Dear Sir or Madame:
As a result of a most infuriating personal experience I am compelled to write to your company regarding one of it flagship products, the Divina De Luxe Superautomatico. The quality of the machine and the brewed coffee is of less concern here although a newly purchased coffee maker should not require service after two months of light use. Instead, I wish to express my deep dissatisfaction and disappointment with the service I received from your company and its subcontractors Euro-Selectproducts and G&M Roasters. My time is very valuable; rarely do I make an effort to express discontent with products that I have purchased primarily because I am very careful to select only the best. However, I feel that my experience was so dissatisfying that it deserves your company’s special attention and consideration especially if it is Spidem’s intent to maintain some level of competitiveness in the superautomatic coffee maker market. It has taken nearly seven months and countless hours of my valuable time to reach minimal resolution on the matter that I am about to relate to your company. While I realize that at first glance this letter may appear to be very lengthy it is completely appropriate as well as necessary. A detailed narrative of the events that transpired over the course of my interaction with your company’s representatives serves several purposes. First, you will understand why so much of my personal time and effort was required to deal with a relatively simple matter. Secondly, it will provide explicit details about reiterative bungling on the behalf of Spidem representatives. Finally, it will give you an understanding of the source of my great displeasure and my motivation for seeking additional restitution.
In December of 2004, I purchased a Spidem Divina De Luxe from Zacarrdi’s in New York, via mail order. It was a Christmas gift for my wife. We used the machine defect free for two months and were very pleased with the quality of the coffee it produced. At the end of February 2005, the steam valve of the machine began leaking profusely. I immediately contacted Zacarrdi’s to determine what could be done to rectify the problem. They quickly washed their hands of the matter stating, “We have a thirty day return policy. You have exceeded this time and you must contact Euro-Selectproducts (henceforth known as ES) who serve as Spidem’s warranty department in the U.S.”
I proceeded to contact ES via an email on March 5, 2005 where I described the problem in addition to asking for a replacement machine. I told ES that I did not want to have the machine repaired. Instead, I wished to have it replaced with a new one because I no longer had a replacement coffee machine and I did not wish to be inconvenienced by a lengthy repair time. I was also concerned that since the machine had leaked internally water could potentially have caused other problems that might not appear until some time later after the original factory warranty had expired. I suggested that Spidem should send me a new machine and that upon receipt of the replacement machine I would ship back the defective machine in the packaging of the newly arrived machine.
After several correspondences with Denise from ES about the required course of action she told me that she needed permission from the factory to replace the defective machine with a new unit. Then, nearly a week and a half elapsed and I still had not heard back from Denise. As a result, I began to feel quite chagrined by the delay. It was at this point that I took it upon myself to contact Spidem directly. I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org on March 15, 2005 ten days after I had first contacted ES about the initial problem.
In the email that I sent directly to Spidem, I described the problem I was having with the machine, and the amount of time that it was taking to get some resolution from ES on the matter. In addition I wrote the following: “It is my hope that Spidem will quickly resolve this matter by notifying Denise without hesitation to proceed with the replacement of the defective machine. While I am pleased with the quality of the coffee that the Spidem
Divina machine produces this feeling will soon be overshadowed by the lengthy response time. Please, uphold the good name of your company by promptly attending to this matter.”
I received an email reply from Ivana, a Spidem representative. Ivana wrote:
“Dear Mr GARCY,
We replace a defective machine , only in case of EPIDEMIC DEFECT.
DIVINA machine , regularly in production , has not this kind of problem.
We suggest to send the machine to EURO SELECT PRODUCTS and repair the
machine , as did by all our International customers.
They will repair the machine under guarantee , changing simply the plastic
tap inside. It's not a big problem ....
Don't hesitate to contact me for any further info.
I then forwarded the aforementioned email to Denise at ES. She promptly responded, stating that she had received the same instructions directly from Spidem. She suggested that I repack the machine in its original container and send it in for warranty repair, however, I would have to pay the cost of the shipping. I quickly protested and said that this was not acceptable and that I should not have to pay the cost of the shipping since it was a new machine and that the defective tap was due to no fault of my own. Denise again stated that she would have to contact company headquarters in Milano, Italy. Several days transpired and I did not hear from ES, so I again took it upon myself to contact Spidem directly. I emailed Ivana again and asked the following:
My concern is that the leaking has potentially damaged the machine elsewhere. Can you guarantee that no other damage has occurred? I've only had the machine for three months and I don't understand why SPIDEM wouldn't just send me a new one so that I don't have to be inconvenienced by a coffee abscence. I believe that most other companies would do the same if they knew that there was something defective about the machine to begin with and had nothing to do with operator error. I take my coffee very seriously as I am certain that SPIDEM does. A day without high quality coffee is a serious omission to me. I hope that SPIDEM understands and is concerned with customer satisfaction. Please, fulfill my original request by requiring Euro Select to ship a new, replacement machine. This will help me to more easily forget this problem that I am currently having with your company and the Divina.”
My main concern at this point was other potential damage to the machine as a result of the internal leak and the sheer amount of time it would take to get the unit back given the amount of time that had already elapsed since ES’s initial response to my original inquiry. Ivana soon responded. She wrote:
We will do the best to repair the machines as soon as possible. I will talk directly with EURO SELECT PRODUCTS. Please send the machine to them , all costs at their charge.
At this point, it became clear to me that Ivana was not going to replace the machine. I decided that I would go along with the protocol since I had little leverage to do anything else. I then forwarded Ivana’s response to Denise at ES. She wrote back the following:
We do not cover inbound shipping for warranty work. Since I did not get this same email from Spidem, I will contact Ivana. If Spidem intends to reimburse us, then I will gladly issue acall tag.
Again, I emailed Ivana writing the following:
Denise from Euro Select is waiting to hear from you regarding the coverage of the inbound shipping of my leaking machine. Would you let me know when she has
been notified so that we can proceed with the shipping?
Three days after my initial correspondence with Ivana I received the following reply:
you can ship the machine to EURO SELECT , shipping cost at Euro Select
charge , for the machine repair not change with a new ones.
I will talk with Euro Select
On March 21, 2005 I received correspondence from Denise at ES. She said,
Spidem has agreed to cover all freight charges. I will issue a call tag -please email me the address where the machine can be picked up. Also, please refer to the attachment for packaging instructions - the machine must be double-boxed and shipped in the upright position.
I followed Denise’s packing instructions explicitly and the shipping company, FEDEX picked up the machine on March 22, 2005. As I feared, several weeks then passed and I heard nothing from ES or Spidem about the status of the repair of my defective machine. Finally, on April 5, 2005 I sent out the following email inquiring as to the whereabouts of my machine. I received the following reply from Ivana:
For this kind of info, please contact directly EURO SELECT PRODUCTS.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Garcy" <>
To: <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 12:01 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: leaking spidem divina
Was hoping to get some word back on when my machine
will be fixed? What was wrong with it? When can I
expect it back?
Thank you in advance for any information,
Several weeks then transpired without a response from ES regarding the status of the repair of my machine even after I had left numerous phone messages for Denise. On April 21, 2005 I finally received an email from Denise at ES. She wrote the following:
We had some difficulty getting the tracking # from the service center, evidently they sent it via UPS rather than FEDEX.
The tracking # is: 1ZR92721039260884
Euro Select Products
Florida, NY 10921
On April 27, 2005 one week after this correspondence with Denise I finally got the repaired machine back. After the very long wait – nearly two months, I excitedly opened the package, filled the coffee machine up with water and beans and attempted to make a short shot of espresso. To my great dismay an awful noise emanated from the grinder and brew group as it made the shot. A quarter of the beans in the hopper disappeared in the making of one short shot of espresso. The coffee dripped out very watery and the grounds were very coarse. I immediately called Denise at ES to tell her what the machine was doing. She called me back and then told me that a third company called G&M Roasters did the repair. Denise listened to the terrible noise that the machine made while we are on the telephone. Denise then agreed that there was a problem and she proceeded to tell me that I should contact Gennaro LaHara of G&M Roasters and speak with him directly about the noise and the improper function of the unit.
I called Gennaro immediately after speaking with Denise. While on the phone with Gennaro, he first told me that I probably didn’t have the machine set correctly. I humored him even though I was very familiar with the operation of the machine and I went through the process of re-setting the machine. I then made several shots of coffee. Gennaro could hear first hand, the sound that the machine’s grinder was making and he decided that the grinder was jammed. He them told me that he would call me back and guide me through a procedure to unjam the grinder. Several days passed and I did not hear back from Gennaro. In the interim, I carefully inspected the machine to see if I could locate the source of an obvious problem. After a careful inspection of the unit I discovered that the machine had damage that was only visible after the brew group had been removed. Since I never received a phone call back from Gennaro I proceeded to compose another email to Spidem, ES and G&M which I sent out on May 1, 2005. It read:
“Denise, Ivana and Gennaro,
I was hoping to hear back from Gennaro today to attempt to unjam the grinder. But upon further inspection I believe that I have discovered the reason why the grinder is not working properly (it will only grind the coffee very coarsely) and the coffee is
disappearing into the innards of the machine (a quarter hopper of coffee disappears with one grind). I took the brew group out. I then inspected the black plastic face of the machine itself and noticed that the plastic is cracked and broken away right by the
screw on the upper left hand side (not the brew group). This is causing the internals of the machine to move around and I assume allowing coffee to dump inside the machine instead of into the brew group (this is why the coffee is so weak). I used a flash
light to look inside and I can see the coffee piling up on the components of the machine. I would assume that somewhere in the shipping process back to my home that it may have been damaged. I know that there is usually a period of time where claims can be made on insured, shipped items. However, the container it was shipped back in was not damaged - so I really don't know how this would have happened in shipping. Since
Gennaro never called me back today I thought it best to let you all know about the current state of the machine. It is not operable and I really wish that SPIDEM would take care of this problem once and for all and send me a new replacement machine. I do not want to have it shipped back again for repair. The first one took nearly two months with shipping time. Another two months is simply unacceptable. Moreover, it sustained minor paint scraps in several areas on the top of the machine. I am nearly at the end of my rope with this situation.
Ivana responded immediately to avoid any responsibility. She said:
in this case from Italy we cann do nothing because the warranty is at our
importer's charge. Please manage definitevely this situation with EURO
SELECT PRODUCTS. They will do for sure all the best for you and for your machine.
I will be not in the office untill 10th may. We keep in touch after that date for any further problem.
At this point, three months into a repair process that was supposed to be a minor issue according to Ivana, had now become a protracted problem that I would likely have to solve on my own. Ivana had essentially foisted my problem on ES. Given ES’s past response time it was unclear to me if I would be able to reach any resolution on the matter whatsoever. However, on May 4, 2005 Denise contacted me via email to tell me that Gennaro from G&M Roasters had filed a damage claim with the shipper. This event signaled the beginning of another lengthy process of first trying to get a replacement machine and finally having my money refunded for the broken and dysfunctional machine.
I will not spend much more time describing the tortuous route I had to take in order to get a small degree of restitution on the matter, for it is as equally long as the first part that I have related to your company earlier in this letter. I will tell you that after speaking with Denise it was clear that if the shipper had decided not to settle the claim that I would have had to accept the outcome, that is, a broken machine and the loss of $599. From May 4th through August of 2005, I had to repeatedly called Denise at ES and Gennaro at G&M in order to get them to file the necessary claim paperwork with the shipper. The majority of the time, I did not receive a response from either of them. This lack of response made me livid. I did my best to maintain a calm composure with ES and G&M realizing that expressing anger would have had little effect. They simply didn’t care. On several occasions Denise stated that UPS (the shipper) was unlikely to settle the claim. This left me with the feeling that she would do very little on my behalf to resolve the matter. Again, I took it upon myself to contact the shipper. I filed pictures and a description of the damage. I then made repeated calls to the shipper to determine what the status of the claim was. Finally, in the last week of July of 2005, I made a routine call to UPS. I discovered that the claim had indeed been settled in the middle of July and a check for $630 had been paid to G&M for my broken unit. I then proceeded to contact Denise at ES to try and get G&M to send me the money for the machine. Nearly three weeks later I finally received a check for $586.64. To add insult to injury, G&M had subtracted a fee for sending the check to me via express mail.
While I am certainly glad to have received something in return for the enormous amount of effort that I have had to expend over the past 7 months in order to recoup my money, it is my firm conviction that $586.64 does not begin to fully compensate me for the amount of time that I have had spend in order to obtain it. Moreover, it is clear to me that if I had not continually pursued this matter, I would not have received any compensation at all. I am doubtful that ES or G&M would have voluntarily sent me a check for my broken machine. In all likelihood, a cavalier response on my part would have resulted in my complete loss. This saga that I have outlined has been the most unpleasant, exasperating, and infuriating experience that I have ever had with a product of any kind – American or foreign made!
What is perhaps most ironic about this story is that it could have been simply avoided in the first place – saving both time and resources as well as your company’s reputation. It is my contention that when a brand new product malfunctions the manufacturer has a responsibility to make every effort to quickly resolve the defect. In this case, the proper response would have been to send a replacement machine immediately irrespective of how minor that problem may have seemed. Instead, as a result of incompetent service via your subcontractors and an increased probability of damage occurring as a result of the machine being shipped back and forth several times, your company has done an excellent job of alienating a customer who would have otherwise widely proclaimed the quality of your product.
It is my hope that Spidem will consider sending me a completely new replacement machine and a check for $12.36 as a result of the trouble that I have had with your company’s product and its subcontractors. I believe this would be fair recompense for the time I have spent and hardship that I have endured as a result of the negligence of your subcontractors and your company’s shortsighted service policies. Prompt action by Spidem would help to diminish the bitterness and resolve that I have to make certain that this happens to no other hapless consumer.