As far as Pit Boss customer service is concerned all I can tell you is that my experience was ridiculously awful. I called Customer Support to ask a question about grate size and was routed into an automated system. Every three minutes the automated system gave me two options to HANG UP the phone. After 10 minutes and the third time the system asked me to, I hung up.
So if I am going to take a pass on the Pit Boss then why not get a Traeger? A lot of folks are introduced to this brand through the infomercials for the Traeger Renegade Elite. And while the Elite and other models like the Tailgater are fine cookers I am not going to recommend a Traeger for the exact same reason that you are thinking about a Pit Boss.
Deluxe models have a unique arched drip plate, (above), which is found on many Louisiana smokers. Attempting to create a hot sear zone, a small plate is used to slide over openings in the larger arched plate to open or close direct exposure to the flaming firepot. The idea of exposing foods to the fire pot is used by several brands of pellet smokers. Generally it doesn't work well because the firepot flame is just too small to do much searing. Pit Boss is no exception. We placed a flight of chicken wings over the open slider, flipping occasionally while taking care not to move them from their original positions. As expected, only the few wings directly over the flame were seared,(below). The slider design dictates the absence of a flame diffuser over the firepot and one is not included with Deluxe models.
Pit Boss Grills is owned by Dansons, the same company that makes the popular Louisiana Pellet Smokers. They are headquartered in Alberta, Canada with US distribution in Minnesota. Along with Traeger, Louisiana was one of the early entrants to the pellet smoker market. They produce a wide variety of pellet smokers, accessories and are getting into the kamado business as well.
The Pit Boss 700 Series offers the best value per square inch in the wood pellet grill industry. The 700FB has been perfectly designed to be as versatile as it is practical. With 700 sq. inches of cast-iron cooking surface including a second tier rack, the 700 Series is perfect for a group of four to six. These 8-in-1 grills range in cooking temperature from 180 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Select your preferred cooking styles with the LCD read-out thermostatic controls and standard flame broiler. Set it and forget it, or slide the plate and sear it over an open flame. This uses our exclusive wood pellets to produce an exceptional taste. Our pellets are made of 100 percent Natural Hardwoods. With heavy gauge steel components, complete structural strength and durability, these high-value grills are meant to last. Grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbecue or char-grill to perfection with the Pit Boss 700 Series.
***Update 2...Now over a year in. I have easily fired this beauty up at least 150 times...yes, 2-3 times a week. With the cover, the care, and occasional, deep clean (just deep cleaned it for the 4th time..about a 1-2 hour simple process) it honestly looks like it did the day I set it up and works just as well. My pizza is the talk of my son's youth group buddies (don't want to tell them its Wal-Mart take and bake) and I can now cook/smoke/grill literally anything on this pit. My biggest problem now, if you read below about not using my 4K Cal Flame gas grill anymore (STILL haven't since), is that my wife if busting my chops to tear out my original 'outdoor kitchen' to free up more space on the patio! I'll keep making excuses to avoid that, but truth be told, this pit rendered my Cal Flame useless. Not one complaint...don't hesitate to buy this pit (remembering the $400 target price).***