The Great Thermomix Debacle of 2014

Remember earlier in the year, when I posted about hubby purchasing me a fantastic early birthday present? {See here.}
 My brand spanking new Thermomix TM31 in late March 2014
My, we have had some great adventures. Investing in the Thermomix definitely inspired me to get more invested into cooking; to making ingredients from scratch, and from baking things I would never have ordinarily tackled. I was pretty chuffed with my creations, and shared them with friends and family members - even had my parents convinced that, despite the hefty $1939 price tag, it would be a great investment for them. There were even talks with a group leader about joining the Thermomix team, to see if this sort of business would suit me. {After several phone calls, I realised that it wasn't my thing.}
Home-made creations - hot cross buns, pumpkin soup & freshly baked bread.
One of the main reservations that hubby & I had before purchasing the machine, was whether there was a new model in the works. This model, the TM31, had been around for a while - there were thousands of recipes and cookbooks available for it, and loads of folks raving about its reliability; those things told us it was a good product. That said, there were rumours online about a new model coming, so we asked our consultant about this .... and were reassured that no, this was it. We purchased ours in good faith that this was true. At the demonstration for my parents in late June, the same question was brought up regarding the new model rumours; and again, our fears were quickly quelled.
More baked goodies - cinnamon scrolls & a cream filled lamington sponge cake
Fast forward a mere handful of weeks, and guess what happens? A brand spanking new, touch screen, larger & quieter Thermomix model is gleefully released via the Thermomix Facebook page/website. For just $50 more, this new model has lots of new features that the TM31 doesn't have... and folks were NOT happy. Why?

Because the new model was kept a secret. Because people asked their consultants, or head office, about this 'rumour' and were constantly assured that this wasn't happening. Because the old model was not reduced, and they could have purchased the newer model for virtually the same price. Because the monetary value of the TM31 dropped almost instantly with customers selling theirs off to ensure they had the newest, shiniest appliance. Because the customer service team at Thermomix issued the same generic statements in regards to all complaints & questions left and seemed to have no compassion as to why their customers were frustrated.

I've seen so many scathing posts from folks online. Why complain, you have a fantastic machine - get over it!

Am I complaining about my machine? No. I love the things I've achieved with my TM31 and will continue to use it regularly in my kitchen. Am I impressed that I can now get this same exact machine on Gumtree or Ebay for almost half of its retail value? Not really. Am I embarrassed to have recommended the product to others, after the dismal way this whole release was handled? Absolutely.

There's something to be said for demonstration-only products. Word of mouth is so, so important. Yes, consultants can pull of a whopping great demonstration and try to sway people into purchasing - but I can tell you right now that the majority of sales come via consumers speaking with their friends, reading reviews online, and watching models in action - especially before committing to an almost 2k sale. I feel that Thermomix has used their existing TM31 customers {myself included} to pimp out their run-out model at FULL PRICE, and then slapped them in the face by introducing the new model with no warning, no remorse, and no care in the world that they've let people down.
Not just baked goods... we do eat healthy meals too, I promise. :)
What happens now? Well, Thermomix appear to have finally realised just how badly this product launch has gone - social media has gone viral with the entire mess. They've since released a free bowl/blade/lid set for customers who purchased from July 1st - so thankfully my parents fall into that category - but nothing else but a 'sorry' for other customers this year. 
I'll continue cooking with my TM31 and utilising it in our kitchen on an everyday basis, but I certainly won't be hosting any further demonstrations or encouraging others to purchase. A little integrity goes a long way, and I feel like the entire operation was focused solely on $$$ for the company, with next to no regard for their existing customers who have spent the last few months/years raving about what a fantastic product the Thermomix is. 
Have you been involved in, or witnessed, the Thermomix debacle? Would love to know your thoughts.

4 Comments • Labels: ,  


Kathy said...

I have a friend who is an agent. She didnt know anything but says she has had tons of bookings for parties and the publicity from this has really spread the thermomix message.. Im glad you can see the reality which is you still have a machine you ise and love

Emilie said...

I have never heard of this before your posts about it on social media earlier this year. That is a HEFTY price tag for a small appliance!! What exactly does it do? I would be pretty upset if I were in your shoes. I get really mad about poor customer service and this is definitely a case of poor judgment on their part!

jess @ fushmush said...

I'm not a thermomix owner.

I completely disagree with the people who are saying it's a first world problem and you guys should stop whinging.

Everyone is comparing it to the car industry where new models are released all the time. However, in the car industry when a new model is released it is announced and the car dealers then discount and sell off the older models. This is what thermomix should have done. Announced the new model and discounted the old one.

I think you have every right to be annoyed! It was handled so poorly. They have lost so much customer goodwill.

Hope4babyover40 said...

That is pretty outrageous and I would be furious! Like you say, it's the people you've recommended it too that puts you in an awkward position.
That said, your baked products look absolutely delicious!

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