Traeger Customer Service and Timerbline 1300 Purchasing Experience (how does this company stay in business?)

Heartsofwar

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(While the contents of this post may not be representational on the whole of Traeger's customer service or product, this was my experience, and the product issue may apply to all traeger grills that can reach 500 degrees. Mods, if this is not the best forum for this post, please move it, but I assumed that since I wasn't asking for specific help this was more correct.)

TL;DR: 3 month ordeal: Purchased a Timberline 1300 from Traeger, was sent incorrect grill and accessories. Got the correct grill, but it had paint peeling issues after initial seasoning (no food or grease involved). Warranty replacement grills consistently arrived damaged, fought for a 35% discount, received the discount minus $40 for taxes, and eventually assumed ownership of over $3,300 worth of grills and accessories.

I ordered a Timberline 1300 in mid April of 2021 from the Traeger website. Two weeks later or end of April, I received a grill (#1), but unfortunately it was a 780 Pro and not the Timberline 1300 that I ordered. I called Traeger CS and informed them of their mistake. I also informed them that I ordered several accessories and that every accessory I received was incorrect. I received the wrong bag of pellets, the wrong grill cover, and the wrong grease / drip liners. After waiting on hold for 30+ minutes, Traeger CS finally told me they would send me the correct grill, but Pilot Freight would make contact to pick-up the unboxed, 780 Pro. In addition, I should expect to receive an e-mail with pre-paid shipping labels to return the incorrect accessories via UPS.

Two weeks later, semi-early May, I received the correct grill (#2), along with all my accessories... including some additional accessories I didn't order: 885 ironwood grill cover, 780 / 885 folding tray, 885 drip liners, and 885 grease liners. Instead of calling Traeger to sort out the additional accessories, I decided to focus on my situation first since they had already been made aware.

I fully assembled the Timberline 1300 without incident, and I follow the instructions to the 'T' for seasoning; however, when it was done, I wanted to inspect things, but it was getting dark and I decided to let it cool down over night. I had seen several reports online that these grills had paint bubbling issues and that Traeger was blaming grease fires due to improper cleaning on the user's part; therefore, I felt it was necessary to inspect the grill to ensure it was in good condition after seasoning. The next morning I noticed that the paint was indeed bubbling / peeling all along the grease trough and some below in the pit. It was completely 'baked' and chipping away. It's almost like the heat resistant paint they used either didn't cure properly or wasn't meant to withstand 500 degrees despite the grill being marketed / sold of being capable to reach that temperature.

This isn't what I expected from a $2k grill, not on day one during the seasoning process with zero food or grease; therefore, I contacted Trager CS and informed them of the issue. We went through their 'checklist' and in the end, after 40 minutes on the phone, I was told they were going to send me a brand new grill. I was a little stunned. I asked the CS rep if they were sure, because I'd be fine with a partial refund; however, I was told the issue was just going to spread and the entire grill would look terrible soon. Besides, this was "standard" for their 3 year warranty. I was a little taken back, and made the comment that they still hadn't picked up the 780 Pro that was incorrectly sent to me over two weeks prior. The CS rep chuckled and made a joke that I was collecting grills, what was one more?, but then they said I should contact Pilot Freight to find out what was going on and gave me the number.

That same day, later in the afternoon, I called Pilot Freight. I waited in their queue for over 1 hr. No one ever picked up. A week later, I called Pilot Freight a second time. Again, I waited in their queue for over 1 hr., no one picked up. Feeling frustrated, I kind of gave up... why was it my responsibility to contact Pilot Freight? Shouldn't Traeger be doing this?

Another week later, mid May now (a full month after original order), I received a replacement grill (#3). Unfortunately, the replacement was delivered in terrible condition and I had to deny delivery. The freight driver actually told me that they had to wrap it in plastic wrap twice along the route because parts were falling out. I contacted Traeger CS and after sending them photos of the box before it was denied / returned, they informed me they would send another.

A week later, I called Pilot Freight a third and final time. I waited in queue 35 minutes before someone finally picked up, and I was told repeatedly that they had no record of any work order with my name, address, or phone number on it. I escalated to two supervisors and even confirmed with the Pilot Freight office HQ in Utah which I was told worked very closely with Traeger. Pilot Freight basically said, not our problem if we don't have a work order. At this point, I didn't care anymore, I was more worried about having my issue resolved first since I was the customer and paid $2k for a Timberline 1300.

On June 1st, just missing Memorial weekend, the holiday of holidays to BBQ in America, another replacement grill was delivered (#4). The box was damaged, but not as bad as grill #3. My gut was telling me to deny delivery, but my wife said I should take the chance, it might not be that bad. I accepted... but after attempting assembly for 2 hours, I ultimately gave up. The box was dropped on one end and the corner where one of the legs was meant to go was bent and the leg wouldn't fit. I was having a very difficult time getting the leverage to shore it up properly, and finally decided, even if I did get it fixed, I'd rather have the grill with the paint issue instead of one that might have its stability compromised.

At this point, I'm pissed, fuming, and decide to call Traeger CS. I give them an ultimatum to stop sending me grills, give me a 35% discount, and I'd keep the original defective grill and fix it myself. After speaking to Traeger CS for many hours over the course of several days and getting ridiculous offers like a free bag of pellets, free bag of pellets and dry-rub, $50 store gift card, or $200 store gift card, they finally caved via e-mail and agreed to give me the 35% discount in writing. I basically had to threaten that I was going to dispute the entire charge on my credit card.

Mid June, I receive the 35% discount credited to my card (some-what, they didn't reimburse taxes paid). That Saturday I went to Ace Hardware, bought heat resistant paint up to 1,200 degrees to be sure, and fixed the problem myself. Then, I decided to send them one final e-mail to address two things:

  • The discount was $39.40 short due to them not accounting for taxes

  • They still hadn't picked up their other items (grill #2, grill #4, and accessories) totalling over $3,300.00. I told them in the e-mail that if they didn't have the items picked up within 30 days, I would assume they were abandoning ownership, and I would immediately assume ownership. I never got a response back... not a peep (not even a bounce back response), and this was the same e-mail thread that was fully engaged the weeks prior where they agreed to the 35% discount.

Today is day 31. Looks like I'm the new owner of two additional grills and 6 accessories that total over $3,300.00

It boggles my mind how any company could do business this way and stay afloat. All Traeger CS issues aside, the Timberline 1300 is quite nice, but I warn anyone that has made it this far and thinking of ordering a grill:

  • DON'T order from their website: Just go to Ace Hardware and have them order it. They'll deal with the shipping issues, assemble it for you for free, and even deliver it to you for a small fee. Honestly, I didn't go this route because Traeger's website was offering free shipping, and had lower taxes than my local taxes ($50 difference). Between $50 for taxes and the $50 I would have spent having Ace Hardware deliver, I felt saving $100 was worth it, but that was before I went into a 90 day logistical death spiral of a nightmare with their customer service over a defective paint issue.

  • DON'T let Traeger send you new grills. If you can fix it yourself, push for a partial refund, or have them send a tech to you at their expense.
 

CMTiger

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Eh.....I don't know about your last two. For some mild inconvenience you now have a free $2k grill, a free $1k grill and a boat load of free accessories for the price of one in perfect condition (sounds like?) $2k grill.

I agree with the part about crazy how they stay in business, but though a bit frustrating they did continue to try and resolve the issue and within a month and a half you have two flawless grills and one damaged but working one.

Sounds like you made out well. If you're unhappy man I'll take one of them to make you feel better?!? :)
 

traeger860

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This is how they stay in business:

Traeger reported a revenue of $235 million in the 2021 1Q and $545 million in 2020, which represents a 107% and 50% increase compared to the same timeframes in the previous year.
 
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Heartsofwar

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Eh.....I don't know about your last two. For some mild inconvenience you now have a free $2k grill, a free $1k grill and a boat load of free accessories for the price of one in perfect condition (sounds like?) $2k grill.

I kept the original defective grill which oddly enough was delivered in the best condition out of all of the grills and had to fix it myself after fighting hard for a 35% discount. As I mentioned, Traeger CS was putting up a good fight that lasted almost a full 7 business days. They tried to shoo me away, and when that didn't work, they tried to give me stupid consolation prizes, then they tried to give me gift cards to their store (kind of a slap in the face, honestly... like what makes you think I want to have anything to do with your store after all this?), etc. I truly believe not many people would have gotten the 35% discount...

I agree with the part about crazy how they stay in business, but though a bit frustrating they did continue to try and resolve the issue and within a month and a half you have two flawless grills and one damaged but working one.

Sounds like you made out well. If you're unhappy man I'll take one of them to make you feel better?!? :)

From the outside looking in, yeah... I can see this point; however, keep in mind that there are a lot of details being skipped / overlooked:

  • Boxed, unassembled grills are extremely heavy / bulky. You can't just move them around and they take up an extreme amount of room. Timberline 1300 is 280+ lbs, 780 Pro is 230 lbs? I didn't pay $2k to be an unauthorized storage unit / traeger reseller. Businesses pay billions of dollars to store items, and Traeger had most of this stuff sitting on my propery for over 80+ days... that's a long time when you want to enjoy your backyard and have to walk around two bulky, boxed, unassembled grills, and 6 accessories, etc.

  • Every grill that was delivered required micro-management: I would be notified by Fedex the grill was ready to deliver and then I had to make an appointment to have it delivered; that appointment was a 5 hour window, so if you were unfortunate to work in an office, you'd have to take off from work over 20 hours just to deal with delivery alone. This doesn't include all the hours and time I spent on the phone with Traeger, Pilot Freight, etc.
The list goes on, but I won't. Suffice to say, most people are going to see the high dollar free stuff on the other end and think, "what's the problem, you got handsomely compensated inadvertently" but if you lived it... I'd like to think you'd have more appreciation.

I have donated the grills already to loving, appreciating homes. :p
 

TheGrumpyGriller

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Well...I'll see how my replacement goes. I have a 6-month old Timberline 1300 and have the same paint peeling/bubbling issues around the pit near the grease trap as well as in the rear. Initially Traeger suggested I buy a can of paint and I replied back saying for $2,000 it shouldn't be peeling so quickly. They are indeed sending me a new grill (different shipping company than Pilot I believe), so hopefully it arrives in good condition etc.

I did ask about keeping the existing grill (even if I paid a reduced amount), but that didn't fly. I'll update if anything interesting happens, but I did find speaking with them to be pleasant to work with so far.
 

CMTiger

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It sounded to me that they were offering you another new grill, right? And you declined and wanted a fairly significant discount? Maybe I misunderstood but if not I stand by my original thought.

I mean.....i do get all the unspoken things. But I've went through similar instances with other products and came out with a lot less that the haul you got.

And that's unfortunate - much to what would be my wifes disapproval I was already looking forward to adding to my fleet :-(

From what I gather you've had the last of the grills for about a month now??? Other than the initial pain how's everything going on it? We like food pictures around here. Welcome.
 

arzoumanian

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I'm sorry to hear what you have been through, it sucks. On the opposite end of the spectrum I ordered a 1300 from BBQGuys and the grill arrived on a pallet in perfect condition. I have yet to go through the burn-in process which is where your mess began. I am pondering just taking it up to 450 and later 500. I will take before and after pictures as well. I have read lots of stories of these "Free Grills" meaning they send you another and don't care to get the old one back.
 

CMTiger

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Fwiw I’m not trying to minimize your frustration but simply trying to highlight some of the positives of the experience

fwiw number two FedEx freight was the worst part of my order experience by far. They held it it for like a week at the localish warehouse. When I called they said they’d been trying to call me for awhile to schedule pickup which they hadn’t. We confirmed phone numbers and told them I was out of town, but she said someone would call to schedule drop off. The next day I got off my connector plan in Houston where my flight was connecting to messages of them being on the way. Fortunately my neighbor was home to receive it. And the driver told him if he hadn't been there then I'd have had to pay for shipping again. :cautious:

And fortunately it has fired up without issue thus far. Small issue with internal probe but was able to resolve over text chat.
 
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Heartsofwar

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They are indeed sending me a new grill (different shipping company than Pilot I believe), so hopefully it arrives in good condition etc.

Fedex Freight delivers the grill, but Traeger sub-contracts Pilot Freight to 'pick-up' and return the grill if it needs to be returned. At least this is what I was told repeatedly by the CS team.

Traeger CS isn't going to agree to let you keep the grill, but you just might have the same situation on your hands as I did... I wish you luck!
 
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Heartsofwar

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It sounded to me that they were offering you another new grill, right? And you declined and wanted a fairly significant discount? Maybe I misunderstood but if not I stand by my original thought.

Traeger warranty is 3 years, and based on my understanding, during that 3 year time period they are suppose to fix or replace, at their expense, any issues. I was surprised that they would offer to replace the entire grill for a paint peeling issue, but I initially did not fight them on it. It was only after they failed to deliver a competent replacement 3 times in a row when I finally put my foot down and said, "no more".

Truth be told, the grills being damaged during delivery mostly isn't their fault, it's Fedex; however, as a customer that paid $2k for a product which took over 90 days to even enjoy ... Traeger contracts with Fedex despite the issues and in the end I chose to do business with Traeger, not Fedex.

I don't know why Traeger continues to use Fedex; in my opinion, Fedex is horrible. I have other stories about Fedex to base that opinion, but I won't go into it :) (Maybe Tom Hanks really needs to get involved and stranded on an island in order to bring Fedex back from the brink)

From what I gather you've had the last of the grills for about a month now??? Other than the initial pain how's everything going on it? We like food pictures around here. Welcome.

I don't have photos, but I have grilled twice in the last two weekends. I will have to get some photos.
 

CMTiger

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My issues with FedEx go way beyond the stated grill delivery issue above. Freight and regular. They truly are horrible in my experience.
 

arzoumanian

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This is how my Treager arrived Via FedEx. The FedEx person I spoke to said he delivers a lot of them.
 

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RemE

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I'm sorry to hear what you have been through, it sucks. On the opposite end of the spectrum I ordered a 1300 from BBQGuys and the grill arrived on a pallet in perfect condition. I have yet to go through the burn-in process which is where your mess began. I am pondering just taking it up to 450 and later 500. I will take before and after pictures as well. I have read lots of stories of these "Free Grills" meaning they send you another and don't care to get the old one back.
I would not go above 450F for a while, do a brisket or two and let it settle in. Even though I cured my heat issues by insulating the hot spots, I don't go over 450, use GrillGrates to get the grill marks needed.
 

RemE

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Traeger warranty is 3 years, and based on my understanding, during that 3 year time period they are suppose to fix or replace, at their expense, any issues. I was surprised that they would offer to replace the entire grill for a paint peeling issue, but I initially did not fight them on it. It was only after they failed to deliver a competent replacement 3 times in a row when I finally put my foot down and said, "no more".

Truth be told, the grills being damaged during delivery mostly isn't their fault, it's Fedex; however, as a customer that paid $2k for a product which took over 90 days to even enjoy ... Traeger contracts with Fedex despite the issues and in the end I chose to do business with Traeger, not Fedex.

I don't know why Traeger continues to use Fedex; in my opinion, Fedex is horrible. I have other stories about Fedex to base that opinion, but I won't go into it :) (Maybe Tom Hanks really needs to get involved and stranded on an island in order to bring Fedex back from the brink)



I don't have photos, but I have grilled twice in the last two weekends. I will have to get some photos.
Wow, sad tale for sure. I would have been right there with you on the livid scale. They are very hit and miss on the service side. It is tough to ship these super heavy Timberlines and not have them take a hit at some point along the way. If one man attempts to move one, it's almost a guarantee.

Clearly a paint quality issue has crept into the production for a while now.
 

arzoumanian

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I would not go above 450F for a while, do a brisket or two and let it settle in. Even though I cured my heat issues by insulating the hot spots, I don't go over 450, use GrillGrates to get the grill marks needed.
I have ordered lots of stuff over the past few weeks, the GrillGrates are on backorder they will eventually arrive. I have the FireBoard Pro 2, I already had K style thermocouples. I also purchased the latest Thermapen, Jalapeno Racks, spray bottles, and pellets. I'm trying to find people here in Tucson AZ for a group buy on pellots. $14 for a bag of lumberjack is kinda high.

I have thought about more insulation, perhaps a future project. Planning on ribs this weekend, Maybe some pork belly burnt ends and Jalapeno poppers.
 

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