Reiss has been helpful and supportive the whole way through this saga and from my experience I can assure anyone who is considering importing a machine (in my opinion) that if a similar situation was to occur that you wouldn't just be ignored and forgotten about.
As you could imagine I was feeling pretty stink, the coffee machine that I had been waiting weeks for had turned up bent and broken! Reiss told me to make myself feel better thatI should adjust and tighten up the three leaking pipes and to try and get a decent coffee out of the beast. So that is what I did. It took me while of tightening and adjusting. I'd stop the leak at one pipe and it would start at one of the others, I'd tighten that one up only for it to start hissing out of theone I had tightened up previously, it was a bit of a mission but I got there in the end!
So I had some fantastic coffees out of the machine, I even had friends around to admire it, even in its bent state (I think they just wanted a free coffee!). I do think the coffee I was using was over roasted.What I had was "Barista Deluxe" coffee, medium dark roast. It's what we use at the restaurant where I work part time. I've always said its over roasted and not great as espresso. I drink a mix of coffee - espresso,macchiato, long blacks, lattes, even caramel lattes! - just depends on the timeof day and how I'm feeling.
I was happy with the quality of the machine, it made fantastic coffee and I expect it would produce fantastic coffee for as long as I ever owned it, its just a f%#king shame it was damaged during shipping.
Reiss has said that they paid an external packaging consultant to design the packaging for world wide shipping and that they moved to a higher density polystyrene that is load rated to take a force of 5 tonnes on a flat surface before crushing. My understanding is that the packaging will change (which it has) and machines will be shipped with the top half of the group removed to try and reduce the centre of gravity and the height of the boxes and hopefully offer up some more protection.
I was told by DHL NZ that a customer care agent would be in touch with me and Reiss said that when he spoke to DHL there was no argument, they would come and pick the damaged machine up to be returned to the UK
After several emails and phone calls between myself and DHL over the following week I packaged up the L-I, attached the waybill and shipping documents they had emailed me and returned it to the DHL depot in Invercargill. Unfortunately, when I got there the local agent didn't know anything about it and the machine wasn't going to get shipped without someone to invoice the costs to. The local agent suggested that I just pay the bill and claim it back from DHL, but that wasn't going to happen!
I took the machine home, unpackaged it and put it backon my bench for another week while DHL sorted out who was paying the return costs.
Another week past and several more emails were exchanged, then I was told that DHL would contact me to arrange pickup of the machine before 10am the next day, as you can probably guess, this didn't happen, I went to work at 10am, received an email about 1pm saying they were ready to come and collect the machine! Fat chance, I was at work!!!!
They rang the next day (Friday) asking when they could come, I had just opened another bag of coffee and wasn't letting it go to waste so I told them not to bother coming as I was going to be busy for the next fewdays.
I dropped the damaged machine off on Monday 3rd March,they still seemed a bit confused about the whole situation and had to ring head office, but this time at least I had a reference number to quote them.
So I had my original L-I for 18 days before it was returned, it made fantastic coffee in this time, just a shame it was bent.
The machine shipped back to London pretty fast, I sent it on the Monday and it arrived at Fracinos on Thursday! Great work DHL...;-)
When I spoke to the DHL customer care agent I specifically asked about what would happen with the GST (goods and services tax) and importation fees that I had just paid on a machine that I would no longer have. I was assured that I would not have to pay the bill again, all I would have to do was present my paperwork saying I had already paid, this would then be transferred to the new machine and they would simple release the machine without any hassles.
Man, was this customer care agent wrong on so many levels!
To add insult to injury, my car was written off when it was parked on the side of the road on the day I returned my L-I back to DHL. It was one of those time and place situations. My car was parked on the side of the road (not in the normal staff car park) and if I hadn't been to DHL my car would never have been parked where it was and it may have never happened. Not Reiss's fault, not DHL's fault, shit happens, move on! Insurance paid out and we have a shiny new car now.
Reiss shipped my replacement machine on Thursday 21March, it arrived into New Zealand on the 25th March and made its way to Christchurch (I live in Invercargill, 600km away) where it stayed for 24 days while we (Reiss and myself) argued with DHL because they were asking me to pay the Tax bill a second time!!!
What the fark!!! You have got to be kidding, right? I specifically asked DHL about this happening and was told that it wouldn't be a problem.
I refused to pay.