Cuisinart – a Tragedy in three parts


Our six-year-old Cuisinart CBT-500 blender started to develop a crack underneath the blade. The solution was simple: buy a new blade assembly.

Act I: 7/10/2010

I went to Cuisinart’s website and ordered a replacement part – $10 + $5 shipping. I received a confirming e-mail as follows:

Thank you for ordering from!

Pending the authorization of your credit card, we will ship your item(s) and your credit card will be charged at the time of shipment.

Your order number for the merchandise below is #DXXXXXXX and it is currently being processed. Once we ship your order, you will receive a shipping confirmation email as well.

Your order summary is provided below. We hope you enjoy your purchase!

Sincerely, Customer Service

I do not remember the website or the ordering process saying anything about being “out of stock” or “on backorder” – if it had, I would have taken my business elsewhere. Certainly nothing in the confirmational e-mail gave me that impression.

Act II: 8/2/2010

23 days after the order was originally placed, I received the following e-mail:

Due to an unusually large response, we are temporarily out of stock of the item(s) you ordered.  Additional quantities are on order and we expect them soon.  Your order will receive priority upon receipt in the warehouse, and we expect to be able to ship order within 30 days or sooner.  We are very sorry for the delay and assure you that we are making every effort to expedite your order.

ACT III: 8/3/2010

I called Cuisinart. They apologized but categorically stated that the item had always been out of stock and on backorder – even though nothing in the confirmational e-mail indicated this. The website showed it on backorder; I believe that I would have noticed if it had said that. Availability was in another two weeks – if you are lucky.

I didn’t feel very lucky. Extremely annoyed, I asked them if they would be willing to waive the $5 shipping fee by way of apology for the delay.

They refused.

I cancelled the order.

Epilogue: What we learned


  • If something is out of stock, make it clear and obvious on the web page and on the confirmation e-mail. If you don’t know how, check out Amazon and
  • Don’t call your customer a liar. It’s not nice, particularly if said customer is a web developer.
  • If you are going to “apologize”, give it some teeth. A verbal apology isn’t worth the paper it isn’t written on.
  • Annoying a customer to this extend is not worth saving $5.

The rest of us: Cuisinart’s alleged Customer Service – to use a word I loathe – sucks.

Now Reading: Simon de Montfort by Margaret Wade Labarge

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