We’ve been writing about Aldi for several years now. We’ve written literally thousands of posts about the grocer, covering everyday Regular Buys, months-long Seasonal Items, and, of course, Aldi Finds. While the low-prices on Regular Buys are what draw in most shoppers, the Aldi Finds — which can be just about anything — are what get all the buzz on social media.
Many of our Aldi Finds have lasted for a while, some of them longer than we would have expected. Others have been merely okay, lasting about as long as we’d expect given the price. A few, I’m sorry to say, have been certifiable duds, some of them even dead on arrival.
When an Aldi Find has a problem, our preferred fix will depend on the situation. If the product is an instant fail, in most cases it goes straight back to the store. If we’ve owned it for a while before it fails and there is no warranty … well, all we can do is trash it and call it a day.
Where things get interesting is if we’ve owned a product for a while, it fails, and there is a warranty. We’ve made use of Aldi warranty providers a number of times, some of which we’ve covered and others we haven’t. That’s given us a larger picture look at how the process works.
Here’s what we’ve discovered.
Aldi and the Warranty Providers are Separate Entities
Aldi contracts its warranty services out to a number of companies. That means Aldi doesn’t handle warranty issues directly. Other companies do.
In our experience, Aldi customer service is solid. We’ve even had situations where Aldi customer service has intervened for us to break through to a warranty provider that was unresponsive toward us. Aldi CSRs can communicate with the warranty people in ways we can’t, and that is a positive.
But it still can be a disjointed experience. At the end of the day, the warranty companies are the warranty companies. Which is another problem, because …
The Various Warranty Providers Offer Uneven Experiences
You would think, with the standardized packaging and manuals that Aldi uses, that Aldi would also have a standardized warranty experience. That is not the case.
We’ve seen it all. We’ve had some really positive warranty experiences. We’ve had instances where problems were handled quickly and helpfully. We’ve had scenarios where we were emailed or even called back within minutes.
We’ve also had our share of the bad. We had a situation where it took months to get help, where voicemail boxes were full and emails went unanswered. We had another encounter where the warranty provider was apparently not a native English speaker and the communication was so poor that we weren’t ever able to get a refund.
And that’s the problem. Because the system is so distributed, you never quite know what kind of after-sales experience you’ll get. To be fair, that’s true if you get different products from, say, Walmart or Home Depot. Here’s the problem: with those stores, you might have options to replace part or all of the product from store inventory. Aldi, with its rotating inventory, isn’t in the same spot. And that’s especially bad because …
The Warranty Providers Don’t Always Have the Ideal Fixes
When we’ve reached out to warranty providers, our main hope is that we’d like to have a product fixed. Maybe a replacement part or, if needed, a new product.
We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get ideal fixes in some cases. When our Aldi tent pole broke, warranty provider Wenzel sent us a replacement pole. Same with getting a box fan foot when a fan was missing one. Likewise, when our toaster oven started showing defects, and we were able to get another one.
In other cases, the provider didn’t have any kind of spare parts or even full replacement products: all they could offer was a partial or full refund. That happened with an older rotary shaver that, oddly, didn’t have available replacement blades. It also happened with a walk-in greenhouse and with a pair of headphones.
That’s not all bad. I mean, on paper this isn’t the worst outcome, right? You get your money back. It certainly beats being out the money entirely with no refund at all (which happens with an Aldi product that dies after you’ve owned it for a while with no warranty). In some cases, we’ve even gotten our money back while still having enough of the product working to use the refund money to finance a fix.
Let’s be honest, though: usually when we have a warranty problem, we’d prefer to have a fixed product. We didn’t buy the Aldi Find just so we could get our cash back. We bought the Aldi Find so we could have a working Aldi Find. So it’s a disappointment in a relative sense.
On the whole, Aldi Finds with warranties are typically supported by decent after-sales operations. But not always. The experience can be uneven across the different providers, with some very responsive and others less so. Likewise, some providers can provide fine-tuned help — replacement parts, for instance — while others can only offer a full or partial refund. Aldi customer service, being separate from these providers, can give some assistance, but it remains an uneven and at times disjointed experience.
We’ve come to realize that these limitations come with the Aldi warranty experience.