NO SERVICE FROM HELMAN GROUP/NOSTALGIA ELECTRICS UNDER WARRANTY? In late 2008 I acquired a number of Nostalgia Electrics products and though I like them for their retro style, novelty and general ability to perform as advertised, build-quality/longevity is questionable. Even more questionable, I have discovered, is manufacturer warranty support. That is because the Helman Group, LTD., maker of Nostalgia Electrics, simply cannot or will not acknowledge or support their customers and products.
In one Amazon review for a popcorn maker similar to the one I own, an owner who obtained a faulty popper right out of the box stated that he had repeatedly phoned the company (busy signal and/or unreturned messages), emailed numerous times (no reply) and sent letters to their Oxnard, CA headquarters (no reply). This particular owner was using the product at a church -- appropriate as it carried a commercial rating -- and yet still no product support! From my read on such reviews, this inexcusable experience does not appear to be unique.
If this sounds frustratingly familiar, read on. I've got an important favor to ask on behalf of all the Nostalgia Electrics owners out there who just want the company to return a phone call or an email.
My suggestion to anyone in this situation is twofold: First off, if you can't obtain a response from Nostalgia Electrics/Helman Group put your complaint in writing and send it off via certified mail. Why? Because 1) You might get a response before your warranty expires, or 2) the signature requirement on certified mail serves as evidence that the company is in receipt of complaints they refuse to acknowledge. Either way, when a product arrives with missing, damaged or broken parts, or is inherently unable to do what it is advertised to do, that is grounds for a store refund if not manufacturer replacement.
I personally have had no luck whatsoever contacting this company despite recently purchasing not one but several Nostalgia Electrics products. So here's where the second of my twofold suggestion comes into play: The only obvious solution, other than to return the product and/or post negative reviews on the Internet that may cause the manufacturer to lose revenues, is to "encourage" this company to sit up and take notice -- or rather to be put on notice -- that there is a growing list of people who have made attempts to contact them during the warranty period but have hit a dead end.
Why go to the trouble? Because Nostalgia Electrics makes some nifty, "conversation piece" kitchen gadgets, a niche no other manufacturer on the market has bothered to fill. Unfortunately, the company appears to need a little prodding lest consumers and retailers wise up and refuse to buy or stock their products. After all, it is illegal to advertise a warranty that does not exist. With that in mind, we will either document here that the warranty does exist on more than the paper it is written on, OR that it is a sales gimmick on the package aimed at getting consumers to pull out their wallets for a product that may or may not deliver on its promises.
After multiple failed attempts to reach the company using conventional means, I will be sending the Helman Group a certified letter regarding my specific product support issue. In the event I receive no response and/or continue to see reports herein to the effect that this company will not back their 90-day warranty, I will report this issue to the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Keep in mind that you, too, have the option to report problems to your local bureau of consumer affairs (in whatever locale these products are sold).
What we need to determine via this topic is whether these no-service warranty experiences are a few isolated "flukes" or a commonplace, widespread experience. This requires DOCUMENTATION, which is nothing more than your firsthand experience where Helman Group and Nostalgia Electrics product support are concerned. Just the same, if you have a problem with this or any other product the company makes, by all means give the manufacturer a chance to acknowledge your product issue in writing and/or by phone. Whatever the outcome, pay this discussion a visit to let us know if your efforts were a success -- or not.
FYI: In addition to providing the product purchase/receipt date, replies to this post, at minimum, need to indicate the product name and model number AND roughly how soon or how often after purchase you attempted to reach customer service while still under warranty (ideally, dates of emails or phone calls if you have them). Also, note that this documentation effort applies to ANY Nostalgia Electrics/Helman Group product that the company has manufactured and marketed in the U.S. (not just the donut maker). And lastly, since this is a documentation effort, kindly consider providing your first and last name along with your state of residence. In this way, a print-out of this discussion can be used to by anyone who wishes to notify their local consumer affairs office.
In closing, thank you for your time and attention to this post. I will be checking this topic periodically throughout '09, and I've clicked the box that will have Amazon email me when new replies are posted. Because I'm offering to get this ball rolling -- that is to notify the California Department of Consumer Affairs if the testimonies collected in response to this topic warrant it -- a little bit of effort on your part will go a long way. So if you have any firsthand experience attempting to obtain warranty service for a Helman Group or Nostalgia Electrics product, please don't delay. Reply today!
I too have a Helman product. It was used twice last year and cleaned and put away. I brought it out this past weekend for a party. This thing look great, just like new. I plug it in and nothing! I called to see if there was something I could do. The girl on the other end was condescending and not even willing to give any pointers except to say that I could plug it into my car and that it was probably the motor! The MOTOR!! It's been used twice and for $99 those margaritas weren't that good! This company doesn't support what they make and to know that it was the motor they have apparently had alot of calls. Don't let looks deceive. Go with any other company that Nostalgia Electrics by the Helman Group.
I have had the same experience with Nostalgia Electric products. I purchased a double auger chocolate fountain and until recently had left it in the box. I am a caterer and had an event that required a chocolate fountain. This was the perfect opportunity. I set it up at the client's event. I melted the chocolate and followed all the instructions specifically. It started and the chocolate flowed for approximately 1 minute. There was a terrible electric smell that wafted from the appliance. The motor groaned and ceased to provide the chocolate cascade.
I immediately went to the Nostalgic Electric web site and issued my first of three requests for service. I could find no phone number on the web site. I received no reply, not in January or early February, so upon further research I found that the product was distributed by the Helman Group. I contacted them at the end of February. They replied that they no longer distribute the Nostalgia Electric products but did provide me with phone numbers for Nostalgia Electric.
I called this morning and they said " They would be no replacement." The representative was pleasant in telling me that they would not warranty their products or that there would be replacement or refund. I am just out of luck and out over $100 dollars. I love the look of their products but would not ever purchase anything again from them. They are unreliable, unresponsive and their customer service does not exist.
Here are their phone numbers in case you have a need: 800/234-1361 or 920/347-9122
I have a chocolate fountain, the CFF-552. I had the same exact experience at an event the third time I used the machine. There was a smell of burning and then the motor gave out. Buy a Sephra chocolate fountain. They never break and their customer service is amazing!!! When the nostalgia fountain broke we pulled out our back up Sephra and it worked like a charm.
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stuart-rubin/19/8a2/766 You will all be very happy to know that Stuart Rubin (Chief Operating Officer for Nostalgia Products Group, LLC as well as Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer for the The Helman Group, Ltd. has been "increasing cash flow" and "the bottom line." I suppose that can work well for you if all your products are defective and you have No intention of providing ANY customer service. Where is the Dept of Consumer Affairs?
I also purchased a Nostalgia RIC-100 Retro Ice Cube Maker last year. The Ice maker was used 2 times and is also in new condition. When I plugged it in to make ice it simply would not work. I contacted customer service to only find out that you only have a ninty day warrenty and they would not do anything for me. They are putting out these products knowing that you don't use them every day and they are not working for long. We need a class action suiton this company. I for one am going to start emailing all of my friends to see if I can get the word out on the internet. If you would like to be part of this email me at firstname.lastname@example.org