We have a complaint this week from an owner of my favourite cooker (I am being sarcastic) the LaCanche Range Cooker. The problem was with a LaCanche Cluny Range Cooker which we cleaned a last week. It was cleaned by one of employees who
has been with us for six and half years. The customer had complained that the middle two hob pot stands had gone grey. We went back to sort it out. This is a problem that happens every now and again and I think there has been about one a year since we have been trading in 2004, I can remember going back to a Lacanche owner last year. Considering we clean about 90 ovens a week this figure is so low that there is no correlation between what happens and our process. On thinking about it before I have always thought there must have been a problem in the manufacturer process, either the hob racks weren’t enamelled or not enamelled properly – something a customer wouldn’t notice when looking at the cooker in the showroom.
The normal procedure for this is to go back to the client and we then oil the problem hob rack, and everyone has been happy with this until the customer this week. She said they were (the hob pot stands) now ‘rough’ and she couldn’t now clean it with her sponge as it now left residue. So she demanded that we fix it as she said it was a problem with our cleaning process. I told her that the probability of the racks going grey from our process was so low that there was another reason why they had gone grey.
As only the central two hob pot stands had “gone grey”, that is there were two other hob racks which were as they were at the beginning of the process at the end there had to be another cause of the problem other than our cleaning process as it had been a problem then all the racks would have also “gone grey” together. But they didn’t.
So on asking her about her cleaning of the hob racks she told me that she regularly put the two hob racks in the dishwasher to clean them and had done this since buying the cooker in 1998. This got me thinking about dishwashers and I can remember a range cooker where all the hob racks went grey back in 2004; I oiled them and I remember the customer ringing me up about six months later to ask me “how I oiled them” and with what as she had put them in the dishwasher and they had “gone grey” again. So from this I think the reason why some racks go grey in our process is that they have already been damaged by regular cleaning in the dishwasher. If I am correct it is a combination of the strong PH in the dishwasher tablets and the hot temperatures that some dishwashers get up to. This produces in effect that removes, over time, the enamel coating on some racks especially if they haven’t been manufacturer properly but they look okay as a build up of burnt on carbon still leaves them looking black. And when we clean the burnt on carbon off they are left with a grey finish.
Back to my client, I agreed to get them enamelled for her. I went to our local enamellers Hytech Enamellers and asked them to enamel them. I went back on Thursday and picked them up. As they were already wrapped up I didn’t check them. I went straight to the client and then on unwrapping them in her kitchen found that they looked alright but there were still some rough bits on the hob stands. I wasn’t expecting this as I thought enamelling would be thick enough to take out any rough bits. The customer still isn’t happy as she still can’t use her sponge to clean it. I offered her a one of my microfibre cloths which worked very well without snagging but she wouldn’t have it. She and her neighbour who was there demanded I buy new hob stands.
But my next step was to go back to the enamelling company to see if they can put on a thicker finish to sort out the problem but they asked to have a look at the enamel on the quality of the original rack so they could match it. On asking the customer to get one of the undamaged racks she told me that she wasn’t prepared for me to take it away as she wouldn’t be able to use her cooker. So I have now decided to put it through the insurance even though I have taken reasonable steps to sort things out. We will see what they say.
I checked the price of the Lacanche spare hob pot stands and they are a grand total £480 including VAT and posting, and as the cooker only cost £2000 back in 1998 it is daylight robbery! I tried to get a discount for being trade, but they told me that I can’t get trade because we are a cleaning company. Strange as we have accounts to get trade price with lots of other companies, for example cleaning products and bits to repair other ovens. In all the company with the exclusive right to sell everything Lacanche in the UK who I was dealing with weren’t very helpful at all. I think their attidute is that they have the exclusive rights so why should they budge?
On reading the reviews on the review centre http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews50914.html the reviews there aren’t very positive so there are a lot of people on there who agree with me. This might be because it is a venting place for people who have had to buy spare parts and been shocked by the prices for replacement and on going servicing costs. For example I was shocked myself to see that people have been paying £600 for a LaCanche Cooker Service. What does the service involve that means it comes to that amount? And a thermostat is £250.
So my advice is if you are thinking about a Lacanche, I know they look great and are built like tanks, but have a look at the AGA Rangemaster 110 or if you want something a bit posher go for the Falcon which is also made by the AGA Rangemaster Group but has a higher quality feel, forget the LaCanche. And of course if you want a real range in your kitchen I always recommend the one I have got a 30 Amp AGA Cooker.
If you have any ideas of why the pot stands on the hob went grey please comment here.