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Would it be wrong to return the SmokeFire? Soliciting Pit input on this decision

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    Would it be wrong to return the SmokeFire? Soliciting Pit input on this decision

    When I bought the SmokeFire (for the second time) a big factor in the decision was the statement from the Weber CEO:
    "The vast majority of SmokeFire owners have had good experiences and made absolutely amazing food. For anyone who has any type of issue, we will provide full assistance and if needed, on-site service at no cost to you. And finally we will fully guarantee your satisfaction or we will take your grill back. We stand behind the SmokeFire grill, as with all our grills, and we stand behind Weber customers."

    While I like the SmokeFire and really like the results it produces, I've grown not to trust it and fear every software/firmware update that Weber forces you to take. Basically, I've gotten to the point that I feel I don't know what to expect every time I fire it up. Will it take 10 minutes or 40 minutes to get to temp? If I make a temperature adjustment will it start adjusting right away or wait 5-10 minutes before even starting to raise the temp? Which side of the grill will be hotter today? How close will the grill stay to set temp? Will the Weber probes continue reading for the whole cook or just stop midway? Will I actually get a notification if they do work the entire cook? All of these variables are constantly changing.

    I've trimmed down to 2 outdoor cookers and am needing the SmokeFire to be predictable, consistent, and reliable and I'm feeling it's falling short of those expectations. In the end, it always really does work, but has to be constantly monitored with a 3rd party system to make sure it's really at the temp it claims to be and doesn't spiral out of control mid cook. I'm often setting the grill 25-50 degrees plus or minus to get the actual temperature I want and almost always have the Fireboard probe within 2-3 inches of the SmokeFire's RTD. Add to this the numerous bags of pellets and time I've wasted running test sessions when I see a new quirk or behavior change with an update that I want to understand, I am growing a little impatient.

    I do think as this thing ages it's going to get better, but that might be a couple more years before I don't fret the updates. Right now, they are changing so many variables with every update. As well couple hardware tweaks and it could be even better yet. Like actually putting a probe port on the side and sealing up the lid better, putting some extensions on the rear vents like ReqTec offers or a wind shield over them, etc. They could also change the hopper to be a little steeper and actually center the auger in it to help it feed better. None of those would have to change the innovative design that makes it grill well and produce great smoke.

    So, even though the grill always actually 'works' for me, do ya'll feel it would be wrong to try to hold Weber to the promise of Satisfaction guaranteed?

    #2
    Personally I would return it. Life is too short to be fretting all those things, and there are plenty of other cookers, that work perfectly fine, that you can replace it with.

    Comment


    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      I will very likely be replacing it either way. It’s just whether it gets returned, sold, or moved to the other patio to likely be forgotten and wither away over time.

    • Mosca
      Mosca commented
      Editing a comment
      Return it and get your money back.

    #3
    Return it. A major reason for having a pellet grill in the first place is convenience. You’re clearly not getting that. To expensive a purchase to “settle” for anything less than what they promised.

    Comment


    • Blues1
      Blues1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed. I was eagerly waiting the Smoke Fire too. Then all the issues were manifesting themselves. Readjusted my thinking and bought something else. I am so glad I did! Convenience with confidence!

    #4
    I'm on the fence about this since it's been so long and you've used it so much. In the end, I'd contact them for a return and explain what you said here. IF they denied you, I'm not sure I'd be too upset in your shoes, but I think you're well within your rights to ask for a return authorization.

    Comment


    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      That’s kinda why I’m soliciting. I like playing with new grills, so normally I’d sell it for like $500-600 and move along to the next. However, I’m not sure I could sell this for $200 if at all with it's reputation or have the conscious to do so unless someone knew exactly what they were getting. When I sold all my others I knew I was giving someone a proven pit that would serve them well.

    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      Yep, and the resale issue is why I land on 'try to return it.'

    #5
    My first question is what does Weber say to your concerns? Perhaps an on-site visit as they mention could be useful in terms of understanding your issues and providing guidance to address?

    Beyond that, if you have tried to address it with them, and they still can’t meet your needs, then I think returning it would be acceptable. They have said they are willing to stand behind it after all.

    I will pause to allow Masterbuilt to laugh hard if I ever were to suggest the same to them.

    Comment


    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      Did MB offer a satisfaction guarantee though? Even if you could get them to answer the phone?

    • IFindZeroBadCooks
      IFindZeroBadCooks commented
      Editing a comment
      Nope. As near as I can tell, 30 days return policy + 1 year limited warranty.

      I mean, it's possible that MB may simply take a lemon MB560 back after I'd imagine a lot of arguing, but I would expect it be an ordeal. But, my 560 works great so no issues.

      As I've said elsewhere, I'm cool with making upgrades as needed (switches & firebox) as the parts are easily available and do not require interaction with MB customer service.

    • IFindZeroBadCooks
      IFindZeroBadCooks commented
      Editing a comment
      Continued...

      While I'm fine with the potential replacements, I still also would like to support a firm like Grilla that does everything right in terms of smokers & customer support.

      My expectation is that MB will simply laugh me out of the room unless the MB was literally a pool of molten metal at the end of the driveway.
      Last edited by IFindZeroBadCooks; February 1, 2021, 01:32 PM.

    #6
    "And finally we will fully guarantee your satisfaction or we will take your grill back." That's their guarantee, and you're not satisfied. Forget for a moment all the issues this model has had from the time it rolled out. Do what you would do if you had purchased any product that didn't meet your expectations for quality and had a satisfaction guaranteed promise.

    Weber may require that you try the on-site service route first, but don't feel guilty about holding them to their word.
    Last edited by Steve R.; February 1, 2021, 12:59 PM.

    Comment


    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      IFindZeroBadCooks While I’m extremely flattered by your compliments, I’m a nobody behind a paywall entertaining (or annoying) a bunch of awesome virtual friends and trying mostly to make sure any of these awesome folk are armed with as much accurate information as possible if they were to acquire a fraction of the insanity I have and want to buy a SmokeFire.

    • IFindZeroBadCooks
      IFindZeroBadCooks commented
      Editing a comment
      Understood, but just don't be surprised if Weber wants to come out to chat, as you have used it extensively (what...over 500 pds of pellets?), so I wouldn't put you down as the typical "used it once and hate it" type returners.

    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      It's been long enough now that I've finally lost count, but I should be nudging 1000/lbs if I haven't already crossed that line. The last time I remember consciously thinking about it I was in the 750-800/lb range.

      I bet Weber doesn't even know who glitchy is, they'd probably be like yeah we're working on that with our next update, we guarantee it will be less glitchy.

    #7
    Personally, I'd ditch it in favor of peace-of-mind. Perhaps one of these days Weber will rise to the challenge of delivering on their SmokeFire good intentions and promises. Until then, I'd stick to more tried and true products, i.e., in my case, the Grilla OG pellet pooper and a Weber EP-330 gasser (it's what they're proven to be good at).

    Comment


      #8
      I'd return it. Weber really hosed up this roll out. What gets me the most is all the PR b.s. as opposed to just coming clean to start with. All the "it's not a grease fire, it's a flare up" really pissed me off and I don't even own one. The fact that they came up with some "fixes" is an admission of failure without saying it. It's like asking a politician a question to where there is only a yes or no answer. Then they give a 1000 word response that leaves you with the same unanswered question. It does look like they may have learned a lesson from this with their kamado.

      I wouldn't feel one bit bad about returning it now. Do you think anyone at Weber lost any sleep over your frustrations? If it was a $500 grill, that would be different story.

      Comment


        #9
        You have answered your question numerous times. Every time you say it’s OK, things are followed by a but.... At the present they, Weber hasn’t earned you as a customer, not a satisfied one anyways & why should you take it in the shorts for their recent waywardness as a company. Their problems continue & the resolve is so far a lot of talk. Maybe they will make things right is what you are bargaining for, that & gee, they have
        great customer service. You have answered!

        Comment


          #10
          - Understand your conundrum. CEO say's satisfaction guaranteed which is a bold statement which I am sure he has been called out on, on more than one occaision.
          - Providing you did not due any mods/alts to the grill yourself without OEM replacement parts I see no issue in attempting a return.
          - Yeah you most likely used the grill longer than most to determine the grill was not for you. But you gave it a heck of a shot to try and love it. This was not a snap decision on your part.
          - Bottom line "Let your conscience be your compass".

          Comment


            #11
            You gave a more than fair shot. More than most people would have. If they will take it back return it. A few years down the road they may have all the bugs worked out.

            I'm not a handy guy. When I buy something I need it to work as advertised. I don't want to have to come up with workarounds or have to monitor temps with a separate device. Those inconsistencies would have driven me mad.

            Using a drip tray no problem. Worrying if the temp is accurate or the unit will work correctly? No thanks.

            Comment


              #12
              Wait. " I like playing with new grills, so normally I’d sell it for like $500-600 and move along to the next." They are saving you from taking a hit in the pocketbook. Every time they do an update or fix you just got a new grill to learn. Win win!

              As above, I'd talk to them first. They have always been good with my few kettle issues.

              Comment


              • glitchy
                glitchy commented
                Editing a comment
                I guess it does fit the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results and I actually accomplish that with the SmokeFire frequently. I guess I'll trade it for a padded room and a straight jacket instead of another grill.

              #13
              If anything, your long use of the grill proves your stance that you made sure it wasn’t operator error with some of the functions. You could have returned much sooner. But, not sure if that means anything to Weber or not.

              The return policy for this - is it straight refund or Weber Credit? I could see a bold claim being for credit for another grill. But, expectations not being met because they are too high of expectations, or expectations not being met because the functionality of the unit is not working in the way it should to meet expectations. In your case, functionality not providing met expectations after this time, give it a shot.

              Comment


                #14
                I do think whatever new smoker you buy to replace it (a MAK?), we need a new glitchy real-time blog thread on it.

                Comment


                • glitchy
                  glitchy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I don't know if anyone would read a Z-Grills documentary here.

                • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
                  ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
                  Editing a comment
                  glitchy but you buy 1 you get 1 free, so then we could have 2 z-docs...

                #15
                The company promised you 100% satisfaction or your money back. The CEO made that promise publicly. I think you should hold them to it.

                Comment

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