Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Most Interesting Post

It isn't all champagne and caviar being the CEO. Sometimes the best intentions dont quite work...So now you are now me(minus the issues)...What would you do? Before you read the complaint a couple of points

1. Unit is out of warranty. There is very little recourse from the manufacturer

2. We dont push warranties. Our sales percentages are less than 8%.

3. Average length of life is just that. For every 20 year old product, there is a few that do not

Winning solution receives a $25 gift card...Here goes

Dear Mr. Sheinkopf,

I purchased a stackable washer and dryer, a stove and a refrigerator on September 14, 2005 and like all of the people who commented on your blog I was very happy with the sales and delivery process. The hinge on the stove broke and was replaced while under warranty and is already not working properly again, but my main complaint is with the refrigerator. It is only three and a half years old and the "mother board" is broken according to your service man. I had to pay $99.00 to find that out and your customer service department wanted to send the serviceman back for another $280.00 or more.

I lost about $300.00 in food and I don't believe the life of a refrigerator should be three and a half years old. Apparently the craftsmanship is worthless and that is the reason you all push extended warranties. You advertise that you stand behind the products you sell but you don't mention the additional fees. I spoke with GE and they at least will send me the part for a fee but I would like my $99.00 refunded, I don't know why the refrigerator I purchased would have a mother board nor was I told that it did or that there were other options. A few months after this purchase my 20 year old extra refrigerator died and I purchased an inexpensive one from Sears which still runs perfectly and much colder than the GE ever did.

My purchases may be small in your eyes but replacing appliances is an investment for us
and we expect they will last at least 10 to 15 years. I will wait to for your response.


  1. Steve,
    This seems like a no-brainer to me. Return the $99.

    1. The bad press this gentleman could create could in the end cost you much more than $99 if he were to post a negative review on yelp or the number of other sites out there. If it costs you one sale it would have been worth it to give him the $99 and the new motherboard.

    2. Of course you are right, average life length is average. That said, none of us buy a refridgerator and expect it to have a problem with a motherboard in 4 years. 10 maybe, not 4.

    3. Related to #2, if this was a broken shelf I would argue this person is on their own. However, motherboard issues are not the same as a broken shelf, scratched exterior, or other owner-related issue. Seems to me this is defective. Depending on your volume of business with GE, despite the buyers lack of power over the company you may have some... is this a common problem with this model? Has there been a recall? If not, should there be?

    4. Given the low purchase rate of extended warrenties, saying "you should have bought a warrenty" and implying that you are good sales people by not pushing warrenties both seems irrelevant and unhelpful.

    5. It isn't how you handle the good reviews, it is how you handle the problems. I bought a rug last year from Jordan's. It developed an odd smell which turns out was a glue problem. Within an hour of contacting them they arranged for an exchange of my rug - one year later. There was no warrenty and they certainly didn't have to take the rug back - I only asked for a suggestion to get rid of the smell. You can bet I've told everyone I know (and now you) that story and how impressed I was with their customer service. Now imagine how many people I would have told if I encountered bad customer service (last research I saw on the subject was 8x as many)...

    The decision is yours. Best of luck!

  2. Steve, this is a tough one. I know when I purchased my washer/dryer at Yake I was offered a service plan for $99 at the time of purchase. To me it was a no brainier since the purchase was close to $1400 I don’t know why people don’t take advantage of such an inexpensive option at the time of purchase knowing that if anything goes wrong Yale will be there and I avoid the $99 service call for 5 years.

    Here are the options I came up with:

    1. Offer her the ability to purchase the extended warranty at retail price and apply the $99 towards the warranty.
    2. Take the hit on the $99 and give it back to her knowing that she will most likely be a satisfied customer and return to Yale. Perhaps even to have the motherboard installed.
    3. Tell her unfortunately she had the option to purchase the warranty and declined. That you are more than happy to service the appliance but she needs to pay the rate as there is no warranty. Suggest that she may contact the manufacturer if she feels the product is defective and not up to standards.
    4. Offer to return to install the mother-board for free but keep the $99 charge.

    I think option #1 is the best option for all. You get the sale from the warranty; she gets a warranty and knows that the fridge will be covered for another year or so. You get the kudos for being a great place to buy appliances with a company that stands behind their products, and she gets her $99 applied towards the warranty.

    Good luck,

  3. Tough call. Ultimately, I think you've probably lost this person as a customer -- unless you want to fix the stove hinge as well.

    In that light, a refund of the $99 won't gain you much -- the customer is associating you with the product quality issues more than the service, so a refund wouldn't mitigate bad word of mouth.

    If you're really dedicated to salvaging the customer relationship, offer to apply the $99 to the part, and give a steep discount to the service rate. Maybe throw in a gift card or discount for their next purchase as well.

  4. First, I owe each of you a $25 gift card. Best 3 responses:

    My response:

    First I responded immediately with empathy...We all need to be heard when aggrieved...

    I refunded the $99 and told her I would be happy to help her at my cost of sending the technician

    Thanked her for her understanding


    At 12:15 am that evening, she expected us to fix it for free, and further as the CEO of Yale, I should have known there were mother board issues. It was plastered over the internet

    My response:

    Empathetic apology and reiteration of processed refund and restatement of accommodation

    18,000 service calls has GE at number 2, and I would not sell anything knowingly defective, I wrote(I actually have pulled products for that reason)

    Blogs are typically for bad, not good experiences, and are not typical customer experiences(I am paraphrasing)


    Lost customer...We have good service recovery, but should I have done more?

  5. You can only do so much. She was lucky that Yale is a standup company. Had she bought that at one of the large electronic retailers she would still be on hold with India trying to explain her side. Kudos to Yale, and another reason why I'll continue to recommend and buy through you guys.

  6. Thank you very much, John