BY CHRISTOPHER ELLIOTT
When the door on Lauren Butcher’s new GE range shatters, the company makes her wait two months for a repair. She wants a new oven. Who’s right?
Q: I purchased a new GE electric range. I had it for 12 days. On the 13th day, the door glass shattered.
When a technician came out, he discovered that there was no insulation in the door. All oven doors are supposed to have insulation. There was a product defect.
GE says it is covering the replacement part. It has been two months, and the insulation is backordered. I have been without a working oven for two months.
I paid $800 for a range that never should have made it off the production line. They took my money and gave me a fundamentally defective product. Now I am a hostage, for an indefinite period, to GE’s supply chain issues.
My situation is not the same as purchasing a product where a part eventually goes bad. This stove was fundamentally defective when I bought it. I have two renters living with me. They pay me to have access to certain basic amenities, including an oven. One of my roommates is in culinary school. Can you help me?
— Lauren Butcher, Bentonville, Ark.
A: You’re right, this is not a warranty case. GE should have quickly replaced the unit, which should have never passed inspection at the factory.
When you told them you had a housemate in culinary school, GE should have double-timed it. But, of course, it didn’t. Instead, it treated your case like an ordinary warranty case.
This could have ended up so much worse. The shattered glass could have injured someone, potentially turning into an expensive lawsuit. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But being without an oven for two months is a major inconvenience.
I’ve seen more of these backorder delays recently. They are probably related to the supply chain issues some companies are having. The problem is, what do you do about it? Do you make your customers wait for weeks or months? Or do you get them a working appliance quickly?
The answer, of course, is you get them a replacement quickly. If you can’t nudge the company in the right direction, check out my free guide on replacing your appliance on my advocacy site, Elliott.org.
A brief, polite email to one of the company’s executives might have done the trick. I list the names, numbers and emails of the top executives at GE on my site. I would start by contacting one of the vice presidents and then work your way up the ladder.
I contacted GE on your behalf. A representative reached out to you and arranged to have a new range delivered. “Our customer service team spoke with Ms. Butcher this morning, and she is all set,” a GE representative told me. “This case is now closed.”
Maybe. But it would have been interesting to hear how GE is improving its inspections to avoid any more shattering ovens. And I suspect that after this is published, I’ll hear from a few more customers with broken ovens. We shall see.
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.