This Frigidaire Mini Fridge Has A Mini Lifespan

Living far from home in a dorm, Damian took advantage of a Black Friday sale at Best Buy to purchase a tiny refrigerator that could hold the necessities of life. (Insert joke about what you thought the “necessities of life” were when you were in college here.) The Frigidaire appliance didn’t last long, though. It’s already dead after less than a month. And while Best Buy would be happy to take the fridge back, he doesn’t have a truck and can’t take it back to the store it came from. What can he do?

I bought a Frigidaire mini fridge at bestbuy on Black Friday thinking it would be a great deal. Sadly I was mistaken.

As a college student freshman, out of state, living in dorms, I needed desperately a small fridge, so when I went to Best Buy on Black Friday to check out the fridges I found this deal on a Minifridge by Frigidaire which I thought it would work and be good.

Two and a half weeks later the fridge dies, and when trying to reach Best Buy their answer was a mere “Take it back to the store”. I told them that as a freshman out of state I don’t have a truck to carry it, nor can drive over 3 hours to the store where I got it (in rural [state]). Nevertheless I told them there were repair services, and according to the manufacturer there was a repair service available in town. To which Best Buy replied “We don’t do repair services on mini fridges, so take it to the store before the 24th”.

What kind of service does Best Buy deliver? and in turn, why is there discrimination between the appliances bought? If I had bought a fridge they would’ve perform an in house repair, but since mine is a small fridge then I’m SOL?

I’d very much appreciate any tips on how can I handle this, given that I might just lose the money I invested because I don’t have the means to take it to the store and they refuse to perform a home repair service like they do for other appliances.

It might depend on the dollar value: sending a technician out for a visit costs more than most minifridges, and most people are able to get small appliances like that back to the store they came from.

Frigidaire has an active Twitter presence: maybe they will be able to help in some way. Best Buy’s social media team also might appreciate the PR value of helping a college student during his time of greatest need: finals week.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Torchwood says:

    Uh…. is it actually required to take it back to the store that you purchased from, or can it just be any Best Buy? He has the receipt.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I was under the impression that you could return items to any Best Buy store. I wonder if there are exceptions to Black Friday sales.

      • PunditGuy says:

        Yeah, I can’t vouch for Black Friday items, but I’ve returned stuff to a Best Buy that wasn’t the purchase location.

    • dirtyblueshirt says:

      I think the key is that the store he purchased it from probably *is* the closest store, if he’s in a rural area.

  2. Carlos Spicy Weiner says:

    I think with BB, you have a choice since it’s still under their bring it back in a month for any reason Return Policy. Take it back and have them replace it with a new or different one (a major pain for the OP), or let Frigidair repair it in town under the manufacturer’s warranty, which is much more convenient.

    • eldergias says:

      OPs issue isn’t that they won’t take it back, but that the store he bought it from is far away and he thinks he needs a truck to transport the mini-fridge.

      • Carlos Spicy Weiner says:

        Sounds more like he doesn’t want to spend the three hours to drive to BB for return, but what is he expecting, BB? They’re not going to pick it up. And Frigidair warranty should cover a local repair shop if they are authorized.

  3. ToddMU03 says:

    I can fit a mini fridge in my Civic. Why do you need a truck?

    • dirtyblueshirt says:

      That’s a good question… he got it to the dorm somehow, couldn’t he use the same method of return?

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Yeah really; a fridge that size could fit in the passenger seat of most cars. You could even probably take it on the bus with you, even with a dolly, which I’m sure SOMEONE in the dorm has. Someone always does.

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          I could and did fit a minifridge in the passenger seat of my kia sephia back in college. But maybe his point is that he doesn’t have a vehicle at all?

          • Dave B. says:

            Then shouldn’t the statement say “I don’t have a vehicle” and not “I don’t have a truck”?

            • tsukiotoshi says:

              I know people who do say things like truck or car and mean all wheeled vehicles. But yes, he could literally have meant truck.

    • JennQPublic says:

      He’s just grasping for reasons to make this BB’s problem, not his own.

      If he’d bought a set of headphones that broke within a month, the situation would be the same. Still no ride, still hours from the store, and still not BB’s fault. Their return policy doesn’t promise you a ride to the store if the item breaks.

      Time to grow up, man up, and start taking responsibility for your own crap, kiddo. Welcome to the real world.

    • Charmander says:

      Yeah, we sell them at the store I work at. A truck? They’re not that much bigger than the microwaves we sell.

  4. eldergias says:

    Have you actually tried fitting it in your car? I have had 2 mini fridges. One was actually pretty big, and both fit in the back seat of a normal car.

    Also, as Torchwood said, did they specifically say you had to take it back to the store you purchased it from?

  5. spf1971 says:

    Seeing as how Frigidaire provides the waranty, if Frigidaire says that there is a repair facility close by, go through Frigidaire.

    Taking it back to Best Buy will get it replaced but I’m sure he is more than capable of actually going through the manufacturer for warranty work

  6. RueLaLaLa says:

    If it doesn’t fit in your car (which it should as others have stated), ask a friend a friend if you can borrow their truck or SUV. Simple. And take it back to whichever Best Buy is closest to you. You don’t need to bring it back to the original store.

  7. energynotsaved says:

    I had the same problem with the lawnmower I purchased from Lowes. The machine was still under warranty, but I couldn’t get it into the car and to the store. (I had surgery and couldn’t lift it.) When you don’t have a car, or can’t lift the item, you may well be out of luck.

    • kalaratri says:

      We had that issue with Lowes and a lawn mover, but hubby managed to browbeat them into loaning us a truck for free.

  8. unpolloloco says:

    I’ve fit two large minifridges in the trunk of a compact before (admittedly, the trunk didn’t close with them in). Find anyone with a car larger than a scooter and take it to the nearest Best Buy. Alternatively, go through the manufacturer’s warranty…

  9. sven.kirk says:

    Unless you have a Smart car, it should fit or hang in the trunk just fine as long as you tie it down.
    Three hours to the BB you bought it at? Are there any other BB nearby? I doubt you HAVE to take to the one you purchased it from.

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    You should be able to take it back to any Best Buy. If the nearest BB is over three hours, that is your problem.

    What if you bought a mini fridge and moved to England. Would you expect BB to ship you a new fridge because its inconvenient for you to return it?

    Also, 9 comments and no “OP’s fault for shopping at BB?” There are many disappointed Consumerist bingo players right now.

  11. Legit Crypt says:

    Not trying to be a troll here, but 3 hours isn’t that far for a total of 6 round trip. See your parents, get your laundry done, have a home cooked meal, play with your action figures or dolls from when you were a kid… That sounds like an easy Saturday/Sunday to me. I worked through college so I get it but its doable if you try.

  12. consumeristjohnny says:

    I have a few comments here
    1. Will you be going home for Xmas break? You have until Dec 24th
    2. Yes, there is discrimination based on the value of an item. If you buy a $10 CD, and it is defective, and you have no ride to the store, would you expect them to come pick it up?
    3. Your lack of truck is really not their issue. Did you have it delivered? Then why should they come pick it up. Delivery costs money
    4. Why arent you calling the manufacturer? Best Buy gave you the options you can do through them, but if it is under warranty, talk to Fridgedair

  13. blinky says:

    What’s the deal with needing a truck for a mini-fridge. And why doesn’t he contact frigidaire if he wants to get it repaired?


  14. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    Soooo – how did you get it from BB to your dorm? And ‘discrimination’ against a small fridge – seriously? Would you expect them to trot out and repair any item regardless of size? The purpose of in-home repairs is specifically for large items that customers would typically have difficulty in transporting, not to mention what kind of service facilities they would have to manage to hold all the equipment being repaired.
    I hear lots of excuses Groaner McWhinerson.

  15. SabrToothSqrl says:

    find a friend with a real car and take it to the store you loser.

    • SabrToothSqrl says:

      Problem solving is part of college. You aren’t going to make it in the real world freshmen. Get off you lazy azz and WALK it if you want it that bad. Else shut up.

  16. topgun says:

    A) It will fit in a truck.
    B) Any Best Buy will take it back.
    C) With receipt in hand take it to the repair center.
    Why such a problem? Stuff breaks, usually in the first few months. That’s why the manufacturer has a warranty. That’s life as a consumer.
    Hmm, maybe my son is the OP. He always expects someone else to fix his problems for him.

  17. The_IT_Crone says:

    …truck? Really? I was able to fit my double-tall mini-fridge in my itty bitty car.

    Also, “discrimination?” You HAVE the capability to move the fridge yourself, you just refuse to because it’s “far” and you don’t understand that a “mini” fridge doesn’t require furniture movers.

    However if you were a NICE customer, I’m sure they’d have suggested a nice moving company to move your BIG HEAVY fridge for you.

  18. Costner says:

    It really isn’t Best Buy’s fault that he lives so far away or that he can’t secure transport back to the store (he obviously had transport from the store to his dorm, so the return trip shouldn’t be that hard).

    I don’t expect manufacturers to send out technicians to repair items which can be lifted and carried by one person, so it isn’t unreasonable for them to ask for the item to be returned. You wouldn’t expect to see them send a repair person out to fix your toaster or blender or vacuum cleaner, so you can’t expect them to do so for a mini fridge either.

    Besides even if they did find a repair shop in the area chances are he would still need to get the fridge to them, so his lack of transport is an issue either way. My advice is to accept this as a personal challenge and find a way to get to Best Buy. You can fit a mini-fridge in most vehicles and if worse comes to worse find a friend with a hatchback, minivan, or truck and pop for the gas money.

    Then after the item is returned to Best Buy, use that money to buy something from a local retailer in your city. Every college town will have a store that sells dorm sized fridges, so spend a few bucks more and get one there…. if you have any problems with it the return process will be much easier and you won’t have to blow $20 in gas for drive back and forth to the store.

  19. BettyCrocker says:

    If it were me in this situation, this would really bug me. Why should I have to spend 6+ hours of a weekend, plus fuel, to return a product that should have been manufactured properly. Two and half weeks is so far below a reasonable lifespan, it’s ridiculous.

    The manufacturer should replace the fridge. They should ship him a new one and pick up the old one at the same time. They should also apologize his lack of refrigeration for food during a crucial time – finals. Is it unreasonable to say that he has to go farther out of his way to eat giving him less time to study as a result? Maybe that’s a bit much – but it’s possible.

    Bottom line is – it’s not his fault this brand new appliance broke. The manufacturer needs to step up and make this right.

    • Rachacha says:

      I am sure the manufacturer would be more than willing to repair or replace the refrigerator…if they KNEW it was broken! The OP has not contacted the manufacturer. While it sucks for the OP that his refrigerator is no longer working, he is creating his own problems as he has not contacted the manufacturer.

      Best Buy is right, they can not authorize a repair, but the manufacturer can, or they can drop ship a replacement directly to the OP.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Best Buy cannot guarantee that items will not break- that’s why they have warranties, and that’s why they’re wiling to take it back. It is not BB’s fault that he lives far away, or that he thinks he needs a truck for a small appliance. The OP took a gamble by purchasing something out of town, instead of a local place (and it doesn’t sound like he looked for local BB’s or tried to do the warranty through Frigidaire).

      It SUCKS that the fridge broke.* It really does. But these things happen, and he needs to grow up and deal with it. College isn’t just about grades, it’s about learning how to be an adult, which is clearly not yet achieved.

      * Actually at this point I’m wondering if it’s operator error. Just from the general cluelessness of the OP.

      • BettyCrocker says:

        If you’ll (re?)read my post I said that the manufacturer should replace the faulty product – not Best Buy.

        • The_IT_Crone says:

          I did miss the “manufacturer” part, but I think the rest holds true.

          However, since he didn’t bother to contact the manufacturer, we don’t even know what they’d be willing to do. Though I’d not expect/require them to make a house call because a DORM FRIDGE broke.

        • spf1971 says:

          I’m sure the manufacturer will remedy the situation if the OP gives them the chance. Unfortunately, the OP wants Best Buy to take care of it.

  20. Rachacha says:

    There is little hope for our future:

    OP had to somehow get the refrigerator from the store over Thanksgiving break to his dorm room. Christmas break is coming up in probably a week or so, can’t mom & dad help him take it home and exchange it?

    Why does the OP need a truck to move this mini refrigerator. The article does not say how large it is, but most mini fridges will fit in a compact car.

    Has the OP tried contacting the manufacturer? They would be thw one to honor any warranty service/repair/replacement. Best Buy is offering to do an exchange as an act of good customer service, but if the OP would rather do a repair, contact the manufacturer.

    Dear Consumerist, why are you recommending that the OP contact Frigidaire through Social Media channels, have the OP pick up the phone, contact their normal CSR and let them decide how to repair/replace the OP’s product.

  21. devilsadvocate says:

    Read the warranty. Most likely, the small fridge has a carry in warranty only. If that’s the case, to get it repaired for free, you have to follow the parameters of the warranty. If you don’t like those parameters, you should not have purchased the fridge. Also, if BB is offering to take it back, they are doing that on thier own. Warranty does not include returns.

    • LadyTL says:

      Given they put the warranty terms inside the box and most stores don’t let you open the box just to read the warranty, how is anyone supposed to buy something based on the terms of a warranty they can’t read?

      • The_IT_Crone says:

        I have a VERY hard time believing that he wasn’t informed of the warranty terms. If he ignored them, then maybe he shouldn’t have assumed a limo would pick it up at his dorm room if anything went wrong.

      • O2C says:

        Every time I’ve gone appliance shopping I’ve looked at the sales floor model. Nearly every time I’ve looked at a sales floor model, the manual and warranty has been tucked inside in freezer compartment, crisper, broiler, or whatever. The one time I didn’t see it, I asked and they brought it out from back for me.

        If you want to see the manual or warranty, you can ask. They want to make the sale and will gladly accommodate a reasonable request like this one.

  22. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    You should see the things that fit on a motorcycle or bicycle in China, although law enforcement may frown upon it here. I have a seen a family of five, a live pig in a wicker basket, a load of bricks, a 15′ high stack of bamboo, etc.

    I’m wondering if the thing has been treated to a custom paint job or something.

  23. VicMatson says:

    Why would he buy a truck only appliance for collage, is he crazy?

  24. Hi_Hello says:

    did OP read the manual before plugging it in?? My guess OP damage the fridge….OP should be grateful bestbuy is willing to take it back.

  25. Bodger says:

    As for transportation, as others have said a truck is a ridiculous requirement if the fridge in question is as pictured. I have carried items that size in the passenger seat of my old ’91 Miata (as well as 12′-long wood moulding but that is a different story) with little problem. I would be on top of Frigidaire for a repair/replacement rather than trying to deal with BB whose track record for customer service is questionable at best. Given the price of the fridge and the cost of bad press the maker should be happy to simply drop off a replacement.

  26. Jennlee says:

    Minifridge should fit in car or bus, or heck, he could even hitchhike with it – anybody read the amazingly funny book Round Ireland with a Fridge? A guy took a minifridge hitchhiking all the way around Ireland. Even took it surfing!

  27. mattman0726 says:

    OP has until January 24th to return or exchange with receipt. This is part of the holiday return policy, which is any purchase made between November 13th and December 24th can. be returned to any Best Buy by January 24th.

    *Disclosure: As an employee of Best Buy, this statement is my own, not that of Best Buy.

  28. BettyCrocker says:

    Maybe the OP doesn’t have a car and doesn’t have anyone willing to spend a day driving 6+ hours to return a damn fridge?

    He spent money on a new appliance that should have a reasonable lifespan. It’s not his fault the manufacturer doesn’t have higher quality control standards to make and deliver (to the store) a piece of machinery that functions properly.

    Frankly – I wouldn’t want a repair. I would want a new fridge that didn’t break in the first month. Otherwise, I would have bought a refurbished fridge… although that is probably what the manufacturer is going to try and push off on him if the replace it. Someone else’s broken fridge that they got back and fixed.

    • humphrmi says:

      So anything you buy should be replaced at your doorstep, no matter how far away you move it?

      • BettyCrocker says:

        No. But a new fridge – less then a month old? 3 hours from place of purchase? Yes.

        Even though there are “rules” about things – I like to think of them more as guidelines and allow trusted employees to use good judgement to provide good customer service, which in turn will make them repeat customers who, hopefully, tell their friends about their positive experience instead of the entire internet about their negative one.

  29. sean says:

    He needs a truck to carry a minifridge? No, no you don’t.

  30. penuspenuspenus says:

    A $75 mini-fridge is not the same as a $700+ full size fridge in terms of repair. A broken mini-fridge is worth the scrap metal you get from the compressor. That’s about it. Repairing it is pointless as most repair services start at more than what your fridge is worth.

    Best Buy told you what you can do. It’s not their problem that you live in BFE. What do you expect them to do? Drive to your home and replace it because this is an inconvenience to you?

    Maybe your time would be better spent Occupying something.

  31. jiarby says:

    It’s amazing that people can get stuff home from the store but can never seem to get BACK there! Who expects to get in-house service on a $50 dorm fridge!? Yep it sucks that the thing broke in only a month….but seriously, do you expect the same treatment and service as someone that buys a $1500 fridge. “Appliance Discrimination” LOL! You take some risk when you buy the cheapest possible product you can and then haul it to a place that makes it un-economical to return. The terms of the warranty and service procedures were available to you before you bought the unit. No sympathy from me….or anyone else with common sense.

  32. SecretAgentWoman says:

    I’m sorry, sh*t happens and it’s not Best Buy’s responsibility to make sure you aren’t inconvenienced in any way at all times. Borrow a friends car, suck it up and drive it back.

  33. lexibear10 says:

    You can take it back to any Best Buy…

  34. The_IT_Crone says:

    I did miss the “manufacturer” part, but I think the rest holds true.

    However, since he didn’t bother to contact the manufacturer, we don’t even know what they’d be willing to do. Though I’d not expect/require them to make a house call because a DORM FRIDGE broke.

  35. JonBoy470 says:

    What?! No one fixes dorm fridges! Not even Fridgidaire! They’re disposable! In the immortal words of Charlie Sheen “Plan Better!” It would have behooved the OP to have bought the fridge at back to school time, when dorm fridges are cheapest of all. Then he’d have had time to “break in” the fridge by running it at the ‘rents house, thus getting any “infant mortality” out of the way before heading to school.

    I’m going to blame the OP because he’s too much of an idiot/social pariah to have gotten in the good graces of “the guy with a car”. In college it is essential to befriend the guy who has a car on campus. Then you bribe this person with beer and/or pizza to get him to cart you to Best Buy to exchange the fridge for a new one. Unless the OP’s college is in BFE, there’s a Best Buy within a half hour or so drive.

    And before anyone gets smart, the beer “bribe” to get the ride is “incidental damage” and thus excluded from the warranty. Unless the OP lives in a state that doesn’t allow exclusions for incidental and consequential damage.

  36. Jared The Geek says:

    He is not required to take it to BB for a manufacture warranty issue. He can contact the maker and have them handle. He is just whining. Of course there is a difference between a full size fridge and a small one. Get a grip.