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Sanity check, please - Cookware use and warranty

  • Monch Jan 15, 2013 06:16 AM
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Hounds,

Before (and maybe instead of) I escalate this issue with the cookware manufacturer, I would like your input.

For Christmas, my dear wife presented me with a set of clad stainless steel cookware. This set is branded by a company that I respect.

Going against type, I actually skimmed the Use and Care information provided with the product. The pamphlet was careful to indicate that food could burn if the product was used on high heat.

Got it…logical and intuitive.

The first use I put the product to was boiling water (in the 2.5qt pan) for grits. Naturally, I cranked up the heat, to get to boiling soonest, and waited for a rolling boil.

Before adding the grits, I noticed anomalies in the bottom of the pan. My first instinct was “how did I get coffee grounds in there?”. There were spots and streaks in the bottom of the brand new pan.

After dumping the water and giving the vessel a good hand washing, I found that the stainless steel had de-laminated from the aluminum disc in the bottom of the pan.

After two communications with the manufacturer, I have been clearly informed that boiling water, on high heat, has voided my warranty.

The question: Am I unreasonable to expect that I should be able to boil water, on high heat, with a decent quality SS clad vessel?

Sorry for the long post. I needed the time to allow me to inch away from the ledge!

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  1. I'm not familiar with the cookware you've described but I'd say boiling water at "normal" stovetop temperatures is such a basic function that virtually all cookware products should hold up in such circumstances. Weaseling out of a basic function, by way of a pamphlet that many don't bother to read, is wrong and would annoy the heck out of me too.

    A few years ago, I got a Martha Steward enameled dutch oven (knock off Le Creuset). Upon reading the label, I saw a warning to the effect of "don't use this on high heat." I'd gotten a really great discount and didn't want to return it and have successfully used in both oven and stovetop at a range of temps.

    1. It's not you but the manufacturer that's being unreasonable. Either the pan was defective and should be replaced, or the manufacturer's whole line is badly made if it can't stand the heat of normal kitchen use. Have you tried any of the other cookware yet?

      In your place, I'd try to escalate the complaint within the company, or failling that, at least spread the word. The Better Business Bureau might be appropriate.

      6 Replies
      1. re: John Francis

        Thank you for the comments, so far.

        I remain loathe to reveal the name of the brand, but will if it’s apparent that this information is salient to the discussion.

        I have NOT used any of the other pieces, yet, as I was hoping for a “better” response from the company.

        The online description of this product reads as follows:
        PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
        XXXXX stainless cookware is premium cookware that features professional construction an aluminum disc in the base is bonded to a stainless interior and a stainless exterior a fusion of the best materials for cooking, offering unsurpassed performance. The aluminum encapsulated base maintains even heat distribution, eliminating hot spots. Premium stainless steel cooking surfaces do not react with food or alter natural flavors. Elegant styling and a robust silhouette make for a professional look cook with added flair with this unique cookware! Set includes: 8 in. Skillet, 10 in. Skillet, 1.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 2.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 3 qt. Sauté pan with cover & helper handle, 4 qt. Dutch oven with cover, 8 qt. Stockpot with cover, steamer insert (fits 8 qt. Stockpot).

        • Set includes: 8 in. Skillet, 10 in. Skillet, 1.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 2.5 qt. Saucepan with cover, 3 qt. Sauté pan with cover & helper handle, 4 qt. Dutch oven with cover, 8 qt. Stockpot with cover, steamer insert (fits 8 qt. Stockpot)
        • Lifetime warranty
        • Classic stainless steel professional performance in a distinct silhouette design
        • Superior heat distribution-pure aluminum-encapsulated base heats quickly and enables even heat distribution for consistent results
        • Keep cooking cool maintain a solid grip with an always cool, always secure handle, contoured to your hand for extra comfort
        • Professionally riveted stainless steel handles ensure a lifetime of balanced cooking
        • Convenient tempered glass covers slee, flat glass lids with stainless rims seal in moisture and flavor
        • Dishwasher safe

        1. re: Monch

          Just a side note: all one has to do is take one of the more detailed bullet points and Google it and the manufacturer of your cookware will become apparent. :)

          That said, I am not a fan of that manufacturer's cookware at all. Their small appliances are fine, but I do not like their cookware. I've had a couple of pieces and found they did not last long. Fortunately, I received the pieces for free so had no problem disposing of them when I found they were no longer useful.

          "The pamphlet was careful to indicate that food could burn if the product was used on high heat."

          Is water "food?" Therefore, did you in fact void the warranty? You might try that argument with the manufacturer. Can't hurt.

          edited

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Of course, TT, but I can breathe easy that I have not, yet told the assembled team of experts that the set is marketed by Cuisinart....Whoops.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              Yes, that's exactly what I did, thanks Monch :)

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Did you burn the water? I think not.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  I googled "stainless cookware is premium cookware that features professional construction"

            2. Wow, I don't want to hear this right now! I am looking at some SS clad pieces to supplement the copper/tin cookware I am hopefully going to get to order this week....now I'll be paranoid about my choices!!

              1. I suppose you have already asked the question, if you can't boil water in it, what's it good for? How long does it take to boil water on medium heat? I certianly don't think it's unreasonable to expect to be able to boil water in a pot, regardless of the construction.

                With the appearant crack in the pot, does it still hold water? I'm trying to visualize what the construction must be like. I always thought disc bottomed pans had a continous SS lining and the disc was on the outside. If that's not the case, it sounds like a design flaw.

                I always start off very nice, but once I have determined that there is nothing more to loose and the person has no intention of trying ot help me, I'm not so nice. My suggestion is to continue to try to escalate your call to the company to a higher level, everyone has a supervisor. Another option may be to return it to the place where it was purchased. This isn't always effective, but it's another potential route to a resolution to your problem.

                1. That's ridiculous. Water stabilizes the overall temperature and carries heat away from the bottom by convection. Any saucepan with sufficient water in it should be able to take the full heat of an ordinary burner to bring the water to boiling, in my opinion.

                  I never worry about the burner setting when I boil water in my All-Clad saucepan, but it's MC2 (no exterior cladding) and I don't have high power burners. What type and power of burner were you using here?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    Thanks all,

                    It's good to hear that my expectations are not unreasonable, but rather the company's response is unreasonable.

                    I'll be pursuing a refund through the seller...Overstock....they have a great reputation for service.

                    For clarity of the issue, I'm attaching a photo of the issue. These areas of flaking began occuring after only ten minutes of use....I had no intention of giving the product any further use, after this condition began.

                    I'll get the cash in hand and buy pieces from my local, independent, kitchen supply store. Even HE thinks this is ridiculous behavior on Cuisinart's part.

                    THANKS!

                     
                    1. re: Monch

                      Wow, so those spots are actual pits going down to the aluminum disk? Wow again. From BOILING WATER on a regular household range??? Truly, that is absurd.

                      1. re: tcamp

                        True on all counts, tcamp.

                        AND on only the first use...ten minutes of heat...TOPS.

                    2. re: GH1618

                      Standard burner...nothing extraordinary.

                      I HAVE a power burner and didn't even us it in this scenario.

                      Simply put the vessel on a normal, residential range, and turned the heat to "High"...who wouldn't do that TO BOIL WATER? :-)

                    3. Send it to them and demand a replacement. Get names and dates. Obviously defective.

                      Hopefully you didn't give them your full name during the discussion. Or have your wife send it back.

                      1. You are not alone in your plight OP. Though my instance is not as severe as yours, I have a Cuisinart casserole that started pitting within the first couple of uses. While not devastating and not a detriment to daily use, the disappointment arises from the fact that this piece is from their "Classic French SS" - made in France - which I thought would be of better quality than some marginal Chinese made cookware.

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: goodthyme

                          In the interest of full, honest, disclosure...what follows is a copy/paste of the operative sentences from Cuisinart's reply:

                          "The Cuisinart cookware are not designed to be used on high heat at all, even for boiling water. Unfortunately, what has transpired is not a manufacturer’s defect and would not be covered under the warranty."

                          1. re: Monch

                            Earlier you posted " The pamphlet was careful to indicate that food could burn if the product was used on high heat." Does the warranty state unequivocally that the cookware is never to be used on high heat? If not, then you did not void the warranty. If it does, then that's another story. That's how I see it.

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              I completely agree, but warranties are just words.

                              It's the ethics, professionalism, and actions of the company that really matter.

                              Sad...but true.

                              1. re: Monch

                                I'm still going with the BS response. It is like taking your new car out on the highway and finding out the warranty is void if you go more than 55 mph.

                                1. re: Monch

                                  "It's the ethics, professionalism, and actions of the company that really matter."

                                  I agree.
                                  Just curious: did you try to speak/correspond with someone higher in rank than the one customer service rep that replied back to you? Perhaps this person gave you misinformation. It might help to speak with someone else.

                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                    I have not.

                                    I am a purchasing professional, by trade and training.

                                    It's my experience that this type of codified insanity permeates the layers of the organization.

                                    I have had two correspondences back from Cuisinart, ostensibly both by different representantives (who really knows?) and both messages convey the SAME idea...."Not our problem...you don't know how to boil water in our product".

                                    1. re: Monch

                                      Happy ending....Overstock has issued an RMA for full refund, no questions asked.

                                      THAT, Cuisinart, is how to keep customers happy!

                                      1. re: Monch

                                        Nice end. I ordered a bunch of last minute holiday gifts from Overstock recently and was really happy with their service.

                                        1. re: Monch

                                          "THAT, Cuisinart, is how to keep customers happy!"

                                          Agreed. Glad it all worked out for you Monch.

                                          1. re: Monch

                                            I should have hired you to help me with my *defective* Cuisinart 8 qt. stockpot. After many emails back-and-forth, I followed the instructions provided to ship via UPS with tracking number and insurance to an address in NJ. One month later, I received a package on my doorstep returning the defective pot to me! A note was enclosed that said that the condition arose from misuse and was not covered by warranty. I did not do anything to that pot that I have not done to every other stockpot that I've ever owned - including cheap ones! Just put it on the stove and cook with it.

                                            Unfortunately, the department store where I bought the set (Luria's in FL) went out of business. So my only recourse was through Cuisinart. Needless to say, that was the last "Cuisinart" product that I ever purchased. (Not that they care, apparently!)

                                            1. re: kbjesq

                                              Something I like to do when things like this happen is to find the item on amazon.com, and just tell the truth in the review section.

                                          2. re: Monch

                                            In what might be the final word...because I will not be responding to the manufacturer's last response...I thought the following would be illustrative:

                                            Me: "Laney, Thanks for your reply. I find all the answers I have received completely unacceptable. I will pursue this issue with the seller. "

                                            Them: "We would like to think all of our customers are satisfied customers. It always concerns us when we hear of a product that has not met this ideal. If we are not providing you with the product you have come to depend on for quality and value, we are truly sorry you are not satisfied with our products. We welcome and invite your concerns. Your comments will be passed along to our Marketing, Engineering and Quality Assurance Groups for review."

                                            I will not stoop to picking apart this non-answer.

                                            1. re: Monch

                                              Wow. They really couldn't give a damn, could they? Wow. Definitely good to know for any future purchases.

                                              1. re: Violatp

                                                Yes, and now everyone who's read about the crappy Cuisinart pans and the shabby service the OP received can stay away from this company in droves.

                                                Attaboy, Cuisinart! Someone, please send them the link to this thread.

                                                Aloha,
                                                Kaleo

                                              2. re: Monch

                                                Unbelievable. That IS NOT customer service.

                                                1. re: Monch

                                                  Well, at least Overstock care more about you than this manufacturer. The sad thing is that Overstock took the hit. You know this manufacturer won't reimburse Overstock.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    If enough people complain to Overstock about their Cuisinart purchases, you can bet that Overstock will stop carrying the line.

                                    2. Just to be fair, I have an old Cuisinart 12" skillet with an aluminum disc on the bottom that's stood up to pretty hard use for upwards of 30 years, including high heat. At that time, however, they were importing cookware from France, and it probably has no relation to what they sell today.

                                      Speaking of which, the hard-anodized 12" skillet I use now is by Cuisinart (model 622-115P), and while I don't use it over really high heat, it's still fine after 4 years.

                                      1. Wow. I hope you escalate this like crazy. Regardless of that ridiculous warranty, they would be laughed out of court, I think. Imagine! Selling cookware that can't be used for cooking! That's absurd. What obligation are they then under to make a decent product at all if their "warranty" says they're not liable if you use it for, crazytalk coming, cooking??

                                        1. <The question: Am I unreasonable to expect that I should be able to boil water, on high heat, with a decent quality SS clad vessel?>

                                          That is stupid on the part of the manufacturer. Yes, I completely understand that cooking a pan on high temperature can void the warranty because the cookware can get too hot, but boiling water is another matter all together. The water will constantly hold the own temperature to a reasonable level. I don't know what brand you bought, but it is unacceptable.

                                          1. Wow, that is a nice piece of info. I will keep that and their answers in mind for future purchase. I got a stainless steel saucepan from them as a gift that I love (cheap $40 one at BBB), that I use for.. boiling water/pasta etc.. . and actually would have considered them for pricier purchases based on that experience. but knowing what you went through and their ridiculous answer.. that definitely made me turn away from that idea. They did not lose just one customers with this experience!
                                            I used to work for a higher end homewares national retailer and was always wondering why we did not carry their cookware, now I know!

                                            1. Wow what a useless product!!! I'm glad you were able to get your money back.

                                              1. I was surprised to see the labels, on three different brands of whole clad triply SS pots today, all state that the pots should only be used on low-medium heat. Guess I won't be buying a pot like that! Seems to be common. And dumb as can be. Glad you got a refund!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: skiskiski

                                                  Tramontina tri-ply has that warning too but it's only necessary for the skillets, you can/should be able to boil water on high heat with ANY decent quality clad cookware. As a previous person mentioned, the water keeps the temperature of the pot down so its different than cooking food without a lot of liquid. That cuisinart cookware was either very low quality or defective.

                                                  1. re: Gingerbaker

                                                    "Should" doesn't matter because doing so voids the warranty. It's a crazy restriction. I'll avoid any such pot like the plague. I've been in the market for a reasonably pasta/stock pot for some time now. I'll just continue using the giant 30 year old granite ware pot I guess, or order something from the commercial supplier like food service warehouse.

                                                2. Return what you can.

                                                  All-Clad.