Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cuisinart cookware; why you should NOT buy it


Get a glass of wine, I'm rather long winded in my rant here.  But it's MY blog so I can be.  I have a couple of friends who love my rants so for them... "here ya go..."


I don't usually spend too much time on product endorsements or warnings but in this case, I am going to make a massive exception.  Do NOT buy Cuisinart Hard Anodized cookware.  That's my words of wisdom for you today.  I'm sure there are other hard anodized sets you can find.  I'll explain to you how I came to this epiphany...


I have lusted after the Cuisinart Hard Anodized cookware set for a very long time.  Seriously, I'd stop in the store and stroke the pans.  Sad, I know but hey, I'm a foodie!! 

I have the stainless set and it's fine. It cooks fine, cleans up fine.  I wanted something with a non stick quality that wasn't going to flake off.  I loved Cuisinart and I've never had a problem so I never had to deal with the company. 


For my birthday, husband bought me, *GASP*, the Cuisinart Hard Anodized cookware set!  *SWEET*  *JOY*  *HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY*  It was like a new light had been turned on.  Culinary nirvana (for me).  


The pots and pans heated evenly and cooked remarkably well.  They were non stick, I could use metal utensils and put them in the dishwasher and they have glass lids.  


How did I EVER live without glass lids?!?!  I watched water boil through the lid, I could see my rice, my veggies!  Oh joy of joys.


Even though they said I could, I used metal sparingly and carefully .. there are my new babies after all   I didn't put them in the dishwasher, all washed by hand.  They didn't have to live with the other pots and pans, they live on the counter so I can see them, gaze at them and use them for every meal.


I made omelets, the best omelets of my life. I cooked eggs and bacon and french toast.  I toasted nuts, fried garlic in oil and pan fried pork chops.  I boiled potatoes for mashed potatoes and used my old metal masher in the large pan.  No problem, no marks, no scorching and I could WATCH through the lids... I loved these pans. The pans, they made me sing.  


Then I made pie.  Chocolate pie.  The filling is chocolate pudding.  There are egg yolks in it so I didn't want it to boil.  I think that sets a definite max temperature I used the pan at. 


I washed the saucepan by hand and HORROR, the coating is FLAKING OFF?  What the heck?  I thought this only happened with cheapie non sticks, not my beloved hard anodized!  I thought it was HARD? and it was ANODIZED?  HORROR! 


I took pictures and emailed them and a nasty letter to customer service at Cuisinart.  I was hot, my beloved, lusted after, wanted and needed from afar pans were wrecked!  Not the meanest email I've ever sent but certainly not the sweetest toned:



Dear Customer Service:

I have included 3 pictures of my ruined ((BRAND NEW)) Cuisinart pan.

My husband spent a considerable amount of money to purchase the Cuisinart hard anodized full set of cookware for me for my birthday this month.  I haven’t registered the set yet because he sent in the code for a rebate or bonus gift or something and I was going to register it when we get that information back.

I have used this saucepan 3 times, and have only washed the cookware by hand, even though it says dishwasher safe and LOOK at what happened today!  Am I to worry now that whatever flaked off into my food from this pan will flake off in my food from the OTHER pans?  I am absolutely furious. 

I made chocolate pudding in this pan yesterday.  I used a RUBBER spatula and a WOODEN spoon!

I didn’t burn it, I didn’t dig, gouge, scrape or misuse it and LOOK!!  what on EARTH is this? 

I am looking for some form of assistance, if this is going to happen to these pans then perhaps the batch is faulty? 

I am generally a Cuisinart fan and usually sing praises of your products on my food/cooking blog and all over social media because I’m a cook and people ask me about product suggestions.  I am shocked that after all these years of yearning for the big set of Cuisinart Hard Anodized cookware and then finally getting it and having this happen within a week of use. 

This is completely and totally unacceptable.

I look forward to your reply so we can remedy this, quickly.

Tracy Williams
  

Thus began my waste of time today.  I did a quick check and was a little surprised to see Cuisinart has an "F" rating with the BBB in NJ.  WOW!  Look at this: 

http://www.bbb.org/new-jersey/Business-Reviews/kitchen-accessories/cuisinart-in-east-windsor-nj-15000696

In any event, back to the story...  so, Representative (#1 *yes, we need to number them! keep up!) emailed me back...



Dear Ms. Williams.
  
Thank you for your inquiry.
  
We are sorry to hear of the problem you encountered with the cookware.   We would like to issue a UPS Call tag to retrieve the pan /s so that we can examine them..   Please send to my attention the model number of the pan or pans that are damaged and your full name, address and daytime phone number and I will provide you with a Service Notification number and instructions to pack it for UPS.

Thank you
Representative 1

Ahhh...  they care...  I'm delighted.  I jumped right on it:

Dear Representative1;


Thank you for getting back to me.  
The pan is Model #641925-18, Saucepan with cover, 2.5Qt./2.4L, V#17550M

My name and address:
Tracy Williams
(entered address)

Then I got this: 



Dear Ms. Williams

Thank you for your response.  

Please look again on the bottom of the pan,   the number you provided is too long,   what is the model number of the set?

Thank you
Representative 1

I see my inbox light up...  wow, that was fast...Hey, when was I demoted from Ms. Williams to Valued Customer?  OH HELL, it's another rep?  I'll call him Rep2, advising me of the following:

Valued Customer,


We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced regarding your cookware. Based on the information you have provided, your cookware can be set up for evaluation.

However, if the pot/pan has been used on high heat and/or damaged in any way it would not be covered under this warranty. In order to determine the warranty coverage you may send the item in to us for an evaluation. Based on the information you have provided, your shipping and processing fees for us returning your cookware will be $7 (1 or 2 pieces) or $15 (3 or more pieces).

We also ask that you cover the cost of shipping the defective unit to and from Cuisinart.  We recommend that you use a traceable insured delivery service. Please reply with history to this email providing us your complete shipping information and contact phone number in the event UPS needs to contact you. Once we have received your mailing information a Service Notification number will be created and an e-mail will be sent back to you with instruction on how to proceed on returning your defective unit.
  
If you prefer, we welcome you to call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-726-0190 with this information. Please keep in mind the Customer Service Agent will not have access to your e-mail information. The hours of operation are 7 AM -11 PM EST Monday through Friday and 9 AM - 5:30 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, excluding major holidays.

Sincerely,
Rep2
Cuisinart Customer Service Representative

So, let me see if I am clear on this;
They can set the pan up for evaluation.
They will look at the pan/s
They will see if *I* damaged the pan (but I LOVE them!)
They will determine if the warranty is valid? (did I mention warranty??)
They will inspect for damage and determine if *I* used excessive heat (I have an Ikea cooktop, I can't even GET excessive heat...  and hey, this wasn't even to boiling point!)
They will determine if I abused the pan thus rendering any warranty void.  (abused?  I wouldn't even put them in a cupboard to keep them safe and near me!!!!!)

So let me get this straight... for the above to happen; 


*I* have to pay to ship the pan to Cuisinart

*I* have to pay extra for traceable insured delivery
*I* have to then wait for THEM to determine if *I* wrecked the pan
*I* have to pay to have the damaged pan returned to me if they say *I* ruined it
*I* have to pay to have a new pan shipped to me if the pan is in fact defective. 

OH HELL NO


I sent a snippy reply to Rep2:


Dear Rep2:


I suppose I should thank you for responding but I have NO intention WHATSOEVER of paying a THING. 

I am NOT paying to ship YOUR defective product back.

I did NOT damage the cookware.

I did NOT use excessively high heat.

I made CHOCOLATE PUDDING and it didn't even BOIL so there's the temperature gage.

I'm unsure how to proceed here. 

Tracy Williams 

I don't think Rep2 will write me back, Rep's don't like capital letters.  

Now, back to Rep1, I'm not stupid, sweetie, that is the information on the bottom of the pan. So I sent her this:

Dear Representative:
The number I provided is not too long. 
Those are the numbers on the bottom of the pan.
Please see attached photograph of the bottom of the pan.

The model number of the set is 64-13

FYI, I received a very rude email from another representative of Cuisinart insisting *I* pay to return the defective pan. I have no intention of paying a penny toward the replacement of this defective pan.
 
Tracy


I'm waiting...  There's been nothing back from Rep1 or Rep2

While I waited, with the poor distressed pan sitting beside me on the ironing board, I looked at it, at eye level and noticed... 


 

Well, hardly caused by vigorous whisking and excessive heat at the TOP of the pan... Luckily, I'm diligent so I immediately fired off an email to Rep1

Dear Rep1


I just noticed the pan is also damaged at the top… hardly caused by excessive heat and/or vigorous whisking… see attached photos

Tracy


I figure we're close enough now that we can be on a first name basis.

OH OH, I just got an email from Rep3 also responding to my initial email!! Really, don't you people talk to each other. Each thinks they are the only one handling my complaint and each has responded differently. Rep1 is going the long way around, Rep2 is just mean as hell and now Rep3 is to the point, straight on and wants the numbers from the pan. Hmmmm I wonder if I should tell them all that they are ALL dealing with the SAME issue... naw

Valued Customer,

Thank you for your inquiry. In order to properly assist you, we are in need of the model number from the bottom of the pan. Please reply, with history, to this email. We invite you to call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-726-0190, if you prefer. Please keep in mind the Customer Service Agent will not have access to your e-mail information. The hours of operation are 7 AM -11 PM EST Monday through Friday and 9 AM - 5:30 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, excluding major holidays.

Sincerely,
Rep3

Cuisinart Customer Service Representative

Ok, I'll play along..

Dear Rep

Here is the photograph of the bottom of the pan, along with two additional photos that show the coating flaking off at the rim of the pan as well. I'm sending the photo because I've been accused of sending faulty information, this should eliminate all doubt.
Tracy 

Ok, now I'm sitting staring at my pan and I'm annoyed, this isn't fun anymore. No one is playing with me and I don't want to play with them anymore.

I called the Bed, Bath and Beyond store where the set was purchased. I knew they'd be great, I feel this is a Cuisinart problem, not a BB&B problem which is why I went straight to Cuisinart. Sure, I can tweet (which I did) and write scathing reviews all over social media and use my blog *handy this* to tell the story and warn people away, I wanted THEM to handle it and I'm already bored and frustrated with how they are handling it.

Bed Bath and Beyond were absolutely DELIGHTFUL. ALWAYS go to BED, BATH AND BEYOND, ALWAYS shop there, I have never had anything but a FANTASTIC experience with them and their products.

The woman on the phone was a joy. She commiserated with me over a ruined brand new pan. "Oh, how disappointed you must be", she said. She got it.

She said I could bring one pan in to be swapped out, the whole set in to be swapped out or the whole set to be changed out for another manufacturer. I think THAT is the direction we'll go in. I am so very disappointed at Cuisinart. I had such faith in them, such support, I was a solid fan an avid consumer and a great champion and representative of their quality and products. "Just bring it all back, we'll help you out".

Thank you, Bed, Bath and Beyond!  

Bite me, Cuisinart.

You can take your flaking pans and annoying, mean, and late to the game customer service representatives and fleece even more money out of people who would pay to send your crappy product back to you so you can determine if THEY wrecked this high end pan. Nice.

I'm very disappointed. You know what I wanted? I wanted Cuisinart to say they were sorry for the coating flaking off the pan, I wanted them to ship me a new one and take this one away to check later. I don't think that's out of line. Instead, they didn't. They sent 3 representatives to email me, each with a slightly different tone to their contact. Rep 2 was just plain mean and almost threatening in his tone, Rep 3 has never been introduce to paragraphs and Rep 1 just thinks I can't read numbers off the bottom of a pan.

No, it's not the end of the world but certainly enough to wreck an already annoying day. Perhaps this directed some of the storm I'm in today but in any event, I'm sorely disappointed at the quality and customer service from a company I was a die-hard rep for. Sort of the end of an era but the beginning of a new one... so... whose cookware should I get now?

I'm going to take the pans back to Bed, Bath and Beyond either later today or tomorrow after my Local Farm Box is delivered by Greenling, but that'll be another consumer product review.

I WILL update this post as to the outcome of the 3 representatives and what each has to say as their final word but it'll be mute because, as I said, I'll have returned the whole set by the time I hear anything back no doubt.

/tracy

ADDENDUM:

Rep1 wrote back
 

Dear Ms. Williams


Is this a different pan or the same one?   Please let me know so that I can create the Service Notification and issue the UPS Call tag.

Thank you
Rep1

I replied (and you'll notice my replies are definitely shorter hahaha): 

Same

Rep2 wrote:

Valued Customer,

We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced regarding your cookware. Based on the information you have provided, your unit is within the limited lifetime warranty and can be set up for evaluation for repair or replacement.

However, our warranty does not include shipping and processing fees. Based on the information you have provided, your shipping and processing fees for us returning your cookware will be $7 (1 or 2 pieces) or $15 (3 or more pieces). We ask that you cover the cost of shipping the defective unit to Cuisinart.

We recommend that you use a traceable insured delivery service. Please reply with history to this email providing us your complete shipping information and contact phone number in the event UPS needs to contact you. Once we have received your mailing information a Service Notification number will be created and an e-mail will be sent back to you with instruction on how to proceed on returning your defective unit. If you prefer, we welcome you to call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-726-0190 with this information. Please keep in mind the Customer Service Agent will not have access to your e-mail information. The hours of operation are 7 AM -11 PM EST Monday through Friday and 9 AM - 5:30 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, excluding major holidays.

Sincerely,
Rep2 
Cuisinart Customer Service Representative


Really?  Shutup Rep2, you're bugging me with your canned response.  Everyone has my phone number and no one has called.  I have not replied to Rep2, I'm not going to bother.

HEY, I just noticed the emails coming from the Rep's are all @conair.com ???  Does Conair own Cuisinart?  That's weird...  

HOLD ON.  Rep2 didn't like my reply and capitals, I told you Reps don't like capitals.  So, Rep2 has handed me off to Rep4!  


Valued Customer,

As a courtesy we can waive the return fee to you, but you would have to pay the  shipping to Cuisinart for the evaluation. Please reply, with history, to this email with your model number and shipping address if you would like the information to mail it in. We invite you to call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-726-0190, if you prefer. The hours of operation are 7 AM -11 PM EST Monday through Friday and 9 AM - 5:30 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, excluding major holidays.

Sincerely,
Rep4
Cuisinart Customer Service Representative


My reply: 

No, I will not pay for anything.

I finally thought about and sent my reply to Rep2.  I'm done.


Hey Douglas:

I bought a $4, self healing, cutting mat online.  When I received it, the line at the 7 inch mark was wobbly, like it had melted.  There was a cutting line diagonally across the mat, l like it had been used and returned.  I contacted the company and advised them of this, yesterday.  I told them I realized sometimes new and used items can be confused and perhaps I had been shipped a used item in error.  They shipped me a new one, last night.  Today they sent a UPS truck to pick it up, about 2 hours ago.  He gave me a receipt and was delightful.  I received an additional email from the company saying they apologized for the defective product and hoped I didn't mind waiting until tomorrow to receive my new cutting mat.  $4 item. 

Yet, today, I'm having to deal with 3 Cuisinart representatives, Ann Marie, Meade, you and now Clint.  Each of you having no idea what everyone else is saying to me, what deals they're making or how you all are having equally unsatisfactory results.  All 3 of you are giving me different stages of information.  The only entertaining part of this for me is the comparing of the canned replies that you're all using.

The Cuisinart pans were, what, $300+?  "We ask that you cover the cost of shipping the defective unit to Cuisinart".  Kind of embarrassing, don't you think?

You're nickel and diming me to return a defective pan your company made and are going to dare to say it was MY fault the coating on these pans flaked off within 2 weeks of use.  Really.

I have a food/cooking blog and twitter accounts and am happily venting everywhere else.  I don't want to play with Cuisinart anymore.  I'm returning the whole set to store.

Please do not contact me again.

Tracy Williams 

/end


ADDENDUM: 

I figured out an email address and just wrote to the damned president of Cuisinart.  Within 12 hours, I got a reply from the head of claims.  Funny how an email to a big gun gets results so quickly.  They were very polite from this point on.  

Why couldn't they have just come out that way at the beginning instead of having some offsite customer service department fire off canned replies?  What the hell, Cuisinart??  Consumers have SO many other choices, you can't rest on your laurels and frankly, after some internet research, it's shocking how badly you're doing!  Your reputation is disintegrating.  This is NOT the way to do business.  

To be fair, I'll tell the rest of the story.  Cuisinart shipped me a new pan and asked me to return the damaged one under the separate postage they sent me. 

I packed the whole lot up (I just put the new pan in the package with the original set) and returned it to Bed, Bath and Beyond.  BB&B had offered to come to my house to pick it up and bring me a replacement set!!  wow, we love them.  

Anyway, I returned the whole set and was crushed.  I'd wanted that Cuisinart set for years and to hand it back just made me feel sad because I cook, I cook a lot, and this cookware was a really, really, really big deal.  It's all I'd ever wanted.

Husband has told me he'll take me to buy any set I want as a replacement.  The really sad thing is the only set I ever wanted was the Cuisinart set.  I guess I'll look at Calphalon or Kitchen Aid.  I refuse to buy any set with a fake chef named on it like Rachel Ray or Emeril (he sold out) or even Gordon Ramsay who I saw hawking ware on the local shopping channel... really??  *sigh*  I just wanted Cuisinart to be good and it wasn't...  so, just don't buy it in the first place.  IF they'd just replied with an apology or a replacement none of this would have happened and I'd be happily cooking on my beloved cookware but now, I'm just not. :(

I will say this.  I own the Cuisinart stainless steel set and it's fine.  I own some other Cuisinart small appliances and they're fine.  I guess what's not fine is the quality of their hard annodized and their customer service for the masses, that's not not NOT fine. 

/Tracy




9 comments:

  1. This is a topic that is close to my heart... Cheers! Exactly
    where are your contact details though?

    Here is my web page; v2 cigs coupons

    ReplyDelete
  2. Try Costco. Great selection, prices, quality, and no hassle returns.

    ReplyDelete
  3. we never did go get me any replacement pots :( I like the Costco idea and also individual pots at Ikea but with a car blowing up, 2 dogs with surgeries then the latest eye popping out of dog's socket emergency vet visit, i'll have to wait.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So, Tracy, did you ever get a new set of pans? I went through a similar dilemma after hearing about all of the issues with hard anodized aluminum cookware. I eventually purchased a set of Analon cookware. Like you, I spent a considerable amount of money on the set and was expecting high quality. I have discovered that unless you use stainless cookware, there is just no such thing as quality anymore. I am mostly satisfied with the Analon with the exception of a few scratches in the coating. No flakes, just scratches. I don't use metal utensils, though the product says I can. I don't put it in the dishwasher, though it says I can. I have glass lids and rubberized handles. I don't put them in the oven, though it says I can. I had checked the reviews on a number of expensive sets of cookware and finally found this one with several free pieces for purchasing the set, which made for a nice value.

    As you stated, Cuisinart is the one brand I stayed away from as it had such crummy reviews. For my freebies I chose a wok and a griddle pan plus an extra french pan with lid. The wok and griddle pan did not come with lids as the lids from other pieces fit them perfectly. I have had this set for about a year and the scratches just started recently.

    I had a stainless set for years but after they were used by others in my kitchen when I was not around, burned beyond recognition and put in the dishwasher, they began to stick. Since I am no longer the sole cook in my home, I have to deal with those issues so won't have stainless anymore, either. I am resolved to having to spend money on new cookware more frequently than I want (my stainless set was purchased when I was single in 1985 for my 30th birthday and was perfect until I married in 2011).



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did, got the Tramontina 15 pc set from Sam's and it's perfect. I use metal in it (gently) and I love love love the pans. I have a stainless set which I love, different pans for different things.

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  5. Replies
    1. you're welcome. as way of an update, I LOVE my Tramontina 15 piece set. I'm not as gentle as I could be and it's still FINE...

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  6. Replies
    1. thanks... I ended up with the Tramontina 15 piece hard anodized set bought from Sams Club and I LOVE it, it's amazing, easy to cook with, clean and it heats so evenly. I also love the glass lids, being able to SEE what I'm cooking? yeah, I am delighted all the time

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