23 November 2010
Le Creuset. Enamel-coated, cast iron cookware. Beautiful…except at Le Creuset CAST stands for Crack-and-Shatter Technology. Cast iron, I always thought as robust, indestructible and heirloom quality; so you can imagine my shock when the brand new, $260 saucier pan got bumped off the counter and broke in pieces on the kitchen floor. The handle cracked right off! Boxed it up and shipped it back for the lifetime guarantee. Surprise! Warranty is denied because “our Quality Assurance Department has determined that there are no manufacturing defects in the cookware,” but for an additional $64 dollars they will be happy to replace it for me.
Conclusion: I WILL NEVER BUY Le Creuset AGAIN AND I CAUTION ALL MY FRIENDS NOT TO WASTE THEIR MONEY BY OVER PAYING FOR AN UN-DER-PERFORMING PRODUCT. The Le Creuset cache has been lost!
Diagnosis: Arrogance of brand recognition is the start of their business down-fall.
The Le Creuset legacy is claimed to be the finest cookware from France since 1925, passionate about quality and a lifetime of enjoyment. It is a premium product with a commanding price. But their warranty denial letter tells a very different story and it revolves around the word “Quality.” I like the simplicity of Phil Crosby’s definition of quality which is “to meet the product specification.” Up until now, the specification demonstrated by Le Creuset was a robust, inde-structible, multi-generational product. With that specification clearly estab-lished in the customer’s mind they now begin to cheat by value engineering the pan in their best interest and not the customer’s. Casting thickness and metal-lurgy have been optimized for cost reduction and profit maximization NOT for improved product performance. If their Quality group believes a shattered han-dle is not the result of a manufactured defect, then by default they are saying that the casting thickness and metallurgy is to their specification. They have thinned out the material to the minimum possible and are willing to pass the risk of breakage on to the customer with no warranty recourse. When value engineering is done for the company and not the consumer everyone loses. When a company is willing to gamble their reputation and image they are a company in trouble. Le Creuset is now such a company.
As we say in the perception management world, “The window of credibility opens slowly and shuts quickly.” Do not let your business gamble with hard earned brand equity in a misguided push for margin improvements. I am out $260 and I have nothing to show for it. Next time I should just write a $260 check to Le Creuset and consider it a donation because that is obviously how they want to do business with me. STAY AWAY FROM LE CREUSET!
Be well and keep adding value.
Ps…hear my latest WTIC NewsTalk radio segment at: