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    Thread: Refrigerator design flaw.

    1. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      09-25-2012 05:29 PM #1
      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?
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

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    2. Senior Member Hostile's Avatar
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      09-25-2012 05:40 PM #2
      It never hurts to ask.

      Whenever my wife has a bad experience with a product she always writes to the company to voice her concerns. For small stuff it's usually good for a coupon for a free replacement. Just the other day she received a hand-written note apologizing for her bad experience and coupons for 3 free replacements.

    3. Member TwoLitreVW's Avatar
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      09-25-2012 05:48 PM #3
      well, you had the time to make this post about it; i'll assume you've got the time to write them a letter about it.


      would it cost you anything to do so, or hurt you in any way?


      and, conversely, could it maybe result with something in your favor?

      do it.
      shut your mouth. sh sh shut your mouth.

    4. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      09-25-2012 05:48 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      A design flaw on my 1994 GE Monogram built-in side-by side

      I thought they still had ice boxes back then?

      Personally, I wouldn't waste the time or the stamp complaining to GE about this. The fridge is 18 years old.

    5. 09-25-2012 07:04 PM #5
      Your fridge breaks after 18 years and you call it a "design flaw"??


    6. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      09-25-2012 08:20 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by beentheredonethat View Post
      Your fridge breaks after 18 years and you call it a "design flaw"??

      I think you might have missed where the technician, that does this for a living, used the words "known design flaw", and "others fixed under warranty".
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
      -Zukjimpiphile

    7. 09-25-2012 08:45 PM #7
      Yeah well good luck getting coverage on your 18 year old fridge Maybe I should ask about the rust on my 2004 F150

    8. Member TwoLitreVW's Avatar
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      09-25-2012 09:30 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by beentheredonethat View Post
      Yeah well good luck getting coverage on your 18 year old fridge Maybe I should ask about the rust on my 2004 F150
      are you dense, or just acting that way?

      he's not asking for coverage, he's not even implying that anyone else should be responsible. he's simply wondering if it's worth pointing out to the manufacturer that he has a unit that they made that has a known design flaw that was never addressed.

      on the outside chance they may take action and offer up some goodwill in his general direction.


      granted, the chances are slim, but some corporations are interested in keeping a good relationship with their customers.

      particularly ones who may have a customer with an 18 year old piece of equipment that just might be looking to replace it with a new one in the near future.

      shut your mouth. sh sh shut your mouth.

    9. Member Turq's Avatar
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      09-26-2012 02:02 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by beentheredonethat View Post
      Yeah well good luck getting coverage on your 18 year old fridge Maybe I should ask about the rust on my 2004 F150
      Actually, if the rust is a known design flaw that Ford issued a recall for, you could get it fixed. (See: Toyota Tacoma frames.) But, you're just trolling anyway.
      "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."
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    10. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      09-26-2012 08:46 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by beentheredonethat View Post
      Yeah well good luck getting coverage on your 18 year old fridge Maybe I should ask about the rust on my 2004 F150
      Maybe you should post in threads where you have something to offer. Getting your post count up doesn't count.
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
      -Zukjimpiphile

    11. 09-26-2012 10:51 AM #11
      you could ask, but it's seriously 18 yrs old.

      there are definite design flaws on cars, but if your OOW your basically on your own, i don't see how this is any different.

      You got 18 years out of it with NO ill effects, what more could you ask for?

    12. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      09-26-2012 11:12 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by robhurlburt View Post
      you could ask, but it's seriously 18 yrs old.

      there are definite design flaws on cars, but if your OOW your basically on your own, i don't see how this is any different.

      You got 18 years out of it with NO ill effects, what more could you ask for?
      Now that's a reasonable response.
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
      -Zukjimpiphile

    13. Member mode12's Avatar
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      09-27-2012 11:13 AM #13
      My bet is GE will work with you.

      I just went through something similar with an older GE microwave with a failed magnetron.

      Called them up and praised and complained about their appliances...eventually they reimbursed me the parts money (didn't charge labor as I did it myself).

      Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

    14. 09-27-2012 12:11 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by mode12 View Post
      I just went through something similar with an older GE microwave with a failed magnetron.
      how old was the unit? I had a 8 year old GE over the range microwave that the magnetron went out on. I replaced the magnetron unit myself and felt GE had ZERO responsibility to repay me.

      I don't think a manufacturer should be responsible for a products life, unless they put a lifetime warranty on it.

    15. Member mode12's Avatar
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      09-27-2012 12:56 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by robhurlburt View Post
      how old was the unit? I had a 8 year old GE over the range microwave that the magnetron went out on. I replaced the magnetron unit myself and felt GE had ZERO responsibility to repay me.

      I don't think a manufacturer should be responsible for a products life, unless they put a lifetime warranty on it.
      Early 2000's. Same thing as yours I bet. GE had a lifetime warranty on those magnetron. I googled why it wasn't working and found all sorts of other people having good luck with reimbursement. I should have tried to get my labor paid.

      It was my mothers, and she was quoted $600 to replace magnetron and a diode. Seventy bucks and twenty minutes later, it works.

      Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

    16. 09-27-2012 01:35 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by mode12 View Post
      Same thing as yours I bet. GE had a lifetime warranty on those magnetron. I googled why it wasn't working and found all sorts of other people having good luck with reimbursement. I should have tried to get my labor paid.
      interesting. i googled why it wasn't working and also took it to a microwave repair shop to be diagnosed and never heard of a lifetime replacement on the magnetron. I think that is a completely different situation than what barry had though

    17. Senior Member PowerDubs's Avatar
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      09-27-2012 06:48 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      A design flaw on my 1994 GE Monogram built-in side-by side finally showed up.



      For what it is worth, almost all refrigerators do not have any sort of a drain heater from the factory.

      Water freezes at 32 degrees. The proper operating temperature of a freezer compartment is 0 degrees.

      Unless a fridge has a drain heater of some sort, they ALL can have a frozen drain every once in a while. Completely normal. Even the $8,000+ Subzero fridges and the like do it.

      I'd expect if you wrote them this 'stern letter' after 18 years wanting to know why they didn't notify you..and they respond- Dear Sir, you never registered your product with us.

      99% of people never send in the card.

      As for- "How long should a manufacturer be held accountable for a design flaw resulting in a manufacturing change?" the answer is whatever the warranty period is. Most full warranty on most appliances is 1 year.

      It is EXTREMELY common on any brand for parts to be redesigned, part numbers changed, hardware changed, software changed. Once out of warranty, most of the time it is on the customer regardless. Just be happy they made an improvement. The worst stuff is when you have no choice but to fix something with parts you know are just going to break again.
      -Josh
      Current- 06 Phaeton 4-seater 6.0 W12 | 04 VW R32 | 03 Gti 24v VR6 | 00 M Roadster | 12 Kia Soul 1.6 stick | 01 ZRX1200R | 03 KLX400R
      Past- too much too list.

    18. 09-28-2012 12:31 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      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?
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      I think you might have missed where the technician, that does this for a living, used the words "known design flaw", and "others fixed under warranty".
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Maybe you should post in threads where you have something to offer. Getting your post count up doesn't count.
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Now that's a reasonable response.

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