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Some reasons why I love iRobot - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [Pete and Pam's pages (photos and some commentary)] [Pam's journal] [Our company] [My Flickr Photos] [Arisia]
January 2nd, 2008
09:33 am

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Some reasons why I love iRobot
As some of you may remember, the first time I contacted iRobot, I had "challenges" getting support for our Scooba which had a "DOA" cleaning solution pump. Challenges so great, that it looked like I would be left out in the cold with no support. [The issue was that even a "new-in-box" factory sealed unit was considered used if you purchased it from an "unauthorized" eBay seller. In my case I bought from an individual who had received theirs as a gift that they didn't need]. Though it was frustrating, that story did have a happy ending. I finally "worked my network." An acquaintance in the iRobot government division whispered in the ear of one of his friends in the consumer division. All of a sudden the log-jam broke and I got what i needed. I'm here to tell you, though, that those bad times are over! Today, I have nothing but good things to say about iRobot, and particularly their customer suppor department.

I just had a problem where two batteries stopped taking a charge. By this point, I'm definitely out of warranty on the original purchase date of the Scooba, but not on the additional charging stand. It's been less than a year since I purchased a 2nd battery, but almost noone warrants "consumables." Batteries are usually considered consumables, even if they are rechargeable. Add to this, that this issue was probably my fault for not taking the batteries off the charger or out of the Scooba. [For some reason, I had read the documentation as saying that it was preferable to leave them on the charger because they applied some sort of periodic refresh if you did. Apparently that's true--but only to a point. If you're not going to use the Scooba for more than a couple of weeks, you're supposed to take the batteries off the charger and store them in a "cool, dry place."]

I wrote in to customer service and explained the situation and received a near-instantaneous, favorable response. It's clear to me that iRobot's customer support has "picked the ball back up." Even though this may have been my fault, since some Scooba's have had software or hardware-related battery problems, they gave me the benefit of the doubt. They are sending me, at no-charge:

  1. two new batteries to replace the ones that no longer can be charged,
  2. a new charging stand, just in case mine is one of the ones with problems, and
  3. a software update "dongle" [they call it an OSMO] to make certain that my Scooba has the latest on-board charging software.
Understand that Scooba batteries are not simple store-bought rechargables. The retail cost of a Scooba battery is about $70! Accessories like the stand are not inexpensive, either. Beyond the cost of parts, they're paying a fair amount just in shipping alone to get all of this to me.

Needless to say, I gave them a "firewall 5 [very satisfied]" rating on all aspects of their customer satisfaction survey. I also wrote the following comment, which I think is worthy of sharing publicly:

Thank you. It is top-notch post-sales support like this that will keep me coming back to iRobot for years to come, and referring my friends. You guys are a class act, with a great product. Your support "keeps it great" even when something does go wrong.

Current Mood: pleasedpleased
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(8 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:dindin
Date:January 2nd, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
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Interesting. I mentioned to your brother that I was interested in a Scooba and he was telling me about your army of Roomba/Scoobas.
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From:happypete
Date:January 2nd, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)

Yes...

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We have the 'classic trio." Roomba for vacuuming, Scooba for mopping, and Dirt Dog for "heavy-duty" sweeping. Our Roomba has the scheduler option, so our floors get vacuumed 3ce a week while we are off at work. We also have the scheduling remote. It lets you drive the Roomba and the Dirt Dog around and select the various cycles [clean, max, spot, and dock] from afar.

All in all, it's just robot-y goodness!
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From:dindin
Date:January 2nd, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes...

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Will/can the Scooba scrub? Or is it pretty lightweight?
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From:happypete
Date:January 2nd, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes...

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It puts down solution and "squeegees," it back up for surface dirt, and a rotating scrub-brush that scrubs the wet floor to pick up additional yuck.

It does a pretty good job on most situations.
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From:dindin
Date:January 2nd, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Yes...

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Niiiice. *goes to look*
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From:radioactiverich
Date:January 2nd, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
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I'm happy to see you have gotten decent service for your Scooba batteries. Just this past weekend I had to break out a mop and bucket (!) because I could not get my Scooba to work for any more than ten feet or so without complaining about its batteries. AND to top it off I was using the new battery and charger that I just bought from them. I guess I too will be calling their technical support soon.

(So far I'm happy with our Roomba but not so much with Scooba.)
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From:jenk
Date:January 2nd, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
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We are thinking of an irobot roomba 530. Or rather, I'm thinking of it and trying to talk jw1776 into it. Any thoughts?
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From:happypete
Date:January 2nd, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)

if you can scrape up the extra $100..

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I recommend the 570. It looks like the 530 doesn't work with the new remotes. You could call Roomba and see if it will work with one of the old scheduling remotes, but it's not listed on the "compatible accessories."

Automated scheduling and re-charging is the killer app for this thing. You come home and your floor is vacuumed and Roomba just sits in its little charger base whistling innocently as if it didn't do anything.
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