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Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-19-2005, 09:17 AM   #1
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Sell your GE stock?

I'm at my ropes end.

I bought a new GE refrigerator last year, and after a bit noticed that it really wasnt getting that cold in the refrigerator section...and it wasnt very consistent. Some mornings it'd be about 39 degrees, others in the low to mid 40's. Thats turned all the way up to '9'. The FDA suggests a temp of 41 or less, and I've usually run mine right at the ragged edge of freezing stuff, at about 34-35 degrees...and gotten that at a setting of about 6.5-7. Usually after about 10 years I have to turn it up a notch to maintain the same level temp. So while this one is in the vicinity, its not really chilly in there and I have no room to 'turn it down' any further.

GE's 'state of the art telephone response system' is the worst thing I may have ever encountered. It very actively tries to prevent you from ever speaking to a person. After a series of 'press 1 for this', 'press 5 for that', it wants you to 'speak your 14 digit model number' and then your serial number, your name, address, etc. If it doesnt understand something you say, it says "I dont understand you, call back again sometime, goodbye!".

I thought rule #1 on customer service was 'dont hang up on the customer'?

If it does understand you, it just tries to schedule a service call to you automatically...whether you want one or not.

My first service guy was interesting. Showed up, said he knew nothing about the model, would call GE and get some ideas from them. Three weeks later I called him and got what sounded like a home answering machine and no response to my call. A few weeks after that I went round 2 with the GE state of the art phone hanging up system.

I finally got a real person after 2 hours and about 9 attempts.

They sent another company out. Although the original repairman did pop back up six weeks later with a replacement part, seemingly mystified at why a six week absence was in any way a problem. "I've got some folks I ordered parts for last august!" he declared, seemingly pleased with this.

Anyhow, long story shortened, we're four months, eight service calls, two companies and three repairmen later at exactly the same place. About $1400 retail worth of parts and labor have gone into an $800 fridge. The last 2 weeks the refrigerator portion didnt work at all because the repairman put in the wrong controller board.

The repairmen have also broken two of the plastic interior parts in the unit because they werent sure how to remove them, so they used the force method. Those were finally ordered yesterday although the repairman called later on to say that his boss was pissed at him for taking so many calls to this location and wanted me to install the parts myself when they came in. Good management!!!

I've asked GE about 10 times to replace this unit as it appears after all this they cant fix it. They claim no ability to make this decision, no escalation, nobody else who can make it. Its some sort of catch-22 where the repairman and his company have to declare they cant fix it to GE, who will then give them 5 more things to do that have already been done, and the repair people dont want to admit they cant fix it...or even come out to fix the stuff they broke themselves anymore.

As we all saw from my advice to Laurence on his hot tub, I'm not a real shrinking violet when it comes to dealing with problems, but I cant seem to figure out how to dent this system for any results.

I'm about to push this thing into the garage and go buy another one...that isnt a GE!

Between the customer prevention systems and the inability of the repair system to actually resolve a problem I'd be questioning owning any GE stock right now. Management that puts a bad phone system in place and advises customers to install their own parts just doesnt seem to be with the program.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-19-2005, 09:39 AM   #2
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

My GE refrigerator is still working though it has been making some noise.

I thought the business model of GE is that they want to number one or two in every business unit. If not, they will would leave it.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-19-2005, 09:43 AM   #3
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Re: Sell your GE stock?


th,

I think the newer Kenmore fridges (like mine) have
been made by GE for a number of years. I have had the
same problem with mine for a long time...cranked up to
9 all the time and barely cold enough to be "acceptable".

OTOH, I have a 1970's vintage Kenmore freezer that I only
need to turn up to "1" to keep everything well frozen.
Either GE did not make them back then (Kenmore) or
maybe like everything else the quality has gone downhill?

I think generally customer no service is on the rise. They
hope you get lost in the automated system..they don't really want you to talk to a human...that costs them money.

I have bought Maytag appliances most recently, and had
great luck..don't know if they are into fridges yet, but when I get fed up enough with the Kenmore, I'll be looking their way!

gwix
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-19-2005, 09:48 AM   #4
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

I was told this unit was made by LG, who actually makes decent stuff.

I wonder how much time gets spent on the cost side of the customer no-service 'cost savings' equation. After all, an unhappy customer usually stops buying from you and if you dont ever let them talk to a real person, you'll never even know they're unhappy.

Case in point: I bought a new dishwasher last week and installed it...anyone wanna bet it wasnt a GE dishwasher, even though I could have gotten an equivalent GE model for a few bucks less?
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-19-2005, 10:09 AM   #5
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

If GE made appliances like Toyota and Honda make
vehicles...you would not have to be calling for service,
and if you did, it would be fixed promptly.

I too replaced my dishwasher (with a Maytag),, love it,
and its never given me any grief in 3 years of service.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-19-2005, 02:32 PM   #6
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

This gets funnier by the minute.

I just got a call from GE headquarters public relations offering to replace the refrigerator if I'll pay them $100 for delivery.

So we sold you a bad appliance, ran you around for four months, were ineffective in fixing it, actually made it worse and broke stuff on it...how about $100 for us to correct all of those mistakes?

The really humorous part is that GE factory delivered this in the first place, and the cost was $35...
:
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-19-2005, 03:56 PM   #7
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

Well, if I do sell my GE stock, at least it will finally produce a gain

Does the attorney general's office out there haven any sort of consumer protection division? I'd suggest telling them your story. Do your local TV station, or newspaper have a "Call to Action" or some kind of consumer help feature? Sometimes the threat of negative publicity works wonders ...
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-20-2005, 10:06 AM   #8
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

Well, I after working in accounting at GE Capital, there is no way I would own GE stock. Guess I'd probably have the same feeling if I saw any Fortune 50's balance sheet. Interesting what passes for "account reconciliations".......

Not sure about the appliance division, but for the GE Capital side, all customer service calls were being routed to India. We had a lot of problems with the reps just following the script, which meant they kept apologizing but never offered to fix, esclate, or compensate a customer for a problem. Our division president started getting scores of letters from angry customers after we "outsourced" customer service to the Indian division. Didn't matter to management as the cost for customer service was pennies to the dollar compared to keeping it in the US.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-20-2005, 01:49 PM   #9
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

TH, no offense, but I have trouble believing your story. You see, some 8-9 years ago GE's CEO, The Manager of The Century, concluded that our products quality was not, in all cases, world class. We then launch upon a large scale quality improvement program called Six Sigma wherein highly trained Black Belts and Master Black Belts and later e.Belts and Greenbelts drove our defect levels down below 3 or 4 per million via headcount reduction. It was in all the papers.

Cb
I'm a Maytag buyer, myself, even though I'd get a fairly hefty discount on GE appliances
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-20-2005, 02:51 PM   #10
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

Totally off topic..............Jack Welch should never
appear with his new wife. He looks like he has
been brought back from the crypt. Makes me want to puke. I am almost as old. I look pretty good and as soon as my DW
teaches me how to post a photo, you can judge for
yourselves

JG
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-20-2005, 03:03 PM   #11
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

Quote:
You see, some 8-9 years ago GE's CEO, The Manager of The Century, concluded that our products quality was not, in all cases, world class. We then launch upon a large scale quality improvement program called Six Sigma wherein highly trained Black Belts and Master Black Belts and later e.Belts and Greenbelts drove our defect levels down below 3 or 4 per million via headcount reduction. It was in all the papers.
Yeah - it always amazed me that all the cost "savings" from the blackbelt / greenbelt projects that were implemented exceeded out GROSS income in our division.

We used to refer to it as "management by Powerpoint". Just like surveys - you can get a Powerpoint presentation to say anything. Reducing the number of defects is easy - just change what you measure.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-20-2005, 03:19 PM   #12
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

In the military it's referred to as PowerPoint Ranger.

(Oh, c'mon. You weren't surprised to see insignia & awards for that, were you?!?)
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 04-20-2005, 05:23 PM   #13
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

About the only thing I think I saw from Scott McNealy that impressed me was when he outlawed powerpoint presentations across the business units. Smart move.

I remember when I first joined my last employer...everyone spent 35 hours a week writing powerpoint presentations to each other. I'd walk in, write three bullets on a white board and talk to the points for an hour or two. I was soundly assured the first few times I did this that I would be quite unable to talk that long on 3 bullet points.

Boy were they wrong

I know a great way to reduce defects...just dont acknowledge them when a customer reports them...

GE's "consumer relations" told me they were no longer interested in my story, and sent me to GE's appliance headquarters. Who dont take phone calls...all communications must be by fax or by mail.

I'll bet that really opens up the communication pipes with the customer.

So I sent them the first 5 pages of my letter via fax, left them hanging and sent the last 5 pages via US mail.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 06-23-2005, 04:33 PM   #14
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

Just in case anyone was wondering, or if the GE folks around here are tired of cringing every time I post something...

GE's "appliance headquarters" just kicked me back to consumer relations, who reiterated their $100 offer to send a new one.

No thanks.

I wrote and called every consumer hotline, tv station, radio station, the BBB, the state attorney generals office, yada yada yada.

A month later I got a call from the state department of consumer affairs, who said they were about to have a little chat with GE about charging customers to replace defective products under warranty that were unrepairable.

The next day I got a call from the "GE chairmans office" (quite impressive). He said they were sending me a new refrigerator free of charge.

Now...going back a bit, the $100 charge was supposed to be a delivery fee, although the original purchase when delivered cost only $35. The same two guys in the same truck showed up to deliver the new one... :|

GE was good enough to send me a new GE profile top of the line unit, MSRP about $1500. Nice of them considering the one I bought was the bottom of the line and cost me $800.

Since this thing dragged out for six months, I had already bought a new Whirlpool fridge and had thrown the GE unit out in the garage.

So I now have the nicest garage fridge in the northern california region! :P

I'm going to bet that at least 20 people spent at least 10 hours yapping about this thing between the various agencies, departments and consumer people I sic'ed on them, along with having spent $1400 retail worth of parts and labor on the old one, then sending me one thats worth twice what I paid.

Is this a great country or what?
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 06-23-2005, 05:20 PM   #15
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

* So, are you taking bets on how long this new fridge will last?

* *Glad they finally decided to make things right, though the fact that it took 6 months, and the state had to get involved still makes it pretty damn lame.

* *Speaking of appliances, read an interesting WSJ article about a Chinese firm bidding on Maytag ...* This graf struck me ..

"Consumers are beginning to treat appliances more like television sets or even cellphones: Shoppers are less concerned about durability and more attuned to style, which means people are upgrading their appliances much more frequently. Americans now replace their home appliances on average every seven or eight years, up from every 12 years a decade ago, according to an estimate by Dave Swift, executive vice president of Whirlpool."

* * Don't know if* I should shake my head at folks' spending habits, or consider this a lame excuse by the manufacturers to justify shoddy stuff....
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 06-23-2005, 05:46 PM   #16
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

I liked the new deal where they were going to leave formal appliance style and have appliances shaped like animals and other oddball stuff so people could "express" themselves.

From what I hear maytag needs to be sold...repairpeople I checked with told me to avoid GE and maytag stuff like the plague, and to buy whirlpool, or whirlpool made kenmore and kirkland appliances.

We'll see how the new one goes...all it has to worry about is a lot of cases of soda and sparkling water right now. At least the damn thing gets under 40 degrees.

My wife is pleased as punch with the new whirlpool in the kitchen. Our food and leftovers generally had a 2-3 day window before stuff would go bad. If we bought a bag o' lettuce we had to eat it that day or it was turning into seaweed by the next day. Now stuff is lasting a week or more.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 06-23-2005, 05:56 PM   #17
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

Rats! I sold my Whirlpoool DRIP several years ago - got tired of holding it.
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Re: Sell your GE stock?
Old 06-24-2005, 01:50 PM   #18
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Re: Sell your GE stock?

I don't get why you'd buy American branded appliances.

Most are made overseas by contract now. Maytag, GE, whoever, just puts their name on it.

May as well by the "offbrand" made in the same factory and save some money.

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