I have a solid core storm door by Pella I purchased three years ago. The reason it is a Pella, is because the last one I had was a Larson and it lasted only about three years. I replaced the Larson because over the short time I had it, the solid core swelled and eventually the outer skin ruptured and disintegrated. I checked with Lowes and they told me I needed to contact Larson which is the company that made it. It had a lifetime warranty but, as I recall it indicated that I would be required to package it and ship it back to them at my expense and then they would determine if it qualified. That seemed far to difficult to mess with so for $247.00 it was easier to buy a new one. The guy at Lowes told me that Pella was the best, so that is what I bought … the Best.
The Best Wasn’t Good Enough
Recently, I had the same issue with my new (three year old) Pella storm door. It did exactly the same thing after just three years that my previous Larson door had done. It actually started after the first year. This time I was far more determined that I was going to get it replaced under the lifetime warranty than I was before. I dug out my receipts, serial number, and warranty information and phone numbers for the Pella door.
Boomer Prepared to Battle
I called the phone number prepared for battle. They were even more prepared. It was one of those deals where you can’t really talk to anyone, but if you push the right buttons they will send you the claim forms to file. I started by “pressing (1) for English”. I received the forms in the mail approximately two weeks later. I filled them out “to the letter” including the complaint, exact door measurements, glass measurements, screen measurements, color, hardware style, serial number, and eight 4X6 glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one ( sorry, I’m an Arlo Guthrie fan – Alice’s Restaurant). I patiently waited for almost 4 weeks … Nothing!
A Real Boomer Never Gives Up when he is Right
Not giving up, I tried to call the Pella warranty claims number again. Of course you can’t talk with anyone so I elected to go to the Pella customer service website, which to my surprise happens to be www.larsondoors.com . Go figure! Larson Doors! (Remember my last post on Brand names? If not check it out here). No wonder my Pella door failed exactly like my old Larson door had done before. It R One!
Contact the Website
I cleverly used the “Contact Us” button on their Customer Service page and wrote a book in the little square. I recieved a reply within one day! The reply was from Steve with Larson Manufacturing. His reply simply said he was sorry but, he had no record of my previous contact. So I sent him an exact copy of the entire file via internet. Within one day I recieved another response. This time from Deb from Customer Service www.larsondoors.com. Deb was unable to open my files so she wondered if I could convert them to a PDF format. I really couldn’t then, but I went on line, purchased a PDF program for $39 and and got it done anyway. I was afraid that I finally had someones attention and I refused to take the chance of losing it. Once she recieved my files in PDF format, she was able to open them and I got an immediate response. Go Deb!
The Response – I Win! I Win! … I Think?
The response said that after reviewing my information it was an obvious failure of the door and ” I was approved to recieve a new storm door … minus the glass/ screen inserts, hardware, z-bars, and expander “. It said I needed to call the Pella phone number (same as the one above) with the reference number and they would arrange to send me the new door (or at least part of it). It did say there would be a ” processing fee” . I swear, if all they were really going to send me was the shell of the door, it was going cost more for them to ship it than it cost them to make it. I called and for a processing fee of $30, paid in advance by credit card, they agreed to ship me the door. At this point, I was not really very optomistic that I was getting my moneys worth, but I was determined to hassle them until I got a new door.
My first contact was on November 16, 2008. I recieved my new door via UPS on January 15, 2009. The good part is they screwed up, it was a complete door with glass and screen insert included (no hardware , z-bar s or expander, but that is - ok ) No hassles with disassembling the old door and re-assembling the new one. The bad part is it ended up costing me, excluding installation, which I will do myself, about $70, if I include the PDF program. That also assumes my many hours of frustated effort is worth nothing. Understanding manufacturing costs as I do, I am 100% confident that $70 is more than their cost to make the door.
“PB” says, Always Make ‘Em Pay!
But, all is OK, because by golly, I made them pay? I just don’t know how many more times I can afford it! My basic math tells me that it cost me $70 and Pella/ Larson nothing! I haven’t decided what I will do three years from now when the door fails again. I pretty sure I will recall this experience, give in, and buy a new one! … The cheapest one I can find that still looks good! Heck with the warranty! At least I learned one thing … I’m no smarter today than I was three years ago … but, I’m just as stubborn! … Somehow, I think I just got Boombazzelled. Papa.