Craftsman 98536/88173 Snow Blower @ACE Review | The Race To The Bottom Continues

ACE Hardware has the Craftsman 98536 and Craftsman 88173 2-stage snow blowers on sale and I know many of you are wondering if they are a good deal.

My Rant. It appears ACE has entered the “I’ll sell you the cheapest product” race. No service, no support, just the sale. All they are interested in is taking your money. Once they get it – you are on your own. Until this point in time I thought ACE was a little better than the other retail stores but not anymore. Keep this up and it will no longer be “the helpful hardware store.” It is simply another “doll’r store” out to make a quick buck. “There will always be two ends of the market. There’s the race to the bottom, based on efficiency at all costs, that says, “we have what they have, but cheaper.” The problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win.” Seth Godin

Craftsman 24in. Two Stage Snow Thrower (98…

Craftsman 24in. Two Stage Snow Thrower (98536) [More]

Price: $579.99

So here is my review:

The Craftsman 98536 @ ACE is a 24 inch Craftsman 2-stage snow blower with a 208 cc motor, single-hand controls and the short chute. It appears to be a great deal but you need to be aware of exactly what you get.

1. You can not return it. Once you put oil and gas in it, it’s yours. ACE will not return the snow blower for any reason. If it’s broke out of the box and you didn’t notice the failure until after you put gas it – too bad. In addition, you can not return the snow blower to your local Sears. (It’s not even listed in their system) It’s yours – until you sell it to someone else.

2. You do not get any service or support from ACE. ACE does not support this snow blower and it states that right in the ACE advertising. “This product is repair only at an authorized Sears service center” If you have an issue with the machine you have to take it to an authorized repair center for repairs. As far as I know there are only 8 of these repair centers in the U.S. Now, You can take it to a Sears Full-Line Store and for a fee they will ship it out to the regional repair center. The snow blower does have a 2 year defects warranty but you will still have to pay the upfront diagnostics fee to send it out. Sears Hometown Stores, Sears Outlet Stores, Sears Hardware Stores and Kmart will not send it out.

3. You can not add the 3 or 5 year in-home Protection Plan. You have to take it to a repair center. Sears Repair Services will not come to your house to repair it.

4. It has the short chute everyone hates. This chute is slow to use. It allows snow to blow back in your face. It has a history of breaking the little tabs that hold it on the snow blower. A replacement chute is about $50.

Summary

The 98536 is a “Craftsman” and except for the short chute and lack of service it is a good machine. If you don’t care about service. If you only blow snow once in a while. If you know how to get Craftsman parts on your own – go ahead and get the deal. If this is your first snow blower. If you can’t haul your snow blower to a service center for repairs. If you want service and support after the sale look elsewhere:

Go Here to see all the latest reviews: The Best Snow Blowers For 2015

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