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Just dodged a big ($) bullet

August 8th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Lawnmower troubles....

I've been using a cordless battery-powered mower for the past 5 years and am happy not to mess with gas, oil and stuff like that.

Two years ago, my friend "helped" me change the battery when the old one died. He had a lot of trouble getting the cover back on, but the thing did start up, so I thought I was ok. So I've been mowing with it for 2 summers, until a few days ago when I started having trouble starting it up.

Frank offered to help and said he used to do small engine repairs and what not. I said ok, that'd be great, but he couldn't come over til today. So in the meantime, the grass is growing tall, and I decided to try to fix it myself. I managed to get the cover off and just by jiggling things around, I got it started up again! I felt so proud of myself. I mowed for about 10 minutes but then it died in tall grass and wouldn't start again.

I again tried to get the cover off, though this time there was one screw I couldn't get out, and no amount of jiggling would get it started again.

So Frank came over this a.m. and starts pulling things apart. I tried to explain to him that I didn't think it was anything too complicated, that I thought it had to do with the way the battery was seated in the chassis. Because before each time I mowed, I'd turn the mower over on its side so I could clean the grass chute. I suspected that turning it over repeatedly like that caused something inside to shift and the plastic key you insert to start it wasn't going in properly.

I don't think he was really paying attention to me. He took off the cover, checked various connections, then attacked and took apart the starter, which I really wish he hadn't done. He thought there was a broken cable, but the cable was fine. By this time I didn't want him messing with it and he didn't really seem to know what to do anyway, and i was also annoyed that he couldn't put back together the starter lever that he'd taken apart.

I said I was going to look around for a local place that could repair it. I asked if he wanted to stick around, he said no, he had to walk the dog and go grocery shopping, and he seemed to want to skedaddle pretty quick. Maybe becus I was getting stressed.

I spent quite a bit of time online and on the phone trying to figure out what to do. The nearest authorized Black & Decker dealer is 1 hour away, where I bought this, and I was hoping to find somewhere more local that could fix it, but no one wanted to touch a cordless mower.

I even briefly looked at brand new mowers, since the B&D dealer I'd mentioned said the repair could cost a maximum of $185 (or as low as $25), and geez, you can get a brand new mower for close to that.

But in the end, I decided to drop my plans for the day and head up to the authorized dealer. It's actually a very good thing I did, for 2 reasons:

1. If I hadn't gone up there, I might never have learned that 2 years ago, Frank had INCORRECTLY installed the battery, and that's why the cover didn't close properly, and not only that, it was a fire hazard, could have started a fire and could have shorted out the battery, requiring me to get a new $125 battery. GRRR.

2. I also would never have learned that Black & Decker had issued a RECALL on this mower becus it possibly didn't shut off automatically when you let go of the handle. (They supposedly mailed out letters, but I never got one.)

Long story short, I got a brand hew handle mechanism, starter, charger and cover, at NO cost. It actually looks like a new mower.

The only thing I couldn't do was get my blade sharpened as he said the blade i had (never sharpened) was too chewed up to sharpen and I'd need a new one ($25) which wasn't in stock. But I should be able to get thru the summer with what i have; i never actually noticed any deficiency in cutting.

But i'm kind of annoyed with Frank, who, as i get to know him, seems to be the kind of guy who brags about different things fairly often, which I don't find to be an attractive quality. I think it comes from insecurity. If he didn't know much about battery mowers, I sure wish he would've just fessed up to that and not tried to fumble his way through, becus it could have caused me an injury, cost me money or both.

6 Responses to “Just dodged a big ($) bullet”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    It's good things worked out!!

  2. My English Castle Says:

    Men--it's an ego thing with them and mechanical things!

  3. gamecock43 Says:

    wow, that was a lucky break! I just got a battery powered cutter this weekend. It looks pretty easy to use, looking forward to mowing the yard!

  4. baselle Says:

    Frank, Frank, Frank .... Male Answer Syndrome.

    We used to torment a number of male grad students who were unable to say, "I don't know" by just asking more questions on top of their answers. It was great sport!

  5. Petunia 100 Says:

    Is Frank a neighbor, or are you dating him?

    Congrats on your free "new" mower. Smile

  6. PatientSaver Says:

    Just a friend!

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