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These are the Buffalo Tools pneumatic air shears. As far as we can tell they’re supposed to cut metal and plastic. We can’t confirm this, however, since they’ve never worked out of the box and continue to be a pain in our rear. So we followed the directions and manual that came with them to get what turned out to be a broken part replaced. Pain and suffering followed.

Round 1: As instructed in the booklet, we emailed the manufacturer about our broken shears. They promptly sent back word that the shears were not their product and not their problem.

Round 2: Expecting this on some level, we sent both pictures of the tool and the part that was broken, plus the part number we needed. They in turn asked for the model number of our tool.

Round 3: We again sent the model number and part number to the folks at Buffalo. They then triumphantly stated that this isn’t a Buffalo tool.

Round 4: So we sent them a digital copy of the manual, box, tool (from all angles including the info plate with their logo and serial number) and a request for the part. Buffalo, apparently convinced they could no longer shuffle us off, then tried the final tactic from the book of non-service: “This is a Buffalo tool. We’ll look into this and get back to you.” That was weeks ago.

These shears are cheap, Chinese-built tools with little or no ability to replace parts — which is fine really, but they could have just said that instead of doing the whole replacement routine here. In the end, we’re guessing they did say that in so many words when they told us they’d “get back to us.”

Buffalo Tools [Website]


28 Responses to Buffalo Tools: Customer Service Is Out

  1. Tom says:

    Where did these come from? I would return them to wherever I bought them.

  2. DaveD says:

    I second Tom’s comment.

  3. Rembret says:

    This is always a fear when I buy a cheap chinese made tool. I have never been burned like this, but I have had some sub-performing tools

  4. Fong says:

    That sucks and Buffalo will get flogged by the blogosphere enough that they’ll either change or cease to exist.

    I know it’s easy to simply blame China for anything cheap and crappy. It happened to the Japanese in the 60s and 70s, then Korea in the 80s and 90s and now China. In many cases, this is true but it’s really a product of the parent company. They sign off on all first articles and are the ones approving the final product being shipped to customers, even if they didn’t design it themselves. If it’s crap, it’s because of Buffalo, not China. Where do you think all Apple products come from?

    End Daily Rant

  5. Sean O'Hara says:

    @tom: They weren’t returned because like many products now days the seller isn’t responsible for the warranty, the manufacturer is.

    @fong: The blame is and continues to be on Buffalo and their lack of service not the country of origin.

    Actually I was just stating a fact. They are cheap (as in cost) and built in China. There is nothing wrong with that. Honestly it’s why they were purchased in the first place.

  6. toby says:

    and that’s why I don’t buy cheopo tools

  7. Jerry says:

    We all know that there are things, some tools included, that come from China and are reasonably decent things.
    More than one or two of us also know that there truly is a lot of crap made in China. I have some power tools that were made in China and get used a lot but just keep going. I have also had some that were thrown out very soon after purchase.
    Of course, the reality is that China would not be making the crap if there was no market for it. It then follows that the sellers in the US, or wherever, see a market for low-cost, low-quality tools.
    I just paid $20 (w/coupon) at HF for a trim router. I examined it before buying and saw a lot of very cheap plastic and rather crappy adjustment points. It will see only a small bit of use so will do what I need for that price.

  8. Martin Thomas says:

    When talking about goods manufactured in China it needs to be remembered and considered that the working conditions are frequently very poor to horrible. This applies to good of high quality (Apple products) to every other level of quality. When an item of Chinese manufacture is purchased it is providing continued support of these frequently sub-human working conditions.

  9. Frank says:

    Or you could do something really strange and spend your money in the country you live in. If we were less concerned with price and focused on supporting domestic manufacture there would be fewer of us unemployed.
    Quality as well as price is simple economics. If people what inexpensive products and don’t care about quality then why not give them what they asked for. Just don’t complain when that manufacture doesn’t have customer service.

  10. george says:

    i really expect very little from cheap tools. harbor freight might be a stp up from that. weber is now going that route. at least you got a response from buffalo, i get nothing from weber.

  11. Old as Dirt says:

    @Toby.You don’t buy cheap Chinese tools,you just buy expensive Chinese tools because there are no tools made in USA.

  12. Greg says:

    @Frank. Thank You.
    Too many people think that living in the USA entitles them to a good job that pays a great wage, so they can then use that earned money to buy cheap overseas crap thinking it is “good enough” for today. Constantly using the logic of good enough for today, tends to ruin tomorrows.

  13. Daniel says:

    Pay little, expect lots… isn’t that how you Americans got into this mess in the first place?

  14. MattC says:

    Yes, but we are not alone. Most of western Europe has lost manufacturing to China. Unfortunately, the United States has swayed from a manufacturing epicenter to a service economy reliant on the cost savings by exporting manufacturing to cheap labor countries. This may be fine for the short term, but the lasting complications are the loss of high paying manufacturing jobs. The long term complications are a decrease in the lifestyles and buying power of much of the middle class that used to thrive in these positions. The flip side is that these former manufacturing centers lose a collective braintrust as former workers move on to other postions (case in point in NC as some furniture manufacturing is being brought back to the state. Experienced furniture makers have moved on and now these companies have to retrain a whole new group of workers to assemble/build furniture). //end of rant

  15. ChuckBlack says:

    That’s why I love Princess Auto up here in Canada. Cheap Chinese goods, excellent return policy. Simply give them the same phone number every time you purchase something, make it up if you want to, if and when that something breaks, bring back the tool without a receipt and get a brand new one no questions asked. If you go through a few of the same tool, they’ll cut you off and suggest you get a better quality one but still refund your money. Even if the tool isn’t broken they’ll take it back. Amazing!

    Thanks to these cheap Chinese tools and manufacturing, I have more tools than my father could have dreamt of owning at my age. As a factory worker I feel for the lost jobs but at the same time I enjoy being able to purchase the things that make me happy at a reasonable cost. I mean, I guy has to piddle around in the shop from time to time right?

  16. Steve says:

    @Frank Buying American just to buy American is pointless and socialist. We are perfectly capable of making crappy tools in this country. Sometimes the alternative to buying a cheap tool is buying no tool at all. Maybe you remember how expensive circ saws were 30 years ago?

  17. Dreamcatcher says:

    Round 5: Return the POS tool to the place you bought it from and politely inform the retailer as well as the manufacturer that you have a very influential tool blog with tens of thousands (?) of tool junkie followers who base their tool buying decisions on your recommendation.

  18. Mike47 says:

    Quality of tool and quality of customer service are two different things. This shouldn’t be about a cheap tool not performing, and oh, we should buy American if we expect better from a tool. This is about a company selling a product with an expectation of a level of service they cannot or will not deliver. “Buffalo Tools” could be selling top-of-the-line stuff and for whatever reason, one fails right out of the box. How is the situation any different? If they cared any about customer service and their reputation, they should have mailed a repacement immediately. Obviously, this is a company that has no business being in business, crappy tools notwithstanding.

  19. Mike47 says:

    Oh, and this: Threaten them with a Better Business Bureau complaint. They are not registered with BBB, but they do have a rating, and people do look at those ratings.

  20. fred says:

    I’m sure there are other quality shears out there – but I like Kett

    http://www.kett-tool.com/product.php?cat_name=P Double-Cut Shears

  21. Eric says:

    Anyone else wondering if they might be a knock off? Only place I can find them is on Overstock and no where else. Also looking at the logo on the shears I don’t see any of their other products with that logo. There may be more to the story….

  22. Sean says:

    Inexpensive tools are inexpensive until you’ve had to buy 4 or 5 for what you’ve had to pay on a mid-range manufacturer’s tool.

    Buffalo Tools is pretty much in the paperweight class. If you pay as much for it as you would for a glass paperweight, you’ve got something that can keep the receipts from blowing away until your book keeper gets them entered into QuickBooks.

  23. Big Dave says:

    They need to go back to the store. If they give you that bs about going directly to the manufacturer, simply get a charge-back from the credit card company. You did charge them to a credit card, right?

  24. Jon G. says:

    You CAN get quality stuff from China, but you will pay for it (evidence Apple). I have seen the full range of quality from shops in China, along with the full range of costs. It is up to the specifier/importer/ODM to tell the supplier what EXACTLY they want. If you just say “I want shears and I’m only paying you $xx” the importer will go source the cheapest POC available and will sub parts in the blink of an eye. If however, you go with detailed drawings to the right supplier, you can get high quality, repeatable parts.

    In this case, it seems Buffalo is taking as much care in their product sourcing as they are in their customer service.

  25. Bor says:

    If they never worked out of the box it’s not a warranty issue. Consumer protection laws are going to vary by jurisdiction, but I wouldn’t think there are that many places in North America where a retailer can sell you something pre-broken and then wash their hands of it.

    The whole hokey pokey with support reminds me of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch. If you get a hold of them again they’ll probably claim it’s pining for the fjords.

  26. Roger says:

    Buffalo tools used to come bring a truck to Evansville and sell tools at different locations but for past few years I haven’t seen them around this area was wondering why they don’t do it anymore.

  27. This is for sure the bad customer service of Buffalo company. No wonder you don’t see Buffalo tools anywhere these days.

  28. Tom m says:

    Bought gen. Diesel from buffal tool blew up lady will call tomorrow we will see were this goes iam

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