Hoover Vacuum Cleaner

ISSUE: False product claim of self-cleaning lifetime HEPA filter

RESOLUTION: Replacement of the vacuum with a different make/model

COMPANY RATING: Four stars (out of five)

In July of 2007, I took the advice of Consumer Reports and purchased a Hoover WindTunnel 2 Extra Reach Bagless Upright vacuum cleaner from Sears.

Having already seen problems with other HEPA filters in vacuums, I was enamored with the fact that it came with a self-cleaning lifetime HEPA filter system. Here is there claim:

"Self-cleaning HEPA filter cleans itself every six seconds to maintain cleaning power. You never have to touch or replace the filter."

Unfortunately, this proved quickly to be untrue. Within five months, I had the unit completely lock up on me three times because the dirt had clogged inside the filter mechanism so much that the filter's motor stopped spinning.

Twice I tried to take it back to Sears. Both times they told me to clean it myself or take it to a service center, but that this was considered normal operation and they weren’t going to replace it or allow me to return it. On the third occurrence, knowing I'd get nowhere with Sears, I started sending e-mails and making calls to Hoover’s consumer line.

My initial calls and e-mails were handled with very “generic” responses telling me to take the unit in for servicing. When I told them this was a design issue, not a broken individual vacuum, they pretty much read from their employee manual and said again to take it in for servicing. That led me to make this video on YouTube:

When I next reached Hoover’s customer support phone line and mentioned they could see the problems I was having with their vacuum on YouTube, they transferred my call to corporate headquarters.

Once with HQ, the Hoover employee said they hadn’t heard other complaints about the HEPA system failing and suggested that I take it specifically to a Hoover-owned service center and discuss the matter with them directly because “they are just as authorized to replace the unit as we are..but in either case Hoover needed to see the old vacuum anyway.” I felt like I had been understood for the first time and hung up with HQ.

My next call was to my local (35 miles away) Hoover Service Center in Pompano Beach, FL. A pleasant person answered the line and immediately identified my problem as being far from unique. He said as long as I had my receipt, and it was reasonably close to the warranty period, he’d replace it!

Upon arrival at the store, the same store employee who spoke to me on the phone also turned out to be a Hoover repair technician. He went above and beyond to recommend another vacuum, taking into consideration both the features and repair record of the vacuum. To my surprise, he ended up replacing it with a more expensive unit...which happened to be a Dirt Devil. Apparently, Hoover recently bought Dirt Devil and his opinion was that Dirt Devils were superior in construction.

I walked out of the store with a receipt for the new vacuum (at a cost of ZERO) and a full 5-year warranty...four years longer than my original unit! CHEERS!

Besides the initial denial that this was a known issue (by the customer support line and HQ), this was a nearly perfect problem resolution!