Friday, January 12, 2007

In a World...where we get a free refrigerator...

Our story begins on July 27, 2001, when my husband and I purchased a new GE refrigerator from Needham Appliance. We had to special-order a model without the ice maker/water dispenser built into the door. We didn't want to sacrifice the freezer space to an ice maker we probably wouldn't use very often, and besides, it was just one more unnecessary feature that could break.

This story isn't about Needham Appliance. Suffice it to say that we were among many people who complained to the Attorney General's Office, eventually resulting in a lawsuit. When we ordered the new fridge, our old one had died, and Needham Appliance promised we'd have our new one in a week. It took 6 weeks of living out of an ice chest, and eventually a tiny loaner refrigerator, before we got our new appliance. And that was only because we grudgingly accepted one with an ice maker, which was all GE had in stock at that point.

From the outset, we had problems with the refrigerator, all of which seemed to stem from the freezer and ice maker. First the ice maker wouldn't stop making ice, until it broke through the shelf above. GE came and gave us a new, reinforced shelf. Our frozen food frequently thawed and developed frost. Thawed liquid leaked into the water dispenser, so that we stopped using it. We almost never got intact ice from the dispenser. Most of the time, the cubes froze together into one mass. We weren't the first to have these problems either -- GE was ready with a new motherboard for us.

In 2006, I got a mailing about a class action suit against GE. Our refrigerator was one of the models in the suit. I filed the papers to get reimbursement for the repair costs incurred so far, and a free additional year of warranty. If GE couldn't solve the problems during that year, they agreed to replace the fridge entirely.

During the warranty year, GE came up with a big fix for claimants like us -- replace the refrigerator doors and the solenoid. We got our new doors. The old ones are still in the garage until we figure out how we're allowed to dispose of them. But we had ice cubes for our ginger ale again, and it seemed a luxury to have chilled, filtered drinking water again.

Last month, the ice maker fell out. Just dropped off its screws. My husband screwed it back in. The cubes froze up again. The dispenser light came on and wouldn't go off. Finally, the water stopped coming out. With the clock ticking on our warranty (today is the last day to make a claim for a replacement), we called GE. They sent someone to do a "current diagnosis" and determine whether we were eligible for a replacement.

Well, the repairman examined our fridge and determined that the water line was frozen. The recommended fix was an insulation kit for said water line. My husband called GE again. I don't know what he said, but I know GE has agreed to ship us a new fridge -- the newer version of the same model we have. With an ice maker.

Delivery date? They'll get back to us on that.

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