Thursday, October 1, 2009

Buy your VinoTemp at Costco or not at all.

Last year I bought a Vinotemp wine refrigerator thing. We had shopped around a bit and we needed one. Storing our wine collection in the semi-converted linen closet wasn't working. I'm kind of a conservation freak and the house gets to 80-90 inside on summer days when we're not home and I won't leave the AC on, so we were losing very good wine as the corks just can't handle that. We looked at a bunch of different brands and decided the Vinotemp was the best price-capacity-look combination for where we needed to put it.

BTW - tangent here - There are people who like these and people who don't. Vinotemps let the temperature fluctuate about 8 degrees. Wine aficionados don't like that. I'm not an aficionado. I'm a drinker. So I don't mind. The vinotemps are also noisy, so you don't want one anywhere in your house you don't mind a little noise.

Ok - back to Costco. I was going to buy the thing from off their web site. Then my wife and I were at Costco and we saw it sitting there. I didn't want to deal with putting it in my truck, etc., so I went to and sure enough it was there. We saved about $150, delivery was free, etc. Perfect.

Fast forward one year and two months. The thing died. I called Vinotemp. 'Sorry, it's over a year old. We can't do anything for you.' (no lie - pretty much that abrupt). (actually makes me want to start another company that makes these things so I can kill them with good customer service as theirs is simply horrible in every respect - but that's yet another tangent). Then about 15 minutes later I got another email saying that "as a goodwill gesture they MIGHT be able to arrange a call with a service tech so he can tell me what parts I need to fix it myself." Huh? I emailed them back and said, "Can I just pay for someone to come out and fix it?" "no." SERIOUSLY?

Anyway ... (breathing now as this all happened yesterday and this kind of stuff really does get under my skin.) (anyone want to start a wine cooler business with me? We'll call it "Don'tbuyaVinotempbecausetheydon'" (I have a degree in marketing so I'm really good at coming up with catchy names like that.) (do I have enough hanging ('s in this now?)

About 3PM yesterday it dawned on me - while I was meeting with the lovely and wonderful Sara France - that I had ordered the damn thing from (not that while I was meeting with Sara I was thinking about other things. Of course, I was only thinking about fun, new, catchy things to put on the Pictage Blog!) I went to their website and found a number and called them. A very helpful customer service rep said, 'oh - yes, you bought that through us, of course you can return it for a full refund.' I had two options, I can take it to the warehouse or they'll stop by and pick it up. Either way I get my money back - no questions asked. I decided to take it to the warehouse because the thought of the thing bouncing around in the back of my truck makes me smile.

Now I have to figure out what other options will work? Moral of the story? Don't by a Vinotemp unless you're going to buy it from Costco.