Tag Archives: complaint letter

Hamilton Beach Wrote Back (I can almost smell the toast. Almost.)

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these posts:

Dear Michele,

Thank you for contacting us.

We will be happy to advance ship the new appliance to you without the photo of the disabled unit.

Please allow 7-10 business days for the new toaster to arrive, however, it may arrive sooner. We will be happy to send the UPS tracking number for your new appliance once it is available.

Once you receive your new appliance, please unplug your defective appliance, cut off the plug, and send a picture of the disabled unit to photo@hamiltonbeach.com.  Please be sure to include your consumer number (1504480) in the subject line as well as your name and address in the body of the email.

Thank you again for contacting Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.

Consumer Affairs

I’m just spitballing there, but here’s what I think happened at Hamilton Beach HQ …

(Southern Pines, NC, Board Room)

G.H. Trepp, Hamilton Beach Brands CEO, rubbed his temples. He was offered two aspirin and a glass of water by a lackey who entered the room. Refusing the water, he grabbed the aspirin and swallowed them dry, chasing them with a handful of chewable antacids.

“Now let me get this straight,” he said to the two women at the table. “She told you she didn’t have a receipt so you asked her for the model number. A model number that determined that the product warranty was expired. Why didn’t it end there?”

“She was very persistent, sir,” said Betty, the first woman. “She explained that she just bought the toaster on October 25, 2013 and that the warranty should’ve lasted longer than three weeks. And then she started talking about the Brady Bunch … and finding an earring in her burrito … and, well, I wasn’t sure what to do.”

“So what did you do, Betty?” asked Trepp, removing his glasses and sitting back in his chair.

“Well,” Betty began nervously, “I looped Veronica in on the claim. She’s used to dealing with claimants like this nut job in New Orleans.”

“Now, Betty. We don’t call them nut jobs. The New Orleans woman is a valued customer just like everyone —“

“Excuse me, Mr. Trepp,” interrupted Veronica, the second woman. “Betty is absolutely right. This woman is crazy.”


“Oh?” said Trepp, taking in Veronica’s face carefully so he could vividly remember the person who’d just cut him off so abruptly. “You have something to add, Veronica?”

“Yes, sir. I have to support Betty on this one. The woman from New Orleans … Mrs. Poche … she does seem a little crazy. I mean, well, her emails certainly seem crazy.”

“Can you please elaborate on these ‘crazy’ emails, Veronica?” he patronized, using his fingers to indicate quotation marks in the air.

“Well … yes, sir,” Veronica answered, a little rattled. “You see,” she began, “I offered to send Mrs. Poche a new toaster. And I even offered to pay the shipping on it.”

“You offered to pay the shipping??” injected Trepp. “That’s insane! You offered to pay the shipping on a toaster for which the customer has no receipt AND the product warranty was expired?”

Veronica was red-faced. “Y-y-yes sir, I did,” she stammered. “But —“

“And THEN what happened, Veronica? I am just DYING to hear what happened next.” Trepp went back to rubbing his temples.

“And then, sir, I followed standard protocol.” Veronica’s body relaxed a little, relieved that she remembered to follow company policy. “I asked Mrs. Poche to cut off the cord for the toaster and email us a picture of the disabled machine.” She started to get nervous again.

“And???” Trepp shot out.

“AND SHE REFUSED TO DO IT!” Veronica screamed, now full on crying.  “She kept talking about amputations and euthanasia and … and … she accused us of being a bunch of Mafia overlords!!” Betty jumped to her feet to console her friend.

The two women stared desperately into Trepp’s eyes. They needed answers. And they needed them now. “What do you want us to do now, sir?” Betty finally managed.

Trepp walked over the refreshment table and poured himself a tall glass of something. From across the room, the women were not able to discern the label on the bottle. He took several fast, dramatic slugs from the glass, set it down and walked back to the conference table.

With his hands folded under his chin, he looked at the two women and said, deliberately and through gritted teeth, “What do we have to do to make this problem go away … forever?”

The silence was deafening for a moment.

Then Veronica spoke up. “I think we need to send Mrs. Poche a new toaster to replace the old one with the expired warranty for which she doesn’t have a receipt. We will pay the shipping. And we’ll send it without asking her to disable the old one first.” She screwed up all of her courage and then said, “Right, sir?”

Trepp turned away to face the window. “Make it happen,” he mumbled stoically, staring blankly through the glass at something in the distance as he gestured for them to leave.

The two women jumped up to flee the room and put the plan into action when suddenly Trepp swiveled back in his chair to face them. “But ladies!” he called out, smiling shrewdly. “Please tell Mrs. Poche that we’ll still expect her to ‘amputate’ her old toaster and send us a picture, won’t you? Once she gets the new one, of course. Do make sure that part’s in there for me, please, ladies.”

The women nodded compliantly and slowly backed out of the room. Trepp swiveled back to the window laughing, almost maniacally.

Well played, Mr. Trepp. Well played.

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Chronicles


Letter #3 to Hamilton Beach (I’m a lover, not a fighter)

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these posts:

Dear “Veronica,”

Thanks for writing me back to help resolve my family’s toaster issue. In light of the fact that I am without a receipt for the merchandise in question, I appreciate that you are still offering to help me obtain a new machine. I do, however, have mixed feelings about the request you made in your previous email.

“… please unplug your appliance and cut the electrical cord off where it comes out of the machine and send a picture of the disabled unit to photo@hamiltonbeach.com.”

Wait … seriously? You guys need to see my dead toaster as proof of my loyalty? That’s kind of Mafia-ish, don’t you think?



Perhaps you weren’t sent all of my previous emails where I made it clear that my machine was, indisputably, a very unpredictable fire hazard, but I never said it didn’t work. I just said that, when I use it, I have to hover over it like a sleep-deprived new parentan airborne traffic reporter … a person who loves her kitchen. Unless I want to summon my local fire department.

That said, I am asking that you please reconsider your request that I euthanize the toaster to prove that I am not committing fraud and scamming you for a new appliance. Frankly, if that were my thing, I’d like to think I’d be smart enough to hunt much bigger game in your jungles. Perhaps a rotisserie oven … or a GrillStation 5 Burner Gas Grill.

The thing is … my family relies heavily on our toaster every day. Especially for breakfast. And 7 to 14 “business days” could easily become even longer. And that’s time that I’d rather have a toaster that I could use, hover over and unplug (I always do, by the way) than have nothing at all. This error is not mine. Why should my kids go without toastables for what we both know will probably be a whole month?

Right? Of course, right.
So thanks in advance for understanding that, if it’s all the same, I’m not going to amputate my toaster’s cord and be without a toaster (albeit a needy, operationally unstable one) for weeks or even a month. There will be no pictures sent other than the ones in this email. I will, however, be more than happy to send you the troubled machine (at your expense) through the mail once my new one arrives so that you can perform an execution, autopsy or any other necessary forensics.
Until then, I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Michele Robert Poche
Consumer #1504480
P.S. Because you are new to this claim, I want to inform you that all of our correspondence is being shared on  my humor blog,  olddognewtits.com. Even though, as everyone knows, burnt toast is no laughing matter.

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles


Wait. Hamilton Beach doesn’t BELIEVE me???

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these posts:

Dear Michele,

Thank you for contacting us.

In order to assist you with your warranty claim, please unplug your appliance and cut the electrical cord off where it comes out of the machine and send a picture of the disabled unit to photo@hamiltonbeach.com.  Please be sure to include your consumer number (1504480) in the subject line as well as your name and address in the body of the email.

After we receive your above information, your new appliance will arrive in 7-14 business days.  It could arrive sooner, pending stock availability.

Shipping and handling is not covered under the limited warranty, however Hamilton Beach will pay the cost of shipping in this instance.

Thank you for contacting Hamilton Beach Brands and please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with.

Name  Withheld (New person. Presumably “Betty’s” friend so we’ll call her “Veronica.”)

Consumer Affairs

Well, I have to give “Veronica” credit for spelling my name correctly. (Nobody ever does that the first time out of the gate.) Still, I am very displeased with this ugly burden of proof thing she’s introduced to our little equation.

Do you not BELIEVE me, Veronica???


You got me. I scam big corporations out of $25 kitchen appliances. 

Now, I ask you, “Veronica” … if I were going to lie about something not working properly in my home, don’t you think I’d shoot higher up the Hamilton Beach food chain? Don’t you think I’d have the smarts to go for a juicer … or a Big Mouth® Deluxe 14 Cup Food Processor with French Fry Blade?

Frankly, I’m a little insulted. And I feel another letter coming on …

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Chronicles


Letter #2 to Hamilton Beach (Plus an overdue apology to Kmart)

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these posts:

Hi, “Betty,”

Thanks for your prompt reply. As you requested, I’m writing you from this same email thread so that you will have my original letter detailing the problem as well as all of the model information for my toaster.

I really appreciate your righting this little wrong for my family. Over the course of my lifetime, I have had very varied experiences dealing with customer service personnel. For example, I have dined at restaurants where …

  1. The kitchen misplaced our order, our server was fired on the job and the food took forever to arrive.
  2. The waitress served my daughter a grilled cheese sandwich that had been contaminated by rotten seafood.
  3. My tightly-wrapped burrito was served to me containing a bronze earring in the shape of a Tiki statue much like the one from The Brady Bunch episode where they go to Hawaii.

(If you get that joke, it kills. If you don’t, you’re probably too young for The Brady Bunch. But did the 90210 gang ever travel to Hawaii to find a cursed Tiki idol? Or maybe those geeky dudes from the Big Bang Theory?)

In all of these cases, mistakes were made. And, in all of these cases, restitution was offered.  (By the way, nothing says “We’re sorry we failed you” like a complimentary order of jalapeño poppers.)  So I walked away feeling good about my overall experience.

The thing is … stuff breaks, products have glitches and the world is an imperfect place. (Don’t tell my kids. I’m trying to keep them in the dark as long as possible.) But it is the immediate and full attention of corporate representatives like yourselves that smooths over the rough edges. I appreciate that attention. And my kids are thrilled they won’t have to eat burned pastry anymore. Plus nothing makes them happier than when their mom resolves a customer service issue.


Michele Robert Poche 

P..S. You mentioned that the product warranty on this item had expired. That’s pretty crazy because we JUST purchased the toaster on Friday, October 25. So I can only assume that this item had been sitting on the dusty, riddled-with-errant-bits-of-garbage-and-illegally-opened-candy shelves of my local Kmart for the full 90-day, 6-month or even 1-year warranty that accompanies your product. (I scoured your website to determine its warranty information but couldn’t find it anywhere, by the way.)

In the meantime, please enjoy this holiday ad from Kmart. I’ve been slamming them a lot in my posts and I want to offer an olive branch. It’s not your fault, Kmart, and I’m sorry I’m taking it out on you. And, for the record, I love this commercial and see no reason for all the hubbub. Victoria’s Secret has been doing it for years.

 (Great. Now I have to apologize to Victoria’s Secret.)

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles 


Hamilton Beach wrote back! Cue the Pumpkin Pop-Tarts!

I wrote a letter to Hamilton Beach a few days ago about an unpredictably combustible toaster my family recently purchased from (ahem) Kmart. And I just heard back from them. The news is good but I’ll be happiest when my kitchen is confidently toasting bread and other starchy delicacies again. Of course, I’ll be writing Hamilton Beach back as well. And posting that letter shortly right here at ODNT. Please enjoy my daily minutiae over your morning coffee and (ironically) other breakfast items that very likely involved a toaster. (sigh)

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for contacting us.

The product warranty began the date you purchased the product, and required you to maintain your sales receipt as proof of purchase. In the absence of a sales receipt, we must use the series code located on the product to determine when the product was manufactured.  According to the information you provided your product warranty has expired, however, we will be happy to replace your toaster in this instance.

In an effort to assist you with a warranty claim, we ask that you please provide your shipping address.

Be sure to include your original email when responding.  Please do not discard your appliance.

Thank you for contacting Hamilton Beach and we look forward to assisting you further.

Name Withheld to Protect the Innocent (Let’s just call her “Betty”)
Consumer Affairs

Regarding that comment about the warranty expiring, we just bought the toaster on October 25. It’s been three weeks. Maybe it has a really short shelf life. Like milk … or today’s celebrity marriages. (Oh, relax, Hanks, Bacons and Osbornes. You know I’m not talking about you.)

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles.


A Letter to Hamilton Beach … Toaster Department, Please

Dear Hamilton Beach,

I am writing you today about this toaster (model #22504, series A5201DM)


My husband bought it on Friday, October 25 from Kmart. Don’t judge. We hate Kmart, too. But it’s the closest superstore to my home, and we were having a Pop-Tarts emergency.

Your shiny silver model was intended to replace the old white one we’ve had since 2006. (She served us well and died peacefully in her sleep.) And, since we had just finished our kitchen renovation, we were happy to “upgrade” our old white toaster to yours.

Upgrade. (snort)

Let me just start by saying we use our toaster quite a bit … as we are firm believers that bread should be both warm and rigid. We’re also frequent consumers of bagels, waffles and (the aforementioned) Pop-Tarts. Thus, we count on our toaster to do THE ONE THING it’s supposed to do. Without the need for a babysitter. Or a firefighter.

Let’s take a look a recent breakfast experience we shared with your machine, shall we?



  • Both breakfasts were prepared by me, one immediately following the other.
  • Both plates contain two Kellogg’s Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Pop-Tarts.
  • Both were prepared on your toaster setting #2.

Thus, despite the uniformity in preparer, ingredients and cooking method, the two end results (charred versus looks-like-it-just-came-out-of-the-foil-packaging) are vastly different.


As mentioned in the last section, the product burned when cooked in your toaster on its #2 setting. And yet the machine goes up to FIVE!

20131118-093132.jpgLike some microwave models, my old toaster actually had recommendations listed next to its different settings so you knew where to turn the dial for various toastables. I would encourage Hamilton Beach to do the same with this toaster.


  1. WARMER – Think fries at McDonald’s. Or Kmart desk lamp.
  2. TOASTER – But it’s a roulette wheel. Expect anything from tartare to blackened. And be prepared to meet your local fire department.
  3. KILN – I hope to make some lovely pottery pieces for family and friends this holiday season.
  4. CREMATORY – I have no immediate need for this appliance but I appreciate your thinking of my future at this difficult time.
  5. THE UNDERWORLD – What are you trying to tell me, Hamilton Beach?

What do I hope to accomplish with my letter? Well, I’ll be honest. I would LOVE a new toaster on which I could rely and not feel compelled to stay within twelve inches of its very necessary “Cancel” button. Alas, having trusted in you implicitly from the start, I did not save my receipt. I’m quite familiar with your company and naively cast it away assuming that all would be right with the world and my new toaster.

Stupid me.

Finally, in the interest of fairness, I want to inform you that I host a blog at olddognewtits.com and this letter will be featured there, uncut for anyone who stops by to read it. I’ve actually posted many letters just like this one on the website. And I always post the replies I get there as well. So perhaps you’ll consider writing me back.

Thanks for your time,

Michele Robert Poche

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles 


The ODNT Letters: Schticking it to the Man

At the beginning of the summer, I ordered myself a present. You can’t go wrong with an As Seen As TV product, right? Of course, right. But I had a little problem with mine recently, so NATURALLY I wrote a letter.

Check out this wonder product. And watch ’til the end. How could I NOT order it? (Sorry for the gratuitous Chandler Bing-ism.) 

These people are hilarious … so I expect a good response. And, as soon as I get one, you know you’ll see it here.

To the Good People of the Schticky Corporation,

My family ordered your three-pack of Schticky products at the beginning of the summer. We have an excessively sheddy cat (named Milo, if that’s necessary for your damage report) and, unless we can all agree that orange fur should coat the surfaces of everything in our home, we are absolutely dependent on your product. The Schticky has set us free!

Anyway, everything was rolling along great (pardon the pun) until the white plastic arm on the mid-size model cracked. (This is the exact moment in my letter when you can hear the needle scratch across the record.) You can imagine our despair! I can’t live in a world coated with orange cat fur! And (furthermore) I can’t be expected to roll the aqua blue cylinder manually over our sofa cushions. This isn’t 1983!

All of this said, I’m hoping that you have a heart. With all the pain and suffering on our planet, my problem is but a small blip on the radar. Still, I seek customer restitution. Thus, I am writing to request that you replace this mid-size model … or at least its white plastic roller … so that I can go back to the blissful experience of pet hair removal with your product. (Picture Snow White, cartoon bluebirds and whistling. Lots of whistling.)

Your youtube commercial says to me that you not only have a heart but also a funny bone so I’m hoping we can take care of this problem quickly and quietly without having to alert the media or the court system. I maintain a humor blog (at least I HOPE it’s humor) at http://olddognewtits.com and am posting this letter there. I would LOVE to be able to post your response. Oh, and also to get a new Schticky. Until then, I’ll be the one living under a pile of cat fur.

Look forward to hearing from you,


P.S. Might I submit the following ad slogan to your most excellent company? … “Takes a Licking, But Keeps on Schticking!” Yes, yes. I know. You LOVE it and want to know if I’m available for hire. The answer is YES. I am always available for hire … when it’s for something I deem worthy of my time. Go, Schticky!