I’ve used Microplane graters for years. The ones I had were used for years and years, the last ‘old style’ one for 7-8 years. So when it started to get dull, and my hubby asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day (it’s in March in the UK) I asked him to get me another one.
Off he went to Lakeland to buy one, they are all pretty much the same price everywhere, but Lakeland usually has great customer service. It was a new (to me) design with the curved grater part surrounded by 2 black plastic materials, one hard,and one more like a rubber material on the outside. It came with a cover/attachment you could turn around and grate into if you wanted to.
The first time I used it, it was a great deal less sharp than my old one was when it was new – that one was so sharp you could file your nails on it, this one, no way. But as it’s for home use, I decided it would still do the job for the few times a week I’d use it – grating ginger, garlic, and parmesan.
During the summer I noticed that there were cracks in the hard black surround of the grater, which continued to grow and multiply. A few weeks ago, there were 7 and it was beginning to wobble when I used it. We took photos and emailed Lakeland who replied that they would be unable to do anything for us without the receipt. Who keeps receipts for £20 items??! So hubby looked up the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and found out that as long as we could prove we bought the grater at Lakeland they would have to refund/replace. So he looked through bank statement and credit card statements and found the transaction. He emailed them with the information. No reply.
I looked up Microplane on the net and found the US company that makes them, but couldn’t find out who distributes them in the UK as the website wasn’t working properly, so I emailed them asking for that info and why. They got back to me with an email address for ICTC and asked for more information about the grater. I sent photos and explained where, when we got it, how it we cleaned it, and how much use it had had.
Again, a quick response back from ICTC that they hadn’t heard about this particular model break from anyone else and they offered me the same model or a higher spec one as a replacement and sent me a PDF brochure to look at and decide. I took the higher spec fine grater.
A week or so later, I got a replacement… addressed to me (oddly, as my hubby was the one who had emailed them) from Lakeland – the same Elite grater. ‘Oh well,’ I thought, ‘we’ll see how long this one lasts for.’ And I wondered if wires had gotten crossed and I wasn’t going to get the other model.
The next day, another parcel, this time from the ICTC with the grater I had asked for. Lakeland never had replied to my husband so we weren’t expecting anything from them at all in the way of a replacement or a response.
The higher spec grater is all metal, so it won’t have the same issue of the plastic breaking. I haven’t used it yet, but will write a review for it when I do. I am quite impressed with the customer service I got from both Microplane and ICTC, but Lakeland really fell flat.
Their slogan reads: “the Lakeland guarantee…
it’s probably the simplest guarantee in the world! If you’re not satisfied at any time, you receive your money back!
this is our promise.”
They certainly didn’t follow through. I’m quite disappointed as they market themselves as being customer service oriented and this time they definitely weren’t. Yes, they were correct that under the law we should prove that we bought the grater from them, but are most people going to lie about where they bought a £20 item when asking for a replacement? Common sense should prevail.
The bottom line is that if you buy something and it doesn’t live up to your expectations of quality, fit for purpose, or wear, go back to where you bought it, armed with what the law says they should do for you. The item has to be fit for purpose for a ‘reasonable’ period of time. If the store won’t help, go to the distributor/manufacturer (google is your friend here) and tell them what’s happened. Usually they will be happy to help – after all it’s their reputation that’s on the line if a product isn’t fit for purpose.