For months now, a steady stream of readers who are new to Consumerist have found us by searching online for help with their refunds for Gree dehumidifier checks. It’s understandable: some customers have been waiting for months, longer than the company initially promised. What can they do now?
Consumerist is one of the top Google results when you type “gree dehumidifier recall” in the search box, and we also actually answer some of our e-mail, so desperate customers have turned to us for help. One customer who submitted her materials a few months ago told us, “I called the number on the paperwork and sat on hold for over an hour before I finally hung up.”
Earlier this week, another customer reported spending an hour and a half on hold. “They had all my info and the requested returned items,” she wrote to Consumerist. “All was supposedly done in March and she said I should receive my rebate any day.”
Since Consumerist has been in contact with both customers on the ground and Gree’s media relations team, we’ve been acting as a go-between, passing on the names of frustrated customers who contact us, then reporting back to those customers what we’re able to find out.
When we passed on that Gree had no record of one person’s claim, he vented at Consumerist:
Return kit was mailed on March 22???? On April 15 I spoke to [a customer service rep] re: [serial number] Model SGDEH701 and she indicated you had received the return kit and claim would be sent to escalation department and had not been processed yet???? This is the time of year that we NEED these units!
We want to help, but the number of people contacting us has increased sharply in the last few weeks. For advice on what to tell our readers, we turned to Scott Wolfson of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
We wanted to know: is there a formal time limit for companies to get a refund out to customers? In the case of other recalls, it could also be parts for repair–whatever they had promised customers as a remedy.
There is no fixed time limit: a “reasonable expectation” that a recall won’t drag on for too long is part of a recall plan. If a recall is particularly large and complicated, companies can get some extra time to get refunds or repairs out to customers. “There are case by case agreements that the CPSC comes to with recalling firms,” Wolfson told Consumerist. He didn’t specify that Gree is one of these cases, but we’ll point out that serial number verification and full refunds for 2.6 million recalled units is a very large and complex recall.
Still, the CPSC is there ostensibly to help protect the public from unsafe products, and making sure that companies act responsibly when a recall does happen. To that end, they want to make sure that refunds or other remedies get out to customers in a timely manner. “We take pride at CPSC that the say we announce a recall, we do want that remedy to start to be available to the consumer,” Wolfson noted.
If you’re stuck without a refund, you can seek help from the CPSC. Regarding the Gree refund, Wolfson tells Consumerist that the agency is there to help. “If you are a consumer and you were given an assurance that you would get your refund at a certain point and that date has come and passed, your next call should be to the CPSC.” Yes, he says, Gree customers are coming to the CPSC with their concerns. If you don’t have your refund yet, or have If you are a consumer that had one of the affected Gree dehumidifiers and you have a concern about how the recall is being handled, please call the hotline at 800-638-2772.