A few months ago, we reported that 2.2 million dehumidifiers sold under a variety of brands had been recalled after a few units sort of… started fires. Customers with affected units were to send back the unit’s name plate, dispose of it safely after cutting off the cord or otherwise rendering it unusable, then sit back and wait for their refund checks. And wait… and wait… and wait.
You probably had never heard of Gree Electronics before this recall, but everyone certainly has now. Their dehumidifiers were sold under more familiar brand names to Americans like Frigidaire, De’Longhi, and Kenmore.
Reader Deborah wrote to us earlier today, complaining that Gree seems to be sitting on her refund. “When I called the recall hotline, the woman there informed me that the two to six weeks was the timeline after processing and before the mailing of the check, and that no one knew how long processing would take,” she writes. The company’s own recall FAQ explains how long this processing is supposed to take quite clearly, but the key words there are “supposed to.” Gree’s site says:
You will be reimbursed once your name plate sticker, the power cord and plug, and the warning sticker from the power cord are returned and your return kit has been processed. Please allow 2-6 weeks from the receipt of your return to receive your reimbursement.
Do you see any mysterious “processing” time included there? We don’t.
This is what Deborah wants to know: have any other owners of recalled dehumidifiers received their checks, and within the expected time frame? Her own online search didn’t turn up very encouraging news. The consumer reporter at WSYR in Syracuse, N.Y. helped out a local woman with the same problem as Deborah. That viewer had been waiting for two months for her check.
When the TV station contacted Gree on her behalf, they learned that her check had apparently already been processed. The magic words “TV reporter” had apparently unlocked the company’s processing apparatus and made Gree “expedite” the check, which had already been printed and was sitting around.
We made some calls and are waiting to hear back from Stericycle, the medical waste and recall management firm that Gree hired to handle this recall. We’ll update this post or give you a whole new update when we find something out. And if you’re a customer affected by the recall and did get your check already, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can reassure Deborah.
Update, 4/25/14 – Yep, customers are still having problems. If you’re wondering about your refund and are tired of the saxophone tunes that the recall hotline plays while you sit on hold, give the Consumer Products Safety Commission a call at 800-638-2772.