Tuesday, 31 January 2012

RefrigeRANT

I spent 850 hard earned dollars on a brand new Samsung refrigerator in October 2009. It started making a little ticking noise in about September 2011, but still worked perfectly well, so I thought nothing of it. In early December 2011 I took the fridge to the house in Mallacoota. I left it unplugged for a week, to allow the gases to settle, then turned it on. It worked for about an hour, then shorted-out, taking half the power in the house with it.

Long story short – the fridge mechanic in Mallacoota (who is the auto electrician, of course) had a look at it and pronounced the compressor dead. The fridge was only just out of warranty – but the compressor has a FIVE year warranty. You with me so far?

Since then I have made at least nine phone calls to Samsung, and sent three emails. Each time, I have had to go through the entire sorry story again with yet another call-centre operator whose main prerequisite for the job would appear to be that English is not their first language.

First Call
‘The fridge is in Mallacoota.’
‘That’s outside the service area.’
‘OK, there’s a mechanic here who can fix it as long as you have the part.’
‘OK, email us your proof of purchase’
Email #1, with proof of purchase attached
Second call
 Preamble (fridge out of warranty, failed compressor still under warranty, fridge outside service area etc etc)  plus ‘Can you just replace the part?’
‘Yes, ok. Email this address and someone will contact you within 24-48 hours.’
Email #2 sent, 
48 hours later, no call.
followed, a week later, by email #3  
I went to England. In my absence a letter arrived. My daughter contacted Samsung and gave them the address to send the part to.
Third call, over 3 weeks later.
Preamble (recited slightly less patiently) plus 'The part you said you would send hasn’t arrived.’
‘We don’t send parts to customers.’
‘You told me you did.’
A letter from Samsung arrived, asking me to send the letter back to them(???) Confused, I made the fourth call.
'I'm not sure why I'm supposed to send this letter back to you - what is the point of this?' (They couldn't tell me, but so began The Amazing Samsung Run-around. Nobody was sure what the letter meant. I just wanted my bloody fridge sorted!
Fourth-eighth calls, all on the same day a week later – I was told so many different things by different people, who would put me and my (Samsung) mobile phone on hold, then get back to me (or not) – or leave voicemail messages for me to call them back – and then I would have to explain the entire thing again. Someone actually told me I hadn't sent my proof of purchase! I offered to resend it, and quoted the date of the email I had sent several weeks earlier. In the end, with a vein throbbing in my forehead,  I just lost the plot.
Preamble plus ‘PLEASE - Can someone just tell me how the heck I can get this under-warranty compressor fixed?’
‘You have to take it to a service agent.’
‘It’s in Mallacoota. I’m in Canberra. There’s someone in Mallacoota who can fix it, but you need to send him the part.’
‘We don’t send parts out to customers. We send them to authorised technicians.’
‘There’s a fridge technician in Mallacoota.’
‘Get him to call us with his details so we can authorise it.’
The Mallacoota guy who fixes fridges is the auto-electrician, right, so he is licenced to gas up car air-cons, not fridges. Samsung will never authorise him. Never fear though, because the real estate lady in Mallacoota knows an engineer who can do such things.
‘I’ll find out his details from the real estate agent.’
By this time, my left eye is twitching and I am in serious danger of imploding.
Turns out the engineer is retired – therefore, he may be perfectly capable of fixing my bloody $850 fridge, but I just know what Samsung will say about that – it’s not even worth phoning them again. My head is in my hands, I'm ready for a straitjacket and I want to take to the $850 fridge with a baseball bat.

So. In disgust and desperation, Mark & I find an ancient op-shop fridge that costs $80. We clean it up and put it in the house. It works like a charm. We bring the offending two year-old, $850 Samsung fridge back to Canberra.

Right, Samsung. Now you have no excuse.

Today’s phone call.
After reciting the preamble and adding that I brought the fridge all the way back to Canberra so it would be within their service area, they gave me the names of two service agents. Oooh, now I’m getting somewhere.

Wrong again. Here’s the story – the compressor is under warranty, so Samsung will provide it to the authorised agent. Paying for the service call-out and the labour will be my responsibility. 

Bottom line. The throbbing vein is back. To fix my two-year old $850 Samsung fridge with the shitty compressor that only managed to last until the actual fridge itself was out of warranty, it will cost me $116.60 for the service call-out (and first 15 minutes), then $33 per 15 minutes after that. The workshop informed me it would be about a 2 hour job. Do the numbers – that’s $347.60. Add the cost of fuel getting it back to Canberra (about $50) – and the same to get it back down to Mallacoota again when it's fixed - and the $80 op-shop fridge in the meantime – that’s more than half the cost of another brand new Samsung fridge! All to replace a part that (a) is still under warranty, and (b) should’ve lasted a damned sight longer than 2 years! I don't think I can be bothered.

When I move to Mallacoota I will buy a new fridge, yes. But guess what?  
It won’t be a Samsung. 
Oh no, Samsung, this loyal customer is now a very frustrated and angry ex-customer, and you are on my shit-list. I've had two Samsung fridges and four Samsung phones in the past. My next fridge will be a Kelvinator or a Fisher and Paykel, my next phone will be an iPhone rather than a Samsung Galaxy, and I think I'll go for the iPad option, rather than the Samsung Galaxy Tab I had been eyeing off. So long, Samsung!

8 comments:

The Machinist's Wife said...

I feel your pain. I do.

We had the same run around with one of the Bromic freezers at the shop. If I didn't have the help from Lou, of Lou's Catering (whom we bought it from), I don't think we would have ever had a 'fridge technician'(indeed!) call around and fix it.
Back in the day, you returned your faulty items to the place of purchase and THEY would either fix or get fixed.

Sigh...

Injustice reigns...

lemmiwinks said...

It hurts just reading the account of your tale of woe! No bloody wonder we live in a throw away society. Sadly, it often doesn't make economic sense to repair something, even if from every other point of view it really should be fixed.

Sue said...

Lemmiwinks, the thought of throwing away an almost-new fridge pains me like you wouldn't believe - it's not as if it's a used tissue or something, but it's just as bloody useless :-( Perhaps the $80 Op-shop fridge will outlive us all, and I should just hang onto IT forever...

lemmiwinks said...

Oh I'd believe it - the hoarder instinct is strong with me (not so strong that I'll be on TV fortunately). You know, I was thinking about your predicament. It would be worth your while shooting off an email to Samsung, basically an edited version of the blog post, emphasis on the "other products I will be buying" part.

You never know. I stamped my foot hard (but eloquently) enough via email once that Honda gave me a new motorcycle :-)

AndrewM said...

It gets worse - if you want TAMS to do a hard rubbish collection, it will cost you $55 unless you can wave a concession card at them. And because the hard rubbish collection service is a trial, you can only have one pickup. If your stove decides to self-destruct the following week, you're on your own.

Gerry said...

So let me guess... You're a tad pissed off with Samsung?

VStar Lady said...

You have every right to be 'ticked' - two years is a ridiculously short life for a refrigerator. I think everyone is tired of companies building things to last just long enough for the warranty to run out(or not, but still providing no way of actually honoring them with the hopes that you will give up). Blast your message loud.
Your old fridge just proves, they don't make things like they used to.

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