Power Tools: Ridgid….thumbs down.

I thought I’d throw this out there after a recent customer service issue I had. The nice thing about the blog, is that I can see where people visit from, if they google the site and what keywords they used to find it, if other sites pick up or link to one of my articles etc. My tool articles get picked up by quite a few tool review websites etc, which is neat to see. The bendpak lift review is all over the place, the bosch impact reviews are all over the place. So here is another. If it robs Ridgid of a few potential sales, then I feel I have done my due diligence. Cliff Notes: Ridgid sucks, Bosch rules.

I am typically not a hard to deal with person. My customer service expectations are pretty laid back. Over the last couple of years I have bought numerous power tools of which I use fairly light duty (other than my electric impacts, which are used HD). I recently discovered Bosch tools after running years of Dewalt stuff. The Dewalt stuff was always pretty good quality, but my batteries never lasted long, so I was looking for something else. When I was shopping for electric impact guns, I came across the Bosch line. Their torque numbers really impressed me (comparable to Snap On’s at over 360ft/lbs), along with a really nice warranty (and 3 years on batteries, which is pretty unheard of). I bought their big 1/2″ impact and their smaller 1/2″ impact. After a year of heavy use, I accidentally switched the motor direction switch mid use on the big impact and heard a crunch. Uh oh. Tried it a little more…crunch. Then all of a sudden it started working fine with no noises (it had never stopped working, just made a few bad noises). Called Bosch, talked with a rep who spoke perfect English, a big bonus these days. Told her that I may have accidentally damaged it by my own fault, the tool was now working fine, but wasn’t sure if I did any major damage. She said, “Don’t worry about it, it is under warranty. New one is in the mail (got it two days later), put the old one in the box and drop off at UPS with the prepaid label.” Huh? I thought. Customer service? That easy? No way……..WAY. Transaction was smooth as silk. Then I had a battery go bad in the smaller 1/2″ impact, which was very on/off with it’s power, typical of a shorting battery. Called again……same thing. New battery is in the mail. Do I need to send the old one back? Only if there is a note in the box requesting you to do so. There was not.

So on with the story. My old delta cordless drill that had been through hell and back finally gave up the ghost. It was a $50 special buy deal when new, and it wasn’t worth the money to spend on new batteries at this point in it’s career (hell of a drill for 50 bucks bought at Woodcraft). So I started looking around. I found Ridgid’s line of cordless drills, Lithium-ion with LIFETIME service contract on tool and batteries. Sweet. Picked one up. Made it through the summer just fine, great drill (it will break your wrist if you aren’t careful, a ton of torque), lots of power, good balance. Come winter, the batteries would not hold a charge in the garage (which varied from 45-60 degrees this winter). Put the batteries on the charger and it would blink defective, but if left there long enough would finally charge, but the tool would only work intermittently when hitting the trigger. So I call up Ridgid customer service and talk to the lady who answered the phone: I picked up on her initial attitude immediately…..wait it….I take that back, it was the same attitude the entire phone call. She was definitely not smiling in the mirror as she was talking with me on the phone.
“Hello”
“Yes, I have a drill that only works intermittently (explained the entire situation to her), and need to have it repaired”
“Do you have your lifetime service number”
“Uhhhhh not on me, but I did register the tool online when I bought it, can you look me up by last name”
“No I can’t do that. How old is the tool. Give me the serial number”
“Well less than a year old, Ok, it is blah blah whatever the number on the tool was”
“Ok you will have to take it to the nearest service center for repair”
Pause……pause….uncomfortable pause
“SIR YOU WILL HAVE TO TAKE IT TO THE NEAREST CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER FOR REPAIR”
“ok, great, are you going to tell me where that would be?”
“Where are you located? (Didn’t she just look up my info via the serial number?)”
“Kansas” (Kansas City Metro, but on the Kansas Side)
“Sir you will have to take it to Wichita.”
“Uh ok that’s great, but that is a 4 hour drive one way.”
“Well I’m sorry”
“You don’t have anything closer?”
“Not in Kansas”
“Well for god’s sake, how about Missouri”
“Well I have one in Kansas City, MO”
“Well there we go, can I have the contact info?”
She gives me the info
“Great, now how does this go down?”
“You have to take the tool, charger, and batteries to the center for repair. Then you can pick it up in a few days”
“Awesome, so I have to make 2 100 mile round trips to get my drill repaired?”
“Is there anything else”
“Absolutely not, you have been so helpful”

Luckily the service tool center (who is just a regular tool shop authorized to do ridgid repair) I talked to was much more accommodating and polite. So I wouldn’t have to waste the gas on two trips, they will have me just send the tool and such in via the mail, and they will mail it back when done. Great, I can handle that, a small shipping charge to save my time and gas. Now, luckily, I have other drills around that I can use in the meantime, but if you only had this one drill, you are out of luck.

From the couple times I have dealt with Bosch’s customer service, and the 1 time I dealt with Ridgid’s, I will only be buying Bosch power tools from here out. I hope they start storming the industry with their excellent customer service, something the other tool manufacturers could learn something from.

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2 Comments

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Tom

July 20, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I wish I had read this before I bought the Ridgid. My experience was eerily similar….with two different call takers. Home Crappo is also not much help.

    porschedoc

    July 20, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    I ended up having good service with the repair center here in KC, but it was about a 80 mile round trip to drop it off, then another 80 mile round trip to pick it up. Batteries were shot.

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