General Electric Responds To Twitter Distress Call, Fixes Shattered Stove

Mike writes that his parents came home one day to discover that the pretty black decorative glass on their oven door had broken into thousands of tiny black decorative glass shards. The stove was out of warranty, but they tried to contact GE anyway. After Mike learned about the situation, he posted to Twitter about it, hoping that GE might have some kind of special social media team scouring the Internet for dissatisfied customers. They did.

Mike wrote in his blog:

Just three years ago, my parents bought a GE Hotpoint gas stove. So, you can imagine their surprise when they came home from work on August 18th to discover that the black decorative glass panel on the stove door had fallen out of its frame and was shattered in hundreds of pieces on the floor.

The stove was two years out of warranty, but clearly this is a type of failure that GE might consider performing an out-of-warranty repair. My father took photos as he found it, swept the bits of glass into a cardboard box and hit the Internet for a way to contact GE. GE does have a feedback form on their appliances site, and my father filled it out that evening. He received an automated response, but nothing more.

My mother mentioned it to me on the phone that Saturday, the 21st, and I mentioned that GE Appliances might have a Twitter account. My folks aren’t that familiar with Twitter, so I decided to tweet on their behalf. I sent out the following into the Twitter void:

Mike626: The glass door of my parents’ 2 year old GE Hotpoint stove shattered into hundreds of pieces while they were at work. GE has a Twitter Acct? (1:37pm, Aug 21)

GE Responded on Sunday, less than 24 hours later:

GE_Appliances: @Mike626 This is Megan from GE. How can I help? (Aug 22, 10:28am)

They asked me to email them directly with my parent’s information and I provided them with a brief decription and my father’s photos.

Less than one day after GE responded to me on Twitter, I was copied on the following email to my father:

Date: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 7:52 AM
Subject: RE: Stove Glass Door Failure

Thank you for reaching out to us concerning your parent’s range and providing the tracking number for your father’s e-mail.

I was able to research the e-mail and have sent your dad the following response:

Dear Mr. xxxxxxxxxx,

Thank you for contacting us. I share your concern over the inconvenience and expense involved when a product fails to operate properly and I am sorry to learn of the difficulty you have experienced with your gas range.

I have scheduled no charge service with GE Consumer Service for this Friday, August 27, between 8AM-12 Noon. Your service call number is xxxxxxxxxx. If this is not a convenient time to have the range serviced, please contact GE Consumer Service directly at 1-800-432-2737, Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 10:00pm, or Saturday and Sunday, 8:00am to 6:00pm, Eastern Time to reschedule.

I hope this is helpful. Should you need any further assistance or have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Sincerely,

Kim

Consumer Advocate
Consumer e-Response Team
GE Consumer & Industrial

The service technician showed up on time, and after the usual complications of ordering a part and the Labor Day holiday weekend, my father sent me the following email yesterday:

Date: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 3:01 PM
Subject: Range Door

The glass in the gas range door has been installed.

GE IS OK BY ME.

I’m thoroughly impressed by GE’s Social Media response team on Twitter. To get a response in less than a day, and a free service call scheduled within 48 hours is a huge customer service win on GE’s part. That a company so large can provide such personal service is a testament to the power of a tool like Twitter.

It’s good that Mike was able to find help through Twitter, because the only contact we had in GE’s appliance division is no longer with the company.

jackiedkabletown.jpg

GE Stove Failure Leads to GE Twitter Success [injoke.org]
GE Appliances [Twitter]

Comments

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  1. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Hopefully he tweeted his dad’s response. Good customer service deserves recognition.

  2. Silverhawk says:

    That’s great that GE stepped up and took care of it, despite the product being out of warranty.

    What gets me is that so often anymore it takes a public call-out rather than normal CS channels to get a company’s attention.

    • saerra says:

      Agree re: public callout.

      I sent GE appliances an email (from their website) for a question about my stove – should have been very simple for them to answer…

      One month later, one automated reply saying they will answer soon, nothing since then.

      I am not a huge fan of GE needless to say.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Does email work for customer service anywhere? Outside of internet-only businesses, I haven’t even attempted it in years. The same thing always happens. I’ll send an email and then several days to a week later, I’ll either get a canned response that doesn’t answer the question or I’ll be given a phone number to call.

      • jaredwilliams says:

        Why don’t you call the place they bought it from or look online. What’s the question bud, I can probably answer it for you.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      What gets me is that while companies are trying to embrace new social media and will respond to that and have good customer serve there, they seem to ignore any other form of communication.

    • classic10 says:

      If nobody else knows, it didn’t happen.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I was just thinking about how the OP or anyone can probably reach a helpful CSR more easily simply because there is less of a saturation of people looking for customer service through that outlet. If Twitter were as common as a telephone or the ability to email, then this level of customer service wouldn’t happen so often.

  3. JonnyNYK says:

    That is a great story. This whole social media good PR thing seems to be taking off, this is just good stuff for the customer.

  4. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    See? Twitter does have a purpose other than letting drunk celebrities tell everyone how much they hate Kanye.

  5. ThunderRoad says:

    Amazing how you can get companies to actually do the right thing when they are exposed publicly for their shortcomings.

  6. grandzu says:

    I don’t understand why companies do not respond via traditional, and well known, methods of customer feedback/complaints, but jump to it when the complaint is from twitter.
    Why not answer and respond to all complaints from all methods?

    • CalicoGal says:

      >>>What gets me is that so often anymore it takes a public call-out rather than normal CS channels to get a company’s attention.

      I did both about a Marshall’s customer service issue– filled out their web contact form and tweeted them; did both of these things twice to absolutely no response at all.

      THIS story here is an encouraging tale for those of us who have lost all hope for good service and responsible customer relations.
      Great job, GE!

    • TTFK says:

      Twitter is open for all to see. Phone calls and letters usually aren’t.

  7. Macgyver says:

    I don’t know why they fixed it for free for, they had no reason to, it was out of warranty.
    People have to stop expecting something to be done for free when it’s out of warranty.

    • tbax929 says:

      It doesn’t sound to me like they were expecting it to be fixed for free, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I don’t think the article shows they expected it to happen. They only hoped.

      And there’s nothing wrong with asking. A good company might be willing to help a customer out, knowing it engenders future business. Especially when so many can now see their good tidings, it’s a win for everyone involved.

    • Mike626 says:

      I’m the Mike who wrote in…

      My folks weren’t necessarily looking for a free service call, but it seemed to me that regardless of the length of the warranty, a stove door shouldn’t shatter after three years of use. That said, GE really stepped up and helped my Mom and Dad, and I think that’s great.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      There might be several reasons as to why they’re replacing it…

      It could be a known issue and there’s a silent recall for the problem
      It’s an easy way to get some good PR
      It’s a calculated decision to make an out-of-warranty repair to keep a customer

      • trentblase says:

        I’d go with “known problem.” This exact thing happened to me (I came home and glass was all over the kitchen floor). I called apartment management and was really worried they’d think I did something to make it break, but they said it wasn’t the first time and installed new glass the same day (because they had spare glass fronts!).

        • jaredwilliams says:

          It’s usually caused from high temp cooking such as “closed door” broiling at 450-500 Fahrenheit when you are supposed to do “open door” broiling, or if it’s an old continuous clean model…that was a problem for any manufacturer back then. I’ve put my knee through that safety glass easily many times just moving our floor models around. It happens.

  8. jaydez860 says:

    My mom will never buy a GE appliance again and is on a crusade to make sure no one else does. She bought a washer in 2002. Exactly 3 months out of warranty the transmission on the washer imploded. GE offered her a free transmission but she would have to pay for labor to install it. The washer cost $350 new. Labor to fix it had an average quote of $380. GE refused to help her further.

    She now had a Frigidaire HE washer that broke 6 months out of the warranty (because my dad sucks at doing laundry and overloaded it) and they replaced all the broken parts free of charge.

  9. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    It would be GE Appliance’s social media team; GE has hundreds of companies this is just one of them. but, yeah.

  10. Successful Consumer says:

    Frigidaire acted completely opposite when my parent’s oven door exploded/shattered. (It didn’t fall out of its frame, it exploded during the clean cycle.) Frigidaire’s response was to give them 20 percent off a replacement. Dad called customer service for months. The 20 percent off coupon was offered after Dad called the Attorney General’s office and US Product Safety Commission. Needless to say, when they finally bought a replacement oven, it WASN’T a Frigidaire.

  11. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    1 year down the line… I can see it now: “Remember the good old days when all you had to do was Tweet your problem and they’d come fix it? Jeeze. Now they don’t even respond to Tweets.”

    …What is this world coming to. (~Avid NON-social media/social advertising user)

  12. Big Mama Pain says:

    What a stupid design. Glass on a the cover of a door that gets super hot and repeatedly opened and closed?

    • Rhinoguy says:

      I would agree with you if they hadn’t been doing this successfully for about eighty years. Isn’t an oven of ANY sort with at least partial glass a rarity? Even my $40 rotisserie has a glass door and it’s about ten years old, not treated with any undo respect, just kept clean.

  13. Winfield says:

    Warms the heart.

  14. Dylanna25 says:

    Thanks, Consumerist!

    I had a built-in microwave oven repaired by GE in May. It cost me nearly $200 because it was (less than 6 months) out of warranty. The repair is fine, but the installer put it back in the cabinet incorrectly. I didn’t notice until a couple of weeks ago, because it doesn’t affect the operation and we use it infrequently (which made the breakdown all the more irritating). When I called to request that they fix it, I was told that they only will cover problems with the repair for the first 30 days. I could schedule an appointment to have it reinstalled properly, but it’s an $85 trip charge, minimum. I declined.

    But shortly after, I spotted this article. Minutes later, I went to Twitter with my complaint. Within an hour, I was asked to send my contact information and story. So I did, and they’ve now scheduled a free repair appointment to re-do the cabinet installation.

    Nice to get a win once in a while, and it’s great that GE is stepping up like this.

  15. jaredwilliams says:

    I work for an appliance company that sells GE and technically as far as the IRS and taxes are concerned I’m employed by GE as well. I can say without hesitation that GE is the EASIEST company to deal with when you have a problem. All I have to do is e-mail my REP for GE and tell him “Hey I have a damaged unit in a house” and he sends me a “field scrap Return Auth” by e-mail and it’s that simple. If you have a problem with a GE unit that you JUST DON’T WANT and have problems right out the gate or it’s just damaged in general, GE is the easiest to deal with without even having to get service techs involved and take days out of your valuable week to be there between this hour and that hour to wait and wait for a part or anything. We as a company get credited without a hassle to scrap the unit, and the consumer is happy and doesn’t have to wait or have a brand new unit serviced immediately and be stuck with a “tainted” unit. I sell ALL major brands and high end brands. They are definitely the best out of everyone as a company. And they have the most choices, best lines look-wise, quality-wise and function wise. Consumer Reports knows, they rate them number one almost every month.

    Anyways, this was a well-known defect with GE that wasn’t recalled by the subsidiary, Hotpoint. So yes, good customer service, but also legally obligated to replace outside the warranty time-frame. One company that gets recalled all the time and has so many recalls they can barely keep up with notifications…MAYTAG. They suck. Do not buy Whirlpool corp. brands Maytag Jenn-air Kitchenaid Amana Roper Estate Admiral…etc.

  16. WagTheDog says:

    If you have to tweet to get a company’s attention, then perhaps they should take the contact form off their website.

  17. jjcraftery says:

    HA! Must be nice.
    I tried that with Samsung.
    But my lemon products were out of warranty, so they gave me the EXACT same “rigamorole” they gave me back when the products turned into lemons.
    I really hate Samsung.

    Go GE!!!

  18. wobiii says:

    Wow, I am very surprised that GE offered anything. They were the ones that told me that a control board was just recalled a month earlier and the customer missed the deadline and then when I asked why does the board fail stated “we usually don’t have problems with them”. . . OK then, thanks I guess.

  19. doeadeer says:

    The same thing just happened to me!! In the middle of cooking Christmas brunch! It was only the inside glass that shattered, the outer one is still intact. How can this happen? Glass went in my food I was cooking. It was horrible…and I couldn’t cook my Christmas ham later on either! So….do I have to “Tweet” in order to get GE assistance?? Crazy.