The Tale Of Lowe's And The Refrigerator From Hell

Reader Buddy has a lemon of a fridge that he purchased from Lowe’s with an Extended Warranty. The store keeps sending people out to fix the appliance, but nothing seems to work.

Buddy says:

Back about three years ago we were buying a house and it needed a few appliance upgrades. At the time there was a Lowes store opening in our area, and the had some fabulous grand opening sales, so we did a little research on the brands they had, and ended up buying a Mid level Samsung unit in black along with the Lowes extended warranty. All was well, and we really like the fridge.

Fast forward last summer, and the fun began. We started noticing the refrigerator section wasn’t cooling (freezer was fine) and so we called Lowes and call to get a repair scheduled. It took Lowes about three or four days to get someone out. Evidently they couldn’t find anyone in our area to do repairs and had to do some research and locate someone. This is a new store, they probably hadn’t had a lot of cause to contract for our region, so we wait patiently.
Eventually RepairGuy 1.0 comes out and says ‘I’ve seen several of these have bad CPU boards, I’ll order the part.’ Part comes, and about one week later (two weeks total repair, approximately) my fridge is all happy and we are all happy, and the world is fine.

Fast forward one year, almost exactly (Sept 2nd, the week before labor day) and the ‘Sound of Milk Doom’ returned over one long weekend when we were away. Ice in fan. Temp 54 Degrees F. So we call, and get repair scheduled with RepairGuy 2.0. After about two or three days (Sept 4 if I recall right), he comes out, We tell him of the previous experience with the CPU board, but he proclaims a ‘glitch of some sort probably caused by all the rain we’ve had (it has been raining a lot — something like 10 inches one week)’ and defrosts the fridge manually with a heat gun, changes some sort of ‘sensor’ and says ‘call if this doesn’t help’. This was a Friday.

Three or four days later (week 2), Tuesday or so,the temp in my refrigerator was 54 degrees and climbing, so call we did and left a message or two on his answering machine. De Nada. We call Lowes, and they can’t get hold of him either, but eventually, one week later he comes out. He was on vacation for a week. Temp is sitting near 65F in my fridge at this point and the fan has stopped whining (the evaporator is frozen solid by this point, and no air circulation. Heck its cooler in my house that morning due to the cold snap — I joke with my wife that we should just put our food in the garage!) Eventually he gets out, defrosts it again, and changes a couple more ‘sensors’ .

By Thursday, back to Temp 54, and rising (go me!). We call. Answering Machine. No return call. Call Lowes ‘we’ll try to get hold of him’ and eventually they do call, and he comes back out several days later, changes ‘all the sensors out’ and manually defrosts it again with the heat gun. By this time we’ve lost track of the gallons of milk and assorted other food items, and are getting quite annoyed, but ever hopeful. (Note: I have four kids, and two toddlers with a stay at home wife. This refrigerator stuff is pretty important not to mention loosing a couple hundred dollars of food every few weeks puts a crimp on our already limited budget) I just want my fridge operational again.

Eventually, two weeks ago, he orders the CPU board. One week later, last Monday, Lowes said it was delivered. He comes out last Thursday and replaces the board. ‘This should do it hopefully’.

Maybe in some alternative reality it does, but not for us. By this last Saturday we’re sitting on 55F again, and the growl of doom is emanating from the appliance again. I’m catering an event for some friends this weekend so lack of fridge puts a severe crimp on things, but oh well, we make do, and scale it down. We call Lowes this A.M. and they put in paperwork to get it replaced. It remains to be seen at this point what exactly will happen, but her remarks do not make me hopeful ‘we’ll try but it’s no guarantee it will get replaced’, and so here I sit, hoping to hear some good news, but at the rate I’ve been having it, I very much suspect otherwise. It is now Thursday, and we’re getting ‘it’l be three to five days before we know anything.” In otherwords next week at a minimum, and my fridge is sitting on 65F again.

Buddy, make sure you read the paperwork that came with the extended warranty. If there is a clause that says a lemon unit is eligible to be replaced after a certain number of repairs, you’ll want to know what that number is. Also, if the unit has a manufacturer’s warranty and you bought it with a credit card that has extended warranty protection that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty — you might find it more pleasant to deal with your credit card company than to continue with Lowe’s.

If Lowe’s gives you the runaround about replacing the fridge and you feel that your extended warranty isn’t being honored, you can always take them to small claims court. It’s fast and easy and cheap.

Good luck! In the meantime — don’t get food poisoning! Anybody got any tips for keeping Buddy’s food cold?

(Photo:Klaus M)

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