Disappointed new Stihl Trimmer owner

cottermJune 15, 2009

I have had a Craftsman trimmer for 11 years and have had no problems with it until recently. It died and I chose to replace it instead of repair it. I bought a Stihl FS46. I was excited and came home to use it right away. It fired up right away and sounds great. The problem is that the angle I have to hold it at is very uncomfortable. I think I should have bought the FS45 (shorter shaft). I am 5'10 and i have to hold the engine end up with my elbow in the air to get the correct angle to actually cut. I feel like i am not cutting when it seems like it should be. I called the dealer and I can not take it back because I have added gas to the engine.

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The dealer is taking you for a ride, giving you the run around. I have exchange before. Hate to bring up the fact that unless you are sure of what you want, buying in the box store is better becaue you have 30 days to return, no question asked. And there are real bad dealer.

That said. I cannot imagine that the trimmer is too long for you. I am shorter than you and I use a full length (59") trimmer. I only complain the shaft is too short.

You can insist on return and go get a straight shaft trimmer in Home Depot like Echo SRM210/SRM225 for $210. You can refund from HD if you don't like it. You just have to be insistence on returning the trimmer to the dealer and never go back there again.

Let this be a leason to the homeowner before you listen to the pros to buy from the dealers. Unless you know EXACTLY what you want, think twice before you get from the dealer. Pro LCO have their reasons of buying from the dealers, not you. You are buying those low end stuff that you can get better from box store. For you home owners, use the equipment hard for 30 days, if it has no problem, chances are it will last a while for you. If you have problem within 30 days, you'll be so glad you got it from a big box store. Don't buy into the warrantee service from the dealers. I got burnt and so are a lot of others. Unless you know it is a good dealer which chances are you don't, watch out.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 1:10AM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Stihl has a 7 day money back guarantee. If you are within that period, insist the dealer honor it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 9:48AM
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bill7(NW MN)


How much has your trimmer been used? Go with what canguy said, if it will work. Otherwise, the dealer is in effect taking back a used piece of equipment. Would you want to buy a "new" trimmer already brought home and used by someone else? Having said that, I think the trimmer should fit you. Did you try it out in the store for fit?

yungman is very negative with dealers. Yes, there are some bad ones, just like with anything, but you get what you pay for as well. Try getting Home Depot to service your chainsaw, trimmer, etc.

Anyway, good luck. I'd still try going back to the dealer and asking if there isn't some room to negotiate, considering they sold you a trimmer that is possibly too big for you.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:11PM
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masiman(z7 VA)

Try getting someone at the box stores to help you with a chainsaw purchase. Needle in the haystack if you do get so lucky.

Box stores can be great if yo know exactly what you want and are able to service the item yourself.

Yungman makes it sound like the dealers should be run out of business. It is pretty darn easy to knock a dealer, but how many complaints do you know about the box stores? Plenty I am sure. What does not go reported is the number of satisfied customers from the dealers. I am pretty certain that there are fewer problems with dealer purchased equipment than box store equipment. I don't think it is as black and white as yungman paints the picture. It works for him but I don't think it works for the market as a whole.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 3:23PM
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I disagree with the point that the dealer is better. It might be better for LCOs. Not for home owners. I already pull thread from other sites. There are more complain lately also. What Cotterm experience is just another example.

You think the dealer don't know Stihl has 7 days satisfaction garantee? Before they refuse to give him refund? You will never get this from the big box store. Home owner usually buy low end equipment like this HomeScaper series FS45 etc. Just one repair is going to be over $100 dallars. You seriously can suggest a homeowner to buy something only about $200 just to worry about service. Yes, box store only honor return for 30 days and after that you are on your own. It is black and white. You thing you can guarantee dealer would definitely honor warrantee and do it for free. I got charge $150 for my 9 month old trimmer that turn out to be manufacturer defect and I proved that. People keep telling others to buy from dealer no matter what. Are these peoplew going to help the poor home owner if they run into problem like Cotterm right now? It would be so simple if he would have bought in the box store. Can you disagree with this.

Remember, you are not talking about a $400 trimmer that worth service.

Yes I am angry about my experience, but I also follow the suggestion of people in different sites that tell everybody to buy from dealer no matter what. I got burnt. Please don't listen to me, go onto other sites to read. There are plenty of complains. There was one just 3 days ago that when the customer want return, the dealer told him never to come back!!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 4:51PM
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I forgot to mention, some box store do offer extended warrantee service. Store like Lowes and Sears. Lowes sell Husky 125 and Sears sell the Craftsman Pro Series which one of the trimmer look exactly the Husqvarna 125!!!

I have not use extended warrantee on lawn equipments. But I have plenty of experiences using extended warrantee on TV, VCRs, computer and printers, appliances. Box store give top quality extended warrantee services. They don't fix it, they replace it. I got a $400 new printer when I had problem within the extended warrantee.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 5:01PM
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bill7(NW MN)

"People keep telling others to buy from dealer no matter what."

Yungman, none of us go to a dealer "no matter what." Bad dealers happen. It just so happens that usually a dealer will spend a little time preparing the equipment as well. As for low end stuff, among other things, I have a "low end" FS45, and a low end MS290 (both Stihls, bought at different dealers, as well as lawn mowers, lawn tractor, snow blower, etc. at dealers as well). The MS290 is fairly new. The FS45 is about 4-5 years old, and I beat the hell out of it, and it is still running fine. I am sorry for those who have bad experiences with dealers, but the ones I have access to seem OK.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:57PM
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It's kind of weird to expect a consumer to buy something, but there's a no exchange policy when u try it out. That may make sense to the retailer but you've got to be confident in the purchase. I just bought an Echo hedge trimmer thru eBay for a bit less than the identical item at the HD. I looked it over and held my breath. Sure there's a warranty for consumers, two years which is great but if I had a lemon I would of been screwed. That being said the 50 bucks is in my pocket, and the Echo beats the heck out of the B&D I used for some 15+ years (and several cords).

Also got a Husq chainsaw to replace the Craftsman after a dozen or more years of bad results. I went to the Tractor Supply and picked up the 16" one. Cuts like butter.

Sometimes it's tough for homeowners to spend the money, but quality (not always price) pays off in many ways. Fewer headaches, less time spent on mundane stuff and while the back still aches the jobs got done. I think I used to take several days to cut the forsythia along the borders alone including clean up. Now the first day I covered maybe 30'. Next day feeling more confident I rounded the corner and up the hill, brought it to the landfill on Saturday.

Husq and Echo are champs.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 7:26AM
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If you cannot return it to the dealer you might offer the dealer a deal - trade it for a new FS45 and take a little beating on the cost. The dealer can sell it as nearly new and still make money. If the dealer persuaded you to buy the FS46 that is 7 - 8 inches longer you might get on him about that. I am also 5'10" and cannot imagine a trimmer 8 inches longer. Holding the trimmer is another subject. The commercial lawn service in my neighborhood is a man and woman. She is probably 5'3" and holds the trimmer with the engine part nearly a foot above her upper hand, essentially cradling the upper part of the trimmer with her left hand. That is probably comparable to your situation.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 8:53AM
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To Bill7

When I said low end, I meant lower price, that does not imply low quality. Stihl HomeScaper series has been proven beyond doubt to be a good commercial quality trimmers. So is the Echo SRM210 and Husqvarna 125. I straightly talking about $200 range trimmers which don't make sense to worry about warrantee service or future support that cost over $100 or more.

I keep talking about dealer because people here asking question are mostly home owner instead of LCOs. The following are my opinions on the difference:

1)Home owner problem mainly do not knowing exactly what they are looking for, not like the LCOs that know exactly what they want. They buy something and then discover that's not what they want.
2) Home owner don't run their equipment as often, very high chance of carburetor gone bad because of old gas!!! THis is ABSOLUTELY not cover under warrantee from dealer. They bring it back to the dealer thinking that it would be covered under warrantee and end up paying $100+ and get very mad!!!
3) Home owner don't buy $400 trimmer that worth paying $100 for service and maintenance. They might as well just run it to the ground and buy a new one and start the abuse again!! And they feel happier to have a new toy.
4) What is the chance of equipment breaking after the first 30 days? They usually break down right at the begining or it will hold up for a while. THis make the 30 days refund from box store soooooo important.

I am a home owner but I am a small engine fanatic. I own more top quality hand helds than a two or three men crew. I join and read ALL the posts on lawn equipments for the last one and half years. I shop a lot and I bought over 10 used engines on ebay to take apart to learn. I maintain two properties. So I can see from both side of the fence. LCO have a different mentality on what is important which is very different from home owner and I think it is very important for home owner here to understand. I am looking out for them. LCOs should know more than me and don't need me to tell them anything.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 12:06PM
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bill7(NW MN)

To quote yungman:

"Home owner usually buy low end equipment like this HomeScaper series FS45 etc."

"When I said low end, I meant lower price, that does not imply low quality."

Nice save :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 8:39PM
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It's true!!! FS45/55 has been used by LCOs and you will not find any negative comments on these. So is the SRM210. People beat the crap out of this and they survived. All in the $200 range. I even saw FS45 for $160 last year on sale.

You pay more don't mean it'll last longer. My $420 Honda died 10 months in and My TroyBilt el-cheapo still running after 4 years!!!

My cheapy little Echo HC151 cost me only $230 at the time and it has been trouble free for years.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:24PM
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masiman(z7 VA)

I know you want it to be black and white with absolutes but it just is not that way yungman. Every dealer is not out to cheat. I'll bet there are some negative comments about FS45/46. Every box store does not provide hassle free returns. Sometimes a dealer is better for the homeowner. Etc.

I know you won't change but I want to ensure that one voice does not drown out the other opinions.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Just want to present the other side of the story so people can think about it. Not trying to cover all the other's opinion.

I am sure Home Depot, Lowes and OSH have a very good 30 days return policy. Of cause you don't expect to beat it up good and able to return it!!! But it would not be the lame excuse of can't return if you put gas in already!!! These three stores pretty much cover most of the home owners' need. LCOs would not buy from them anyway.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 12:07AM
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bill7(NW MN)

"But it would not be the lame excuse of can't return if you put gas in already!!!"

Where is cotterm in all of this? If I put gas in a newly bought trimmer, I probably would have used it for a while. Can the dealer be sure the right mixture was added and no damage was done? Big box store can take that risk. Most small dealers can't, they just do not sell in that volume. I wonder, on a separate note, how many warranty returns are actually sent back to the manufacturer in a big box store vs dealer. Their policy of just "coming back to get a new one" seems to indicate that the box stores have a huge advantage on this issue. Dealers do not get that option. At this point I am wondering if the OP even tried the thing for fit.

As Fruitjarfla said, I'd go back and calmly explain the situation, and realize that I did use the thing.

Also, some expect too much. For example, I bought a pull behing sprayer for my GT last month (got tired of refilling a backpack sprayer 5 times to spray my yard). I put the thing together, then had buyers remorse (decided I needed the exercise more than the pull behind sprayer). I considered bringing it back, as I hadn't even added water to it. But I decided that it wasn't the hardware store's fault. How could they be sure it was put together correctly. Since, I have used it and have another piece of equipment laying around.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 7:53AM
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I am just wondering where's Cotterm!!! He must be sitting back and enjoying this!!!

Big box store sell the customer returns in a little discount. They call factory reconditioned!! YOu always see equipments lining up in front of HD and Lowes and OSH. Those are the customers' return. That is the cost of doing business and because of this, most people buy from box store. Yes, box store has NO service after 30 days, that is what people need to understand. That will not work for LCO....also they only sell low end( not low quality) commercial only.

I think dealer just clean the return and sell it new!!! My handheld blower looked a little used when I first bought it. I bought my Shindaiwa M242, it felt a little excess vibration after 2 week of use. I went back and demand a compare. The other one in the store felt slightly better, they just gave the other one to me and put my original one right back on display without even blinking an eye!!!!

Regarding to buyer remorse, well, you can only think for yourself. The box store already take that into consideration and price accordingly. THey buy in large volume and get better price than dealers. But this is capitalism and this is beyond the scope of this thread!!!

That's the reason people buy grocery in Safeway, Lucky's etc. rather than mom and pop store. You get better return policy if the food is spoil, stuff are cheaper......

In this economy, everyone of us is hurting, I sure would not try to justify for the dealers!!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 12:13PM
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All the reputable dealers I know would gladly exchange the trimmer for another model that fits/feels better.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 9:38PM
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If I am not mistaken... All Stihl equipment is required to be assembled and serviced when sold(fueled, oiled, test ran).

A few people are also correct that Stihl has a 7 day return policy. This is not a dealer policy but Stihl's.

If something can't be returned call Stihl.
If something can't be returned it might not be in sellable condition.

Last on my rant is box store returns. Try returning a lawn mower to home depot that has gas in it. You will be told you must take the machine out of the building because they can't have fueled machines inside the store. Some returns people will tell you to go down to the tool rental t have them drain the gas. They are never happy when told to do this.
Most of the items being returned are sent to an outside company and checked over as well as repaired. This costs the HD about 40 bucks. Unit is then sold as refurbished. HD return policy on fuel equipment has changed several times over the years but was only 14 days on power equipment. After that machine is sent out for warranty repair. If it is not warranty(which it was usually not) customers will get an estimate to repair. If not repaired customer still pays the $40 estimate fee.

You want best price do the small dealers a favor and shop Home Depot.

You want service do yourself a favor and shop at a dealer.

Also remember just because something is 3 months old does not mean it will be covered under warranty.

Example fuel tank vent leaks fuel into air cleaner. Customer removes air filter to make machine work. Debris enters engine. Original tank vent was warranty. But now entire warranty is void.

Example customer bought new mower did not put oil in it. Ran engine for 1 min. Realized what he did added oil. Unit runs ok for 6 months. Now engine is seized. Tech finds metal transfer on crankshaft. Customer claims he has had oil in it from min 1and changed it every 40 hours( which is true)not warranty.

We fix 16-20 mowers a day. 1-2 warranty requests a day. Warranties approved by tech and mtg a month .............4 last month.

I have seen returns on used units. We check them over If nothing is damaged and unit is barley used it gets returned and discounted to the next customer.

I have also seen engines warrantied because
a customer used straight gas. Obviously this is not the norm. But a good dealer will go the extra mile and talk to distributors or manufactures to try.

I also know that the profit that a dealer makes on an fs46 is about 10- 20 dollars.

Try asking a counter person for a discount on the cheapest chainsaw or trimmer.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 12:31AM
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