Char-Broil: The Bonnie and Clyde of Grilldom

28 06 2017

Okay. You’re shopping for a new grill and after an hour of checking out what’s available, you have it narrowed down to two. Then you notice a huge sticker glued to the top of one of your two finalists.

“MANUFACTUR’S WARRANTY:

Ø  99 YEARS-STAINLESS STEEL PARTS REPLACEMENT

Ø  FREE BURNER REPLACEMENT FOR AS LONG AS YOU OWN YOUR GRILL

Ø  10 YEARS-ELECTRONIC IGNITION

Ø  2 YEARS-ALL REMAINING COMPONENTS

MODEL 463242304”

I don’t know about you, but I interpret that to mean if I buy this grill, Char-Broil will replace stainless steel parts for 99 years and burners for as long as I own the grill. Now, that’s a great warranty. In fact, it was the warranty that made the choice an easy one.

 

Now, you get your new grill home, get out your tools and remove everything from its huge cardboard

Char-Broil Customer Support

container, including the manual which is still sealed inside a plastic bag. Finally, having completed the assembly of your new toy, you can relax and read the warranty. No. Of course you don’t read the warranty. Heck, you barely read the assembly instructions. Besides, why read the warranty? You already read it. What more could it say that wasn’t plastered all over the grill top on that sticker?

 

That was back in 2003. Every two or three years since, as my burners and stainless steel flame tamers needed replacing, I contacted Char-Broil, told them what I needed and paid them for shipping.

 

Recently, I called Char-Broil Customer Support to order replacement burners and flame tamers. I was told they would not be covered under warranty because I had exceeded the original price of the grill in free replacement parts. Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of that. After a brief, but calm protest, I was directed to the warranty printed inside the owner’s manual, which I still have…you know, the one that was sealed up inside the plastic bag and hiding inside the grill neatly packed in the large cardboard box that took two men and a Towmotor to get to the deck.

 

Char-Broil Director of Marketing

I took my protest to a higher level and spoke with a supervisor. He told me to send pictures of the grill, both inside and out, the burners and flame tamers and the sticker with the fake warranty. A few days later, I got their response. Char-Broil had denied my request but would offer me a discount on the parts. Well, I don’t see that happening because I’ll spend a thousand dollars on a new grill before I’ll spend another dime at Char-Broil.

 

The marketing gurus and legal team at Char-Broil know that few people will read the warranty, especially after they have plastered fake warranty information on a 12 by 17 inch sticker on the top of the display model. I believe there’s a name for that. It’s called bait and switch and I believe that’s illegal.  At best, it’s deceptive advertising. No, let me rephrase that…it’s lying. Of course, they blamed me for not reading the warranty inside the manual which was not available to me when I made the purchase. But any way you cut it, Char-Broil lied.

 

So, what’s the point of this minor diatribe? Just to warn anyone who reads it to be very careful when considering a made-in-China Char-Broil product. You may not get what you think.