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Terrible experience with whelen repairs Dept

jmamrak

Established Member
#1
Called them about a beacon that the base broke. They said ship it in to us. I shipped it in and I get a phone call. They guy is saying that it was made in 2004! Even though I bought it in 2015. I am thinking I have a 5 year warranty. He says no, it’s only good for 2 years regardless of purchase date. Then he tells me it’s $30 to fix it and $16 for a new magnet and another $10 for return shipping. I’ve had warranty and out of warranty work done by Code 3, SOS and Feniex and never had I ever had to pay a dime. Even if I was out of warranty. Even if I broke an item. They always took care of the customer. I understand things cost money but I feel like I was screwed. I liked their products and their company but now I feel like they no longer stand behind their products. I bought this beacon in 2015 and have used it on 6 separate occasions for 8 hours (one shift of snow removal) each time. Very light use and it literally fell apart.
 

dmathieu

Premium Member
#2
This is just my opinion, and not meant to disparage you at all. Whelen is pretty good about putting dates on their products and packaging. As with most companies, a warranty term is what it is. Most don't have a lifetime warranty. 2004...that's 14 years.
A case in point, LL Bean just changed their return anytime warranty to a time limit with receipt. This was due to much abuse of very lenient warranty terms. I guess a company has to stick with it's terms to avoid abuse. Again, just my opinion.
Did you buy from a Whelen dealer or a 3rd party? I guess I'd go back to them if you were sold as a new item under warranty.
 

kerry4951

Senior Member
#3
Im a major fan of the vintage Whelen stuff, a lot because of the way their lights were built. I could never get excited over the newer stuff as most of it just looks cheaply made compared to what it once was. But I guess thats the way it is with most companies.
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#4
I bought it from Chief supply (all it said was it was a non returnable item) and had no mention of their being no warranty from whelen. I’m not trying to be difficult but I bought it thinking all whelen products had a 5 year warranty. if you can prove with documentation that your item is less then 5 years old it was under warranty. But that’s not the case and it just pissed me off. You can buy a new item from a dealer with no warranty.
 

dmathieu

Premium Member
#5
Made in 2004, bought in 2015 repair 2018. That's a lot of years from date of manufacture. Many of their items are 5 yr, but from date of manufacture. Sounds like your supplier had it for 11 years before you bought it. Lesson learned, if you expect a warranty, buy from a dealer, and check mfg date.
What light was it?
 

CHIEFOPS

Senior Member
#6
If he had the bill of sale/receipt indicating he purchased it recently regardless of the manufacture date they should have honored their warranty. Bad customer service.
L.L. Bean's policy was/is apples and oranges compared to this.
 

dmathieu

Premium Member
#7
Depends on who he bought it from. If non dealer Joe's Supply had it sitting around since 2004... I don't think so. 11 years old when bought, 14 years old when broke. Warranty states from date of Mfg.
Seller even stated no returns. I'll bet he knew it was old.
I don't want to argue, but after that many years, I don't think the Manufacturer was unreasonable. Again, just my opinion.
LL Bean was just a reference to how warranty can be abused.
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#8
It was a high dome magnetic mount strobe beacon . I agree it was not unreasonable to not fix it if I purchased it in 2004. THEY SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME NO MANUFACTURER WARRANTY WAS GIVEN FROM THE DEALER. I see whelens name and I think I have 5 years. Especially when you’re buying from a dealer. Dealers don’t sell whelen products without a warranty. I feel like I didn’t get the expected protection of 5 years from purchase. It’s stupid because I didn’t buy this second hand or from Joe Schmoe.
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#12
Depends on what your definition of low cost is. It was $145. It only does one pattern I think is quad flash. I am going to fix it myself. I’ve already wasted $25 dollars on shipping to whelen and back to myself which is bullshit that I have to pay return shipping. Hopefully someone from whelen sees this and makes it right. I will never buy anything from them, the other manufacturers have been great with warranty issues. To me it’s about them wanting to spend the money to fix something to keep a customer happy. But that’s the downside of being a giant, they don’t care about anyone.
 

CHIEFOPS

Senior Member
#14
Under the circumstances described they should have honored the warranty, that's simply good customer service.
Now they've lost 1 customer and however many more that read/hear of this account and take their business elsewhere. Whelen's bottom line is not lost by a $145 light, but loyal customers are.
 

shues

Gold Supporter
#16
I now know the conditions of the warranty. I again feel I was misled when I purchased from a dealer. If a dealer sits for a year on a product before I buy it that should not be my loss. They should honor receipts from their own dealers.
It looks like you're covered in the case of a dealer who hangs onto any product covered by the standard portion of the warranty for up to one year:
Whelen products are covered by a direct warranty for up to a maximum two years from date of purchase (not to exceed three years
from date of manufacture), with proof of purchase.

In my experience Whelen goes a step farther by dating their products a few months into the future. I can't say for sure if they have settled on a standard of three months, but that's about what it feels like based on the handful of brand new Whelen items I have purchased over the years.
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#17
It looks like you're covered in the case of a dealer who hangs onto any product covered by the standard portion of the warranty for up to one year:
Whelen products are covered by a direct warranty for up to a maximum two years from date of purchase (not to exceed three years
from date of manufacture), with proof of purchase.

In my experience Whelen goes a step farther by dating their products a few months into the future. I can't say for sure if they have settled on a standard of three months, but that's about what it feels like based on the handful of brand new Whelen items I have purchased over the years.
I read the link and I see nothing about any products even having a 5 year warranty?
 
#18
I'm siding with Whelen on this one, you're being completely unrealistic. Now your dealer you may have recourse with, but Whelen themselves? Not at all. Not to mention their repair and shipping prices seem quite reasonable as well.
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#19
I'm siding with Whelen on this one, you're being completely unrealistic. Now your dealer you may have recourse with, but Whelen themselves? Not at all. Not to mention their repair and shipping prices seem quite reasonable as well.
I’m not mad that they didn’t fix it. I am mad because they allow their dealers to sell products which have no warranty. And no one told me it had no warranty. I did not know the DOM when I bought it. If I wanted to buy a used product I would have.
 
#21
They allow their dealers to sell products which have no warranty? Do you think Whelen is going to go into every dealer's store and take product that doesn't have a warranty back? All of this looks like a problem between you and the person who sold you the product, not between you and the company that manufactured the product. And again, if you weren't told it didn't have a warranty, that also sounds like a problem between you and the person who sold you the light, not Whelen.
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#22
Whelen makes their own policies and even if you buy a new product from a dealer it could be 1 year old. I think it’s unfair to get only 4 years of warranty when you could have gotten 5 elsewhere (newer product). I think that’s a terrible way to make the customer foot the bill because a product sat on a shelf for 12 months. I will chose to take my business to a different manufacturer. I know there’s a lot of die hard whelen guys here but I think it’s bad business practices. If you buy a new car the warranty starts on the purchase date not the day it rolled off the assembly line. That principle would never fly in the automotive industry.
 

kitsune86

Junior Member
#23
Was it an actual strobe beacon? The 5 year warranty is only for LED products. This came from the PDF linked.

SIRENS, LED PRODUCT, CONTROL HEADS AND SWITCH BOXES
CenCom®, CanTrol®, 295HFS and 295SLS: Electronic circuit boards are covered by a 5 year warranty.
LED Lightheads, IO Boards, and Flashers: Electronic circuit boards are covered by a 5 year warranty.
 

1863650

Established Member
#25
I'd like to know how a beacon base breaks. Was this caused by a manufacturing defect, a mishap which damaged the product, or improper mounting?

Quality of service aside, that's the last thing which should break.
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#26
I'd like to know how a beacon base breaks. Was this caused by a manufacturing defect, a mishap which damaged the product, or improper mounting?

Quality of service aside, that's the last thing which should break.
I am not sure how it broke. But it broke where the magnet attaches and screw into the base. Basically the magnet and screw will now stay on the metal object and the beacon comes away. Nothing caused it to break so maybe defect? Or it’s age from sitting in a hot/cold cycled warehouse for years and years.
 

dmathieu

Premium Member
#30
The light was 11 years old when you bought it, 14 years old when it broke.......Buy a new light. I suggest Whelen from a certified Whelen dealer; They make some great LED beacons, some with 5 Year warrantys. Just my opinion !
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#31
The light was 11 years old when you bought it, 14 years old when it broke.......Buy a new light. I suggest Whelen from a certified Whelen dealer; They make some great LED beacons, some with 5 Year warrantys. Just my opinion !
I agree and now I through this forum became more informed and learned about their policies. I still think it needs to include a dated receipt clause for cases like mine but maybe that’s wishful thinking...
 
#32
While I understand the logic in the argument that the beacon is 14 years old.. I also have to agree with @jmamrak's logic on this as well. If he has a dated receipt, showing purchase.. whelen should stand behind their product. These things don't go bad like stale bread.. god knows most of us have worked on lights that make 14 years old seem like Brand new!
In this instance it would have made sense for them just to have made it right and been done with it... they chose not to.. now if looking for a new beacon I would look at another manufacturer other then Whelen.. live and learn.

Rob
 
#33
While I understand the logic in the argument that the beacon is 14 years old.. I also have to agree with @jmamrak's logic on this as well. If he has a dated receipt, showing purchase.. whelen should stand behind their product. These things don't go bad like stale bread.. god knows most of us have worked on lights that make 14 years old seem like Brand new!
In this instance it would have made sense for them just to have made it right and been done with it... they chose not to.. now if looking for a new beacon I would look at another manufacturer other then Whelen.. live and learn.

Rob
Precisely
 

dmathieu

Premium Member
#34
Yeah, but try that with a "brand new" 14 year old Buick. and try to get your 3 year new car warranty coverage, LOL.

Was the Dealer, an actual Approved Whelen Dealer? They can prove that.
 
#35
Yeah, but try that with a "brand new" 14 year old Buick. and try to get your 3 year new car warranty coverage, LOL.

Was the Dealer, an actual Approved Whelen Dealer? They can prove that.
But now we are not comparing apples to apples anymore.. The value of a car is much higher then an LED beacon. and to be honest.. the cost to Whelen to repair was negligable at best.. Let's keep things in relative perspective here.

And was the seller an Approved Whelen dealer? good question only @jmamrak could look into this.
 
#37
Yeah, but try that with a "brand new" 14 year old Buick. and try to get your 3 year new car warranty coverage, LOL.

Was the Dealer, an actual Approved Whelen Dealer? They can prove that.
I'm 99.9% certain automobile warranty clocks don't begin ticking until they are titled for the first time, as evidenced by dealer demonstrator cars, regardless of age/mileage don't start the warranty clock until the dealer sells it to the first owner
 
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jmamrak

jmamrak

Established Member
#38
I bought it at chief supply who I assume is a dealer. They sell all of whelens products. I have the receipt and they sold me the beacon in 2015 which is why I thought I had 2 years of warranty left. But I told the repair man at whelen the same thing @dmathieu said I will fix it myself. I paid x to ship it there,x to ship it back and I wasn’t paying y and z for a base and a new magnet.
 

Evtech161

Established Member
#39
As an upfitter, I have ran into similar issues. when a customer comes in and needs a repair.... The best way to deal with it, is going to the place you bought it from. Whelen uses Reps that cover certain territory's. 9 times out of ten, the shop can go to the rep and if they have a good working relationship all around, The rep can usually work some magic. I know it sucks when things like this happen, but sometimes the political backdoor can get better results, than walking in the front door....... it also depends on dollar value of the item, and how you are as a customer.. If you go in slamming your fist and stomping your feet, you will most likely be shown the door, or the underside of the service managers size 12.... any reputable shop that sells whelen product would commonly try this route with thier Rep. I have done it in the past, and sometimes it may cost me some shipping fees, but the customer gets what they want and is happy. I then get a return customer who spreads the word about how we took care of them ....
 

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