A Customer Service Nightmare

New tractor is a dud and manufacturer won't honor warranty

I try to keep things upbeat, so I hope this isn't too much of a downer. This is for everybody who has ever spent hours on the phone talking with customer service until they were "blue in the face." The result is frustration from continuous misunderstanding, miscommunication, and the fine art of running in circles. We have had this experience with one of the tractors we purchased this spring. I kinda like this gig, so I will refrain from naming names.

This has been a long and drawn out ordeal. I thought by now we would have some resolution or closure, but that seems unlikely to ever happen.

It all started last spring when my "new" tractor arrived with 35 hours more than the contract read. Regardless of my complaints the out-of-state dealer refused to remedy the situation. I even offered to pay the freight back and take back my old tractor. He continued to reference material that showed a 100-hour tractor could be LEASED as new.

I didn't lease a tractor, I bought it.

That wasn't the worst of it. We had about 17 planting days this spring. The tractor was disabled for all but 7 of them. The local dealer did their best to get it going, but it seemed to be one thing after another: Hydraulic filter problems, DEF issues, and repeated hydraulic valve problems.

What do you do with a tractor that can't run the equipment it was purchased for? Well, you go rent a replacement. We had 75 hours in rental tractors to keep going.

I was chastised by the local dealership's owner for making noise and being upset that a brand new tractor isn't performing properly. I had called the customer service number posted on the window, and complained to everyone I could. No help there, they would get back to me in no more than three business days.

All we wanted was for it to work. Apparently a tractor under warranty isn't good enough, you must have two, one for a spare! Under company policy they should have provided us a loaner, but that never happened.

This summer after things settled down and the tractor made it through side-dress season, we decided to go ahead and rattle some more chains. Surely someone would have some common sense and show some understanding. We sent letters to people up the ladder who we could find addresses for.

Today, we received the first response. It was clear the individual did not read our letter. What a disappointment, though it wasn't unexpected. He asked questions and made statements about items which had been specifically addressed in our letter.

Bottom line
I could go on, but here is the bottom line: We have been left with the feeling that this company doesn't care one bit what the customer thinks. The top down doctrine is focused on pushing product out the door, not service after the sale.

Their company (regional management, service, etc.) personnel won't even give you a business card or put a direct number on their letterhead. They want the local dealer to take care of any headaches or 'problem children.'

The sister company is the polar opposite. Multiple times a year we receive calls asking for input, making queries about satisfaction, etc. I have the contact information for regional personnel. Another company trying to get on the farm had a national sales manager call. There is definitely a difference in companies. We will be headed a different direction the next time. We just can't get there fast enough!

The loser in the whole situation is the salesman, whom we respect. He worked long and hard to get us into his brand of tractor. All his effort was thrown away by an unresponsive deadbeat company attitude. We regret this has transpired this way.

The opinions of Kyle Stackhouse are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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