Recently I was written by Kathy in Iowa. She spent a lot of money on a gas grill only to find it useless within 18 months. Frustrated and with warranty in hand she spent several days trying to get through to the manufacturer (and off of perpetual hold) to get replacement burners for the ones that had split open. First this company fought to avoid honoring their warranty. When they finally agreed that they had to send the burners, but tacked on a $50USD shipping and handling charge.
Kathy read the warranty and found that yes she did have to pay for shipping. In addition she would have to do all the work herself. Feeling trapped by her investment Kathy went ahead and ordered the burners. After two weeks she found out that the burners were on back order. Six months later they were still on back order. At this point Kathy gave in bought a new grill (from a different manufacturer).
Certainly no gas grill is going to last forever but a year or two is way too short, especially when the warranty makes promises the grill doesn’t seem to be able to keep. So what should you do if your grill goes bad way before its time?
Get the Manual: Even if you didn’t save the paper work for your grill, most manufacturers (even the more problematic ones) have their owners manuals available for download on their websites. The manual should tell you about any warranty. Make sure you read it and that your warranty covers the problem you are encountering so you can then:
Call the Maker: Contacting a gas grill manufacturer can be quick and easy or painful and tedious, but they are the first point of contact for any warranty claim or support issue. Many times they will resolve the issue for you and get you grilling in no time. If on the other hand they don’t then:
Contact the Retailer: Yes, they say don’t return to store.
More and more major retailers don’t want products returned to the store. However, they also don’t want an unhappy customer. Frequently retailers (who commission many store brand grills) will give store credit or even full refunds for defective grills if you are persistent. Talk to a manager and be persistent. If the grill is less than a year old you should certainly be entitled to so form of financial satisfaction. If the store manager doesn’t help, contact the company’s headquarters and consider:
Filing a Complaint: If any of the parties along the line fails to answer to your complaints you should consider filing a complaint. Some retailers will take formal complaints but you have to ask about it. The Better Business Bureau in the U.S. and Canada will take complaints and they are searchable on the internet. This doesn’t look good for the company or companies that might want to do business with them. You can also post your complaints to sites like Consumer Affairs or you can send them to me.
This covers mechanical failures of grills that make them unusable, undesirable, or just unsatisfactory. If, however, your grill is dangerous you are obligated to take this to the next level. If you have used your grill normally, not modified its design, and kept it relatively clean then it should operate normally.
If your grill has melted down, shot flames out the back, bottom, side or front or caused an injury to someone it may be a safety threat. Every year there are thousands of fires caused by gas grills and every year dozens of people are killed. While many of these instances are accidents or caused by misuse of a gas grill, some are caused by unsafe products. If you feel that your grill is unsafe to use you should report it to the proper authorities: