Sunday, February 7, 2010

Long Time No…

I mentioned last year that I was getting a garden shredder, planning to install a photovoltaic system on the roof and preparing a trip to California.
All those little jobs expanded to fill my available time & left none for messing with blogs.
Hopefully things have calmed down a bit now so I can blog anew.

In November I explained I wanted a Bosch AXT 25TC garden shredder & that it was over 500€ here, but under £300 (330€ then) in UK.
Weighing up the pro's (cost) & con's (internet jiggery-pokery, possible shipping damage, difficulty if needing guarantee work) I decided that it was worth getting it in UK.

I had established that the vendor (Lawson-HIS) really existed & rapidly answered e-mails.
I have, or at least had, a positive impression of Bosch's ability to design & make tools needing little guarantee attention.
A robust-looking garden shredder was not exactly a delicate thing as far as shipping was concerned.

I was seriously wrong on the last item or two.

The shredder was dispatched via City Link & arrived by UPS, which sounded good to me.
The big cardboard box had a slight nick in one side but was otherwise OK so I signed for it with little hesitation.
In assembling it, I noticed a plastic adjusting knob (where the box was nicked) was broken, but thought that could be fixed somehow.
Then another plastic knob seemed damaged, but still worked.
I was relieved to find that the shredder did shred & very well & very quietly too – just as intended.
But it was a bit rough to move around – one of the wheels rubbing intermittently on the frame.
Closer inspection showed the wheel was broken & the axle bent!
By that time, it was dawning on me that the box, though nearly intact, must have been dropped to have caused so much damage on one side.

So I carefully checked the shredder over – and under.
Oh disaster! – One of the main castings was broken in 2 places!

Hasty e-mail to Lawson-HIS with explanatory photos.
Rapid & encouraging reply.
I volunteered to repair the shredder if they could supply the parts (saving double shipping & maybe same-again damage…).
They quickly supplied an illustrated parts list & I picked out the parts I needed – not easy as there were several errors in the Bosch document.
It then took nearly 2 months for Bosch to supply the parts.
Stripping & rebuilding was nothing like as simple as I would have expected for a piece of garden equipment, but finally it is back together & working again.

I appreciated the helpful attitude of Lawson-HIS, though of course I would rather have just received a perfect shredder.
Even reputable delivery services like City Link & UPS don't treat your stuff as you would treat it yourself.
You can't estimate the condition of the contents by looking at the outside of the package.
Even Bosch fails to design equipment which will withstand predictable handling damage in shipping.
If Bosch wants to contest this, I will happily watch as they drop a dozen shredders in boxes onto concrete floors from standard test heights in random orientations!
Very happily!
I shall have to readjust my decision-point for internet purchases as I underestimated the probability & severity of shipping damage.
The considerable combined economic mass of internet sales corporations needs to put some money & effort into developing a reliable & economical delivery network.
That is a necessary extension of the internet.

Parting thot: "Prevention is better than cure." - Erasmus

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