BY CHRISTOPHER ELLIOTT
Christy Prince’s new GE refrigerator hasn’t worked for three months. Should GE replace the appliance?
Q: I purchased a new GE refrigerator three months ago. The refrigerator portion stopped cooling approximately 60 days later.
The retailer only allows returns before 30 days. But my GE warranty still covers the appliance since it is almost new. I contacted GE, and it scheduled a service call. I had to wait three weeks for a technician because they only had one person who services my area.
When the technician finally came, he determined the fan was faulty. But the part he needed was on backorder and wouldn’t arrive for another two months.
I told him I couldn’t wait that long for a refrigerator, especially after purchasing this recently. The technician gave me the customer service number to call to see if GE would switch out the entire refrigerator.
I spoke to an agent who said she would have to reach out to their parts department to see if they could get the part sooner. A week later, GE contacted me to say it has been able to locate one part and can get it shipped out sooner, but they are still checking on some other parts that they need for my repair.
This is getting ridiculous! I haven’t had a working refrigerator for three months. Please help!
— Christy Prince, Cartersville, Ga.
A: Your GE refrigerator should still work. I don’t care about the retailer’s warranty or the manufacturer’s warranty. Both companies should be getting you a working refrigerator on the double!
But that’s not how warranties work. As I note in my guide to appliance warranties, companies strictly limit their warranties. They also reserve the right to repair, replace or refund, and they almost always attempt a repair.
I list the names, numbers and email addresses of GE’s customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. I think a quick, polite email to one of them might have helped.
There’s really only one way to avoid a problem like this. You have to research your appliance purchase carefully. Read the customer reviews and run an online search for recalls. I’ve received several GE appliance cases recently, and I’m certain some of them could have been avoided with a little homework.
It’s reasonable to give a company a month to repair a problem. But by the time you contacted me, you had been three months without a refrigerator, which is unacceptable.
I contacted the company and asked if it could help you. GE expedited a part to your technician, who attempted a repair.
“GE changed out the three parts and it worked as of the moment they repaired it,” you told me. “However, it did not continue past Friday. So we are now back at square one without a refrigerator.”
I spoke with GE again. And this time, the company got it right.
“They ended up completely replacing the unit,” you reported. “The new unit is much colder than the other one ever was so I think the original one was just faulty from the beginning.”
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him on his site.