There is one thing that stands out every time I do a review of a product. CUSTOMER SERVICE. Although a good product is number one, it’s customer service that will take the cake in the end.
I’ve talked about my lawn care history and the recent lawn renovation that I’ve been going through. To make this happen it’s imperative to have the right equipment.
A couple of years ago I bought the STIHL BR 430 Backpack Blower from a local supplier. I love helping small companies around my area. Why go to Amazon when you can help a neighbor.
When I moved to my new house in 2017, I knew a backpack blower was a necessity based on the number of trees around me. In fact, we consider our house in the woods more than on the lake sometimes.
The STIHL BR 430 has been a beast for my needs. It’s helped me clean out beds, ivy, and of course the lawn. The machine has run perfectly every time I used it. I’ve never had one hiccup in the two years of ownership.
I knew of the STIHL brand for decades and knew they provide a strong warranty on their products.
Why I chose STIHL for this purchase was because I knew I had a customer service department I could count on should something go wrong.
Well, guess what, I had a major problem with my BR 430 Backpack Blower and it wasn’t because the machine broke down from wear and tear.
User error was the cause.
Last weekend I had to leave for the day, but at home, the leaves had piled up and needed to be removed so my lawn renovation efforts would continue to thrive.
My wife told me she would spend the day in the yard and use the backpack blower. This was a nice surprise and I said give it a go. I filled the tank up with the mixed gas and told her what to do. She crushed it, in fact, she did so much she blew through a tank of gas in no time. It was then when things went sideways.
She texted me about putting more gas in the tank. I said go ahead. She took my one-gallon tank of mixed fuel and started to pour it in. She noticed a blue tint to the gas and immediately stopped. After the fact, she told me she thought it looked like windshield wiper fluid. Don’t Ask.
She proceeded to grab my 5-gallon gas can and fill it with that. She primed the machine again and went on her way.
15 minutes later the BR 430 started to make noise and really started to underperform. It was a minute later where the blower locked up and stopped working.
The fuel she used caused the engine block to pretty much melt the piston. Without the oil/gas mixture, we faced a devastating effect.
When I got home that afternoon, we siphoned the gas out and put the mixed gas in the blower. Over the next 10 minutes, I tried to get it to work, but without success. There was no compression on the small block. The string was pulling way too easy and I knew this was bad.
My wife looked up what happens when you put in the wrong gas into a 2-cycle engine. The results were bleak. Some were able to recover while most needed a whole new engine.
This machine cost me about $425 two years ago. Right away, I knew I was in for a lot of money in repairs. I brought the backpack to my local repair shop to have their mechanics take a look.
In the meantime, the next day I borrowed my buddies STIHL BR 700 backpack blower. Wow, this thing was explosive and made me want to buy this one. It had 2 times the power as mine and it wasn’t as loud. It was also more fuel-efficient. It allowed me to finish the last major job of the season in no time.
Okay, so back to the mess. Three days later I get a call from the shop. They tell me the unit was only getting 70 pounds of compression and would need a small block rebuild. He then went on to say you are better off buying a new blower than fixing this one.
I was upset about this call of course but pretty much had excepted that outcome. After trying out the BR 700, I was ready to go drop $600 on a new backpack blower. I also knew I wouldn’t really need it again until the spring.
I decided to call up STIHL directly and tell them what happened. This is where things got very interesting.
I really didn’t know what was going to happen and I had no expectations. A gentleman named Trey answered the phone and was kind and courteous. I told him exactly what happened and I was hoping he would have some kind of resolution for me.
He asked me for my name and the serial number of the unit. He noticed the machine was only two years old and although what happened wasn’t covered by the 4-year warranty, he was pleased that I told him the truth of my ordeal.
He then asked me about what the shop said on their findings. He then proceeded to ask me who looked at it. In the case of STIHL, it had to be an authorized dealer. He then tells me, you know what, I’m glad you told me the truth and I’d be willing to cover the cost of the parts on your backpack blower. The happiness that passed through me was awesome.
The amazing thing is, the cost of the parts was around $300. If you factor in the labor, you are looking at a new machine. He then calls the dealer and explains to them STIHL will cover the costs of the parts. The dealer said, sounds good and boom, we are back in business. $150 in labor my backpack was back in action.
I honestly felt like I was in for a new blower. To have a company dig in and help me out was a wonderful feeling. In fact, with the year I’ve been having, it was one gesture I’ll never forget. I felt obligated to write this review about STIHL.
You can find comparable products on the market, but to pay a little more for this type of customer service is well worth it every time. The truth is, I’ll be a STIHL customer for life. Good customer service is all I ask for, but over the top customer service is amazing. Thanks, STIHL.