July 7, 2017 • By Dennis Beaver
“Last year you had an excellent article about the Kirby Vacuum Cleaner company stepping in, cancelling the contract, arranging for a complete refund to a woman who suffered from a traumatic brain injury who should never have purchased it in the first place.
“In the story you praised the company for its swift action, mentioned that the Kirby had the best warranties in the industry and that owners will tell you they last forever. We recently had one demonstrated in our home, and are strongly considering a purchase. Your legal evaluation of its many warranties and opinion on value would be appreciated. Thanks, Jim and Susie, Sacramento readers.”
A company that earned my respect – sold through in-home demos
The Kirby Company earned my respect years ago when I was a Deputy District Attorney in charge of Consumer Fraud in Kern County. Owners who, without knowing, had purchased stolen machines from fly by-night vac shops would bring them into an authorized dealer, asking to be trained how to use the machine or for repair and were denied warranty coverage as the serial number had been removed, voiding the warranty.
My office won a restraining orders, steep fines for consumer fraud, and obtained refunds for customers, most of whom then immediately bought a Kirby from an authorized dealer.
The company refers to the Kirby as a Home Care System, and in preparation for this article, we went through a sales presentation by local distributor Fernando Gonzales who demonstrated the many remarkable things the machine can do and let us use it for a few days. It truly is an amazing device and if I asked nicely, I am sure it would get me out of bed and cook breakfast.
Has the best warranties in the business
Objectively, the Kirby has the best, most unique, and incredibly valuable warranties not offered by any other vacuum cleaner manufacturer, two of which are the Factory Rebuilding Plan, and Fire Plan.
As Halle Sminchak, Chief Compliance Officer with the Kirby Company explained, “Each registered purchaser of a new Kirby Home Care System bought from an independent, authorized distributor benefits from the Rebuilding Plan.
“At any time – the average is 15 – 20 years – your machine will be brought to as-new condition, and there is no limit to how often this can be done. The current price is $175.00 but can be increased based on the Consumer Price Index. We often find parents and grandparents having their Kirby rebuilt and then given as a wedding present,” she explained.
When it came to discuss the Fire Warranty, the tone of Ms. Sminchak’s voice softened, and conveyed a feeling of great empathy for fire victims. “For as long as you own your Kirby, within 90 days of the fire, by providing proof that it was damaged or destroyed, we will replace it with a new, current model for $175.00.”
Impressive cleaning ability
Prior to using the Kirby, our office carpet was professionally cleaned. “After it is completely dry, to see something that you will have trouble thinking possible, just put in a clean bag and vacuum your office,” Fernando suggested. “When finished, remove the bag, look inside and just see how much dirt was extracted.”
We did and could hardly believe our eyes, as so much dirt had come from a just shampooed carpet. “If anyone should ask about the importance of getting dirt out of carpet and furniture, the answer is simple, you extend their useful life that way, as dirt breaks down the fibers.” Sminchak told us.
A+ Better Business Bureau rating
In business over 100 years, the Kirby Company has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and that’s not something that you can buy. We recommend going to Kirby’s BBB site and reading comments from owners, positive and negative as well as response/action taken by the company. Of great interest are the many touching, positive statements from owners who rave about the product.
In reading “complaints” something jumps out, and that’s angry customer comments based on their own errors in an attempt to cancel a sale using the 3-Day Cooling Off period. You don’t do it by picking up the phone and telling the dealer to retrieve the machine. It must be done promptly and in writing. You do not wait two weeks and then shout “I’ve been mistreated.”
Our conclusions and recommendations
And what is our opinion as to the value of the Kirby Home Care System? As these things are bullet-proof, it’s the last vacuum cleaner our readers will ever need to buy again.
This column seldom makes buying recommendations, but Jim and Susie, you will be happy campers with your Kirby.
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.