Visual Comfort

warmfridgeMarch 22, 2012

I posted extensively in the Kitchen forum when I completely reno'd my kitchen last year. The renovation included 3 new pendants over my kitchen island, and I chose Visual Comfort lights SL5125HAB/SLD-HAB. Total price $757.35.

The lights were purchased from a local lighting store in May '10. They sat on my dining room table until they were installed in August or September '10. Because I couldn't move back in immediately, and was away the next summer, they had actually been used for 10 months, when one of them stopped working in Nov. '11.

When I tried to replace the bulb, I discovered that the interior of the socket was corroded, preventing the bulb from contacting the plate in the top of the socket. When I removed the shade, I discovered that the exterior part of the socket was also corroded, as well as the nut that threaded onto the bolt holding it in place.

The brass shade was corroded as well.

The lighting store salesman and I then spent 4+ months trying to obtain a new socket, nut, and bolt to replace the corroded parts. He tried through Visual Comfort's regional distributor, and I called VC's main office in Texas. We asked for the parts. We asked for a parts list and diagram so we could get the right parts. We supplied pictures of the corroded parts so VC could see what we needed. I offered to purchase the parts even though I felt VC should have replaced them for free.

VC gave us one socket. They would not give us the parts list so we could order the other needed parts. In the meantime, a second light failed, with the same findings.

When I called VC's customer service dept, I was told "We don't take care of customer problems." And then was asked "How did you get these so wet?"

These lights were never touched by water or other liquids while in my possession. My contractor checked the attic ventilation and upgraded it before the kitchen reno was done. We placed a humidity sensor in the attic and found no excessive moisture. (Note that the rust is only present at the level of the fixture anyway and does not extend up the stem of the light.) My kitchen is well-ventilated and there is no excessive dampness.

Did VC think I dragged a garden hose into the kitchen to hose the lights down regularly? I don't know.

The third light started flickering, and its shade fell off and couldn't be screwed back into place because its threads were all corroded.

VC eventually offered to supply 3 sockets and would not replace the other parts nor allow me to purchase them. I don't think I could remove the rusted parts anyway as they seem corroded together at this point.

After 4+ months of a lightless island, I purchased new lights from a different company. They were installed today. When the old lights were taken down, rust crumbled out of the area previously shown. All of that brown stuff in the picture is rust.

My contractor thinks this happened because 2 metals of different conductivity were used for the socket and adjacent nut/bolt. My electrician thinks the parts got wet during manufacture. It's difficult to tell at this point. I do know that I never got them wet or even damp, and they were only subjected to 10 months of normal kitchen use. I never had an issue with my previous lights, which were there for much longer.

Needless to say, I am not pleased about the problem, and I am thoroughly disgusted at VC's response. They only have a 30 day guarantee on their products, and I guess their customers can just go to **** after that.

My new lights are from Northeast Lantern. 342P-DB-MED.

The lighting store sold these to me at their cost. Their staff was very helpful during this whole tedious process. Not only did VC waste a lot of my time, it was also very time-consuming to locate new lights in antique brass, which is not a popular finish now.

All I can say is...


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Dear Warmfridge,

I am with Visual Comfort.

I read your story and would like to know more.
I'd like to apologize for your experience.
It does not sound like the right people got involved in your case.
I regret that you ended up using products which were clearly not your first choice for design.
We offer a one year written warranty, and stand behind our products forever.

From whom did you purchase them?
Does the island have a cooktop?
Do you still have the fixtures?

Please email me at

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Great, now that I've spent 4+ months and hundreds of dollars on new lights, VC has decided it behooves them to be responsive.

I answered that Email as requested, and will take any further dispute private.

Any questions, just look at the pictures.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 5:53PM
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At Visual Comfort we pride ourselves in bringing great design and quality to everyone. We are the premier resource for the professional designer, and with great cause. This incident is an isolated quality issue that was handled very poorly from the start. I will take a close look at what happened with the fixtures, as well as why our service broke down.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:24PM
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