Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Help Me Howard: Fridge Failure
You've heard this before, "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong." If you own a car, TV or an appliance, you know, unfortunately, Murphy's law makes sense. One woman loved her new refrigerator, until it let her down time and time again, and the store wouldn't replace it. Tired of the fridge failure, she turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- They say relationships run hot and cold.
Andrea Henrie: "It's really the nicest one I've had in my entire 57 years. It's very convenient, opening it from the top. I also wanted stainless steel."
At this point you can guess Andrea's not talking about a man but a machine.
Andrea Henrie: "Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with my refrigerator."
That's right, her $1300 bottom-freezer fridge. It started in what Adrea calls the "honeymoon" phase.
Andrea Henrie: "It was perfect, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my refrigerator. It was just humming along."
But just weeks before the one-year warranty expired...
Andrea Henrie: "What I noticed first of all is that my butter was melted. Then I looked at my milk, and my milk was sour."
The fridge had quit cooling, but, by the time the repair people showed up, days later, it had started working again and was on its best behavior.
Andrea Henrie: "They said, 'There is nothing wrong with your refrigerator,' but of course I had lost like hundreds of dollars worth of food that I had in there."
Worried her temperamental mate might bail after her warranty expired, Andrea decided to extend the warranty.
Andrea Henrie: "So I spent the $50 and bought the warranty, and I figured, well, now I won't have any more trouble with it."
She was wrong.
Andrea Henrie: "About three weeks later the same thing happened again, the freezer stopped working. This would be all frozen over with ice crystals and snow."
Over and over the repair people tried to patch up her frosty mate.
Andrea Henrie: "Eight times, they've been out eight times since March. They did just recently repair the control board, and they are thinking that it is going to continue to work, I guess."
Andrea doesn't buy that, and now wants a divorce from her once beloved fridge.
Andrea Henrie: "I gave it many chances to come around, really, but I think this is the end for this refrigerator, unfortunately."
She's called both the store and the warranty company with no luck.
Andrea Henrie: "I spoke to customer service reps. They won't let you speak to a manager. They said that they won't be able to do anything for you."
All Andrea is asking for is a replacement.
Andrea Henrie: "I would be happy if they wanted to give me a new refrigerator, just because I think it is probably a good product. I just happen to have a bad one."
But is she entitled to dump this refrigerator and have a new one brought in? Howard is not a divorce lawyer, but let's bring him in.
Howard Finkelstein: "Florida's Lemon Law covers cars under warranty and says after three strikes you get a new car. The law does not apply to appliances, but it is a good indication, a court might say, that after eight attempts to fix the fridge, it's time for a new one."
Andrea's extended warranty states that if a product is determined unrepairable, the customer is entitled to a comparable replacement.
At first the store said, since the fridge was now working, they would not replace it; but, a few days later, they changed their minds, and said, to maintain the relationship with the customer and because of the ongoing problems with the unit, they would give Andrea a brand new fridge.
They delivered it. Andrea stocked it once again. It was love at first sight.
Andrea Henrie: "It's going to be a long, loving relationship with my new refrigerator. I'm just really pleased, and I want to thank Howard and Patrick and all the staff that have helped me get this refrigerator because I couldn't do it own my own."
Now, should you buy a warranty? A lot of consumer experts say "no." On many products, the manufacturer gives you a year.
If you put it on a credit card, many cards will extend your warranty by a year, so you have two years free already, and, finally, most extended warranties are backed by an insurance company, and getting money from them can sometimes range from difficult to impossible.
A frosty situation left you out in the cold? Don't melt down. Contact us, we have been here 10 years. We are past the honeymoon phase, now just happily married to the idea of helping you.
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