Why does Laguna Tools have so many unhappy customers ?

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Forum topic by MonteCristo posted 06-05-2012 06:25 PM 51907 views 0 times favorited 146 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2099 posts in 3685 days

06-05-2012 06:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip

I have used a question to title this post, but I am confident that I already know the answer. For those who just want the punchline, the answer is “It ciomes right from the very top”. I will elaborate on why I am sure that this is so below for those who are interested.

Some may have already looked at how many posts I have made and noticed that I am new to LJs. I would, nonetheless, ask everyone to judge this post on its own merits. If anyone is looking for another rant, sorry, this will not be a rant.

I joined LJs recently after seeing that there were quite a few posts that were very critical of Laguna Tools Customer Service. I was surprised to see these, as from what I can make out, Laguna Tools goes to considerable effort to suppress this sort of thing. I know this from personal experience. I suspect the international scope of LJs has helped here.

I dealt with Laguna Tools for a number of years. It started with me buying a ResawKing blade after being frustrated with poor quality carbon blades. Then I saw Torben Helshoj’s folksy videos. videos that did a ggod job of highlighting some of their bandsaw’s superior features. I ended up buying an LT24 (bandsaw) and a TSS (table saw with a built-in slider). Those deals went fine but things started to go off the rails when I bought accessories. Mostly just slow service at first, but then I bought a driftmaster bandsaw fence and had to wait 6 months for it to arrive. They had my money but I had no product. Worse still, Laguna repeatedly promised that it was on its way.

As i mentioned in a reply to another post here on LJs, you can see the reminents of a post I made on a Canadian forum by GOOGLEing “Laguna Tools – good tools, bad service”. What you won’t find is basically the same post that was also put on what I believe is the largest woodworker’s forum based in the USA. That copy was wiped clean from that forum when the forum’s owner caved to pressure from Laguna Tools, one of its advertisers.

The post in question was in response to an outrageous incident whereby I was shipped a damaged TSS accessory (sliding table support arm) with no assembly instructions or documentation of any kind. Laguna claimed that this swing arm would bolt right on to my TSS. Turns out it was designed for their panel saw, not the TSS, and mounting it was no simple matter. When I complained about the lack of instructions and the fact the swing arm / TSS connection was not made clear, Laguna’s CS guy was totally unrepentant. I lost over a day’s work and his response was “well, you got it on in the end, didn’t you ?”

The above incident prompted me to join a couple of forums to get the word out. This action led to a phone call from Catherine Helshoj, who, as I understand it, runs the business end of things at Laguna Tools. I told her what the situation was and that one of her employees had been aggresive, abusive, combative, you name it when I had complained about the swing arm situation. To my great surprise, Catherine dismissed my concerns about this employee and said “He’s an excellent employee . . .” She was not sympathetic at all to my plight or concerned about her employee’s behaviour.

The next thing I knew my account on that big USA based forum was blocked and my Laguna posts were wiped off the record. Coincidence – not likely.

Some will likely be thinking “this guy ranted when he complained to Laguna . . .”, Well, I didn’t and the large number of other complaints about Laguna’s CS should help to convince a reasonable person that I am very likely telling the truth. I think that’s why my post disappeared.

OK, it’s time again for the punchline. Laguna Tools has had a lot of CS issues for such a small company. In the past they have claimed to have addressed this, fired the odd rogue employee, whatever. But, it is clear to me that these employees are essentially just following the example set for them. They are being told to play hardball whenever costly misqueues occur. IMHO it should be pretty evident that things won’t change at Laguna until its top brass change. Given that it’s a private company, how likely is that ?

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

146 replies so far

View Nicky's profile


729 posts in 5589 days

#1 posted 06-11-2012 07:54 PM

Thank you for the post, this was an interesting read, and not unlike many others I have read. Before I purchase new equipment I do as much research as I can. If I read through 10 reviews and 1 was negative I may discount the negative review as the odd-ball.

Same theme about this company I’ve heard for years, well-engineered equipment, and poor customer service.

If Laguna is listening, you’ve lost a sale because of negative reviews. The only way to turn this around is to delight your customers.

-- Nicky

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5369 posts in 5457 days

#2 posted 06-11-2012 08:24 PM

Oh well….Ya pays your money and ya takes your chances. Walk with your pocket book.
It is not just with Laguna (though I have no experience with them). That’s why I choose to buy face-to-face whenever possible. That being said, I have never had a bad experience when dealing with Grizzly. There are a bunch of green machines in my shop for that very reason.
I choose to buy tooling that will accomplish the basic tasks, not that which will supposedly last forever. Hey! I’m not gonna last forever, and the tools will be sold for pennies on the dollar anyway.
Dang! That just made me feel better.

-- [email protected]

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4380 days

#3 posted 06-11-2012 08:48 PM

Laguna tools look so shiny and nice, but I’ve never heard anything but negative comments about their CS. As well, I have also read in a number of places concerns about their QC. I’d never buy Laguna for these reasons. I have looked a number of times at their jointers as I’d like to upgrade my 6”, but I refuse to give a company my money if they will not stand behind their products. I have mostly General Int. machinery (bandsaw/TS/DC/jointer/drillpress); never had to test their CS because I’ve never had a problem with anything. Also own a Sawstop TS and a Clearvue cyclone DC; had a few small issues with their products but the CS was excellent

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 4893 days

#4 posted 06-11-2012 08:48 PM

I do not have any Laguna tools only because I was aware of the CS issues by friends that do. I have used the tools and liked them.
But, based on what I have seen Laguna’s CS is like a lottery, you may be the one in a million customer they treat like gold, they make you feel like you own the company and give you anything you want. But it is 180 degrees out for all the other customers.

But they do have some nice tools.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View Ted's profile


2877 posts in 3708 days

#5 posted 06-11-2012 09:55 PM

I think Laguna should make this right. After all, it’s in their best interest. What they should do is send a bunch of free tools to somebody who has never before purchased Laguna tools, or used them for that matter. Then when that person is delighted about getting a bunch of free Laguna tools, they should consider that not quite enough and send him all the accessories for all the tools, which also will be free. Now mind you, I have never purchased, owned or used a Laguna tool, and with my limited shop space, it would be a bit inconvenient to house all these free Laguna tools, but in the spirit of making things right, I think I might be willing to take them up on their offer of free tools. And I would promise to never complain about their customer service, no matter how bad it may be.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3685 days

#6 posted 06-11-2012 09:56 PM

When I first put up this post, I was a little freaked that no one commented. I could see that Laguna was not suceeding at muzzling disent (sp?) here as it does with great success on that “other forum” I alluded to (hats off to LJs !) but I was surprised that people perhaps seemed indifferent. Laguna is an active advertiser on LJs and is clearly trying to convince woodworkers to buy their stuff.

Also, it has kinda disappointed me that some who have not been jerked around by Laguna are so indifferent to those that have, but of course I am a Laguna victim. No wonder companies like Laguna stay in business way longer than they should.

I hope Laguna reads all these posts, especially the comment Bill White makes above. Some of us who are perhaps more idealistic (or picky or what ?) end up spending a lot of coin at places like Laguna. So when they stab you in the back on your way out the door, it hurts even more and sort of motivates a guy to get the word out . . .

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

View knotscott's profile


8439 posts in 4872 days

#7 posted 06-11-2012 10:09 PM

I have also read many intensely negative from Laguna customers. Every manufacturer releases some defective products on occasion so I don’t generally think twice about the occasional gripe, but the sheer numbers I’ve read pertaining to Laguna are surprising…I don’t have data, but I would guess that Laguna sells far fewer tools than Grizzly, Delta, Jet, or PM, yet the numbers are disproportionately high. These are often more than just the run of the mill post from a disappointed customer who’s new tool didn’t work as advertised. I’ve noticed several that are intensely angry. The high numbers and the level of hostility have always made me wondered what’s really going on behind the scenes. Thanks for the insights MC.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View paratrooper34's profile


916 posts in 4449 days

#8 posted 06-11-2012 10:30 PM

This post is one of the main reasons why I enjoy this site.

I am looking at purchasing a bandsaw soon. I read about Laguna’s in a couple of magazines and considered purchasing their bandsaw. But guess what? I damn sure won’t now. I figure if you spend a pretty good chunk of change, you are owed some customer service. If Laguna doesn’t give a rat’s behind about customer service, this customer will take his money elsewhere.

Thanks for helping weed out a company I am surely not interested in now.

-- Mike

View waho6o9's profile


9203 posts in 4074 days

#9 posted 06-11-2012 10:47 PM

Why does Laguna Tools have so many unhappy customers ?

Laguna tools love to shoot themselves in the foot and excel in disastrous business practices.
I would not own any of their junk if it was given to me.

View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5185 days

#10 posted 06-11-2012 10:53 PM

I think that after 408 views and counting , that the reason for so few comments appearing , is that the Laguna horse has pretty much died on this site.
There are numerous posts about their CS, most every single one is negative.
On occasion , someone (allegedly not an employee or friend of Laguna’s) will post something bright and cheery about the company and its CS , which is taken with a grain of salt around here.
So , don’t feel that your post isn’t being read or is ignored , it’s just old news for most of us here .
Take care : )

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

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4380 days

#11 posted 06-11-2012 10:55 PM

nice post knotscott; I agree with you, every company throws out some crap once in awhile, also no company has perfect CS (I’ve seen some recent rants about poor CS from Grizzly, which used to get universally stellar reviews about their CS). Laguna though seems to have a special knack for selling stuff that doesn’t work, isn’t machined properly or doesn’t fit and then REALLY pisses people off about it. Maybe they have a special niche market where people like getting poor CS, kind of like a couple of restaurants that are famous for their rude waiters etc.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View zzzzdoc's profile


576 posts in 4500 days

#12 posted 06-12-2012 01:52 AM

To be fair, I really haven’t had any issues with their CS on my 12” combination jointer/planer and 14SUV bandsaw. I ordered them, they arrived in fine shape, and they continue to work trouble-free. But I’ve seen many, many negative comments about their customer service. Maybe I’ve just been lucky. No I don’t work for them, blah, blah, YMMV. Void where prohibited by law.

My only complaints are with their chip collection on the jointer (pathetic despite modifying it and using it with a 5HP Oneida cyclone), and that the driftmaster fence attaches poorly to their own 14SUV.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4483 days

#13 posted 06-12-2012 02:05 AM

One of my favourite things about LJ is that you are free to give honest retellings of your experiences with ALL of the companies. I even complained about a different tool company on here once and they emailed me fairly soon after and tried to make it right. (It was Grizzly and they did indeed make it right.)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View mark4345's profile


71 posts in 3920 days

#14 posted 06-12-2012 02:07 AM

A little something to add to this. 7 months ago i was looking into getting a new table saw Laguna was one of the tools i was considering. They had no pricing on their website i could find so i had to fill out something for them to contact me to send me the info.

I first heard from them last week. I already have my saw…not a laguna. If it takes them that long to try and make a sale why would i want their product. If it took that long when they didnt already have the money….what if i had a problem?? who knows how long it would take to get resolved if at all…

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5074 days

#15 posted 06-12-2012 02:14 AM

I have had issues in the past with Laguna and have never recommended their tools to anyone. I’ve have had rather long rants about them in the past so I won’t start all over again except to say buyer beware.


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