Stuck with a fancy refrigerator that had a defective, leaking ice maker, Bob refused to accept a future of frequent repairs until the fridge’s warranty ran out. Instead, he took on Electrolux and refused to back down until he had a functioning replacement fridge. Here’s how he did it.
In September of 2009, my wife and I purchased an Electrolux Icon French Door Refrigerator (model #E128BS56IS) with an icemaker in the refrigerator section of the unit so that ice can be delivered through the door. The icemaker was leaking by the holidays and in January of 2010 we had our first service call. The personnel handling our complaints could not have been nicer, more professional or more anxious to help us solve our problem.
In the course of our ownership the icemaker required 18 service calls, two parts upgrades and one full replacement. Several technicians advised us that Electrolux had replaced “some” refrigerators in the Charleston, South Carolina area and I am convinced that the design of the unit was defective. In the space of 19 months, we made over 38 telephone contacts with Electrolux and they agreed to extend our factory warranty by one year. It took a formal request, in writing (return receipt requested) with a copy of a complaint filed with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs before they were willing to refund our purchase price. As I said, we purchase the refrigerator in September of 2009, we received a refund for the full purchase price in April of 2011.
Here’s what worked:
1) Be nice. Every person I spoke with at Electrolux tried to help.
2) Take notes. Log every problem, every conversation with support staff including who you spoke with and their company ID, if they have one.
3) Know what you want to accomplish. The company would have been happy to continue repairing the fridge until it was out of warranty. I made it clear that the warranty would not expire until I had one year of trouble-free operation.
4) Put a limit on what you will accept from the company. When I got to my limit (and you must be reasonable about your limit) I required the company take action.
5) Talk to a person who can say yes. When the service person says “no”, ask to speak with a supervisor. The language that finally worked for me with a third level supervisor was: “Can you authorize this ( replacement or refund) or should I speak with your legal department?”
6). Be prepared to follow through. I did not ASK for a replacement or refund, I told Electrolux that I would accept nothing less, I filed a complaint with my State’s Department of Consumer Affairs and I let them know I was willing to file suit to replace a defective design.
At that exact point, after receiving their copy of my filing, Electrolux refunded the full purchase price of the refrigerator and refused to pick up the old one. Now I have a spare refrigerator/freezer on my screened porch. The icemaker is turned off.