May 19 2013

How Can I NOT Help You?

For Christmas 2011 my daughter and her boyfriend decided to gift me with a single-serving coffee machine. The realistic options were Keurig and Tassimo. Rather than make a purchase that would not completely delight me, she shared her gift decision and asked me to tell her which one I wanted. Like all questions she poses me, I did research and thinking before answering.

At that time, everyone I knew with a machine, had a Keurig. Every one of them was happy with their machine, some for as long as 2 years. That\’s a good longevity statistic. The price point was at $150+. That is a high price for a machine that couldn\’t make cappuccino or cafe au lait with real milk. The coffee cups for brewing averaged 66 cents (box of 24 for $16) and only carried one brand of coffee that I enjoyed (Timothy\’s). There is a filter available for approximately $16 that allows one to brew any coffee blend. But that meant cleaning the filter and having it prepared the night before for fast use in the morning. Realistically, I would need at least two for convenience.

\"Tassimo\"

The Tassimo was regularly priced around $120+ but several retail stores were moving that price down to $80+. The coffee discs avergaed 50 cents (box of 14 for $6.99) and included Second Cup, Maxwell House and Nabob. These were all brands that I could enjoy. (Tim Hortons came on board in 2013 and that was a huge bonus for me!) Online searching resulted in no negative comments. That was shocking. But searches netted less than 20 comments, so not overwhelmingly reassuring.

The clincher for me was the real milk. The Tassimo brewer has shelf-stable milk discs. These are bar-code read to be brewed with perfect froth, temperature, and amount for specialty drinks. My coffee treat is a cappuccino. One made with sugared, powdered milk did not seem appealing. I tried one and hated it. So my decision was made.

Come Christmas, surprise, surprise, my daughter gave me a Tassimo.

I loved my Tassimo.

I devour manuals that come with everything that I buy. I follow the warnings, directions and suggested maintenance. If I want a product to last, then I need to follow the manufacturer\’s directions. They are the experts. I register my products so the company has my information in case there is a problem that comes up in the future.

I use tap water (or Brita filtered) to brew my coffee, since the manufacturer said that was okay. I run a cleaning cycle weekly. I run the descaling cycle (without product) once a month. After a coffee is brewed, the machine is shut off and unplugged. Phantom electricity costs me money so unplugging is something we do with all electronics in this house.

On Twitter, Facebook, and in real life, I touted the joy of my Tassimo ownership. I bought a second one about a year later to use at work and to share with my 13 co-workers. When I discovered TerraCycle will recycle the discs (Keurig Kcups go to landfills) that was the \”cherry on top\” that pushed my Tassimo far above every other one-cup machine on the market.

\"Tassimo

Fast-forward 17 months later to Victoria Day weekend 2013 – my Tassimo began making very loud noises, started flashing red lights and brewed me a tablespoon of coffee. Out came the manual (stored near the machine of course) and I followed the Troubleshooting steps. When that did not fix the problem, I checked their website. No new information was there. I completed the Help Me Please! form on their website, and got the automated response. I posted to Twitter. @TassimoCanada suggested a descale cycle (already attempted several times) and their 1-800 Customer Service line. So I called the help line.

When Tassimo had a voluntary recall in 2012, after waiting about an hour on hold, I spent 20 minutes extra on the phone with the Rep who said she was creating an account for me. Apparently she forgot to hit SAVE because there was no account for me. The new Rep did this step again. Okay. He mentions that I have a much older model. 17 months is old? Okay. Then he got me to run a cleaning cycle. Wouldn\’t you know it – no problem at all. Frustrating for the problem to mysteriously disappear, but if fixed, I\’d take it. The Rep asked if I would brew a cup of coffee. Uh – No. Why would I waste a coffee disc to test it? We agreed to do the cleaning cycle again. All the problems returned.

He had only 3 suggestions to fix my problem.

  1. He suggested after use I shut off and unplug the machine. I already do that.
  2. He suggested I run a descale cycle regularly. I already do that and in its current state I could not.
  3. He stated the machine appeared to be defective and should be replaced. Okay. Then he told me the warranty is only 12 months so Tassimo would not be replacing it. I clarified with him – to fix the problem I should buy a new machine? Yes.

Is Tassimo\’s position that their $120+ machine has a total life span that does not go beyond 17 months? Apparently so, according to this Customer Service Representative.

Then came the slap in the face, screw you, customers mean nothing to us, insult; he asked me \”Is there anything else I can help you with?\”

Anything else? I called the Tassimo help line because my machine was not working. After his \”help\” it is still not working. What other possible problems could be relevant or in existence? How did he help me with my first problem? Where does he garner the confidence to think that I feel he could solve any other issue I might have?

My response: No thanks, you\’ve already done Nothing enough for me.

Update June 10, 2013: Tassimo has not responded to me in any manner at all despite me reaching out to them via Twitter, direct email, and their website contact form email. Disappointing to learn that they don’t care about their customers after a purchase is made.

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