rants & recipes

Good customer service …

Posted by trktos on 25-September-2008

Okay, we’ve had a Bosch Universal Mixer for a little less than a year. When we got the thing, it had this white petroleum jelly stuff on it … ran it through the dishwasher, which helped to distribute the jelly and bake it into a glue-like substance that even the miraculous Goo-Gone couldn’t help. After many washings and a little concern – What was that oily, lard-look-alike stuff, anyway? And why was it on my mixer? – we discovered that a little rubbing alcohol worked wonders in dissolving it. Yay, clean mixer.

Well, throughout these 10 months, our Bosch has had a pretty easy life. We’ve used it maybe 20 times – quite a few times for easy tasks like mashed potatoes, using the blender, making cake frosting. The other times, for two-loaf batches of bread (this thing is supposed to handle, like, 5 or 6 times that) and twice for making seitan. This is a machine touted by the homeschooling faction – you know, mothers with, like 10 kids, who bake about 5 loaves of bread a day. Every day.

So, a couple days ago, I used it to mix bread. It sounded kinda bad – sorta like a metal-on-metal knocking sound. Wasn’t absolutely horrible but I did remove the bowl to see what it would sound like, without having any work to do. It sounded a little better but …

I noticed this gooey, dark substance, oozing up from around the moving part in the bottom. Not good. Figuring it was still under warranty and there was no way I was tossing my bread – flour, like everything else, has gotten really expensive lately! – I finished kneading. (Bread was really good, btw!)

I posted my predicament online, and was told by several, 20-30 year+ Bosch users that this wasn’t normal and I should call the company.

One lady told me, though, the same thing had happened to her and the company told her she wasn’t drying the bowl well, so water was rusting the metal. They told her there was no oil down there to escape. I needed to dry my bowl better. A solution I thought was plausible until I got home and inspected the mixer again.

Expecting great difficulty with a return, we took photos of the goop and photos showing it not-dispersing in water (like it should, if it were rusty-watery-stuff) … Evin even took a little bit and stuck it in the flame of our gas stove – it caught fire and burned like a Roman candle! By this point, I was convinced it was definitely some oil type substance, broken transmission seal …

With some hesitation, I called customer service. I had been instructed to ask for a specific guy and, surprisingly, was transferred to him directly. I briefly described the situation and he told me that the gunk was food – stuff I had been mixing – that gets down into that area and eventually looks like grease. He also said that my machine shouldn’t sound bad and he’d send me a new one. No real questions – he didn’t even ask for any proof that I had actually purchased a mixer. He said the two events – gunk and sounding bad – are not related because there’s no oil down there to escape. He said the gunk was normal and could happen again with the new mixer.

On the one hand, I’m happy (and a little shocked) about the 100%-no-hassle exchange. On the other, I feel like there’s a bit of dishonesty going on – this has to be some kind of lubricant, coming up out of the machine. Our mixer bowl is like a bundt pan – with a tall column in the middle and no holes or seams in the bottom – nothing’s been escaping and selectively filling one little crevice in the machine. And besides, mixed-up food would dry and flake and get crusty – this stuff acts like pure oil and doesn’t dry up at all.

I fear there’s a bit of “image preservation” going on here – Bosch; at least this mixer; has a superb reputation … although we do have the new, “improved” model and you know how that usually goes. I also fear getting another machine with the same faulty design or whatever and being stuck in an exchange cycle, when, eventually, I’ll wish I had my money back to invest in the other mixer that competes with the Bosch Universal.

You be the judge … and for the record, I’ve made cake frosting with it, but never *chocolate* cake frosting. Which is a shame, come to think of it … will have to remedy that soon!

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