Is it safe to trust consumer reporting articles about vacuum cleaners?

Is it safe to trust consumer reporting articles about vacuum cleaners?
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Synopsis: Data on vacuum cleaner repairs can be misleading.

    If you have been a reader of mine over the years you will know that we tend to specialize in high end vacuum cleaners here in our store. You may have even been in the store and heard me say something like, "Yes, I am here to make money. However, I REALLY am on your side!". The point has always been that I will not put you into a vacuum cleaner, air purifier, or central vacuum system where the product soes not perform like we want it to, or that the manufacturer does not stand behind the product when it breaks down, or that we have problems getting parts.

    What has always upset me is when customers want to take the "unbiased" opinion of some of the product review publications as gospel - over the time tested experience of folks that are actually in the industry - well, you can understand how my blood boils.

    This all leads up to the reason I am writing this today. It has come to my attention that in the August issue of CR, they ran a survey asking their readers how often they had to have their vacuum cleaner into the repair shop and what brands were those vacuum cleaners. This of course would lead to helping consumers decide on the more durable brands of vacuum cleaners to buy.

    Their results indicated that Simplicity was among the most repaired vacuum cleners and Kirby among the least repaired.

    Here is where it gets good. I realize that some of this will get technical, so you can skip ahead if you like. They mentioned that in their reporting they didn't include differences of less than 4% because that was "not meaningful". I beg to differ.

    One Standard deviation being 4% IS significant. It means their numbers for 76% of respondents are off by 8% Eliminating the one deviation from their final "chart" means they have eliminated 76% of the data making their sample fewer than 29,000. Of that 29,000 all are at least 2 standard deviations from accurate rending the survey with a less than 4% probability of being accurate. Also, how do they eliminate data based on use and age?

   The gorilla in the room is that they only reported machines that were repaired. They did NOT report machines that were simply thrown away. Also, Simplicity have fewer owners, so any repair (bag change, belt change, free service, whatever), will skew the results to show as a larger percentage than on a mass merchant product.

   My point is simple. Take what CR says, take what I say, take what you own experience has been, stir it up in a pot and see what the common denominators are.

   The reality is if you look at a vacuum cleaner brand like Simplicity and notice that they give a 3-7 year warranty on all of their models, it should say something about the expected durability of that brand. Simplicity would not extend themselves financially that way if they didn't some pretty good confidence about the quaility of their product. Not only that, but the fact that they are made right here in the United States, means that we are putting our own people to work. To me, that means a lot.

   The other thing I should mention about Simplicity vacuum cleaners and our experience with them. I have done this countless times over the 23 years that we have selling this brand. If I am demonstrating a Simplciity vacuum cleaner to someone and another customer walks in the door with a Simplicity vacuum cleaner, I have no qualms about asking them how they like their machine - right in front of my potential customer. Obviously I am taking a gamble - but trust me - it is a safe one.

    We will sell what we feel are the best vacuum cleaners for your money, not what is the easiest for us to make money on.



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