A design flaw on my 1994 GE Monogram built-in side-by side finally showed up. One month after my refrigerator was made they made a modification to the way the heated defrost pan works. What would happen is that the freezer could come on and freeze an ice plug in the drain line because the heater was insufficient to melt the plug.
Through the wonders of the internet I found that the design flaw was corrected by having the heater come on all the time the freezer thermostat is calling for the compressor to run. They also found that the bare metal cabinet the condenser is house in would condense, allowing water to drip down the sides during defrost.
They came up with a kit that resolved the problem. It was sold primarily to appliance repair people. It contained thin self-adhesive pre-cut panels to cover the bare metal of the cabinet. It came with a new heater pan that was better sealed than the old and it came with a new insulating panel to replace one scorched by the defrost heater.
I bought the kit, read the instructions, quickly realized that my extra-large 60 year old body would not have survived the contortions necessary to complete the task. I hired a young man that was a neighbor of my commercial building. He was very experienced, but was young enough to have never done this retrofit before. He figures that the majority of these refrigerators were retrofit early on, under warranty.
I assured him that I would pay extra to help, because that's just the way I am. The instructions for the kit were near unintelligible, but the two of us managed to decipher them. It took him 3 hours of twisting and moaning, but he got it installed and everything works perfectly.
As he was leaving he said I should write a stern letter to GE asking why I hadn't been notified and ask for compensation for the repair. Combined, the parts and labor were about $325. It probably would have cost $5,000 to replace a custom-paneled built-in, so I was happy. He encouraged me to try, based on correcting a known problem. I got Koehler to replace two exploding toilets, but do I have a leg to stand on here?
How long should a manufacturer be held accountable for a design flaw resulting in a manufacturing change? Should I have been notified? The unit's on record with them as I had the compressor replaced about 10 years ago.
I suppose that if I don't ask, I'll not get, but what do you think?