Wolf oven dilemma - What would you do?

juliew_austinJune 26, 2012

I'm very concerned about the deceptive sales practices of our local Wolf dealer and I'm not sure what I should do.

This Saturday my husband and I went to our local appliance store to find a replacement double wall oven. We were greeted by a salesman who showed us several ovens, after comparing them we were most interested in the Wolf "L" series double oven Model DO30F/S. We inquired to details such as the specific dimensions this model required and, most importantly, the price. The salesman printed out the a sheet with the specific dimensions for the Wolf "L" series double oven and an overview sheet for the Wolf "L" series double oven. He stated that the MSRP price was printed on the page but that wasn't the price we would be charged. He then hand wrote another, lower price on the "L" series print out and told us that was what he could sell it for that plus tax and delivery and installation. We spoke about the price and my husband even asked specifically how long this price was good for. The salesman assured us that although other brands had some price increases this year, that this price (the price he had written down on the Wolf "L" series printout) would not be changing any time soon. We told him that we wanted to double check the measurements and he said that he would be emailing a quote with tax and delivery as well as prices for some of the other ovens he showed us on Monday (the store is closed on Sundays). We did not discuss prices for any other ovens in the store.

I was shocked when the price he emailed me was almost $1K more than the written price he gave us in the store. I called him to inquire way the price had gone up over the weekend. He told me that the price hadn't changed. I told him that the price in his email was very different than the price he had given us in writing in person. When I read him the price he had written down, his response was "well I don't know where I would have come up with that price." He asked that I send him the papers so he could see what he had written. I drove to the store and showed him in person what he had written down. By the time I arrived he had "figured out" where he got those numbers from. He said that he that he wrote down the price for a *different* model Wolf double oven, one that we had never even considered. He went on to say that I could purchase this *other* model oven for the price he quoted if I didn't want to spend the additional money for the oven I was interested in. It didn't seem to matter to him that he had given us a price in writing, he just shrugged it off and saying it was an "honest mistake." I'm not sure if it was a mistake or not, it doesn't seem very honest to give someone a written price and then tell them it we be almost $1000 more.

Later that day my husband and I met with the store manager and explained what had happened, showed her the written price we were given for the Wolf "L" Model DO30F/S and asked her to honor the written price we were given. She said she'd have to speak with the store's owner and with Wolf but that she was sure she could work something out. I'm not so sure it was an "honest mistake" or if it was a "bait and switch" tactic. Before we heard back from the manager my husband and agreed that if they made serious attempt to adjust the price maybe halfway or even a couple of hundred off, then it most likely was an honest mistake if not, then this is likely their way of doing business; get you interested in an appliance, tell you it's a price you can afford, get you excited about it and then up the price and offer you a lesser item at the price given or force you to pay more than the price agreed upon for the item you are interested in. The manager called back and said that the best she could do was take $49.00 off the price of delivery (we live less than 5 miles from the store!) because Wolf would not let them sell the oven at the price we were given. I had even offered to take a floor model for the original price offered but they said Wolf would not allow it.

I don't know if this store is being honest or not or if this is the way Wolf really does business. I had heard such great things about their customer support but if they allow there distributors to provide written prices and then not honor them, I not even sure I want one of their ovens. I told my husband we should just get the old oven fixed but I know he really wants a new oven and he wants this specific oven.

This experience has left me with a very bad feeling toward both this particular store and the Wolf brand. Any suggests? I know there is no way I will ever deal with that appliance store again.

Should I just get the old oven fixed about ($800 to repair)? Look for a different brand oven? Contact Wolf and find out if this store really contacted them and if not let them know how they are giving out written prices and then not honoring them? Look for a different store that sells Wolf? If I purchase the same oven from a different store at a higher price than I was originally given would I have any chance in getting the difference back in small claims court for breach of contract? (Perhaps I've been watching too much Judge Judy ;-) but I'm so angry about this and I really don't know what I should do.


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I would at least look at the Elux ovens. Lots of happy users here in GW, including one user that has both a wolf and Elux oven, and He likes them both. I think He posted that the Elux preheats a bit faster, but rather than take my word for it, do a search on the main appliance page for Wolf Electrolux ovens.

I guess you are "stuck with double wall ovens" since the new ovens are replacements for same, but were it me ,I would do some cabinet work to allow the install of 2 separate ovens. Every single oven, including Wolf is more reliable than a single oven, and in many cases, with double ovens if one goes down, the other is usually inop too.

But there are a lotta folks here with double ovens and they are happy with them, it's just my goal to never have a servicec call on any appliance and so far in 40 years, so far so good, except for a loose handle on the Elux speed oven, that wife wanted me to have serviced rather than fix it myself.

We bought all our new appliances more than 5 years ago, Elux Oven, Elux speed oven, Elux wine fridge, Miele DW, JA 48" built in fridge, and except for a piece of junk fancy cooktop, (Caldera) all have been trouble free except the loose handle on the speed oven. The junk cooktop was replaced with an Elux Icon Induction cooktop a couple of years ago and it too has been trouble free.

I'm not a big fan of Wolf's strong arm price fixing techniques, as I mentioned numerous times and in fact we can thank Wolf/SZ for many $10,000 Fridges on the market and ranges over that amount! Yep the other companies looked at Wolf/SZ prices and thought, "if they can do it, so can we and they did!!!! My 48" JA bulit in fridge with much more modern compressor and better features (crank up/down shelves, 3 different temp zones in the fridge area all digitally controlled, etc etc cost me $4588 in 2006.
That same fridge today will cost you close to 10 grand GRRRRR.

Anyway good luck on your pending decisons and like you I trust that store and folks in it about as far as I could throw an SZ $10,000 Fridge!


    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 7:40PM
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I typed this, "Every single oven, including Wolf is more reliable than a single oven, and in many cases, with double ovens if one goes down, the other is usually inop too."

I should have typed this, "Every single oven, including Wolf is more reliable than double ovens, and in many cases, with double ovens if one goes down, the other is usually inop too.

Sorry about that!!!


    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Wolf/SZ has UMRP so it probably was an honest mistake - he probably quoted you for the E series which run a little cheaper. And it probably is true that Wolf won't let the store sell the L ovens that cheap.

I don't know why they wouldn't sell you the floor model though, as far as I know that's the only way to get a discount on Wolf/SZ products, so you'll likely not have any luck with another store either.

Sorry, that sucks :( I'd go to a different store and I second Gary's advice to look at Elux, which is what we're getting in our new home.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 9:20PM
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They probably did quote you the E series price.

AFAIK Wolf allows 10% off on floor models,but any particular store can only sell so many floor models per year.

Wolf is very very strict on discounting and will revoke dealerships if a dealer is found discounting below UMRP.

I don't think a hand written note by a salesman is an enforceable contract but I am not a lawyer.

As far as what would I do?

What brand ovens do you have? How old are they?

What exactly is the $800 for?

Circuit board,heating element,convection motor?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:12PM
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To me, it sounds like it was just a mistake, albeit a frustrating mistake for you.

When we were appliance shopping a few years back I was amazed at the number of pricing mistakes like this we encountered.
This happened with many brands -- Bosch, Electrolux, Broan, Miele -- and many types of stores, from Sears and P.C. Richards to small mom and pop stores.

Instead of offering a rant about incompetent appliance salespeople
(I've done that before on GW!) let's just say that reading long columns of appliance models with multiple digit numbers may be taxing for some people in the business.

I know that there are others on this forum who don't like the Wolf/Sub Zero fixed pricing system. But you can be quite sure with Wolf/Sub Zero that the appliance dealer is not trying to trick you with the price. I actually like that, perhaps because I'm not very good at the wheeling and dealing of bargaining.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 7:31AM
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Thanks for all the advise. Our current oven is a 6 year old Whirlpool (came with the house). The electronic display is out and there are two circuit boards that need to be replaced. From what I read on line, this looks to be a common and reoccurring issue with this model. I don't love this oven but don't hate it either but not sure it's really worth repairing.

I'm going to call Wolf directly today and tell them about my experience.

The reason I find it hard to believe that it was an honest mistake is because he made a big deal about not paying attention to the MSRP on the print out, specially writing another lower price, crossing it out and writing and even lower price. I've seen this sales tactic used in other high pressure sales situations with timeshares and car dealerships. If Wolf really doesn't allow a dealer to discount an oven, what was with the writing down a price and crossing it out and writing a lower price in the first place? Why would he tell us to disregard the MSRP on the print out? It just doesn't make sense to me.

This was an older man who said he's been selling appliances for years. You'd think he would notice being off by almost $1k. We were looking at the most expensive oven in his store and he said they sell a lot of them, so you'd think he'd be familiar enough with the price to know he was off by so much.

Depending on what Wolf says, I'll either find another dealer, even if I have to pay a higher price, or I'll start looking into Elux.

I think Elux wasn't on our list of possible ovens because my husband had read some where that they had similar control board issues as our current oven. Perhaps he was mistaken or it was just an isolated issue. Thanks for the recommendation!


    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 9:56AM
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fyi - there's a difference between MSRP and UMRP. UMRP is what the manufacturer won't let the dealer go below but MSRP is a suggested price (higher than UMRP) that can be discounted. Sometimes dealers show you the MSRP and then discount it to UMRP as if they're giving you a big deal. Wolf won't care what the dealer does as long as they don't discount below UMRP.

Check with other Wolf dealers and you'll find identical prices, at least within a given region.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 10:50AM
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You asked, What would you do? Me, I would not give my business to this store, even if it was an honest mistake (and I have to agree with you, why would he make a $1000 mistake on a Wolf if he is a Wolf dealer). But, if an honest mistake, then they are careless and poorly-trained. I don't think it's a case of missing a digit on a model number - it's the L series vs. the E series, a pretty distinctive difference. So, if you have another Wolf dealer in your area, and you have your heart set on the Wolf ovens, then buy at the other dealer. Furthermore, I would check into the E series which sounds like it's more in your price range. Is there anything about the E series you dislike so much that it wouldn't be worth the difference in price?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Check with an online dealer. If the price for the Wolf will be generally the same all over, then at AJMadison.com or Abt. com you wont likely pay sales tax, which should save some money. You will get factory trained or authorized(whatever that means) service and all the same benefits as a local dealer. It's nice to give a local the business, so that we will have brick/mortar stores in the future, but here, they are jerky-and dont care about you.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Thanks for the suggestion trying an online company and having it shipped but that didn't work. Wolf will not let stores sell outside their assigned *region*

I'm liking Wolf less and less. I sent them a very detailed email about the situation and haven't heard anything back from them yet.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 2:49PM
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I just got home and found a message from our local appliance store. Wolf may not have responded to me after they got my email but they sure responded to the store. Things have been resolved and I am thrilled to say we are getting the Wolf "L" series ovens! I guess Wolf customer service really is that good!!!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 5:56PM
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Whatever you do - don't pay $800 for a repair (replacement parts usually come with a 6 month warranty). Robyn

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 3:38PM
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