Top critical review
Great Potential but Awful Customer Service and Poor Quality Control
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2021
I love Ninja Foodi Smart XL. It is truly smokeless. I love grilling and used to use my outdoor grill 3-4 times a week. After kids moved out and we downsized to a condo and our kind of suggested that we were smoking them out, I decided to move it indoors. Well began the challenge of smoke detectors going off with the smallest amount of cooking, even if I used the pan to sear my steaks. I tried almost everything on the market and nothing worked great. My Breville Indoor grill came the closest but it would press down on my steaks and made them dry. Ninja is the first appliance I found to do a great job and really do all it claimed to and more. I have cooked steaks, chicken breasts, chicken wings, fish, fried veggies and potatoes, and much more with excellent results. I would say, it is the best appliance in a kitchen. I even prefer making toast or reheating the croissants with it.
So why the 1 star? Because although the product is great, their quality control and customer service is just bad. Here is why:
1- I got my first unit from Target in December of 2020. Immediately out-of-box, the timer control did not work. You had to try dozens of times to get it to change. I had to basically use my phone as a timer. So I returned it to the store to exchange. They were out-of-stock so they refunded me. Figured it was one of a million, anyone can have a product failure.
2- I went directly to the Ninja website and placed an order on Dec 7, 2020, for the same Ninja. It took the 3 weeks to get it to me. All excited and got busy cooking. I discovered immediately that this unit has a defect too. The timer button worked, but the temperature control would not go down. No matter how many times you pressed down, it went up instead. If you pressed up, it went up to. So disappointing, but figured this is a company that cares about their product and customer service, so I wrote to them about my problem. First, they wrote back and said I had to have their tech support troubleshoot. They keep office hours, so had to call during my workday in order to talk to their tech support. He was able to agree with me that this unit is defective (come on, how many ways can you press a down button?) and has to be returned in the original box. I don't know how many people living in an apartment can store a large empty box. Fortunately, I had kept mine. But wait, I had to pay the shipping cost. I argued that according to their 90-day try-out policy, they advertise free shipping both ways. After checking he agreed. But wait, he could send me a new base for me to change and return the old base but I had to pay for shipping. Why would I pay anything for a defective product less than 2 days old?
I asked that a new unit be sent to me and I will ship the old unit back when I get the new unit. I even offered to pay them for a new unit and they could just refund the money for the first unit when they received it. That is not my department. If you want a new unit you can go on-line and purchase a new one. I explained that they were selling them for $229.00 on December 7th but now the price is $279.00. He said that is not my department. I can refund you when we get the unit and inspect it and make a determination that is defective.
Wait, it gets better. I like the concept and was willing to try again. This time I went to Amazon and order another unit. It came quickly and I just received it last night. All excited, I inspected all the buttons, and yes they seem to work. Great. Happiness at last, until I noticed each time I open the top, it rocks up and back about an eighth of an inch, and the front legs are off the counter by that much!!. I still had the previous unit, so I put them side-by-side to compare and realized the new unit is completely missing the button metal plate, that is why it is rocking.
So 3 out of 3 purchase in one month is defective and a customer service that does not care really about service. Amazon sends out a replacement unit for defective products and you use that box to turn the old unit. That is customer service. Trying to ask the customer to pay to ship a product that is defective is fraud especially when you are advertising differently. Refusing to immediately ship me another unit, even when I offered to authorize them to charge my credit card because I loved the unit and did not want to go without one for 6 to 8 weeks, is really bad customer service. Remember, it costs about $60.00 to ship it back, and beware after 90 days runs out, we are stuck with a company that does not care about the customer or service or quality control.
I did purchase Amazon's extended warranty option and have my figures crossed. The concept is great. I love it. Someday either Ninja will get their act together, or a major manufacturer will come up with a competing product. Until then, all we can do is hope our unit does not break-down!