Kingston man sold incomplete vacuum by door-to-door salesperson

Kingston man sold incomplete vacuum by door-to-door salesperson

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Bill Howard, an 83-year-old retiree, bought a Kirby vacuum system from a door-to-door salesperson last July. Bill Howard, an 83-year-old retiree, bought a Kirby vacuum system from a door-to-door salesperson last July.
"[The salesperson] didn't show me nothing about trying to put it together or anything," Bill Howard said, adding he was not given a manual. "[The salesperson] didn't show me nothing about trying to put it together or anything," Bill Howard said, adding he was not given a manual.
"I called the company and told them they did not send a manual," said Tiffney McDavid. She, her husband and two kids live with Howard. "I called the company and told them they did not send a manual," said Tiffney McDavid. She, her husband and two kids live with Howard.
The vacuum was purchased from Ultimate Technologies in Knoxville, which is an independent registered Kirby dealer. The vacuum was purchased from Ultimate Technologies in Knoxville, which is an independent registered Kirby dealer.
The owner's manual finally arrived six months after the purchase. That's when Howard realized pieces of the vacuum were missing. The owner's manual finally arrived six months after the purchase. That's when Howard realized pieces of the vacuum were missing.
By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KINGSTON (WATE) - Vacuum cleaners are either simple or complicated to operate, depending on how many parts it has. A man in Kingston found his new sweeper difficult to run and discovered some parts were missing. He finally received the missing pieces after he called 6 On Your Side.

Kirby is one of the finest and oldest vacuum cleaners on the market, but they can also be pretty expensive. They are sold door to door.  

Bill Howard, an 83-year-old retiree, bought a Kirby vacuum system from a door-to-door salesperson last July.   

"They come here and wanted to sell me one. I told them I didn't need it," he said.

Howard says he told the salesperson he already owned a Kirby, plus another sweeper. He says he was then shown a Sentria II system.

"Next thing I know, me and her were dealing. I asked her, 'Why did it come like that?' She said, 'That's a demonstrator. We do everybody that way.'"
   
The owner's registration paper Howard signed discloses that the model he purchased is a demonstrator. As part of the deal, Howard says he gave the salesperson his old Kirby and a second sweeper.  

However, Howard figured at the price he paid for his Sentria II, $1,943, he should have gotten all of the parts including the manual.  

"[She] didn't show me nothing about trying to put it together or anything," he said, adding he was not given a manual.

Photos: Kingston man sold incomplete vacuum by door-to-door salesman
   
Without a manual and a demonstration from the salesperson, Howard didn't know how to use the vacuum. Then his granddaughter got involved.

"I called the company and told them they did not send a manual," said Tiffney McDavid. She, her husband and two kids live with Howard.

The vacuum was purchased from Ultimate Technologies in Knoxville, which is an independent registered Kirby dealer.

The owner's manual finally arrived six months after the purchase. That's when Howard realized pieces of the vacuum were missing.

"Tiffney has tried to get it together. Nobody can get it to work because all the parts are not there," Howard said.

"It tells you how to put it together, step by step. It tells you in the back what pieces are supposed to be in the vacuum," McDavid said. "There were pieces missing."

6 On Your Side wrote to the Knoxville Kirby dealer explaining what Howard had told us. Owner Jim Chosie responded saying: "We are always willing to help any of our customers... They are important to us."

Chosie also said they "checked our records at Ultimate Technologies, but do not have a record of Mr. Howard contacting us for assistance."

About a week after our email, the owner sent Howard the five missing parts to his vacuum.

"He apologized and said he would send extra pieces. He sent extra bags for the vacuum and belts, some extra shampoo cleaner," said Tiffney.

Ultimate Technologies also added a turbo accessory kit and  floor care system for hardwood floors. There's no hardwood floor at Howard's house.

"I'm still not satisfied. What they done is not right," said Howard.

He's upset about the nearly $2,000 charge for his vacuum. According to Consumer Reports, the county's leading consumer magazine, $1,350, not $1,950, is the approximate price for a Sentria II. When we asked Ultimate Technologies whether Howard was overcharged, we got no answer.

Howard realizes now he should have bargained for a lower price back in July.

As for pieces recently delivered, he says they should never have been missing.

"I think they done what they were supposed to do, but if I hadn't started with you, it would have been the same," he said.

Howard signed the Kirby sales agreement in July and took out a loan, but apparently he wasn't aware that with some Kirby salespeople, a lower price can be negotiated.  

We checked with the Better Business Bureau. Ultimate Technologies rating is an "A."

Howard is, however, pleased that he was finally shown how to operate the vacuum and he now has all the parts.
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