 blender.
Rest assured, if (or when?) it breaks again, I'm going to mount it on top of my roof parapet with a big flashing arrow and sign declaring what I think about both it and Weil-McLain.


Anonymous Angelo said...

What a nightmare! I can't imagine a company being so incredibly backwards. In this day and age of mass communication, don't they worry about bad publicity? Have you mentioned to them you publish a blog with thousands of readers?

Unfortunately, I haven't heard that any other boiler manufacturers have better track records. Muchkins are supposed to be great, but if your plumber isn't familiar with them, they can have problems too (nothing near this drastic).

Good luck, and thank you for taking this public.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Shelley said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! Try to stay warm until your part arrives. :)

And thanks for getting the word out. Weil-McLain don't know who they're messing with!

SPLATGIRL! (cue superhero music)

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up. I googled Weil-McLain after reading your article. You are not alone.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I am, as I write, dealing with Weil-McLain's warranty dept. I come to find out that there is a warranty card (?!?) that needs to be sent in, which of course I was not informed of by the installer, so a nearly $700 on a 4-year-old boiler might not be covered. If I can prove install date (which I can) one would figure that would be enough. In the 21st century warranty cards are a joke, and are most certainly a joke for a $5000 boiler. I will update my experience as they play out.

12:10 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Yea, I didn't even bother to rant about this part, because it's just so completely ridiculous and A FIRST RATE SCAM.
Our deal is that I SENT IN our warranty card just like I was supposed to, but the second part of that scam is that you're then "supposed to" get a confirmation of your warranty registration back in the mail. Which of course I never got, and being unaware of this, didn't follow up on. But yea, seriously, are they kidding with this crap? So, I was screwed on ever seeing a dime from the labor warranty right from the get go....or...maybe it's my bad for not following up on the freakin confirmation card? PUHLEEZE! But dont' beat yourself up, because aside from this, there are about three other ridiculous, impossible stipulations you'd need to adhere to for the labor "warranty". I believe their whole "5 year total warranty" is a TOTAL SCAM and purposely designed so that the chances of anyone ever getting a dime for labor are zero. When we asked the repair guy about this, he just laughed and said he's never heard of anyone ever getting the labor covered.
And for the record, we're still waiting on our parts warranty check. IT'S BEEN THREE MONTHS. so far.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Thanks splatgirl!
Brian here again. I talked to April at "marketing" at Weil McLain. As you can guess my boiler isn't covered. Not only that, but when I told her the part she said "well, some parts we consider to be consumables"!! It's rural Wisconsin, it was -32 degrees last month, the part has to be ordered. A CONSUMABLE?! What a bunch of garbage. I am sending my emails, and a link to this blog, to the WI state atty general's office, for good measure.

11:47 AM  

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