GE Appliance Store – How Come You Treat Your Customers So Badly?

The Old One

GE Appliances. Founded more than a century ago. Sturdy, reliable products made in America. A company you can depend upon, right? Sadly – that is a big resounding NO!

We moved to our new house up in the middle of a national forest 6 months ago. I think I was so in love with the location and the feel of the house, that I didn’t even notice until we were actually moving in – that our stove was white and all the other appliances were stainless steel.

With all the chaos of trying to get everything moved in before the arrival of snow, it was a couple more days before I even peeked inside the oven. Ugh. The one in our rental house was a thousand times better. I had plans to do lots of baking over the winter in our new house. THIS was definitely not going to cut it.

So I did my research, (lots of research) and figured out exactly what I wanted. I figured I would probably find what I was looking for in an upcoming Black Friday sale, but I was surprised to get an email just a few days later that through my employer I could get exactly what I wanted with free shipping, a huge discount and a few extra incentives thrown in.

Eureka! It was too good to be true. I didn’t even care that I was going to have to make Thanksgiving dinner with the oven I had been boycotting. It would be early December when I would have my dream oven delivered. (Between the altitude and the current oven we had quite a few “first holiday in the new house” flops. Good thing there was plenty of wine!)

The range was delivered right on time by professional, very nice guys. The husband is pretty handy, so we saved a few dollars by having him do the installation. Right away he noticed that the control panel had a large bubble that couldn’t be fixed. Okay – I didn’t notice it right away, I can live with that.

Once the range was hooked up and in place, we tried all the burners, both ovens, lights and timer. The igniter on the front left burner would only spark a small fraction of the times we tried it. Faulty main burner that I would need to light manually 95% of the time? This I could not live with. Not from a brand new stove that probably cost more than my first 3 or 4 combined. Nope. Not acceptable.

We were still in mover’s chaos, had all been sick with the flu, had totaled and needed to replace our Jeep and had visitors and Christmas to contend with. We had a lot going on. It might have been early February before I made my first phone call to resolve the appliance issue. Oh …. if I had known then …

The Old One

The “old one” that started it all. I don’t think I’m going to clean the “new one” until I know for sure it isn’t going to a scrapyard!

But I didn’t. The first few phone calls went pretty well. I had trouble scheduling a service call because I couldn’t find the “tag” with the serial & model numbers. It was nowhere that she had me look – I even had everyone in the house take turns looking! I finally had to call back with information from the warranty card.

We are remote enough that we have no mail delivery or trash pickup, I wasn’t real surprised that there were no GE service technicians in the area – and they would have to find somebody that serviced the area.

After a few phone calls and about a week later, they finally found someone to come out. Phil owns a local appliance repair business. He called to schedule an appointment, showed up right on time and was just an all around great guy. Oh yeah …. I feel like I know Phil by now.

He checked the appliance out thoroughly and said he would need to order parts. That’s when the search for “the Tag” began in earnest. I finally went and got the warranty card. A couple weeks later, Phil replaced the control panel, but was still working on the igniter issue.

By this time, I’m sure that Phil was wishing he had never answered the phone when GE first called. He was getting the run around from GE and from the company that had contracted him to do the service call.

Occasionally I would get “Hey, I haven’t forgotten about you” updates from Phil. Eventually I received a phone call from Phil that it wasn’t cost-effective and there wasn’t anyone available to replace the major part that would fix the igniter problem. GE was going to refund my purchase.

Ummmm-hmmmm, right! I will believe that when it happens.

There was a flurry of phone calls and emails that ensued. Calls flying in every which direction – to and from the service contractor, GE, Phil & myself. So many emails, phone calls – and pulling the range out of that extremely tight spot where it was wedged. I bet we pulled that appliance out at least 3 times just to check for that “TAG” – not including for the actual service calls.

And herein lies the dilemma. Apparently there is a “tag” attached to every single appliance before it leaves the warehouse. They can’t ship them without the “Tag”. And we can’t refund your purchase without the “TAG”.

Uh. Sorry that I don’t have a “tag!” for a brand new appliance that your people say cannot be shipped without. (How did ours get shipped without a “Tag!”?)

“Hello Diane,

 

I have done the research on my options that would be available at this time. We don’t have servicers in your area, we also do not have a delivery agent in your area, my option at this time would be to give you your money back. In doing this we would need to have the model serial tag peeled off and mailed into us with a copy of your receipt. Once we receive that information I would then process a check to you for the amount you paid. Please … make sure you also reference your incident in the letter so we can get this moving as fast as possible for you.”

More moving that $#% range out …away from the wall …where it has been wedged within a 1/1000th centimeter of its life….. AND WAS DEFINITELY NOT GETTING ANY LIGHTER!

But wait — there’s more …

” I spoke with a supervisor in regards to this issue. I have a resolution that will make this process go faster. Normally we would have you send in the model serial tag because once removed, the unit will no longer be able to be worked on or resold. In this situation being unable to do that, the resolution that I have would be to have you scrap the unit, and get an invoice showing the unit is scrapped. Once we receive the invoice showing the unit is scrapped, we would then process and mail you the check for the amount you purchased the unit for. Please let me know if you can do this.”

Say what??

“Buying another appliance up front and then waiting for reimbursement is unacceptable. Scrapping the appliance, getting an invoice, all the time I have invested in getting the issues resolved, multiple phone calls and emails, setting up and being here for technician appointments, pulling out the range multiple times … it is all too much.
I have tried to jump through all of the numerous hoops, and I have way too much time invested to give up now. But it is too much.Does GE routinely put this much burden on the customer? We purchased a brand new range. It should be fully functional. I should not have to spend countless hours trying to rectify an issue with the brand new product that I purchased. Why is there not a tag on the unit? Should it not have been sold to me to begin with?
I purchased the range through my work benefits utilizing Black Friday savings, and spent a good deal of time researching the product before placing my order. I’m sure I will not get as good a deal on the replacement. I’m also sure that I will have several more hours into finding a replacement that I will have to pay more for. I already have more on my to-do list than hours available. I need to have this resolved without any more time invested on my part. And without putting out more money up front. Even if I did have the funds available right now to purchase a second range, (which I do not), I do not have faith in your system – as it has been a very lengthy process since the technician first informed me that GE would be reimbursing me via check”.
                                                                                — Yours Truly
(No – I didn’t include “Yours Truly” in the email. That would just be weird. Just continuing reading and forget about that part. I was just letting you know that yeah, it was me who went there. But hey, I was getting pretty exasperated with this whole “Appliance Issue” second job I never applied for.)

Anyway. Things didn’t end there.

“Hello Diane,

  I know you have been through a lot with this appliance and getting this taken care of. Its all been stressful. I can definitely understand that. Honestly, I cannot tell you why the unit does not have the serial tag on it. They are scanned when they leave the warehouse just to prevent this kind of issue. I can give you my best guess, which would be that the delivery agent gave you the wrong unit. We cannot even verify that the unit you have is the correct model, let alone serial number. There is no way for me to confirm this is what happened, it is just my best guess, given that it was scanned and sent from the warehouse with the sticker in tact. Obviously this is not your fault, and I get that. We are searching for the best option that we can get for you, which in this case, because we do not have the serial tag, would be for you to scrap the old appliance. All we would need would be an invoice or proof that the unit has been scrapped. Once we have that information, we will then send you a check for the amount you paid for your unit. Again I definitely get that you have been through a lot as I have been right here with you, and I know it’s been exasperating. In situations like these, when we do not have a serial tag, we have to have proof that this unit is still not being used. This is the option that I have available at this time. Again, for a different option you may want to call our GE Store directly to see what they can do for you. Their number is xxx. Please let me know if I can further assist you.”

I decided to call the same department and speak with someone else. I spoke with a very nice gentlemen who listened to me rant & hyperventilate about the situation. He even managed not to laugh when I told him the whole hilarity of it. And then he proceeded to speak with his supervisor who agreed it would be okay in this situation, since I had mentioned that the technician had also searched the appliance for the “TAG!” …

Yeah, if we could drag poor Phil back into it – and if he could testify on my behalf … that by golly there wasn’t a “TAG!!” on the appliance … Well, then GE Appliance Store would be sending me a check.

So they had me drag Phil back into the cluster. He gave his oath. It was finally going to be done. And then this …

“Hello Diane,
  I received information from the technician confirming that the serial tag was not on the unit. I just wanted to let you know that I never doubted that the tag was not on the unit. We were always going to give your money back, however normal procedure would be for us to get the serial tag as proof that the unit has been scrapped. We cannot do that in this case, so we have made an exception to just get proof of scrapping. Now if the technician is going to scrap this unit for you, we can definitely accept a letter from him stating that he is scrapping it for you. The only other option that I have would be for us to get proof that the unit has been scrapped via invoice from a scrap yard etc in order to complete the process and send you the check. Please let me know if I can answer any more questions for you.”

I took a one month sabbatical from contacting GE. The whole month of April, if even the thought of the GE fiasco popped into my head I shooed it away. Wine was involved.

Each time before I would call, I would promise myself to not let them make me see red. I could actually feel my blood pressure rising and was more than a little surprised at some of the words coming out of my mouth. I was getting quite creative and could probably go toe-to-toe with a sailor in those few minutes after the call. Probably bad enough what they have on their recordings. I saved the best for that couple minutes of get-it-out time – so I could hope for a better rest of the day.

And now it is May. We still have a “brand new” kitchen appliance that I have to keep a long lighter next to.

I did have one correspondence from GE during April. They sent me a survey request form. I kept it for when I need a laugh. I may yet fill out the form. Pretty sure they hope I don’t.

I had pretty much given up hope on making anyone at GE see the absurdity of this charade. I decided to give it one last shot before I took it to court. I had spent way too much time – way too much money – and way too much energy to roll over and play dead now.

So on Thursday, May 4, 2017 I called again. I spoke to a lady in Nebraska who informed me, (after reading all the notes and knowing where her supervisors stood) that if she were me (??) – that she would just go scrap it.

Seriously? You would hire some men to come and take it out of your house, scrap it, get invoiced, be without a stove or purchase a second stove during the interim …you would do all that for a faulty brand new stove??

“Yes. I’m from Nebraska. That’s just what we do. We get it done.”

I could barely speak. And when I finally could? There definitely wasn’t anything nice coming out of my mouth. Which infuriates me because now they think they’ve won. Which I guess they have, because they have nothing vested in it. They’re just putting in their time and going home to a stove working on all its burners.

I did a couple laps around the house. And then I called back again. I’m not entirely sure what I thought I was going to accomplish at that point. Maybe a doctor ordered 2 week vacation from work.

But I did. I called and spoke with the kindest woman. I could tell she was still in training.

  • She referred to her “mentor”
  • She genuinely cared.
  • Not the fake care. Like she might have even thought about it after she got home from work.

She did everything she could, but ultimately her hands were tied. But it really does make a difference to know that the person on the other line is actually a person. A person who cares. It totally took all the fight out of me. I was done. Just gonna let the courts decide. (I didn’t mean done-done. Just done with that dead-end.)

You know what? It was that sweet trainee at GE Appliance Store that convinced me to call GE Appliances Consumer Relations just one more time. I’m still not sure why I did.

I talked to someone unfamiliar to me in Consumer Relations (they probably play ‘hot potato’ with my phone calls). I explained the situation for the Nth time. And then I let her know that I was on to my next move. Civil action. (I still wasn’t sure I wasn’t bluffing. I literally was not sure what I was going to do from one minute to the next until I was in action).

She politely asked to put me on hold while she had a pow-wow with management. She came back and asked a couple questions. Then she went back to her conference. Then she came back and asked about the “TAG!!!”. I answered her questions and gave her my opinion on why my defective brand new range was shipped with no “TAG!!!”.

She left. She came back. She verified my address of where to send the check.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Have you had a nightmare customer relations experience you want to share?? I’d love to hear it!

(It can be for my eyes only or published at your discretion).

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