10 March 2009

A Tale of Two Recalls

Several weeks ago I tripped across a note referring to a recall of Winchester Xpert .22 ammo. Checking inventory here at the SandCastle, sure enough we had the remains of a box.

I first traded emails and ended up on the phone with the customer service people. It seemed odd that we'd purchased a recalled box more than a year after the recall was issued.

There were only 36 rounds remaining but Winchester really wanted those back! They sent a UPS shipping label and promised to make it right.

There was a hitch in shipping however. Since there were so few bullets left, they were taped to the inside of the Winchester box to prevent rattling, and packed inside of a larger box and stuffed with Styrofoam peanuts. Unfortunately the larger box I'd grabbed was one that had been used to ship me powder and had all sorts of hazmat labels... Which I'd not thought to cover.

The local UPS office called a few days later saying "Ummm, What's in here? The shipping manifest says "bullets" but the box says "Hazmat". I confirmed the box only contained bullets. She then insisted that I had to come down and repack the box. Running a quick calculation "Hmmm, 36 rounds of .22 is worth about 75 cents. Gas to drive to their location and back will be several dollars. Not cost effective." I declined. In effect they could not open the box, nor move it from where it sat. Meaning they couldn't repack it themselves. They also couldn't return it to me nor forward it on to Winchester. They couldn't even throw them away. I suggested they call Winchester. I figured that was it... I'd written off the six bits and forgotten about it.

A letter arrived today. Reads like a form letter intended for someone who had complained about a product:
We would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and for giving us the opportunity to investigate the problem.
Only I didn't bring anything to their attention. They issued a recall and I asked if the box I had was affected.

Anyway, the letter included a certificate for THIRTY DOLLARS of Winchester ammunition! Holy Cow! $30 for 36 rounds! Now clearly this was not intended as in investment, but Dang! I wish some of my other investments would pay off half as well!

On the other hand, Maytag announced a recall today affecting some 1.6 Million refrigerators. Apparently a relay can overheat and occasionally catch fire. The SandCastle's main consumable refrigeration unit may be affected and the SCQueen spent several hours trying to contact Maytag without success. Hopefully this just a first day traffic jam. We'll try again tomorrow.

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