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The Silence of the Mammoths

April 20, 2011
by

Are you considering to buy a log home from Mammuttihirsi? Trying to figure out how the customer service will be? Well, here is our story.

It all starts from the infamous sales negotiations. I described our experience already in one of my first posts. To sum it up: it was a fair and square sales negotiation. The deal making included all the usual sales tricks and last minute turns that you expect from a regular (car) sales person. No harm. All that bragging about the first offer being already very low, the reaffirming at the second meeting that the first offer was really a great deal, and the initial inability to adjust the price downwards was a nice show. When told that the competing offer was over 10.000 Euros cheaper and we would go with the competitor, all-over-sudden some 10.000 Euros dropped off from the initial price. After which naturally really nothing could be done anymore, right?! The offer of a spa weekend should seal the deal. But instead we preferred another 5000 Euro off the “last offer” and the addition of the covered terrace for the same price. Naturally, I got also still the official “I must call my manager” twist to agree on this super offer… Well, amusing show business and good salesmanship. At least, this salesman earns his salary. Overall, a throughout pleasant experience. By the way, this was probably the last time you will hear from the sales guy…

The after sales support is arranged by Mammuttihirsi through a dedicated customer representative. He did managed a minor change to the bath room window size without additional costs. He made an outlandish offer for an additional row of logs in the first floor close to 5000 Euro which we didn’t take. I understand that you need to make a decent profit once you have caught the mice in the cage but sometimes they just refuse to co-operate. The customer representative did a fantastic job arranging a factory visit for my kid and myself with free ice-cream, towels, and a Mammoth soft toy. We got to see the making of the first log of Villa Linnea. Now, I was really impressed about the customer service from Mammuttihirsi. This was unfortunately the last useful thing we have heard from our customer representative.

From now on, things didn’t really get better anymore.

The delivery week came closer and we got ready for the first delivery of the logs. Delivery was scheduled for week 6 and assembly was supposed to start in week 7. Well, the delivery truck actually managed to throw his truck into the ditch with 30 tons of logs some 1500 meters away from the cottage, and that on Sunday night. When we arrived on Monday morning, we had to first get that truck with the help of heavy machinery out of the ditch. And what also shows up on the Monday of the delivery week: yes, the assembly crew! One week too early. That was a minor challenge as we hadn’t dug out the foundation yet from some 100 cm of snow. Would have been nice if they told us the change of schedule. Now the first thing the assembly crew had to do is to help us shoveling snow…

The assembly went essentially fine in regards to quality and timing of works. However, communication between the building crew manager and us was less than perfect. Even that the crew manager promised us when they will start working again after a break in the works due to the cold temperatures he never did. Instead I found the crew on one of my random building site visits happily putting one log on top of each other. The assembly crew itself are not on Mammuttihirsi’s payroll but they are subcontractors. Naturally, working without the owner is nicer when he doesn’t sniff around all the time checking whether the put wooden pegs in holes dedicated for electricity cables. I caught them once attempting to do so and another time I missed. The main assembly crew being a true cowboy builder team did a decent job with the usual small things that needed correcting. Some small things remained open, but they need better weather and I don’t feel like running after them every time. Otherwise everything we complained about needing to corrected was corrected in a timely fashion. They actually finished the assembly earlier than we expected. The last work was done around mid of April while the contract allowed for end of April.  So far, so good.

So, what didn’t work out? Essentially two things:

Firstly, we have order floor beams of 48mm strength. What was delivered 42mm. 15% weaker than what we pay for. If your order confirmation says 48 and you get 42 what do you do? Right! You bring it up with the customer representative. What do you if you don’t hear anything back from him? You check from the Mammutti representative responsible for deliveries. And surprise, you get an answer. Unfortunately, the only answer you get is that 42mm is almost as good as 48mm and everything should be fine. Sorry, I am not buying that excuse. So, I’m informing him that we will withhold the value of the 48mm floor beams from the final materials payment according to the general contract conditions accepted across the whole log home builder industry (and also base line for Mammuttihirsi contracts). By now unsurprisingly, the one response from the material delivery gentleman was the last thing I heard from him. Can you guess where I am going with this story? 😉

Next thing we get is the payment reminder from the invoicing unit on the outstanding 1200 Euros we deducted from the last materials payment. In response, we send an email to customer representative, materials delivery representative, and invoicing unit representative that we have no intention of paying until we have reached a deal on how to deal with the faulty delivery. Note: we offered a compensation of 500 Euro as compromise. What do we get in response? Well, first nothing, then another automatic reminder on the overdue payment now with additional administrative fees and threat of moving it to professionals collecting outstanding debts. When we call the invoicing unit, she notices that something has gone wrong with the delivery and they need to figure it out within Mammuttihirsi what to do. She claimed not to put the outstanding payment forward to the debt collecting agency. And, yes, that was the last thing we heard from the invoicing unit.

Our complaint number two is of the same nature: the contract refers to the scope of the assembly to include the assembly of the floor structure (Finnish: trossi). Mammuttihirsi claims that this scope includes only the assembly of the floor beams. I claim that it includes the assembly of the planks holding up the insulation. Why would they refer one the one hand to the assembly of floor beams of the second floor but on the other hand to the assembly of the floor structure of the first floor if they mean only the assembly of the floor beams as well? Makes little sense to me. Two calls initiated by me to our customer representative on the subject with a promise to solve it on the same day led to, yes, you are guessing it right, nothing! No call back. Silence. The assembly crew manager did respond once by email when we mentioned that we will withhold also parts of the final payment of assembly invoice. But the response did help little to create clarity on the different stands. I offered an compromise splitting the costs for the outstanding effort by half. No response. Well, I’m not running after these folks anymore.

So, this is how the story ends for now. Well, there was still an email to their managing director outlining the disconnection of the different units of his company last week. But I guess that email was a waste of time for everybody. Amazing how such a well-organized company fails to put all the ends together in their customer communication. What I have read from other Finnish building-related blogs I shouldn’t be surprised.

Mammuttihirsi seems to remain silent. One payment outstanding. Who knows how long. The Villa Linnea project moves ahead.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2011 9:09 pm

    Interesting reading. I guess you need to keep calm and carry on. Our house package is coming in 2 weeks and then assembly starts for us too.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    June 8, 2011 11:12 pm

    This is so typical from MammuttiHirsi. It seems that all builders have similar kind of problems with them. Dont give up! Keep blogging and tell what happen with Mammutti.

    “Amazing how such a well-organized company fails to put all the ends together in their customer communication.”
    This kind of behavior from Mammuttihirsi can’t last forever..

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