Frozen out by a fridge still under warranty

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What you need to know when buying a new refrigerator
Mon, Aug 21: When you purchase a product under warranty, who honours that warranty? Is it the retailer who sold you the product or the manufacturer? Our Consumer Affairs reporter Anne Drewa gets the scoop – Aug 21, 2017

Heather Anderson’s LG refrigerator sat empty for two and a half months.

The Pitt Meadows resident said it stopped working in May.

Anderson said she spent four weeks seeking assistance before a technician finally came to her home to look at the fridge.

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“From what we understood verbally, it was a compressor issue and the technician said they should be replacing the fridge,” she said.

Anderson bought the fridge from Home Depot and immediately contacted the store.

“They actually got involved to deal with LG as well and she had confirmed that they had told her that we were approved for a replacement,” she said.

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However, soon after, Anderson said she received an email from LG Electronics Canada stating, “when a technician cannot repair an appliance and the customer is out of warranty, a pro-rated amount is offered towards a new LG unit.”

She was offered $996.73.

Anderson was shocked — especially considering that the fridge was purchased in 2011 and, according to paperwork, still under warranty.

“There is nowhere in the warranty that they talk about pro-rated,” Anderson said.

Anderson said she contacted Home Depot again about LG’s pro-rated offer.

“They said that wasn’t their understanding either,” she said. “They expected it would be replaced and they would push it up to the management team to follow up.”

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Still, Anderson said she wasn’t getting results.

She came to Consumer Matters for help after she waited on a resolution for two and a half months.

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Global BC contacted Home Depot and was told that Anderson would receive a replacement fridge within 24 hours.

Home Depot apologized for the delay.

“According to our vendor partner LG, there was a mechanical issue that involved the compressor,” the retailer said.

“While the warranty would have covered the enclosed system, the part was no longer available and the customer was advised they would receive a replacement fridge; we took action to ensure that this was honoured. As noted, we recognize that it should not have taken this long for a resolution, and have apologized to the customer.”

Anderson remains skeptical.

“We know we wouldn’t be getting a fridge if it wasn’t for Consumer Matters,” she said.

When it comes to warranties, it’s important to take the time and read them carefully.

Harpreet Dosanjh, a civil litigator with Singleton Urquhart, said the terms of the warranty are generally very detailed.

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“Depending on the terms of the warranty what you want to do is deal with the person who actually sold you the warranty, so if they are responsible for providing replacement parts or replacing the item completely then that’s who you would be dealing with,” Dosanjh said.

She recommends that customers ensure they have the terms of their warranties in writing.

“Expressed terms are always the best terms,” Dosanjh said.

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If there’s a dispute over the warranty, and the consumer still feels entitled to that warranty, they can seek remedy in small claims court.

As for Heather Anderson, she will be getting an equivalent fridge model with a five-year extended warranty.

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