Monday, July 21, 2008

Reviewing customer reviews

With LOML having a birthday coming up, I've been informed that it would be a good thing if I were to find a good dehumidifier. Yes, that is number one on the birthday list. Really! LOML wants to use the basement much more, but it is rather dank and dingy, musty and mildewed. So a dehumidifier it is.
Problem is, dehumidifiers I know from nyet. What am going to do? Fortunately, there are publications like Consumer Reports around to help, and so that is where I start (lets' throw out any stinkers first before trying to make a decision).
Unfortunately, on this issue, it seems that CR makes their recommendations based on two factors: recommendations of professionals, and customers' self-reported satisfaction (or otherwise). And that self-reported satisfaction (or otherwise) is reported not to CR directly, but rather to Sears, Amazon, and various big box stores with appliance sales and customer reviews.
So I look at the top seller on the CR list, decide that that is what I will get, and discover it is not for sale anywhere. No indication of when it will be back. Presumably the company couldn't deal with the spike in demand when everyone had the opportunity to say "Oh! Okay, I'll just get the one CR recommends".
So now, I am left with going through all the online reviews myself, at half a dozen different sites: and I discover that just about any model gets something between ten and thirty percent stinking reviews: and all the manufacturers have the worst service record of any company in the history of the western spiral arm of the milky way. And so now I'm left no further ahead, much more apprehensive about plonking down $200 on an unknown.
It's a time when I think I shall go buy it from a local store, one with a decent on-site return policy. Even if it is more expensive to buy it that way, and with more limited choice (hey, in this case that might actually be a plus!) I like the added security blanket it provides.

Yours, left feeling mildewed by the process,


alice c said...

Hmmm...dehumidifier...I really hope that is not CODE for an elegant and charming piece of jewellery.

I just know that if MrM arrived with a charmingly wrapped dehumidifier there would be a challenging atmosphere at ChezMagpie.

BreadBox said...

Actually, no, not code.
But I should point out that LOML's birthday presents have been given over the past few months: somehow, I buy the gift, and it seems more appropriate immediately rather than actually en anniversaire.
Unbirthday presents, I guess.