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Email the author:
bill@geektrap.com

A tale of my experience trying to get a defective thermostat replaced.

Below is a slightly redacted version of my notes regarding my experience with getting service on an Atwood product that I purchased new from CD RV Parts a couple of months ago. Names and numbers have been changed to protect the guilty.


7/10/08: Called Atwood customer service and reported the defective thermostat. Was told that I would have to contact one of their local distributors to have it sent in for replacement/repair. Contacted Lee's Propane, who told me repeatedly that Atwood did not make a dual-speed furnace, and that I must be mistaken. Finally gave up and called Leach Camper Sales. After a couple of days of phone tag with their "warranty return" person, he called me back and told me that he would have to charge me $95 to send it in, since we didn't purchase it from them, and suggested that I contact Atwood directly.

7/14/08 Called CD RV Parts. Was told the person I needed to talk to was out and left a message for a callback. No one ever called.

7/15/08: Called CD RV Parts. Left another message. No one called.

7/17/08: Called CD RV Parts and asked to speak to the manager. Talked to "Chris" (?) who told me he would call Atwood himself and get them to have someone call me right back. No one ever called.

7/21/08: Called CD RV Parts and spoke to the manager again. He apologized that no one had called me back and said he would call them again as soon as we hung up, and would "stay involved in the entire process personally" to get it resolved. He called right back to verify the order number and asked if the thermostat was the one included with the Atwood furnace. I confirmed that it was. He said he would get someone from Atwood to call me right away. Again, no call from either Atwood or CD RV.

7/22/08 @ 1:45pm: Called Atwood's service department. Was told by an automated message that I was caller "one four". After sitting on hold for approximately 5 minutes, was told I was caller "one two", which made me think I'd be there for hours. I pressed "1" to leave a voice mail, left name and number and explained the situation and asked that someone call me back right away.

7/22/08 @ 2:00pm: Sent the following through Atwood's web site:

On 3/25/08, I purchased an "Atwood Excalibur XT 2-Stage 23/34K BTU RV Furnace", which included a digital thermostat, from CD RV Parts Center. I installed the furnace and thermostat, and they worked fine; the thermostat was also controlling a roof AC unit. Approximately 10 days ago, I was in the RV and noticed the thermostat showed "99" degrees. I set it to cool, and even after the temperature felt much cooler, it was still saying "99". I cycled power to the furnace/thermostat off and on, and it showed a correct temperature for a few minutes. Then it said "35". Since then, it has been randomly changing between 99 and 35, although it still occasionally shows the right temperature. I initially called your company directly and was told I needed to go through a local distributor. One of the two local distributor's service departments told me repeated that Atwood did not make a dual-speed furnace, and that I must be mistaken. The other told me that since it was not purchased through them, they would have to charge me $95 to send it in. I then contacted CD RV Parts and asked about a return, although their web site indicates that the manufacturer should be contacted for warranty issues. It took me three days to get in touch dwith the right person at CD RV, after which I've been playing "phone tag" with him for the past 4 or 5 days. I call him, and he tells me he's calling Atwood "right now" and will have them call me right away to get this resolved. Then, no one calls. I've repeated this process three times now. All I want is to have the defective thermostat replaced with a new unit; I can remove the old one and send it in, if that is what's needed. We will be wanting to use the RV soon, and I will be extremely unhappy if we can't because of your defective thermostat and horrible customer service. Please call or e-mail and let me know how we should proceed with this. Thank you.

7/23/08 @ 2:24pm Called Chantel at 801-872-xxxx Was asked "Chantel who?" and then transferred to Elkhart. After some poking around in voice menus, got an operator and asked for Chantel. Got Chantel's voice mail. Left a message with my phone #, the serial # from the the furnace (2xxxx2) and the date of purchase from CD RV Parts Center (3/25/2008) and the order # (1xxx5). Told her that CDRV was supposed to have contacted her and let her know the situation.

7/23/08 @ 2:54pm

Chantel called me back. She didn't seem to know what I was talking about. Accidentally got disconnected (my fault). After waiting a few minutes for her to call back, I called the number on caller-id (574-266-xxxx) and got her voice mail. Left her my name and number along with a message that we'd gotten cut off, and to please call me back.

7/23/08 @ 3:45PM

Called Chantel back and she answered this time. Explained the whole situation to her again, and was told that I should go through one of the two local distributors. Told her about my experience with them, and she said she remembered the conversation with CDRV about this now. She said that I could get a replacement through her, but since I was a retail customer without an account, I'd have to buy a new thermostat from them, and would then get reimbursed when I returned the defective one. Gave her my shipping information and e-mail; she said she would send an Excel spreadsheet to return the defective part, with a return address label and an "RGN" number. Then she put me on hold to answer another call and said she would enter my order while she talked to the other customer. She came back and took my credit card information to charge the $151.28 for the new thermostat. Will ship tomorrow (7/24) from Salt Lake City. UPS Ground. This is a proprietary thermostat which, "has a constant varying voltage signal going back and forth to the furnace" and therefore I can't use any other thermostat with this furnace. I asked if it was going to be a prepaid shipping label she was sending, and she said "no" but that I should include the amount the shipping cost me on the return paperwork. Total call length for this (non-toll-free) call was 14 minutes.

7/28/08

Received invoice for replacement thermostat in the mail. Still no thermostat.

7/29/08

Received replacement thermostat.

8/1/08

Installed replacement, which seems to be working so far.

8/31/08

Just noticed that the $151.28 still hasn't been credited back to my credit card. usps.gov tracking shows:

Label/Receipt Number: 0307 3330 0000 xxxx xxxx Status: Delivered

Your item was delivered at 10:10 AM on August 7, 2008 in SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84104. ---

So I e-mailed xxxxxxx@atwoodmobile.com and asked her what was up with my refund on RGN 3xxxxxxx5.


9/4/08

Received the following e-mail mid-afternoon:

Bill,

I am writing about your warranty claim with Atwood. Your emails have been forwarded to me, but unfortunately this is the first I have heard about this ongoing issue. I would be more than happy to help but it would be easier if I could speak to you personally (on the phone so that I can get the story straight) The story is long with many emails included. I don’t want to cause any more confusion.

If you would like to call me, my direct number is 801-954-xxxx or you can email your phone # to me and I will call you. I apologize for the confusion with all the phone calls you’ve had to make. I will assist you in getting this resolved as soon as we can get in touch on the phone. Just for your information we are closed on Fridays here at the Salt Lake facility so after today, I won’t be in till Monday morning.

Thank you,

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx Warranty Administrator Salt Lake Operations 801-954-xxxx

--- 9/4/08 (later in the afternoon)

I forwarded this entire log to her, and reiterated my request that my refund be mailed ASAP.

9/8/08

She didn't get back to me until Monday. It took a telephone conversation with her, and couple more e-mails, but she finally said they'd send my check, and that it might take 1-2 weeks to arrive.


9/18/08

Check arrived. Needless to say, I deposited it quickly.


Needless to say, this whole experience hasn't blown any sunshine up my skirt with regard to Atwood Mobile Products. Your mileage may vary.




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