Product Type: other vacuums
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Kirby GSix Vacuum
Kirby GSix Vacuum
Date: 02/10/00, updated on 17/01/03 (1038 review reads)
Advantages: good product
Disadvantages: Vastly overpriced
The Kirby vacuum cleaner is made in Cleveland Ohio in USA and imported to Reditch in Britain by the Kirby Company. That is virtually their only dealing with the sales of the product in the UK.
The machine is basically a vacuum cleaner (+ hose attachments) that can be transformed to shampoo, polish, spray, sand etc (and on earlier models saw, drill, and even cut hair!). The attachments are fiddly to fit and not built to a high standard. People rarely use anything but the upright vacuum.
The machine is sold in the home via a 2-3 hour demonstration (usually gaining access to your home with a false promise of a ‘free’ carpet/suite shampoo, or you may have won a prize on a free raffle- often a bottle of wine – but it doesn’t really matter – they rarely part with any gifts/free shampooing! –All they want to do is get their foot in the door. Once they’re in you may have a job getting them out.
The salesmen are self-employed and on ‘commission only’. If they don’t sell, they don’t earn. This can make them very pushy. In order to ‘close’ the sale they may lie. (Common lies are, 1. Lifelong warranty. 2. I only need one more sale to win a prize so I’ll give you a discount – but only if you sign up tonight). Beware, the product is very hard to sell and 99% of the salesmen don’t earn enough money and leave (after selling mum/dad and auntie one) within two months. You will therefore have nobody to chase regarding any broken promises.
The odd salesman that does do well will earn good money and after selling a set amount of machines will become an Area Distributor. This allows him to set up a sales office, set salesmen on and purchase machines from the Factory Distributor who makes money from every machine sold and in turn purchases direct from Kirby.
Because all three levels take a large commission the product is hugely marked up.
You will pay anything between £1000 and £2000 for a new G6. The price varies from area to area, and even street-to-street depending on who the distributor is and how well you haggle.
The machine comes into this country for approximately £300!!!!
There is no lifelong warranty. If you intend purchasing a machine, read the small print at the back of the manual. A word of warning – the area distributors regularly go bust or move to a fresh area leaving no local repair centre. Then, if/when you need repair work, you will have to travel (often long distances) or pay a call out charge that varies between £25 and £50 pounds! You may only be able to get sundries through the post. An interesting observation is that Kirby owners outside the warranty seem willing to repeatedly pay large amounts of money for repairs and maintenance. Do not be conned into a regular service - wait until the machine breaks down and then obtain a quote. Most machines will run for several years with nothing more than a yearly change of the belt!
The machines are well made and will usually run for years, but can break down and that is when you will get ripped off. Beware - parts will get replaced unnecessarily, also high call out charges and scandalously high prices for the sundries. Do not buy copy sundries – the bags tear and the belts stretch and smell of burning rubber. Phone several suppliers – you will obtain vastly different prices and can be much cheaper obtaining parts from the other side of the country (or continent – goods are well under half price in the states).
If you still wish to purchase a machine, buy second-hand. The first Kirby’s sold over here (Omega) are 25 years old, then Classic (Red bag-20), Tradition (blue bag 17-20), Heritage I (orange bag 15-17) Heritage II (in various forms and colours is between 8 and 15 years old) Finally around 1993 the radically redesigned G3 came out, paving the way to th
e present G6 model.
Don’t let the salesman tell you otherwise, the G3 is virtually identical to the G6, but you can buy these second-hand for less than £100.
The best buy is the Heritage II models (especially the legend with the burgundy bag) because they are cheap to buy (get a minter for under £100), by far the most reliable, easiest to work on (any local vac shop can repair them), and there is an abundance of really cheap second-hand parts - they also have all the attachments that the latest models have – and you will never use!
The most common complaints about the machine are:
1 They are very heavy to lift and models prior to the G3 are heavy to push and lift, because they have no drive mechanism to push and pull the back wheels.
2 Rip off sundries/running costs
3 Attachments fiddly to fit.
The Kirby is a good product that is vastly overpriced and often sold by conmen. What a shame that this product isn’t retailed in the shops for £400 with a competent and fair service network.