Monday, September 3, 2007

Grohe You Get What You Pay For...Best Warranty

There is an old saying that goes "You Get What You Pay For." I can tell you that I have always been a bit skeptical about this saying because it was my belief that some items that cost more then others are not necessarily better or worth the extra cost.

This is certainly not the case when purchasing Grohe plumbing fixtures as I have found out over the many years I have had them installed in my home. My first experience with Grohe goes back almost 25 years ago when I purchased a faucet for my bathroom sink. Some years later, we added a second floor on our New Jersey ranch home and once again decided to go with the top manufacturers at that time. The water basins and sinks were made by Villeroy & Boch, all the faucets, showers and tub hardware was Grohe. Now over the years, I have always loved my Grohe items, because the quality is beyond compare. The faucets are made by Grohe in Germany and they have been engineered to last a lifetime and look as good 20 years later as they did the day they were installed.

A couple of years ago I purchased a Grohe kitchen sink faucet, it wasn't inexpensive and I think I paid almost $400 for it, but even the Home Depot units from China were over $150 and they just didn't compare. The chrome finish is flawless and is hard and shiny as a diamond. All you need to do is spray it from time to time with a mixture of plain white vinegar and water and wipe off any white lime deposits. For a higher shine, use a high quality chrome polish and it will look new.

Getting back to my sink faucet...I noticed my water flow had diminished a great deal in the kitchen. A friend who is a plumber took the head off and the water was fine so we realized the head was probably clogged up. I called the Grohe, dealer where I had purchased the faucet and he took care of getting me a free replacement. I didn't even have to send the old part back and Paul Stewart at Richmond Tile was my dealer and he knew me well. Now if you think this is great, wait until you hear this story.

I decided it was time to update my downstairs bathroom again. We actually did it about 12 years ago, but had some water damage and couldn't replace some of the tiles on the wall and had to use different tiles on the fix and it never looked right. Add to this my work changing all the doors on all my downstairs rooms from the flat panel doors to the 6 panel raised doors. When replacing these doors, I had to pull out all the doors and the frames and this ended up damaging the tile floor in this here we go again, doing it one more time.

As I shopped for new tile, vanity, sink, water basin (toilet), lights, fan, etc. I also thought of replacing some of the Grohe fixtures with new ones. The dealer also showed me Jado another upscale company that also makes a great product, but after seeing the cost to replace it all, we decided to simply use the existing Grohe fixtures and just purchase a new sink faucet (Grohe of course) to go with the updated sink/vanity.

As I took the fixtures down and began to demo the walls, I noticed that some of the Grohe parts had worn out. The hot and cold water cartridges were not working properly and were all clogged up with lime deposits. The hose on the shower was showing some wear on the top and a cap on the bottom of our shower bar was not staying in place due to a broken part.

I called Grohe and spoke to their warranty department. Mr. Michael Montalbano who works in their International Customer Support area was my rep and he asked me a few questions about my products and asked me when I purchased them and then asked me to send him some photos of the parts that were not working properly or damaged. Since I am a professional photojournalist and the president of International Press Association, taking those pictures was simple for me.

I shot the photos and uploaded them to my server and send Michael the list of what I needed and a link to the photos. Once he verified I was the original owner of these items, he began the process to replace them. I received the replacement parts in about 3 days total. I was shocked to say the could a company operate so efficiently and really live up to a Limited Lifetime Warranty as Grohe did?

They didn't ask me to return the defective parts, they didn't require me to dig up a 10-15 year old receipt for the product and they didn't take 4-8 weeks to make the replacement as others have done before. The process was so painless and Mr. Montalbano was such a helpful gentleman that I know I will become one of their best evangelists. Not only have they produced quality products and have put their money where their mouth is (their warranty), but in the event a product does not live up to a customers expectations (or theirs), they step up to the plate and make it right.

Now that I have all the parts needed to reinstall the shower and other items in this bathroom, I have gone upstairs to my master bathroom and noticed my shower head shows some peeling on the chrome head and the knob on my shower which is a crystal like lucite has some small defects, so once again I will contact Michael and ask for his help. I am sure he will once again prove the old adage "You Get What You Pay For." So I would recommend that before you go to Home Depot or Lowes, think hard and fast and check out the Grohe line of bath and kitchen items and spend a bit more (or a lot more) and enjoy every day you use you sinks, baths or showers and you will never purchase any one of those rip off extended warranties the stores try to sell you. There is no need to do so with a Grohe product, because this company will take care of you for your lifetime on any one of their products, no matter what goes wrong.

By the way, I asked a bit more about their Limited Lifetime Warranty. Michael explained that it covers the original owner of the product only. If you sell your home, then the Warranty on those installed items is no longer in effect. Glad I decided to continue to upgrade my home over the years and keep it current, nice to know that their are still companies that value their customers and stand behind their products. Kudos to Grohe and their staff for a job well done.

Visit their web site and find a dealer near you.

Special Thanks to Paul Stewart at Richmond Tile, visit their showroom in Staten Island, New York or their web site at:

International Customer Support
Grohe Americas
Tel: 630 582 7711
Fax: 630 872 5669

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