Arbaco Portable Furnace review – poor customer service, poor product

Do yourself a favor and do NOT purchase an Arbaco Portable Furnace.

The risk-free policy for the portable furnace states “There is absolutely no risk, and your satisfaction is guaranteed. ” and the return policy page states ” Leave box with product for return at any shipping company and send product to the following address.”

but the customer has to pay return shipping costs… My issues with this:

  • they do not state that the customer has to pay return shipping
  • they promise ‘risk-free’ and ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ but you run the risk of paying return shipping… which not risk-free
  • One of their salespeople and one of their customer service reps hung up in my face when I attempted to discuss this issue with them.

On top of all this, the furnace simply did not work. It was noisy and did little to heat my bedroom after 4 hours of continuous use.

And I can’t forget the “Inspected By” certificate inside… when I tried to open the metal casing the head of one of the screws was stripped out, forcing me to do one of two things. Go through another wait period or bend back the casing to install the lamps.

Oh well, at least I get my money back for returning it!

Time for some Laughter Yoga.

2 Responses to “Arbaco Portable Furnace review – poor customer service, poor product”

  1. Update, the BBB has gracioiusly gotten some movement on this: it case # 57117235

  2. Here is my response to Arbaco’s response:

    Let me see if I can make this clearer to you.

    # Definition of Absolutely Risk-Free

    1. risk – the potential for loss
    2. risk-free – no potential for loss
    3. absolutely risk-free no potential for loss, with no exceptions

    Because your website states the offer is _absolutely_ risk free, and
    makes only one explicit exception (a one time set up fee for payment
    plan orders), the offer has no potential for loss.

    However, requiring me to pay shipping is a form of loss. Thus, the
    promise of absolutely risk-free and the requirement for me to pay
    shipping contradict each other.

    Unless you can explain why paying shipping is not a form of loss,
    then it is loss. And the potential for loss is risk. And the offer is
    therefore not absolutely risk-free as stated.

    # Reply to your reply

    * You state “””Keep in mind the offer to the consumer is Risk-Free.”””

    But this contradicts your website, which says the offer is
    _absolutely_ risk-free.

    * You state “””This is not a ‘Free Trial’, a more commonly used offer in
    which the customer holds no responsibility or obligation to the
    Company or Return shipping means or freight fees.”””

    My question is where do your definitions of ‘risk-free’ and ‘free
    trial’ come from? Would they differ from the definitions I used above?

    * You state: “””The website states this clearly as well.

    “And that’s why we want you to try them in your home or office,
    risk-free for 30 days. If you don’t love the Portable Furnace you’ve
    purchased, you don’t keep it. Simply send it back, for a full refund.”

    Regarding the term ‘send it back’ – I can send a product back via the
    same shipper you sent it to me in a number of ways, some of which
    place the shipping burden on sender and some on sender. Because the
    sentence does not explicitly state which shipping option, we must rely
    on the fact that the offer is _absolutely_ risk-free and assume that
    the company will bear the charges. That is unless losing money on
    shipping is not a risk, which it is.

    # Website prior art

    On your website, the exception to your risk-free trial is listed as a

    *There is a one time set up fee for payment plan orders. Click here
    for details.

    Please note this is the only exception to your risk-free offer
    explicitly stated. If you want to make other exceptions to your offer,
    it would be wise to explicitly list them here.

    Next, your website states: “””your satisfaction is guaranteed. “””
    However, I am not satisfied and will not be until the cost of the
    heater plus return shipping charges are refunded. Your own explicitly
    stated words are satisfaction is guaranteed. Either you back up your
    promise and satisfy me or you should remove the guarantee.

    # Business sense

    If you look at this transaction on paper, you lost money and wasted
    time. I never would have engaged in this business transaction and you
    could have saved time and money if your website were clearer about its
    policies. Also, your salespeople glossed over the issue of returning
    the unit when I questioned them prior to purchase.

    # Courtesy

    One of your salespeople and one of your customer service reps hung up
    in my face when I called to discuss this issue. Instead of referring
    me to you for this issue, they got upset and began to interrupt me and
    raise their voice, eventually slamming down the phone in anger.

    Such behavior is indicative of someone who knows they are wrong but
    prefer to devote energy to defending a losing viewpoint.

    # Conclusion

    1. Please make your policies clear and explicit. In your response to
    me you stated “””the offer to the consumer is Risk-Free. This is not a
    ‘Free Trial’, a more commonly used offer in which the customer holds no
    responsibility or obligation to the Company or Return shipping means
    or freight fees.””” but your website makes a simpler, ambiguous
    statement. The terms risk-free and free-trial do not have a standard
    definition. You were forced to _explicitly_ make
    the distinction between risk-free and free-trial in your email,
    without reference to any standard source of definition. If you had to
    do so in your reply, then you should do so on your website.

    2. Please instruct your employees to either handle an issue
    courteously and to refer the issue to someone who is supposed to
    handle it. A salesperson has no business trying to defend your company
    policy. A junior customer service representative or the head of
    customer service may in fact be equipped to handle the issue, but they
    need to do so with respect and composure, not by becoming animated and

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