Harman's Poor Customer Service

djm253525August 24, 2005

Today I called Harman directly. I was trying to find out some information about purchasing the DVC-600 Direct Vent Coal Stoker. I wanted to find out why Harman dealers refuse to sell stoves to customers outside their direct region. For example, I live on Long Island and wanted to purchase my stove from a dealer in Connecticut. The dealers told me Harman has a vender agreement with them that they must service the stoves they sell. In addition, the agreement states that a dealer may not sell a stove to a customer outside their region. The purpose of my call was to find the reason for not allowing dealers to sell outside their region. The Harman secretary told me it was because the selling agent must service the unit. I continued the conversation with the secretary and expressed my concerns about this arrangement. I told her this seems to be in line with price fixing. It doesn't allow competition among Harman dealers. The problem I had with the whole phone call is when the Harman secretary hung the phone up on me. This was not done once, but several times. It took four phone calls to get a manager on the phone. After getting the manager on the phone I told her I didn't like the treatment I received. The manager stated, "we don't have time for this". I replied "you don't have time for a customer, I'm just another number." The lack of help at Harman was a shock!! I expected much more from the folks at Harman. I can't believe the lack of respect I received today from Harman. I was ready to buy from Harman, but I'm now going to look at other companies. I can only imagine the service I will receive from Harman after they get my money. I bet the service will be worse. JUST A LACK OF REGARD FOR THEIR CUSTOMERS!! SHAME ON YOU HARMAN!!!!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No. Shame on YOU!

The Harman factory does not deal directly with customers just like most stove companies. That is the dealers job. The factory does NOT have time for this kind of thing especially when they are trying to fill orders for this upcoming season, which I'm guessing they are already behind on. I love Harman. Their products, their service. Always top-notch.

Harman kept telling you the reasons. You chose to argue with them. It is not price fixing. Their reasons are valid and true. I can tell you this because I was once a Harman dealer. Being the only one in my state, I did get people who came in from all over-even other states- to purchase Harmans from me because they were not available where they lived. There are more dealers now. Fortunately, I only had to deal with one out-of-town service call & I'm still sure down to this day that the guy didn't operate his stove properly. It was a long drive, but I stood by my product. If I still had the business, I would not sell to people who were out of a certain radius because as they told you-the Harman dealers MUST service what they sell. What dealer has a whole day to spend in the busy season (which we are in) to travel to a customers home?

You were being unreasonable with the factory. Ask the dealers if you need information or a part. The factory deals with the stove shops ONLY. The stove shops deals with the customer. The only time the factory should be contacted is to find a dealer (available online), or with some kind of an unresolved problem with a dealer.

You knew the answers to your questions before you even called them. All you wanted to do was argue with them. They are within their rights to hang up on harrassing phone callers. Frankly, some people are not worth having as customers.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 8:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I wasn't calling to harase Harman!! In fact, I was trying to understand the reasoning behind their logic.I wasn't even on the phone with them for a long time. I was comparing the purchase of a Harman stove to other items, such as a Ford. I can purchase a car from a Ford dealer in Florida, and have the warranty service in NY near my home. The Corp. (Ford) pays the dealer money for the repair. This arrangement allows the customer to shop from dealer to dealer for the best possible price. In comparison to Harman Stoves, I don't understand why customers aren't given the opportunity to do the same. This is why I called Harman and questioned their policy. I understand Harman isn't a auto corp., but it doesn't make sense why customers can't shop from dealer to dealer. I understand the selling dealer services the stove, but why doesn't Harman allow one to purchase a stove from dealer A and receive service from dealer b. The dealer (b) servicing the unit would bill Harman for any warranty service. This is what I was trying to understand. I hope this makes sense. I still don't think a phone call for a few minutes deserves a rude "click". Please note I do think they sell good stoves, but I was upset with the rude service. I didn't realize you were a Harman dealer. Did you work with them in any capacity anymore?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

(After reading through this response it appears I have written a novel. However, I think it will answer many of your questions as well as those of other visitors to this site.)

I haven't been in the stove business for over 5 years. My then-husband and I ran it together for 10 years up until February 1999. We decided to close up the business, partly because we had TOO much business and mostly for other, personal reasons which I won't go into, but you've probably already figured it out.

The stove/fireplace business can be quite quirky, as I have seen others observe and post about it on here before. Both the stove and the premium patio furniture manufacturers have "protected territories". Not all, but most do which also doesn't allow them to sell via internet. The reasons for this are several, you already know one-the service. Also, the "big boxes" have been a huge threat to both the outdoor furniture and the stove businesses. These big boxes usually don't know a wood stove from a space heater and do the products a disservice. They also usually sell inferior quality products that a reputable stove dealer wouldn't even think of touching-all because the big store is looking at a "price point" not quality. One way the manufacturers protect their good, long-time dealers is to provide them with that protected territory.

Mostly, the reason that this business seems to be quirky really lies in the buying habits of the end-consumer. The wood stove dealers sell the majority of their stoves and related products and services from between September-late January, six months at best. The rest of the time, they try to sell off-season products like patio furniture, grills & spas. Because the CONSUMER is driving the dealer's season and it is only 6 months out of the year, the dealer cannot stock the amounts and variety of product year-round that he would like to. Also, not everyone uses a woodstove, but almost everyone drives a car (that is until gas prices go too high). Thus, you don't have as wide an appeal from the general population. It is a much smaller customer base.

We were just a small dealer. We actually ran it out of our huge garage, thus being able to give big discounts to customers. We got too busy and needed to open up a shop, but didn't want to go there. I could easily sell 30 various stoves a month in the months of September/October/November/December. We averaged 2-3 a month the rest of the year. Sometimes less. So you can see the problems this creates for the dealer. Because the majority of consumers do not think far enough ahead, the dealer cannot keep up with the demands on him during those very busy months. This all trickles down to the factories.
The factories offer early buy incentives to the dealers to get production going and stoves stocked in the stores as early as possible. I always took advantage of this, but I could never stock enough product for customer demands.

Harman has expanded its factory & warehouse over the last few years greatly to keep up with these demands, but it still comes down to every winter being hard to keep up with it. Sometimes back-ordering products.

To your main question: Why can't you buy a store from one dealer and expect another dealer to fix it? Because the second dealer didn't profit from the sale of the stove, nor did they "qualify" the customer (made sure they got what they really needed/wanted). Harman does pay their dealers to fix their products in many instances, but the service call must be approved from the factory first. However, it wouldn't be fair to the second dealer to take on any real burden (phone calls too) while the original dealer gets all the profits.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 12:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for your insight!! It makes sense. I guess it's not practical to compare a stove company to an auto dealer. The service is important to us. As a result, I think we will buy our stove local instead of trying to save a couple of dollars.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 2:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My question also pertains to Harmans warranty service only being performed by the selling dealer.

Say I were to have the six year "gold warranty" on a Harman stove, and I had to move out of state to a new home and I took the stove with me. Certainly the selling dealer wouldn't come that far to service the stove. So, does this mean the warranty isn't worth the paper it's printed on?

Bet a lawyer could get that one straightened out fast.

The owner's manual detailing the Gold Warranty states:
How to make a claim: Any claim under this warranty *should*
be made to the dealer from whom this appliance was purchased.

The word "should" is far from the word "must", and would be quickly determined in court if need be.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When we purchased our stove from a harman dealer there was a mixup on the shipping and the stove was 3 weeks late. This was due to a dealer error in ordering the correct model. Our dealer gave us a ton of pellets free. I also received a call at home on the weekend directly from the Vice-President of manufacturing. He apologized for the mix up and sent the log set for the stove free of charge.

I would say the secetary was must have had a bad day when you called. Even if your call wasn't one the factory should have delt with she should have never hung up on you. BUT, I wouldn't eliminate harman from the short list due to a poor employee response. They do make a great stove.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 3:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would like to add my experience with a Harman stove Dealer. I ordered a stove from a Long Island dealer on September 5, 2006 for installation on October 17, 2006.
I was required to leave a deposit for 30% of the cost of the stove and installation, which I did. On October 16, 2006 I called the dealer to confirm the installation and it was confirmed. At 9:30 AM the morning of the scheduled installation I received a call from the dealer stating they could not install the stove because they forgot to order a stove adapter. I then informed them that this was really unacceptable as they confirmed the installation the night before and had 6 weeks to order whatever was needed to install the stove. I also informed them that I was self employed and lost a days work. Their answer was "Well what would you like me to do". Then I was told that they were getting very busy and would install the stove when they could. Again I stated my objection. At that point the dealer told me I had 3 options; A) wait for them to install the stove, B) Pick the stove up and install it myself, or C) Cancel the order. I opted for C since I felt the dealer couldn't keep their commitment on the sale what was going to happen when I needed service or the fuel they guaranteed me.
When I asked about my deposit they told me they would refund the deposit less a $75.00 estimate fee. Nice scam sell a stove don't install it and charge the customer for the estimate.
I tried contacting Harman to let them know how one of their dealers is operating and that they lost a sale because of the dealers actions but have received no reply.
So I guess the heading in these posts are true only it should read

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Couple other thoughts:

1) Try calling a Ford factory and asking questions about how a car handles.
2) Ford dealers make more money off service (Warrenty and other) than they do off selling you the car.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 12:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

While I have been very happy with my dealer, I can tell you I have also been dissatisfied with the service I got the few times I called harman and spoke in person to their reps. Also the brochures were written with errors, I.e. "the pc45 can use the burnpot from the p61 and become a pellet stove"...NOT

And other misleading comments in the brochures. Why a pellet stove(not installed) costs more than a 96 percent natural gas furnace installed is beyond my comprehension, which is the case I just learned.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 10:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just try to find HArmon's Phone Number, Impossible.
I was all set to buy one but, after trying to order one and get an installation date set-up and reading these posts, I will look for a stove manufacturer with better Customer Service so that I can have it installed before the upcoming winter. What a way to run a company?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been looking for a pellet-burning boiler and Harman's fit the bill. I've called the nearest Harman dealer several times and never has a live person answered the phone. Worse still, they've never returned my calls when I've left messages asking them to do so. So, I thought, just call Harman directly for answers to my questions. But Harman doesn't provide a phone number on its' otherwise fine website. Talk to the dealer, not us, they say. But the dealer doesn't talk. Maybe I'll walk.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 4:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a Harman Accentra Insert that was installed on 9/30/05 - my combustion blower burnt out on 10/2/05 - I contacted the dealer I bought it from and he contacted Harman who would not warranty the motor. That is 2 days out of warranty! - the stove has been used for 2 winters this winter will be the third. They just don't give a hoot after you buy the stove! Does anyone have Harmans direct number? I would like to make a call to them to at least complain!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Googled their phone number and found 717-362-9080. I purchased a Harman Accentra Stand Alone 3/2007 and had to replace the igniter that same year. That dealer has gone out of business. Harman referred us to a dealer in a neighboring city that wants nothing to do with us telling us they are not responsible for our 6 year warranty. I think it is criminal to sell a $3000+ pellet stove and then abandon your customer. Harman claims that all their dealers have factory trained experts to maintain your stoves--ha! The guy the dealer in the neighboring city referred us to (who is an independent contractor)says he can't get any technical details from Harman. He is caught between a rock and a hard place attempting to repair our pellet stove but getting no help from Harman. We will be contacting a lawyer to sue those crooks at Harman. I feel like we are in a circular firing squad being fired at by everyone that works with or for Harman. As far as I am concerned they are crooks pure and simple!!!!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 11:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the insight I was going to get a Harman. I'll look for a better manufacturer also FORD is America's number 1 truck

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Throughout the past few years Harman has made a commitment to truly understanding our end users. By combining valuable feedback from our customers and homeowners in the beginning stages of product development, we are working to ensure our products consistently meet or exceed consumer expectations in 2011.

We invite you to visit us, check out some of our distinctive, powerful, stoves and learn more about the exciting additions Harman has made in the past few years.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 11:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have an Accentra 2. The operating needs a better diagram to help reinstall the lid on the feeder chamber on p 21.

This has to be cleaned once a season. Sawdusts gets in and gums up the operation of the pellet feeder which then make a lot of noise.

It is not an easy procedure without a good diagram because you have to remove the feeder motor first to get to the lid, then unscrew the wing nut, then move a vertical plate, then vacum.

When you put it back together, you have to make sure the roller on the sprocket is in a certain position, but the manual does not tell you where that is.

They really need a professional engineer communicator to illustrate that operation. Maybe they want you to spend money on maintence calls. But for those of who are retired and want to get off of oil, their short comings are not helpful.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bad company and bad service for their dealers and customers. Decent product, but who cares if you can't get service or parts or information from them? They won't talk to you on the phone (even the dealers!!) . You have to "fax" them and they will get back to you. (Oh sure they will!!)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:49AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Converting wood fireplace to gas fireplace
Help, I'm overwhelmed. Any link to a good site that...
Harman accentra insert wood pellet stove
I'm having a problem with my auger. It won't feed my...
Power for Fan
So I have a very nice Martin sc36 gas fireplace that...
Gas fireplace- fan or no fan?
Looking at a Mendota and a Heat N Glo full view single...
Do I need a fireplace in Southern California
I am in the middle of renovations in my town home and...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™