A Slick Way To Lose Your Warranty

, , , , | Right | March 26, 2018

(I work for a company that provides technical support for outdoor power equipment. This conversation is with a woman who has a riding lawnmower, and wants to know why it caught fire after she added oil to it.)

Customer: “Why the hell would my mower catch fire?! You have s***ty equipment. How dare you sell something so dangerous to people?! We paid over $1,500 for this piece of s***. Now, figure out what’s wrong, and get me a brand-new g**d*** mower that won’t blow the f*** up!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am. I’m sorry this happened. I’ve honestly never heard of this happening before! Could you tell me the location you added oil to, and how much oil?”

Customer: “I added it in the little hole that had a cap that said oil! And I added the whole bottle!”

Me: “Okay, this model holds almost a gallon of oil. It shouldn’t have spilled over or caught fire. Do you know the type of oil you added? It could be pertinent to the incident ticket I have to file for your claim. Again, I’m sorry this happened, but I can get you squared away quickly.”

Customer: “I used regular oil! I always have a few bottles in my cupboard! My husband normally does these things, but I had it on hand and it was easy enough!”

Me: *wondering who keeps motor oil in a cupboard* “Ma’am, what brand of oil was it?”

Customer: “I don’t see how that matters. It was just regular, store-brand vegetable oil! Just send this stupid thing in so I can get on with my life!”

Me: “Um… Ma’am, are you saying you added cooking oil to your gas-powered, engine-powered riding mower?”

Customer: “Well, yes, obviously! Oil is oil, isn’t it!? Now, what are you going to do about this?! It hasn’t even been used! Do something to get me a new one that works and isn’t s***!”

Me: “Ma’am… I’m truly sorry to tell you, but we cannot assist you. You have voided the warranty on the product. Adding vegetable oil is not acceptable for an engine. It runs on engine oil. I’m sorry, ma’am. I can’t submit this ticket. It’s not a product defect.”

Customer: “Yes, it is! Engine oil, vegetable oil, rabbit oil! What’s the difference? It’s all the same! You companies just want more money out of us hard-working folks! Submit it now!”

Me: “No, ma’am, I cannot. I’m sorry. There’s a very large difference between vegetable and engine oil — mainly that adding vegetable oil will set fire to your engine. That’s not an approved substance. This is not a manufacture defect, nor product defect.”

(At this point my supervisor is behind me, staring at me, has heard everything, and is trying not to laugh or cry at the idiocy of this woman.)

Customer: “Well, what kind of defect is it, then?! I demand you submit a ticket.”

(My supervisor signals me to tell her a specific error we use in customer service, but never say to a customer. So, I take the chance.)

Me: “Well, ma’am, I hate to tell you, but unfortunately, this is an ID10T error. It’s not something we’re responsible for.”

Customer: “What does that mean?! Actually, I don’t give a s***! Get me a f****** mower. I know you’re stupider than rocks, but this isn’t complicated. You got your d*** info. When can I get my refund or new mower?!”

Me: “Ma’am, you won’t. You added cooking oil to an engine-driven product. That voids any and all warranties. It is customer error, and there is absolutely nothing I can do for you. Now, I am sorry this happened, but the most I can offer you is a new engine with a 10% discount on it, or a new mower with a 15% discount. Both those offers end when this call ends. But I will ask you to be respectful to me, or I will not continue this call.”

Customer: “This is outrageous! No. A thousand times no. I want a new f****** mower! I’ll call my lawyer, you stupid b****!”

Me: “Ma’am, you have been warned. You’ve been abusive since the start of the call. It is not our fault that you wrongly decided cooking oil and engine oil were the same and added the wrong one to your machine. It is yours. I know for a fact that the oil cap has an imprint of the acceptable oil type. You chose to ignore it. Good luck with your mower, and good day.” *ends call*

Supervisor: “There’s no way what I think happened really happened.”

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