Laguna jointer -- customer service

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Forum topic by Kelby posted 05-30-2012 10:53 PM 9252 views 0 times favorited 73 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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134 posts in 3654 days

05-30-2012 10:53 PM

Laguna has had its share of customer service complaints on this site, so I thought I would share a recent experience.

In December, I purchased a Laguna Pro 12” parallelogram jointer. I’ll do a review at some point, but overall it is a spectacular tool. It has worked great in my shop for the last six months. I ran into a problem with the motor this weekend. I sent an e-mail describing the problem to Laguna’s customer service department Sunday at about 10:00 a.m.

Fifteen minutes later—at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday morning (in the middle of the Memorial Day holiday weekend ), I received a phone call from Jason at Laguna’s customer service department. He was at church, but he got my e-mail and stepped out to give me a call in hopes that he could help me get the machine up and running over the phone so that I might be able to use it for the weekend. He spent about 20 minutes on the phone with me as I poked around in the electrical box, and he ultimately diagnosed the problem as a failed starting capacitor. He apologized that he would not be able to get me a replacement capacitor until Laguna’s offices opened after the holiday (Tuesday morning).

I happen to live in Orange County, so I stopped by Laguna’s offices Tuesday morning. A replacement starting capacitor was waiting for me, along with a replacement running capacitor just in case that had failed as well. I replaced them when I got home, and the jointer works perfectly again.

In my whole life, I have only had one other experience in which a customer service rep took time out of his off-hours to respond to an after-hours customer service issue. That other instance was a year or so ago, when I had a question about another Laguna product, and I sent an e-mail to Laguna’s customer service department just after midnight. Jason (the same guy) responded about five minutes later. But that’s another story.

-- Kelby

73 replies so far

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3445 days

#1 posted 05-31-2012 12:17 AM

It is always good to hear the good stories, Laguna has always been Top Notch in customer service…... I bought a 16hd bandsaw several years back from a guy and needed some help setting it up and getting a manual ect, they did not hesitate whatsoever helping me, it was like I just bought it from them… I did purchase the sliding table attachment today for my pm66 I will do a review on…..

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View pcswoodchick's profile


5 posts in 3468 days

#2 posted 06-02-2012 09:50 PM

I will tell you a little something about Laguna Tools. My BF and I bought a wood lathe off of them and before we even ordered it we had some questions that we needed answered. Well to say the least they will tell you anything you want to hear. One of the main questions was about whether or not the centers were true. We were told that they were perfect and when we received the lathe the centers were off by 1/4”. When we ordered it we were told that it would ship in 2 days but it took 2 weeks for them to ship it and it took another 2 weeks for it to get here. When I called in they made an excuse that they had to do inventory. Once we discovered the problem with the centers we noticed even more. The headstock just flopped around and wouldn’t stay locked(according to laguna that is the way it is supposed to be), the tool rest and tail stock never stayed locked either. The bed wasn’t machined right and had high and low points. We had contacted Laguna several times and all we were told was that they lathes they had there didn’t do what the one we had done. We had to demand for our money back and finally after three weeks they had contacted us to make arrangements to have it shipped back to them. Thus another nightmare. They had sent a bill of laden to us for the truck driver and after waiting 2 weeks to hear from them I made a phone call. I was told that the company that was supposed to pick it up didn’t have the type of truck to haul it so they sent it to another company, then that company said the same and sent it to yet another company. Well at this point I was fed up so I called Laguna again and was hung up on. So I of course called back and was told that they would have it picked up that day. I was late for work because of waiting for the truck to pick it up. Finally, Three days later a truck did show up for the piece of crap this only after I threatened to cut it up into tiny pieces and send it back through the us mail. It took yet another 2 weeks for them to get it back. They even tried to sells us another(not even in their dreams!) After calling for the past few weeks did we get our money back. So after my experience with Laguna tools I wouldn’t even recommend them to my worst enemy. It took 3 months for them to make things right after fighting with them! You will not find many reviews for them but when Googled there are a few and they are not good. So everybody please save yourself a nightmare and a headache and pay the extra and get a good lathe or any other tool!

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 3654 days

#3 posted 06-03-2012 03:59 AM


Clearly you had a negative experience with Laguna, which is unfortunate. It does appear that you have a grand total of 5 posts on Lumberjocks, all at the same time on the same date, and all of them are verbatim the same post, simply cut-and-paste into five threads that address Laguna products. (Some of those threads are years old without any recent posts until you apparently did a search for “Laguna” and added your cut-and-paste review on the search-hit threads six hours ago).

As I said, I don’t doubt that you had a negative experience. However, given that 100% of your post history is the same cut-and-paste review, and given that it reads as a hyperbole-laden tirade, and given that it is based on a single product, your post comes across as more of a retaliatory rant than an objective review.

That doesn’t change the fact that you had a negative experience, and your experience is useful for the community to know about. I don’t doubt that the product failed to meet your standards. Your post certainly leaves the impression that you are a very demanding customer.

-- Kelby

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3432 days

#4 posted 06-03-2012 05:24 AM

I have dealt with Jason at Laguna and did not receive the service Kelby outlines. But then, Jason isn’t the problem. I have talked directly to his boss and she’s the real problem. As long as she tells Jason when and how to do CS, inconsistent CS will be the order of the day at Laguna.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View waho6o9's profile


9069 posts in 3820 days

#5 posted 06-03-2012 04:00 PM

Thanks pcswoodchick.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3432 days

#6 posted 06-11-2012 10:06 PM

I am curious as to what Kelby makes of my post and the reaction to it (titled “Why does Laguna Tools have so many unhappy customers ?”) It’s not a rant, nor are the replies to it. Personally, I am not surprised at pcswoodchick’s post being a rant. That’s not to say I endorse this kind of post. Quite the opposite. Rants are rarely taken seriously.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Dusty56's profile


11866 posts in 4931 days

#7 posted 06-11-2012 10:31 PM

pcswoodchick , no matter how many times you may post your story in the same day , it is still your experience with Laguna that you are sharing with us.Your experience seems to be the most common , and not just on this site.

As far as you being a ”very demanding customer” goes , you have every right to be !
It’s your money and your time that were wasted , plus you were left with the bitter taste of Laguna for who knows how long. Take care : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 3654 days

#8 posted 06-12-2012 07:29 PM


A couple of reactions:

1) I don’t pretend to know the inner workings of Laguna’s customer service department, or what percentage of their customers have been happy or unhappy. Laguna has been around quite a while, and they sell a lot of tools. That tells me they have plenty of happy customers. Based on my own experience, I can see why. Unhappy customers tend to be more vocal than happy ones, so tallying posts in internet forums will probably not give you a representative sample. Also, an unhappy customer may go onto multiple woodworking forums (often with a different name on each forum so it is difficult to track) and put up multiple posts about their negative experience. Happy customers usually don’t post at all, and if they do, it is usually just once.

With that said, Laguna clearly gets more than its share of highly vocal detractors. Any company in that situation would be wise to take a self-critical look at whether there are steps it should take to improve.

2) Customer service is one of many factors to consider when you buy a tool. Many people buy vintage tools that come with no customer service at all, knowing they will have to fix any problems themselves. Yet, they are often very happy with their purchases, even if they have problems that require fixing.

Even with new tools, customer service is just one part of the calculus. When I bought my Laguna jointer (it’s their Pro series 12” parallelogram model), I had looked carefully at the similar Powermatic 12” jointer. I felt the Laguna was a superior tool, even though it was considerably cheaper. (Amazon currently offers the Powermatic for $1000 more than the list price of the Laguna; the price difference was even greater when I bought my jointer.) Some people might be willing to pay $1000 for an inferior tool because they believe they will get better customer service. That is a legitimate perspective. It is not my perspective. My perspective is that I want the best tool for the least money. If I have to wait a few weeks for a part on backorder (or, in some cases, even a few months), or if I have to follow-up with customer service a few times before get the response I am looking for, that’s not ideal, but I’ll live with it if I at the end of the day I have a great tool at a great price.

3) I am a bit cynical when it comes to internet reviews of customer service.

I put a lot of stock in internet reviews of how a product functions, like, “the battery died after six hours,” or “the button is so cheap and flimsly that it failed in the first week.” I put stock in those reviews because, in my experience, when many internet reviewers report that a switch fails, and then I buy the product, the switch on my product usually fails too. So, I’ve learned to trust those reviews.

But when it comes to customer service, there is little correlation between internet wisdom and my personal experience. Perhaps it is because different people are bothered by different things. (For one customer, waiting on hold for 10 minutes is offensive, while another may be thrilled to talk to a live support person even if it means waiting a bit.) Or perhaps it is because different people treat customer service with different levels of respect. (When I speak politely to a customer service rep, I tend to get much more cooperation than when I yell and scream. When I read that a customer service rep hung up on a customer, it could be because the rep acted inappropriately, or it could be because the customer was behaving abusively.) There are many variables that go into someone’s assessment of a company’s customer service; it is not as simple as “the switch failed.”

So, I don’t put a lot of stock in internet reviews of customer service. I assume people are sincere, but I do not assume that their experiences reflect the type of experience I am likely to have.

To put a little more meat on that concept: I have several Laguna products in my shop. If any LJs out there live in Orange County, California, and are considering purchasing Laguna products (or any other tools I own), feel free to shoot me a PM and I’ll be happy to have you over so you can see my tools in action for yourself. The good and the bad. IMHO, that’s the only way to make a good purchasing decision.

-- Kelby

View Tennessee's profile


2936 posts in 3758 days

#9 posted 06-12-2012 07:42 PM

I am in sales by day, and I build guitars at night. So it is not unusual for me to get e-mails on my phone at odd times. I hate Smartphones, for the record, but when you are a road salesguy PLUS run a customer oriented custom guitar shop, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’ve saved more than one guitar order by e-mailing back someone at an odd time on my phone, or calling them back.

But NO ONE, not even my Mother-In-Law or my kids can reach me when I am in church with my wife. That is my time to Praise God, and for this guy to step out of Service and help a customer is so far above and beyond in my book, I would have to say that pcswoodchick is not giving us the entire story.

I say hats off to Jason at Laguna, even though I do not own any of their tools.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4829 days

#10 posted 06-12-2012 07:44 PM

I don’t know if that’s such a good service? surely if you buy a tool and included in that purchase is a warranty, it would be up to them to come out and replace the faulty item not simply to have you collect the parts.I say I am not sure maybe in the USA you have different warranty laws.over here it’s usually parts and labour maybe you just have a parts only warranty I don’t know if so then it’s a great service you got. Have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3492 days

#11 posted 06-12-2012 08:12 PM

I make my living with the internet. I don’t sell things, I am a network engineer and manager for a large manged services company. We keep the internet running (literally). A large portion of my job is reporting and quality assurance. I am very well versed and trained in these aspects. Unsolicited feedback is overwhelming negative. If you had a bad experience, you want to tell people about it. It validates your feelings and gives you a sense of one-upmanship where you would otherwise be powerless. If a product or service meets your expectations, you are very unlikely to tell others about it. If a product or service far exceeds your expectations, you are likely to share your experience, but only half as likely as you would be with a negative experience.
For example, if you went out to eat at a chain restaurant and your meal fails to meet your expectations, you are almost guaranteed to let someone know, either via word of mouth, a yelp review, or voicing your displeasure to management. If your meal was exceptional, there is a chance you will let someone know, but a much smaller one. If your meal aligns with your quality standards perfectly based on previous experiences, you are almost guaranteed to be silent about it.

My point here is close to 87% of the time, you only hear the extremely positive, or the negative. That means for every 1 negative review you read, there are probably close to 87 people who have had a perfectly average and acceptable experience. Deducing reviews based on emotions, hurt feelings, or a public sense of revenge vs. legitimate factual complaints is tough.


View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3432 days

#12 posted 06-12-2012 11:30 PM

Kelby, lumberjoe: see my reply on the post I started – In the case of Laguna, the number of really bad CS experiences is way too high. I too have a statistics background and my degree in mathematics, plus my own person experience, tells me that there is absolutely a systemic CS problem at Laguna. It may be confined to the smaller players, but that still doesn’t make it right.

If Laguna doesn’t have the patience to treat smaller players decently, it should be restricting its product line accordingly. However, I think its not as simple as that. I did not buy their low end stuff. A TSS and an LT24 are not their low end. I spent about $15,000 over about 10 orders – not really big money but not chump change either. But that shouldn’t matter anyway. Are people so self-centered that they turn a blind eye to the horror stories just because it didn’t hapen to them ? I hope not.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 3654 days

#13 posted 06-13-2012 12:38 AM

The responses on this thread seem to prove my point that customer service is extremely subjective. I described a customer service experience, and Tennessee felt it was a great experience that was above and beyond the call of duty, while Scotsman felt Laguna may not have gone far enough. Both are legitimate perspectives. I think both demonstrate that two people can walk away from the same customer service experience having radically different views about it. That doesn’t make the company a bad company; it simply means that customer service is a very subjective thing.

Scotsman, FYI, in the US, the law does not require the manufacturer to come to you to repair a product under warranty. The law says you are obliged to take the product to the manufacturer’s place of repair, unless the warranty provides otherwise. Of course, that’s not terribly practical for a 1000-pound tool. At least under US law, it is entirely appropriate for them to give me the parts and let me install them if I would prefer not to haul the tool back to Laguna. With that said, if you live within a reasonable distance from Laguna, I know of instances in which they have sent a tech to someone’s home. Personally, I prefer to pick up the parts and install them myself. It’s not difficult, and I can do the job faster than it would take for Laguna to get a tech to my house.

MC, I would agree there are plenty of negative stories about Laguna’s customer service floating around. If I owned a company with that much negative feedback, I would certainly take a careful look at what I could do to keep more of my customers happy, and if I couldn’t figure it out, I would hire a consultant to help me. I don’t buy the argument that there is some conspiracy at Laguna to provide bad customer service. I do think that small, family-run companies sometimes struggle to take the MBA-school approach to recognizing and solving weaknesses in their business practices.

With that said, MC, I do not believe your reference to statistics is a fair point. I also had some college classes in polling and statistics. To my knowledge, neither you nor anyone else here has performed the kind of statistical survey of Laguna customers that we learned how to perform in our college classes, so we have no statistical grounds for drawing any conclusions. And we both know that statistics tell you nothing if you do not start with a representative sample of the relevant population. As LumberJoe fairly points out, internet posts provide a sampling that is neither random nor representative. So your background in math and statistics makes you no more qualified than the rest of us to draw gut-level conclusions, without performing a statistical analysis, based on a decidedly non-representative pool of internet postings.

I will repeat what I said before about putting too much stock in internet reviews of customer service. When pcswoodchick posts a ranting review in which she states that a Laguna customer service rep hung up on her, it does make me wonder whether there is another side to the story. When MC tells us that people who buy Laguna products are “so self-centered that they turn a blind eye to the horror stories,” I wonder how he reconciles that with his statement that he placed ten separate orders with Laguna over the years for over $15,000 worth of products. I do not doubt that those who post negative reviews actually believe that Laguna provided poor customer service. I do believe that views about customer service are so subjective that, when I buy tools, I choose to focus more on the quality and price of the tool itself and less on people’s subjective opinions about customer service. But for those who feel subjective opinions about customer service are important, I have expressed my feelings about my experience with Laguna.

-- Kelby

View IrreverentJack's profile


728 posts in 4086 days

#14 posted 06-13-2012 12:49 AM

I live in a rural area and purchase online often. When I come across an honest, knowledgeable salesperson I give that outfit repeat business and positive review/feedback. Unfortunately there are still plenty of places that lie to get a sale and then say you are being rude when you point that out. Maybe “pcswoodchick is not giving us the entire story”, but the story he gave is believable and compelling.
Kelby, You seem to be the polar opposite of a “very demanding customer”. If you would make multiple calls to CS, then wait months for parts and still think the tool superior, you are the ideal customer. If the tool was older or used that would be a different story. -Jack

View ocwoodworker's profile


209 posts in 4248 days

#15 posted 06-13-2012 01:14 AM

I too live in Orange County and have had very good experience with customer service. I bought a 14” SUV band saw and their 8” parallelogram jointer. Both excellent tools. The problem I had was with the band saw blade (the resaw king 1”) it wasn’t cutting true and seemed to veer to one side. Took it back in and they replaced it with a new blade. That one made rough cuts, which to me didn’t live up to their promise of minor sanding required after resawing. I called them again and then they encouraged me to bring in my samples. Torbin’s son (the owner’s son) looked at it and then got his dad too. They both decided it was one of the carbide teeth that was the problem. (Something about that single tooth not being set right). I was given a third blade and it cuts like a dream. A pleasure to use. I might have missed it but did you buy a bandsaw too?

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

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