Australian cooks have reacted with fury after the German manufacturer of the popular Thermomix kitchen aid upgraded its design without letting new customers know it would soon be available.
Thermomix released its latest model, the TM5, on September 6 without warning, meaning customers who had bought its previous model, the TM31, missed out on the new design.
The result has sparked all out war between the company and its diehard Australian fans.
A Facbeook page to collectively address the backlash, Thermomix Unhappy Customers, was created on September 6 attracting 2544 likes.
The Thermo war has also hit the mainstream media, with TV programs Sunrise and A Current Affair reporting on it.
According to the Facebook page, consumers have made direct complaints to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in states including Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
The biggest outrage was evident on Thermomix Australia’s own page.
A customer was enraged when the company dared to ask: “What are your favourite ways to sweeten your custard naturally?”
One angry customer responded: “Everything I’ve cooked in my old new Thermomix over the last couple of days has left a very bad taste in my mouth. I imagine this will do the same.”
The anger also quickly boiled over with customers starting a Change.org petition titled: “Address the issues surrounding the misleading way Thermomix AU have handled their customers and provide a fair and satisfactory resolution.”
The petition has amassed 2072 votes, with the respondents calling for transparency from the German company.
“How was this company allowed to hide this information from its customers and then use the excuse that ‘We didn’t know’?” the petition states.
The cult of Thermomix
The machine, which retails at about $2000, is the wunderkind of kitchen utensils. It cooks, chops, minces, boils, steams, whisks, weighs and grates (and that’s not all!).
In one comparison of the old and new models, the upgrade was likened to an original 1990s Nokia phone being replaced with Apple’s new iPhone 6.
Nevertheless, when Thermomix Australia made its announcement last weekend, the backlash was immediate.
Some claimed to have bought the “old” Thermomix (version TM31) days or weeks before the release of the new model (TM5).
While it does not appear Thermomix has broken the law, it has kickstarted a PR disaster.
After almost a week of continued customer outrage, Thermomix’s German parent company Vorwerk! has now officially apologised to its customers on the Thermomix in Australia Facebook page.
“Thanks for taking the time to contact us to express your disappointment, we apologise for our delayed response.
The Australian launch of the Thermomix Model 5 was conducted in line with global brand compliance in accordance with our distribution arrangements. We are deeply sorry that this has resulted in some customers feeling disappointed.”
—with Antonia Acott and Melissa Mack