BlueStar Service

goin2swimJuly 28, 2013

This will be sacrilege to many on GW, but here goes.

We have one local BlueStar dealer where we live and first talked to a sales person there several months ago about a 30" BS range top to go into our kitchen remodel. The work schedule calls for us to finally put this in the pipeline so we made an appointment to stop by yesterday and pull the trigger. Our person at the store said, "We need to talk." She then told us they will no longer sell BlueStar and the local service company that had their BS service contract quit on them. The service folks said too many units arriving damaged first of all. Not necessarily the fault of BS, but they also said BS response for parts and/or consultation was becoming too frustrating. Customers were left hanging for weeks with a new BS appliance sitting there needing repair.

Within the last week, she got another local person to service what they've already sold, but she won't sell any more. She'd order for us since she knows it's been in our plans for a while, but wanted to tell us their view of the risk face to face rather than hide it or do it over the phone.

This lady has been very straight with us all along. Used to work for HHGregg and Viking, so knows appliances, history, and quality across all brands. Says she's not getting a good feeling about what's going on with BS. She has a Viking range herself that she got at a nice employee discount years ago, but says she'd never buy Viking now. Very honest also about other brands to steer away from.

This is a bad blow for us late in the game. I had my heart set on an open burner range top. We have no Capital dealers here so service would be a crap shoot from them too I'm thinking. American's range tops are all sealed burners - only the full ranges are open. Regardless, we decided on a convection wall oven up higher where we won't have to bend over anymore. Electric is already in place and cabinetry already in the works for that configuration. We're just lucky the granite hasn't been cut yet and the cabinets can still be tweaked as necessary if an alternative range top choice is a slightly different size.

Everyone's mileage varies when it comes to service, so we know we could go BS anyway and might be fine. But I'm sure folks out there also know how much time and energy go into these decisions and what a dagger it is to hear this after you thought you had it figured out.

Comments are welcome. I'll sit back and listen ... Thx in advance.

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Many on here will tell you otherwise, and I fully believe that their experiences are at least as valuable as mine, but I will say that, sadly, my experience, and those of my local Midwest dealer (also a former Bluestar dealer at this point), match pretty much exactly what yours experienced.

Since I've commented on this topic before (search "applnut bluestar" if you care to read them), and don't want to simply rehash, I'll give just one example ... Not once, but four times, with three different service companies we've waited and waited and waited for Bluestar to send PURCHASED (not freebie) parts needed repairs. Each time--again, these are experiences from three different dealers and once with me personally--we've all separately been told by Bluestar, after weeks or even months of waiting and promises of pending shipment, that, oh they really DID ship the parts, but they were returned to Bluestar as undeliverable. Got to the point where I'd talk to a servicer who called to tell me it's gonna be another week and I was like, 'Let me guess what they told you ...' And I was right. Talked to the dealer/distributor and she's heard the same story (aka lame excuse) from at least three other service providers/customers.

Finding people willing to work with Bluestar because of things like this has been an issue both for my initial dealer, and my extended warranty company. Often, if they've worked on/with Bluestar before, they won't take the call, at least that is what I've been told by both, totally unrelated, entities. It's just not worth the hassle for them, since they don't get paid until a repair is completed, and they can't complete it until Bluestar ships the parts.

Bluestar's product may be excellent, but I've found their service and initial quality control to be haphazard, at best. Your mileage, of course, may vary. It's totally possible you'll have no issues and, if that's the case, I think you'd be very happy with Bluestar. But I do think it's a gamble. It's also entirely possible that all of these high-end, niche ranges suffer from some of the same service issues, and you'd have the same problem with Capital, American or whatnot. I can only comment on Bluestar, because that's the only one I've owned and, of course, my experience is simply mine, and not necessarily reflective of what you'd get were you to purchase a Bluestar.

This post was edited by applnut on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 10:35

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 1:06PM
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You get service from the local service company not the local dealer unless they also happen to have a service shop inside the appliance store.

Sometimes the manufacture won't fix a problems or won't replace a lemon and a good local dealer can act as an advocate to change the mind of the decision maker at the manufacture.

Find out who services Capital in your area.

Also one person called and had an American Range Performer Series open burner rangetop made for them by American Range.

If the rangetop arrives damaged or defective( gas intake manifold) that is a problem but if not what will need to be serviced? An igniter or spark module? The electrical cord? These are generic non-proprietary parts.

BTW There is nothing sacrilege about your post. We need to here the good, the bad and the ugly so future buyers can make an informed decision.

I am not a BS owner but all the feedback the last two years has been almost universally positive. Maybe people with negative experiences were afraid of being flamed but I hope not.

Thanks for your feedback.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:10PM
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Well, this is stressful for me to read! I'm planning to go to the appliance store tomorrow to finalise my order....which includes a bluestar.

What to do, what to do....


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Well, this is stressful for me to read! I'm planning to go to the appliance store tomorrow to finalise my order....which includes a bluestar.

What to do, what to do....


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:28PM
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how dare you besmirch bluestar

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:24PM
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To the original poster - what brand did your saleperson suggest. I can understand their reluctance to deal with a company if they think it has not been responsive, that is what capitalism is all about, but did she have another suggestion, other than avoiding Viking?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:54PM
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This dealer also sells American, Dacor, and Wolf. She said all three have stood behind their products and worked fine with the local customer support contractor when necessary (same local support folks who said they'd no longer work with BlueStar).

Dacor price is nice and they have one stacked 18K burner, but they also get some negative press on quality. The major problems however seem to be with Dacor oven electronics vs. range tops. Some complaints also about flimsy knobs which never sounds good for high-end stuff.

Deeageaux's comment about a custom built American range top with open burners is intriguing but maybe not feasible given our timeline. DW and I need to go back, look at the American range more closely, get a quote from American and a time estimate for a custom built range top without the oven, and then maybe sweet talk our remodeling contractor if it seems right. The BlueStar isn't cheap, so we were prepared to bite that bullet for the open burners, but we'll see where American's quote comes in. We also appreciate the suggestion to find out who supports Capital 'round these parts. Would love to have a local Capital dealer along with local support, but it's worth a look anyway.

We'd love to see the original Wolf open burners back again but we think four 15K stacked burners are better than plain sealed if it comes to that.

Lots to consider and lots of scurrying around the next few days. We feel like a couple of ants whose nest has been exposed. Thanks to all for the comments.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:23PM
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More info that may be useful:

Trevor Lawson at Eurostoves gave me the name of the service company they use to support Capital in our area. I talked to a tech there and he said they don't see many Capital products, but they can get parts and consultation as needed. They probably just won't have them in stock like they would for the more common brands. Makes business sense in my opinion and just part of the trade off with a niche product like the Capital Cullinarian. But at least there are no stories about being left high and dry with no parts or answers.

I also asked about Dacor given the mixed bag of opinions. He said no brand, including Dacor, stands out from the others in reliability. A gas range is a pretty simple machine. It's the availability of parts and consultation that differentiates 'em in his business, and he said Dacor has an excellent support staff. We heard the same opinion from our dealer.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:51PM
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If I had to do it all again tomorrow, I'd go with either the Capital Culinarian or a Wolf all-gas. I think, in just about every respect, the Capital looks like an amazing range, and just by observation, some of the things I've really struggled with regarding my Bluestar seem to have been addressed by the Capital engineers. BUT the reason I say "or Wolf" is because Capital is still a niche product. I don't really know how they would handle issues, should they arise, or if they'd actually be any better than Bluestar. I've found that, at least in terms of Bluestar, asking for information regarding service, etc. prior to buying, and what happened when I actually had an issue were night and day. So, at this point, I'm sort of cynical that way.

Wolf, on the other hand, is well known, has provided exemplary service in my experience with their ovens, and has the bonus of offering name cachet should resale of the house ever come into effect. 99% of people have never heard of Bluestar, Capital, or American, and would not be impressed and, in fact, might consider them "cheap" or "off brand" just by glancing. Very few people do the sort of "research" on their appliances that those here on GardenWeb obsess over.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 3:22PM
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Then again you can ask Wekick about his wonderful Wolf range and wonderful Wolf customer service LOL.

Any company can have lemons and an angry customer.

Outside GE Monogram and possibly Sub Zero Wolf aren't all these niche brands?

Does anybody really consider Wolf a "mainstream" brand? I know they are much bigger than Bluestar , Capital, or American Range but relative to truly mainstream brands like GE, Whirlpool, Samsung, and LG all these pro-style companies are tiny.

I see adds all the time for homes that say "Sub Zero" but how much of a real premium is a real buyer going to pay for a Wolf range vs Capital? Most of the potential buyers out there that have just skimmed home/kitchen magazines would chose the kitchen with Wolf products vs one with other pro style appliances if everything else about two competing homes where equal but how much hard earned dollars would they pay extra ?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 3:42PM
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I don't disagree with anything "deeageaux" said but the fact is that there IS a premium for Wolf-Subzero, and even the much maligned Viking. Rightly or wrongly, it's a prestige item. If there weren't, real estate ads wouldn't name-check those brands and no others. So, yes, it must make some difference to buyers or they wouldn't waste the ad space.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 5:49PM
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I think you really got to the "Crux of the matter" with this part of your post, applnut,

"Very few people do the sort of "research" on their appliances that those here on GardenWeb obsess over."

That is certainly true in our neighbor hood, a nice neighbor hood with houses, In our direct neighborhood, approaching $1 million and many homes well above that, but the ones I visited, including some of the "Upper Echelon ones" Nary a Wolf, Bluestar, Capital, Viking or fancy Italian ones, did I see.

Most the kitchens just had your "Run of the mill", Midlevel ranges and or cooktops.

I think what you said is true of most real estate buyers, They are just not into appliances the way we are here in Garden Web, if it looks fairly nice and works, That's not gonna "Queer the sale", just cause it ain't the fancy stuff, we fancy here!

Come to think of it, I didn't even run into an SZ fridge!


    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 7:15PM
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I think it does make a difference but ever so slight.

I watch those shows on HGTV where people need to pick between three houses or three condos. Appliances are almost never mentioned by the buyers at the final decision. I don't recall a single one where the appliances where discussed at the final decision but I will make allowances for the shows I have not seen.

I once saw a couple shopping upper mid /lower high end in Wyoming. One had Sub Zero Wolf Miele dishwasher kitchen the other two were Frigidaire Pro and a suite of random appliances.

I thought the Sub Zero Wolf Miele house was the obvious choice because it had by far the superior kitchen. The couple chose the Frigidaire Pro house because it was close to restaurants and shopping.

I think it can make a slight difference if all else is equal but that is almost never the case. Same type house in same neighborhood same bedrooms bathrooms and level of care given to the house. Plus agents need to add something to the listing description.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:09PM
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My suggestion would go Wolf or American all gas. Both are pretty basic, and have fairly straight forward controls. Dacor used to use circuit boards that died pretty regularly, they may have cured it, but I still like old fashioned controls. At worst, you can find a generic replacement - which is not an option for a circuit board. I have a BS that is only a few months old, and like it, but based on what you have heard from a what appears to be an unbiased source, I would not be surprised if you decided not to go with BS.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:33PM
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Deeageaux: I know from other posts that you're a CC owner. If you're OK with answering a question, I'm curious. Did you have a CC dealer close by, did you make an educated sight-unseen purchase, or did you travel to see/test-drive one? Thx.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 6:49PM
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