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This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 05:13 PM   #1
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This is worse than service being dead

I think I've already figured out that getting any sort of service is a waste of time and an expectation thats only going to be disappointed.

Now we're getting into negative service.

I already outlined my four month odyssey in trying to get GE to repair an 11 month old refrigerator that ended with them acknowledging that whatever is wrong with it, they cant fix it, so just give them another $100 and they'll send me a new one. The BBB and AG's office are working on that one.

I decided to get a new fridge. Went to home depot, picked one out, the nice lady told me it would be delivered 4/25, I paid for it. 4/25, nothing happens. I look at the paperwork, it says 5/2. They're supposed to call the night before with a time. No call. No show on 5/2 either. I call on 5/3, they tell me "yeah the truck broke down last week and we dont have the refrigerator yet". No explanation as to why nobody thought to clue me in about it. I call home depot to cancel the order. Although their employee gave me the wrong delivery date and their contracted delivery company failed to deliver or notify me, they want me to pay a 15% restocking fee. I have a nice argument with the shipping supervisor who tells me their employee would never have told me that it would be delivered on 4/25, and the company they hired to deliver the appliance screwed up, not home depot. So its not their fault. After I ask to speak to the store manager and tell her that she knows nothing about how to deal with a customer problem, she hangs up on me. Store manager apologizes and quickly credits me.

I guess the big saving grace is that I'm not taking days off from work for all these appliance repair and delivery days. I would have taken 13 days or partial days off from work for this. I'd have been fired by now.

So I go to sears, order a new refrigerator, they surprisingly tell me they can deliver it the next day. I get a call with a time. Guy shows up a little early. My wife and I are both taking guesses as to whats going to go wrong as its all going too well. Refrigerator has a dent in the middle of the door you could drop a football into. "Yeah, we used to put these on the truck in the shipping cartons, but management has us taking them out of the cartons to fit more on the truck now, and everything gets dented all the time". Nice. Shipping calls to tell me they're out of that model, order another. That ones 10 days out. After we agree on a delivery someone with an accent so heavy I can barely understand her at all leaves me a voicemail that they pushed it out another 3 days. Note that sears web site says they usually deliver everything in 2-7 days. I guess 'usually' is the key operative word.

That will make it slightly longer than a month from when I decided to buy a new appliance to when it shows up; two attempts to charge me service fees for the manufacturer or retailers inability to repair or deliver a product. And a bunch of suspect customer policies along the way. Not to mention if the retailer sequentially screws up everything in the process, I'm either supposed to reward that by concluding the transaction and if I dont want to do that, I'm expected to pay them for the pleasure of taking my business away.

I'm about ready to pull out all of my big coolers and try to schedule a daily ice delivery, except that would probably lead me to some other previously unseen level of hell.
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 05:48 PM   #2
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Only one comment. Never, never, NEVER give anyone a deposit
in advance for anything. I don't care if you think you are dealing with Mother Theresa. Don't do it!

JG
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 06:29 PM   #3
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Unfortunately, you cant buy any appliances without paying for them first.

I think I see the genesis of this.

"Wow, a lot of people are cancelling their orders and its costing us money to fix/ship/deliver this! Lets charge them a fee for that so they'll stop doing it!" Rather than fixing the root problem that the same stupid management decisions that led to the problems that caused the customers to wig out, lets try to fix it by making the stick longer.
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 06:40 PM   #4
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by th
Unfortunately, you cant buy any appliances without paying for them first.

I think I see the genesis of this.

"Wow, a lot of people are cancelling their orders and its costing us money to fix/ship/deliver this!* Lets charge them a fee for that so they'll stop doing it!"* Rather than fixing the root problem that the same stupid management decisions that led to the problems that caused the customers to wig out, lets try to fix it by making the stick longer.
Re. your first sentence; I don't know what the hell you are talking about.
Pay for nothing (NOTHING) in advance. If someone insists, cross them off
your list. There is always someone to supply your needs and accept
your credit. As long as you hold the money, you have the leverage.
If you folks retain nothing else from my 4000+ posts, this will pay
big dividends. Never NEVER do it! Keep shopping......................

JG
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 07:22 PM   #5
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

* Oh man, TH .... you are getting a tour of the seven circles of hell.
* I'd tell sears to take a hike.* *Is there a locally owned, or regionally owned appliance store near you?* They might cost a bit more, but you might get better service.* *After DH and I went several rounds with Monkey Wards over a TV and a washer, we went to the regional guys ... much easier.
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 07:43 PM   #6
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Last word on this (today). In any dispute, the one holding the
cash/goods
has a MAJOR advantage. Also expressed as Murphy's Golden Rule:
"The one with the gold makes the rules". Almost every time I have strayed from this (like giving someone a "deposit" before I had the goods)
I have lived to regret it.

Elvis has left the building.................

JG
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 09:51 PM   #7
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Ok Elvis, my choices are sears, home depot or sams club, or buying something out of someones garage.

Sears, home depot and sams club require payment before they send you an appliance.

But thanks for the quaint idea.

Voyt - I'd tell them to take a hike but I'm out of retailers. And at least they've been apologetic and communicative, which is more than GE or Home Depot was. I also checked out the one and only local 'little guy'. All he carries is GE (and I wouldnt buy a bag of GE peanuts for 5c right now) and frigidaire, who doesnt have the best reliability record. And I'd pay 20% extra for something I dont really want. I had three repairmen tell me to buy a whirlpool because they hardly ever have to fix them, and when something goes wrong whirlpool bends over backwards to make it right, rather than GE's approach of bending you over...
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 10:13 PM   #8
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

* Yow, you are stuck.* My deepest sympathy.* I hope you at least are getting a Whirlpool?
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-07-2005, 10:15 PM   #9
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

TH,
service has gone into the dumper.

These dealers dont know how to handle you, someone with a brain and time to work thru an issue.
I have seen these catch 22's before.

I wish I could sympathize more, however the local nuclear plant has had an event and had to be rebuilt because less than conscientious employees didnt do what was needed to keep it operating safely.
The company says, thank goodness for the backup systems, and they dont know where they are gonna get good employees,. all the good ones have retired.

The AG is your best bet. I have had state agencies tear into dealers before over crooked, deceptive and shoddy work.

Helios
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 05:12 AM   #10
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

JG
As I was reading this thread, I was going to write out the "Golden Rule" in reply. You got it there first!

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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 05:44 AM   #11
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Quote:
Originally Posted by th
Ok Elvis, my choices are sears, home depot or sams club, or buying something out of someones garage.

Sears, home depot and sams club require payment before they send you an appliance.

But thanks for the quaint idea.

You should have bought out of the garage. Never, never never
pay deposits. You are just asking for trouble. Voice of experience........

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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 07:17 AM   #12
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Hmmm

The last major screw up was when then 'step daughter in spare room' ordered catered steak and lobster prepacks from Corbin Foods for a surprise Birthday party. Never made it. Called - screwed up again. Third time one of the Company guru's drove out himself - gave extra goodies all round - AND WE WERE TREATED TO THE KANSAS CITY?SAINTS GAME IN THE COMPANY SUITE! Da Saint's won - saint's be praised.

1. I have a moving dolly. pickup truck, good neighbors for important stuff.

2. I have a preprinted map for delivery guys with directions to the biggest seafood dock/bar/blast freezer near me that is a major road. They go there - call and I come get them.
Surprisingly - a number of delivery people have relatives who have/had camps or have been fishing out this way.

Plenty of stories.

Repair is another story - usually jackleg of some sort.
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 09:05 AM   #13
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

My brother used to work for GE: his advice to me "Never buy anything from GE, not even a toaster". I have always heeded this.

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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 09:26 AM   #14
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Th
If you put the payment on the credit card you can decline paying it by doing the following.
1. call the credit card company and tell them you do not want the cc co. to pay the vendor as you returned the product for cause.
2. you must follow up with the credit cc with a letter saying not to pay and you will not pay as the charge is under dispute & the reasons.
I've done it - it works - it is written into the cc law to protect the consumer against charges that are not legit.

Also, what part of the country do you live? I live in the Atl area and as a NYer who moved south it is nice to see people still treated with some courtisy.
A southerner may say it has changed alot since the northerners have move here.
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 09:29 AM   #15
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

I have disputed lots of CC charges. Worked for me every time, and I second the notion that this is a good reason to use a credit card.
If anything gets screwed up by the other party, you have some
recourse.

JG
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 10:10 AM   #16
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Only problem is it was a home depot credit card. I still would have had some leeway if necessary, although I had already made my mind up that I wasnt going to pay it. I'd have let them crap on my credit report for 7 years and included my own explanation of it. I *will* cut off my own nose to spite my face if necessary

The way they pull it over on you is having you sign their delivery document, which states that a 15% restocking fee is charged for any cancelled special orders. I can see their point, if they have something shipped out across the country and someone changes their mind on a whim, they shouldnt be out the shipping cost.

That was the core argument I had with the shipping supervisor. She said "But you signed our agreement and the 15% fee is in that!". My retort: "You just used the word 'agreement'; you agreed to deliver the product on 5/2, I agreed to pay for it. You didnt deliver it and didnt even give me the courtesy of a phone call to tell me you werent going to. Hence you are in violation of the agreement. But it sure must be nice to live in a world where you can demand the other party meet their obligations while you meet none of yours." HD: "but thats the trucking companies fault, not home depots!". Me: "and who hired the trucking company and gave them the delivery parameters? And who did I buy this from? And who is trying to charge me the 15%?". HD: "Its not our fault if the trucking company had a problem!".

More of the failure to accept responsibility.

Staying at the home we're in now was firmly fixed when my neighbor brought his kid over one afternoon last year. Wanted us to know his kid hit my dads car with a wiffle ball and it left a tiny little scuff on the window...about an eighth of an inch long. Said if it was any problem he'd replace the window. Thats the kind of kid and the kind of neighboring parent I want my kid growing up with. I want my kid to grow up accepting responsibility for his own actions.

At least when I called the store manager, she immediately said "Oh yeah, we have this problem with them all the time...they never call...i'm sorry, i'll credit you for this right now". Maybe I gave her the ammo to fix the problems they're having with that company.

And yes, its a whirlpool...eventually...

Its not like I didnt get every angle on this one...I got $10 off with a coupon, 2% off by going to sears.com through the fatwallet.com web site, free delivery, no payments/no interest for a year by using the wifes sears card, and due to the delivery mishap, the next model up in the whirlpool line at the cost of the one I originally ordered. So I do have to say that Sears still knows how to compensate a customer for their troubles.

They're just sloooowwww in delivering.

Used to be the big retail appliance stores stocked most of their products...I noticed about 2-3 years ago that they no longer did...they might have one or two dishwashers or refrigerators kicking around "in the back" but almost everything was freighted in.

I wonder if this will go the way of furniture, where its not even built until you buy it.

I guess the other good news is that I've "sort of" fixed the GE fridge myself for the near term. It has a panel in the back with a little 'door' in it that leads to the freezer (the 'damper') that the control board opens and closes to regulate the temperature in the fridge. Basically the compressor blows the really cold air into the freezer, and the damper lets some of that into the fridge to keep it cold. The board, the panel with the door in it, and the thing that detects and reports the temperature to the board have all been replaced with no change. Which pretty much leaves the wiring between these parts or a design flaw as the culprit. I discovered by unplugging the electrical connection to the damper that the door stays open all the time. I put a few pieces of duct tape over about half of the air vents into the fridge, and voila...a 35 degree refrigerator. Freezer is maintaining its -20 degree temps with this.

You do have to like any 'field modification' that involves duct tape...I called the repairman (heck, after 4 months we have each others cell phone #'s and know each others voice on the phone) to let him know how I jury rigged it in case he runs into this problem in the future. He was most amused.
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 11:06 AM   #17
 
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Here's a somewhat different example of negative service. I was in a small electronics store (the kind that sells resistors, etc), and I heard a customer ask the owner which type of capacitor he should use. The owner replied that because of liability issues, he couldn't give any advice!
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 11:33 AM   #18
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Slightly off topic, anyone have advice for brand of dishwasher? My dishwasher came with the house and is freaking LOUD! Cleans o.k., but I have to crank the T.V. in the living room when it's running. I heard Bosch is the quietest, but it's repair problems are similar to your refrig. experience. And now with the kid, we run this thing almost constantly!
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 11:58 AM   #19
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Kenmores came in right behind the bosch for noise and overall ratings, second on reliability behind the whirlpool. Look for models starting with 1601, 1602, 1603, 1701, 1702 or 1703. I cant tell the difference between the 16xx series and the 17xx series...I think they're nearly identical and they just have different model numbers to allow them to put them on different sales or some such tomfoolery.

I put in a 1602 a couple of months ago. We like it fine, its a lot quieter and cleans much better than the old GE (are we detecting a pattern here?). I paid $449 for it. The next steps up include more flexible racks and a 'potscrubber' jetwash thing that didnt look very useful to me. The 1601 can be had on sale for under $300. The whirlpools are quiet too but didnt rank as high for cleaning and ease of use as the kenmores. Which is odd because from what I've been able to determine, the kenmores are made by whirlpool...

Note that costco sells the whirlpool appliances very cheaply, however they only sell them in white and sometimes stainless...no bisque or black. Also make sure you get an energy star one and apply for pg&e's rebate for installing an energy star dishwasher...I got an extra $30 off that way...and check out pg&e's other rebates...you can get a good bit of money off a window air conditioner, a whole house fan, or a heater replacement. Even windows and insulation have a rebate.

If you're stuck on the kenmore but the price is too steep, check sears.com's store locator to see if theres a clearance center near you. All the returns, dents, scratches and whatnot end up there for 40-50% off of list price. When I lived closer to Sacramento I bought a few things from there with a ding or scratch that didnt bother me. They'll deliver if you're really close, but dishwashers dont weigh anything. I had mine delivered to sears, picked it up and had it installed in a half hour. The only thing missing was the right angle plumbing hookup that connects the water line to the dishwasher inlet. Why they left that $1.50 piece out is a mystery, since most water hookups are pretty standard.

Then donate your old one to charity and take a $50-100 writeoff depending on how old it is. Some charities will even come and pick up used appliances if you call. Look at ebay or goodwills auction site for recently closed auctions, print out a couple that are close to what you donated, and keep those to validate your deduction.

Hmm...and theres a $20 rebate on select whirlpool dishwashers going on right now...and sears is still running their 'no payments/no interest' for one year if you use a sears card.
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Re: This is worse than service being dead
Old 05-08-2005, 02:30 PM   #20
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Re: This is worse than service being dead

Th, you da man! I have Kenmore washer/dryer, 4 years now and very happy with them. That price sound very reasonable, considering the Bosch run close to a grand! Stainless steel is what we would want, we are slowly leaving white appliances behind since they start looking dingy after a year or so. Funny, just checked, current dishwasher...drum roll...GE!

I've actually had good experiences with Sears, but not in the way they'd like. They've messed up deliveries more than once and always upgraded the product. Same delivery day but out of stock of what we bought and they say, "we only had the upgraded version, is that o.k.?" .....I hope they never get it right!
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