Bad Experience at Woodworkers Supply

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Forum topic by BoardSMITH posted 12-28-2013 01:04 PM 4215 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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124 posts in 3595 days

12-28-2013 01:04 PM

Here is a copy of the email I sent to John Wirth, President of Woodworkers Supply

Mr Wirth,

Have you ever wondered why a customer leaves? Here is one way to drive customers off.

I scoured the internet searching for a 20” disc sander. I settled on a Woodtek because I wanted to buy local. The call to the Graham, NC store was terrific, Benny was more than helpful and helped to meet the prices I found on the internet. So I paid for the sander and arranged to pick it up a few day later.

When loading the sander in the back of my van it took a committee decision as to the best way to lay it down. After 30 minutes of decision making the sander was in the van on its side.

So I arrive at my shop, unload the sander by myself, uncrate it and get it off the pallet. I cleaned off the small amount of shipping grease and left it until the next morning after I purchased a proper plug. The plug was installed when I arrived back at the shop, I moved the sander to the place it was going to live, plugged it in to a proper 20 amp circuit (the machine specifications state 230 volt 12 amp), turn the breaker on, put the direction switch to the forward position, push the start button and the disc takes off for a few seconds to what seems to be a very rapid speed then the breaker trips. I check the connections and try again in reverse this time. This time the disc doesn’t move and the sander emits a loud hum. All the electrical connections were sound and proper according to the diagram on the inside of the cover.

I tried to call your expert in all things Woodtek, Eric. I finally managed to get a phone number for him and left a message with some of the problem details and a return phone number. After 5 hours with no return call I call the store for help. Again Benny is good to help and in about 10 minutes Eric returns my call.

As I detail the problems Eric seems to be only interested in the amp rating of the 220 volt circuit I am using and the speed of the disc and constantly goes back to those items giving me some obscure information about using a strobe to measure the disc speed and his take on electrical theory and amp draw for the circuit. He completely ignores the problems I have detailed. He had little to no interest in helping, was completely distracted by the electrical circuit and disc speed, didn’t offer any help in troubleshooting the problems and only offered his opinion I needed to return it to the store. So I loaded it back into my van and hauled it back to the Graham, NC store, had it unloaded and received a full refund. Benny did offer to remove a motor from one in the store that had a broken base but I wasn’t interested in having to tear down and rebuild a new machine.

So you have the sander back and I have my refund. I will purchase another brand on Monday. I have listed the problems encountered on North Carolina and I will list it again on I expected better from Woodworkers Supply.


I really hate to complain but having to haul a 400+ pound sander in and out of my van was torture on my back, the motor/controller problems and dealing with Eric was a little more frustration that I wanted to endure. As an aside, I have dealt with this Woodworkers Supply store since it opened and haven’t had any problems. And I haven’t purchased and Woodtek equipment or had to speak with Eric before either. Doesn’t appear I will purchase ay more Woodtek equipment or speak with Eric again either.

-- David

29 replies so far

View Hacksaw007's profile


621 posts in 4521 days

#1 posted 12-28-2013 01:19 PM


-- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 3263 days

#2 posted 12-28-2013 01:33 PM

Good job some business need to know what is going on with their employees because unless you complain they will never know. Good job and the letter was great and to the point

-- Coach Mancuso

View Don W's profile

Don W

20277 posts in 3899 days

#3 posted 12-28-2013 01:39 PM

It amazes me were customer service for these larger companies have gone. I’ve had my car insurance through Met life for 35 years. My wife hit a deer an did about $3500 worth of damage to her car. We discovered we didn’t have rental coverage, it took forever to get an adjuster so the body shop could start work and the rep on the phone was was an absolute a$$. Our 35 year relationship has ended. Is the new company any better? Probably not, but its different any how.

Has the general idea it’s cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one changed?

I hope you find a decent sander. I agree it shouldn’t be such a struggle to spend your money.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3807 days

#4 posted 12-28-2013 01:40 PM

David, I realize that you did not have an enjoyable time with the 400+ pound sander and that you made a good decision in returning it to the store. We do not have a Woodworkers Supply store in my local area but I notice that you were happy with the store and speak rather highly of Benny. Perhaps Benny and Eric can spend a few hours discussing amp draw electrical theory and at least give you an answer as to where the fault originated from. Additionally I think that Mr Wirth and / or the local store should reward your loyalty to them and the effort you put out to resolve the non performance issues with a substantial percentage of the purchase price as an in-store credit.

View waho6o9's profile


9130 posts in 3908 days

#5 posted 12-28-2013 02:03 PM

” One year parts and workmanship warranty. Imported.”

They didn’t even try to make good on their written warranty? That’s bad.

Is this the sander?

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 3527 days

#6 posted 12-28-2013 02:15 PM

Sad isn’t it? Most employees go through some form of ‘new hire’ orientation to cover health insurance, sexual harassment, etc…it’s a shame companies don’t spend at least that much time teaching the concepts of good customer service.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 3778 days

#7 posted 12-28-2013 03:33 PM

I would have insisted on another new replacement(not just the motor) and must be tested in the store to my satisfaction,then I would have taken it home and enjoy ,refunding your money was the easiest way to brush you off,very unprofessional.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View KS_Sparky's profile


26 posts in 2955 days

#8 posted 12-28-2013 04:00 PM

Just playing devil’s advocate, for a moment.

Troubleshooting is not always an easy affair. It is much less so over the phone and dealing with customers with varying levels of experience, often none. Oftentimes, troubleshooting is best left to the professional, in his controlled environment. It certainly is easier for him, anyway. It is also safer for the customer and ensures warranties are not violated. From my own experiences, mistakes are more often made by an avid DIYer or a “handyman” than by the manufacturer, though I have seen those mistakes as well.

This, however, doesn’t take into consideration how he treated you or the situation. It also does not factor in distance between the store and your shop or the awkwardness of transporting the heavy machinery. Maybe, though it may shed some light on why he handled the situation as he did…or maybe he’s just a jerk and a moron with no people skills, I wasn’t there!

-- apprentice Electrician, IBEW L.U. 226

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4623 days

#9 posted 12-28-2013 04:05 PM

“Has the general idea it’s cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one changed?”

Yep. The new customers are others just like you (all of us?), disgusted with their long-time companies, now looking for a new one. They just shift around and the process continues.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 4182 days

#10 posted 12-28-2013 04:26 PM

Interesting scenario. You tell your story well and in great detail. However, in your letter to Mr. Wirth you did not ask for anything. Bottom line is, he wants you back. Could you give him a week to make it right? It would be fun to see how the company responds. I have a hunch there might be a new sander delivered to your door.

Had it been my sneakers and my feet in them, I would have agreed to have Benny & co. replace the motor, specified when I will return to pick it up, and if it’s not done or not running properly, I’ll have my refund thank you very much. I would have stated that in a friendly way with smiles, no threats. In this way you set them up to be the heroes and you’re just out an additional trip and the bumpy spot is paved over. Stuff happens, and the best outcomes are when we work together to make things right.

And next time you went in the store, you’d be greeted, genuinely, as a longtime friend.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View BoardSMITH's profile


124 posts in 3595 days

#11 posted 12-28-2013 04:35 PM

Yes, that is the sander. They are available from several different sources on the internet ranging from $1145 for the Laguna model to $2399 for the Powermatic. All the same sander just different paint and name tags.

I am sure Mr Wirth will never see the email I sent but some underling will and kick it under the carpet. At least this way I have the satisfaction of letting other woodworkers here on LJ and NCWW know of the issues I had.

No I didn’t ask for anything. What I did ask for was help and when that wasn’t forthcoming I voted with my wallet.

One more thing; as a troubleshooter I do have experience. I was Navy trained as an electrician and worked for phone companies for more than 12 years after I was discharged. In the Navy I specialized in electric motors and controllers.

On the flip side, had it gone better I would have been just as eager to post a good comment.

-- David

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7351 posts in 3825 days

#12 posted 12-28-2013 04:47 PM

>“I am sure Mr Wirth will never see the email I sent but some underling will and kick it under the carpet. At least this way I have the satisfaction of letting other woodworkers here on LJ and NCWW know of the issues I had.”

That may be the case; my experience with e-mailing companies is really uneven. Some of them monitor e-mail, and others seem to ignore their e-mails completely. If I’m really trying to make a point, I’ll snail mail a letter…and keep my fingers crossed the USPS delivers it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Loren's profile


11367 posts in 4979 days

#13 posted 12-28-2013 04:51 PM

I’ve never bought a machine from Woodworkers Supply
but I’ve dealt with them for years. While they ignored
my email inquiry about getting some parts for a Wirth
Machine (which they probably don’t have), I’ve never
had any problems with them getting my orders right.
Honestly, they have some good stuff I cannot easily
get elsewhere in one place (dyes, shellacs, milk paint)
and the prices are fair.

View a1Jim's profile


118308 posts in 4909 days

#14 posted 12-28-2013 05:12 PM

I’m a little confused ,In your account of what happened it does not seem that woodworker supply was unreasonable in their response to your problem,Ok they did not respond in 5 hours ,that could have been better ,was this during the holiday season ? if so they may have been understaffed. From your account they spent a 1/2 hour helping you how to load,usually when you buy equipment it’s up to you to be prepared to haul what your buying not the store.Stores don’t come home with you and unpack and clean up what you have purchased either. Yes it’s awful when a big heavy piece of equipment doesn’t work properly,but this can happen with any tool you buy from any store and it can be equally frustrating if you don’t think your getting the answers you want ,but you had a problem with the motor so Benny ask you questions about what kind electrical service you have,(many times it’s the nut behind the wheel causing the problem not the equipment) It seems to me that he did try an solve your problem and no other choice but to have you return the sander. They gave you a complete refund and offered a motor a new motor the only course they could take with out having another sander in stock.
I’ve had dealings with Woodworker Supply and Mr. Wirth and they have always provided good products and good service to me.
There are other 20” disc sanders out there, but I would research there customer service before you buy I know of one company that has terrible reviews here on LJs.
I know I have been rather blunt with my opinion on your problem this is not meant to be personal attack just another point of view from the facts you have listed. I hope you find the perfect sander that meets your needs.


View BoardSMITH's profile


124 posts in 3595 days

#15 posted 12-28-2013 08:11 PM

a1Jim – I titled the post as problems at rather than problems with. My point was that I asked for help from their expert and he failed miserably to help at all. I will continue to purchase from them if they have what I need but in the future I will not rely on their expert for any guidance or troubleshooting assistance.

I know of the problems with Laguna from other posts so they aren’t at the top oif the list. Baileigh is the one I will contact Monday.

-- David

showing 1 through 15 of 29 replies

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