Riding a Ryobi Snow Blower Rollercoaster

Last month I was messaging my brother, who said he loved his 40V Ryobi snow blower and lawn mower. I’ve had an Ariens 520 two stage snow blower for over a decade, but haven’t used it much the last few years. It used up a lot of space in the garage, took a long time to get started for the winter season, was slow to use, and left me smelling like exhaust. The thought of getting away from gas yard tools was exciting and I have a large collection of Ryobi’s 18V power tools, so they’re a brand I trust.

I jumped on Home Depot and ordered the 40V HP Brushless 21 in. Cordless Single Stage Snow Thrower with (2) 5.0 Ah Batteries since none of the local HDs had it in stock. It was $549.

The only steps involved in assembly were to twist on the chute, secure it with a screw, and tighten the handle. I immediately loved how compact it folded up.

We got snow the next day, so I put it to a test.

The snow blower was easy to start with the push of a button. It was very quiet, light, easy to maneuver, and has a bright LED light. Right away I noticed it didn’t have the power to throw the snow very far as you can see in the video. I would be throwing the snow right in to an upcoming path, so would be moving the same snow 2-3 times! Not a good start.

The triggers on the handle that need to be held in order to keep it running were awkward to use and I accidentally let go multiple times. Then after less than 10 minutes of use, I let go and the motor wouldn’t start again. Both batteries had about 75% charge left and the LED headlight was coming on without a problem. I could hear a bit of a clicking sound from the motor.

I loaded it in my car and returned it to Home Depot the next morning.

I was extremely disappointed in the machine and due to my positive experience with other Ryobi products, I felt the need to leave an online review, which I almost never do. To my surprise, I got a response the next day.

I also received the following email.

My name is Christian, and I am the Product Development Coordinator for RYOBI Snow Blowers.

We received your online review on the RYOBI 40V HP 21” Snow Blower. We understand you have had an issue with your RYOBI Snow Blower. It is our policy to make absolutely sure that 100% of our customers are pleased with their experience with RYOBI. Could you please call me at 864-642-8094? I would like to investigate this issue with you and make sure that your experience with our products moving forward is a positive experience and that you walk away understanding that our customer service is unmatched.

If you prefer you can reply to this email, and we can discuss your experience to find a solution that meets your needs.

I emailed back…

I returned it to Home Depot two days after it was delivered (the night after trying it). We had less than 2 inches of light snow and the unit was pretty terrible. It barely threw the snow 5-6 feet, so I would end up going over the same snow multiple times to do the driveway. Then after maybe 10 minutes of use, the auger wouldn’t start again. The LED light was on and both batteries had 3/4 charge. Maybe there was something wrong with the motor on this unit, but it seemed very under powered and I wasn’t confident it would be able to handle any real storm.
It was quite disappointing because I have a lot of Ryobi hand tools and they all work great. I was hoping to replace my gas snow blower and lawn mower with Ryobi units for ease of use, space saving, and not having to deal with gas, but I’ll be sticking with them now.

Their next reply…

This issue your snow blower experienced has become know and we have since corrected the issue with our units in inventory!

I would like to offer to upgrade you to our brand new RYOBI 40V HP 21″ Whisper Series Snow Blower as I see you were not impressed with the previous models performance. This kit has an upgraded controller and 2x 7.5Ah batteries for increased power and runtime.

Would this be something you are interested in? I want to make sure you are taken care of.

I look forward to hearing from you!

I was shocked. The 40V HP BRUSHLESS 21″ WHISPER SERIES SNOW BLOWER WITH (2) 7.5AH BATTERIES AND CHARGER is $699 and they sent me one for free!

The unit had some damage to the knob used to adjust the auger speed so I asked if they could send me a replacement part and I would fix it myself.

Apparently it’s not an easy fix, so they sent me another snow blower. FREE! Same model, fully complete with the batteries and charger. I was floored!

This new model is better in every way.

  • Build quality of the machine feels much sturdier.
  • Larger batteries provide more power and runtime.
  • The handle folds away in one step instead of two.
  • Triggers to keep it running were replaced with the more traditional bar you find on lawn mowers.

I’ve had the chance to use this snow blower during a few different sized Michigan snow storms and it did a great job. It throws the snow much better than the other model and it didn’t miss a beat. The machine maneuvers so much better than a heavy gas snow blower and is actually fun to use. There’s no worry about it starting up, so I can just throw in the batteries, push start, and be good to go.

I quickly sold my Ariens gas snow blower, gave the “broken” Ryobi to my brother, and am enjoying the extra space in the garage. Isaac had an older Ryobi model and said this one is awesome.

One minor negative is the snow blower doesn’t come with any kind of shovel tool to clear snow out of the chute or auger. I came up with my own solution though.

Before I purchase a lawn mower I’m waiting to see if Ryobi releases one in their Whisper series before spring. If they don’t, I’ll buy one of their current models. The mowers fold up better to save even more space, which will be great.

This whole experience with Ryobi’s customer service makes me happy I switched to Ryobi a few years ago. It even pushed me to buy their cordless nail guns to replace my pneumatic ones last week. One of my shop projects after the kitchen is finished will be to build a system to better organize and store all of my cordless tools, so I’ll share my Ryobi collection then.

I Will Never Buy Another TaylorMade Product

Today, 13 days after sending my message, I finally got a reply from TaylorMade. If you haven’t seen it, go back and read A Message to TaylorMade. After waiting nearly two weeks, I get the canned response you can read below. The last line way at the bottom is priceless. It’s pretty clear they didn’t take the time to read my message. I’ve spent well over $1,000 on TaylorMade products in the last few years. I expect better customer service. I’ve been a fan of their products for a long time, but I will never spend a dime on something with the word TaylorMade on it again.

Hello,

Thanks for the email.

We would like to opportunity to assist you in the repair or replacement
of your TaylorMade golf club. We offer a two year warranty from purchase
date on all of our clubs with proof of purchase. If your club qualifies
for a warranty, the first step in this process is to take your club to
your nearest authorized golf retailer that carries our product. They
will inspect the club and possibly contact us to begin the warranty
process using their account. To find your nearest authorized retailer,
please visit www.taylormadegolf.com and click  Find a Retailer.

If you are unable to reach a retailer, please call us at 800-888-2582 so
one of our Customer Service Representatives can assist you with an
alternative solution.

Thank you again and we wish you continued success with your golf game!

Best regards,

Andy
TaylorMade – adidas Golf

http://taylormadegolf.com  | http://adidasgolf.com |
http://ashworthgolf.com
We sincerely hope that the quality and speed of our email response
satisfied your expectations.

Charter on Twitter

Last night I walked into the living room and immediately noticed the clock was out on my MOXI (DVR). The device wasn’t getting any power, so I’m guessing the power supply finally died. That’s not all that surprising considering I’ve had it more than 5 years and it is never turned off.

I posted a tweet soon after: “Shit, my MOXI died. I guess I’ll be making a trip to Charter tomorrow for a new DVR. Glad there is nothing good on TV tonight.”

A few minutes later I received a reply from @Umatter2ChtrG. At first I wasn’t sure if it was real or a spammer. Turns out it was real. George informed me that they still have the MOXI DVR, but they don’t carry them in the local offices. I would need a technician to come out and replace the device. This morning we scheduled a tech to stop by on Wednesday morning. Not 30 minutes later I received a call from the local office asking if a tech could stop by tonight instead. Hell yeah!

Now I have another MOXI and I don’t have to deal with the crappy Operating System of their newer DVRs. Chalk me up as a happy customer. If I hadn’t tweeted and Charter hadn’t been listening I’d just be another customer. Thanks Charter!

H&R Block Knows the Value of a Customer

I usually do my own taxes, but with the sale of pokerchiptricks.com and all of the other miscellaneous income from web sites this year, I was more than a little confused. I started with the free TaxCut federal version from H&R Block. Once I got to the part for State taxes, I went ahead and purchased the Michigan version for $24.95. My credit card ended up being charged twice for some reason.

After completing my taxes to the best of my ability I figured it was probably a smart idea to have a tax professional do them. I called H&R Block on Wednesday of last week and made an appointment for Thursday after work. I stopped in with my stack of receipts and records. An hour and a half later I was walking out the door with some homework. I forgot about some of the home business use deductions/expenses I could take. I called back the next day, giving the amounts I came up with. She said everything would be done and I could stop in after work.

So I stopped back in and spent nearly another hour having her explain everything to me. She said it was one of the larger piles of paper she had seen for a tax return. If I had gone with my TaxCut run through I would have had quite a few mistakes, so I’m glad I had a pro take care of it. After a $40 coupon, it cost me $625 which I think is a bit high, but H&R Block has their Guarantee thing which is part of that total price, so if they made a mistake, they pay for it, not me. They charge according to the number of forms and everything too, so with a complicated return, the cost goes way up.

The tax professional I worked with and the woman working the front desk were both very courteous to me each time I came in or talked to them on the phone. Overall I had a very good experience at their office and was surprised how friendly they were considering it was the last couple of days of tax season.

This weekend I jumped online and sent an email to customer support explaining my position with the double charge for the state version of their software and also asking if I could get refunded for both charges since I went in to one of their offices and paid a pretty penny to get my taxes prepared. A day later I received a message explaining I would be refunded for both charges and they didn’t ask me anything. Not a single question about what office I visited (they may have looked it up on their own) or anything. I don’t know how many other times I’ve had bad customer service experiences where the company didn’t realize the value of a customer and word of mouth. I’ll highly recommend using H&R Block to anyone in the future.

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