April 21, 2017 • By Dennis Beaver
Chances are that if you heard someone say “Bromic” you would think that it was a disease, as in “I had a really bad case of Bromic.” In fact, that’s precisely what Hanford readers Nick and Nanci Groenenberg wound up with, as you will see, dealt with in a completely inexcusable manner by one of Australia’s premier manufacturers of outdoor heating, The Bromic Group.
Their story begins three years ago in early February when the couple attended The World Ag Expo in Tulare. This international trade fair includes exhibits in a series of canvass pavilions–which are very large tents.
While strolling through one of these chilly pavilions, the couple suddenly felt a great deal heat coming from one exhibit. The source of the heat was the Bromic Tungsten Portable Infra-Red Radiant heater.
As infra-red heats people and objects, but not air, these types of heaters are commonly used for restaurant outdoor patio applications. Most on the market are mushroom shaped, not energy efficient and only have about a three foot radius of effective heating.
“But the Bromic unit was different from anything we had ever seen before,” Nick observed. “It stands seven feet tall, and its heat output provided a toasty 15 by 12 foot pattern of warmth. As we love to entertain on our covered patio, this heater seemed ideal for cool fall evenings.”
Purchased two units – One was a dud
The following year saw our Hanford couple again visiting the Ag Expo, finding the Bromic exhibit, taking measurements, confirming the 15 by 12 foot heated area and determining that two of these heaters – each one costing $1,500 – would be perfect for their patio.
“When they arrived, I assembled one, but we had to stand from 4 to 5 feet to feel any heat and it was making odd popping sounds. We contacted the Bromic office in Sacramento and they gave us various things to try, including measuring temperatures with an infrared thermometer.
“After many emails, phone calls and videos sent to them, their California salesman called me and said it was working properly, we were not supposed to feel heat 15 feet away as advertised, but 5 or 6 feet was the correct distance, and we could not return it. If we agreed to pay for shipping and accept a 25 percent restocking charge, they would take back the unopened unit.”
Repair the device? Nah, just buy more heaters
Anyone in their situation would feel let down, misled, and entitled to a complete refund, or at least someone coming out to fix the unit. That relatively logical step was not in the mind of Bromic’s Technical Support Representative Scott Comeaux who added insult to injury by emailing:
“If you are not experiencing enough heat, the only solution is to add more infrared heaters.”
That comment was the final straw for our readers. They sent us correspondence, purchase orders, comments from Bromic personnel, and we then emailed The Bromic Group, “Can you please help your California customers, and we would appreciate hearing from someone this week.”
We never did hear from Bromic Australia or Sacramento. Instead, our readers received an email, stating, “Beaver’s message was received in Australia. We will arrange to pick up your items at our expense and you will receive a full refund.”
Poor heat output verified – around and around we go
We spoke with Bromic dealers across the United States and Canada, confirming the device does provide heat which can be felt 15 feet away. Their advertising literature and videos state that as well. Had anyone heard of only 4 to 5 feet? No.
Also, we measured the heat output of our readers’ device. It was only about 4 feet, and there was this odd popping sound – so something was obviously wrong.
Just when everything seemed to be in order, in comes an email to the Hanford couple stating that they will have to pay for shipping! So, communication and follow-through isn’t Bromic’s strength. Upon hearing that, we turned up the heat on Bromic, phoning their headquarters in Sydney, Australia, got the right person on the line, and with that charming Aussie accent, were told, “Mate, we’ll fix it. Thanks for the call.”
And they did, indeed, our Hanford couple receiving a full refund to their credit card.
A terrible warranty
Most of us only read a warranty after making a purchase, but there is a good reason to know what is covered before reaching a buying decision, as some are plain lousy.
The Bromic warranty fits that definition, in our legal opinion, only providing: “Replacement parts. The owner is responsible for all other costs, including labor, shipping and delivery costs.”
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.