Sunday, October 16, 2011

My DeWalt Service Dilemma

I have for years been a dedicated DeWalt tool fan... and just this past week pulled all my DeWalt tools together to take this photo.  I then did an inventory of my DeWalt tools and counted 13 cordless products and 14 A/C powered tools.

There is hardly a day in my life that my hand does not touch a DeWalt tool.  

I have always bought only DeWalt saw blades, drill bits and cutting discs... and in fact just bought both 10" and 12" saw DeWalt blades this past week.  But our local Slegg Construction Materials Ltd. store has wronged me in my last two customer service events... and I am greatly distressed to think of where I will be getting future Dewalt service.  As you will see, I would be crazy to give them another tool to send off for service... and I will be hard put to want to even buy another DeWalt tool because of this.

"Screw me once, shame on you.  Screw me twice, shame on me."

A couple of months ago I stopped in at Slegg Lumber in Sidney, a DeWalt dealer, and asked Dave Bennett if he could help me with belt alignment on this sander.  I told him the problems I was having with my sander.

When I noticed sanding belts were breaking far too often I decided to try to find out why.  Shirley had been using the sander in prepping the sun decks this past summer... which involved sanding some already painted cedar.  Some of paint dust got into the works and over time formed globs of paint on the front rollers.  I deducted that possibly these thick, uneven globs of old paint might be the reason the sanding belts were breaking far too often.  In any event, I went to work and cleaned off the rollers.

I could clean the lower roller easily enough after the sanding belt was removed... but to get to the upper roller I had to remove the front assembly.  When a couple of small rollers fell out as I took it apart, I was worried I might not get it back together the same way that it came from the factory.  I figured that these small rollers had something to do with the adjustment of the belt tracking alignment.  Sure enough, after trying a couple of possibilities of where to put those rollers in the re-assembly I realized I couldn't get the tool to work again as it used to... I lost the ability to adjust belt tracking.

Dave Bennett sent me to a tool website that showed the parts, but that did not help me to know where to put these two small alignment rollers.  So I took the sander in to Dave and told him I needed help to get my sander put together right.  All the parts were there, but the alignment rollers were not in the right place.

So, he sent it off and a month later I got a call that the sander was back.  When I went to pick it up he said they replaced the front assembly and he handed me a bill for $110.  I complained about what ever happened to simple service?  This same sander had gone thru a DeWalt service overhaul under warranty during my first year I owned it... and I was told then they changed the front assembly.

Dave told me that the way they now were handling service issues on DeWalt tools was that they were not calling the owners with any estimate or approval for work needed... that they would just look at the tool and replace any worn parts, give the tool a 90-day satisfaction guarantee and whatever it cost we would have to pay.

I told him that I didn't believe that this tool needed a new front assembly as this tool had not done that much work since it had been rebuilt... I just took the tool apart and could not get it put back together right again.  I was not happy to have to pay $110 to have them but my tool back together again.  It didn't even look to me that the front assembly was replaced, as the front roller was the same one that I had cleaned paint globs off.

My second DeWalt service issue involved this framing air nailer.  As I started to use it this fall I notice after only a few clips of nails that there was a serious air leak in the gun... and it seemed to be around the trigger.  I opened it up and found that one of the O-rings had been blown.  So I did a little checking online and found that there was a shop in Victoria that had the right O-ring... and I picked it up and put it in.  However, there still was an air leak.

So I took it into Slegg Lumber and they sent it into DeWalt repair service.  Again I got a call that the nailer was back and ready for pick-up.  However when I went to get it they told me that they changed the cylinder and piston, new O-rings and trigger... cost was $148 plus tax... $165.76.

That is when I hit the roof.  This tool had not even used a full box of spikes.  I told Dave Bennett that when I bought the nailer I also bought 4 boxes of 3" spikes... and at this point had not used even one box of spikes!  When I had the tool apart to change the O-ring I was amazed at how clean and perfect the cylinder and piston was.  I told him that something really smells wrong with this.

When I got home I looked at the box of spikes... and in fact I had only used half of the first box.  So, it sure bothered me that these guys were making decisions and replacing some significant parts with no customer approval.  This seems totally wrong to me and I have vowed not to give any more of my DeWalt tools to Slegg Lumber for service.  What a rip off!

This past week I stopped in at Slegg and Dave Bennett was not in so I asked to talk to the store manager.  He was not in at the time either, so I asked who was in charge when the manager was not there?  They directed me to Dan Chan... who listened attentively to my DeWalt customer service beef and said he would look into it and get back to me.  That was last Tuesday... and I have not heard anything as of this point in time.  I had sent an email to him on Friday, but at the end of the day found a "No-go" message in my Inbox... so he did not get it.

Dan Chan took a copy of this receipt.  He told me that my tool was sent by courier to the DeWalt Service depot in Burnaby and back.  I would like to see the paperwork on that cost.  Also I would like to see the paperwork on what the DeWalt Service Depot did on my tool.  There must be some record of what they did, but Slegg has not yet given me anything that tells me this.  Is this not a reasonable request?  My only record of the transaction is the copy in the photo above.

I have been wondering if my case is an isolated situation, or are there others who are not happy with the new DeWalt customer service policy at Slegg Lumber.  Any suggestions?

BONUS SLEGG STORY:  About a month ago when Shirley went to Victoria by herself I gave her a list of things I needed to pick up at Slegg's or Home Depot.  She went to Slegg Lumber first and got everything on the list, including a box of 2-3/8 inch nails for my DeWalt framing nailer.  On my list I had put 2-1/2 inch nails, but it seems like nobody stocks any in this part of the world... they all are using 2-3/8 inch nails.  So, after Shirley bought them at Slegg's she double checked at Home Depot and asked them if they handled 2-1/2 inch nails for my air nailer.  They looked thru all the stock and none could be found.  However she saw the same boxes of 2-3/8 inch nails there... and the price was $65.99.  She didn't know what she paid at Slegg's so was anxious to see what they had charged us... Would you believe $113.76 for the identical box of 5000 Paslode nails!

So we called Slegg's and asked if they had made a mistake.  No they said, that was the price.  And since I had not had that item previously quoted on my material list the best they could do was to take off 15%... $96.69. We told them that Home Depot had them on at 65.99 and they said that they could not even buy them for that price... which I seriously doubted.  We told them they would be getting this box back if that was the case.

A GOOD Slegg Customer Service Story

On our next trip to Victoria I called to Slegg in Sidney and asked if they had 1" stair tread material in 12 foot lengths.  They said not in their store, but the man I talked with said he thought the Admiral Way store did.  So I asked him to give me that number and I called them.  Yes they did and Jeff told me it would be at the front counter when I arrived.  I asked Jeff if I could pick up other supplies quoted by the Sidney store and they said yes... so I picked up a lift of 1/2 plywood and a couple of 14 foot 2 x 12's for stair stringers.  While there I thought I would check with them on their best price for 2-3/8 inch nails... and he said that the very best price he could give me was $75.65.  I told him the Home Depot had them at $65.99.  Jeff said that he had reduced the quote to cost plus 20 points... and that was his best shot.  From this I deducted his cost was about $63.00.

I was very impressed with the customer service at this store.  For example the yard serviceman who brought me the 2 x 12's on his fork lift asked me what I was using them for.  I told him I was making stair stringers with them.  He said, "These have some checks in them and you may have some of the stringer points fall off.  Come with me and let's pick out some better ones than this."  I really appreciated that.  We went to the stack of l4 foot material... he lifted off the top pallet and opened a new pallet and we picked through more than a dozen boards to find a couple of perfect ones.  I told him how much I appreciated him looking out for me.  That was an exceptional man.  He also helped me load the plywood and banded my load together so I could get everything home safely on the truck.  Check out the beautiful banding job that he did for me in the photo below.  14 foot 2 x 12's on a short box.  We cut 4 feet off the 12-foot stair treads so the 8 foot pieces fit on top of the plywood lift... and then I put a couple of 4 foot ones on the end gate to reduce the fulcrum point overhang.  We then banded the 8-foot treads on top of the plywood so there was no risk of them going thru the back window of the truck.  A perfect loading job... a thing of beauty!

So our next stop was to buy the $65.99 box of nails at Home Depot and then take the over priced box back to Slegg in Sidney.  When I handed Dave Bennett our Slegg receipt with the box of nails and told him why they were getting them back he asked me if I had already bought another box at Home Depot... and I showed him the Home Depot receipt.  He indicated that he would have matched their price if I hadn't already bought them.  This was the day I picked up my air nailer from him, so he knew that he was off side with me for the repair costs of $165.76 on a nailer.

Isn't customer service fun?

I sure hope that Slegg can get their act together on how to handle DeWalt Customer Service.  The way they are doing it now may work easier for them... but they are driving customers away from wanting to buy DeWalt tools and for sure I won't use them for repairs unless I can talk to the DeWalt service shop.  In both of the situations I do not believe that my instructions were communicated to the service repair shop.  Somehow I do not think that my case is an isolated one... and there are likely many others who have been shocked by huge repair costs and wish they were in the loop on approving costly repairs.


  1. Interesting story. Is there any other place you can take your DeWalt tools for repair on Vancouver island?

  2. Very informative and great details!! Wonderful blog,Great article and blog. Thanks for sharing your design talents with the rest of us.Read more

  3. Amazing collection of DeWalt and I am interested to read here for more! And too bad you experienced something like that, too. I guess I am lucky I didn't have any encounters like that.