Friday, July 18, 2008

Review: Charcoal Companion Chimney Starter

Some reviews are by design. I’ll go to a store and purposefully pick up some sauce to review. Some reviews are instigated. A manufacturer will send me some sauce that they would like reviewed. Some reviews are the result of serendipity. I will stumble across something that I think you should be aware of. Here is a review that is serendipitous for you and not so much fun for me.

The week prior to the 4th of July I had decided that I needed another chimney starter. I have two smokers and two Weber kettles, so it wasn’t a completely senseless idea. I was in a store called Le Gourmet Chef and they were selling one made by Charcoal Companion for about ten dollars. Great deal. I couldn’t pass up that impulse purchase and left with the starter and a bunch of other items.

I used the new starter on the 4th of July. It was used to start the coals going on the larger of the kettles and then I was using it for the 18”. When I lifted the starter to flip the coals over, the top of the handle separated from the metal it was connected to. My hand came into contact with the extremely hot metal. Yes, it was more than a bit painful.

Ok, problem on the first day of use. Not good. I sent out an email to Charcoal Companion’s customer service the next day. I received a prompt reply asking if I was ok and assuring me that they would be sending me a replacement. I replied asking if they would like me to send back the old one, how it should be packed up and who to send it to. I received no response and to date I have received no replacement.

So, on the product: thumbs down. On the customer service: thumbs down.

Charcoal Companion is a pretty big outfit and their products are in stores nation wide. I’ll be avoiding their products and I encourage you to do the same. If I hear back from them, I’ll post an update.


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