Sunday, November 9, 2014


Of products
& warranties


We recently acquired some new "things," including a dish washer, a refrigerator, and a coffee urn.

The dishwasher is pretty simple and carries a lot of brand labels. It was installed by a guy who new his business and made sure everything worked before he asked me to sign off on the installation.

The fridge, a huge Samsung side-by-side that looks impressive - icemaker and water through-the-door distribution, yah-dah, yah-dah. It's bigger than the old unit, but, frankly, I don't think it's any easier to access "stuff" inside. I want to assume the box was made in Japan or in the US for a Japanese company, but I suspect most of the box came from China.

The coffee urn, made in China - only West Bend is made in the USA - replaced a West Bend that served us well for about 4 years. The new, cheaper than West Bend, urn was used for one - ONE - cup of coffee before it broke.

Of the three things, only one - the dishwasher - has served us well, although to be fair it's only used once-a-week or when we have company.

The coffee urn will go back Monday.

But the fridge . . . that's another story.

My wife and son bought the box from BrandsMart. It turns out that it is BrandsMart not, as I mistakenly thought, BrandSmart. The wife also bought a 3-year extended warranty.

When the box was first installed everything seemed to work OK.

Then the icemaker stopped making ice. This was discovered when the Spouse burned her hand I wanted to put ice on the burn.

SO, I dug out the warranty information and, since I am a Web-junky, I used the Web to contact BrandsMart to complain and ask to have a tech call me to set up an appointment.

No response.

Although I loathe the telephone, I called the BrandsMart warranty number. A woman answered and when I told her I needed tech support she informed me the computer was being updated.

Updated in the middle of a normal workday? Incredible. Unbelievable.

I insisted that the woman take down my information with pencil - maybe crayon - and paper and then, when the software was updated, transfer the information into the database. I several times asked if the Customer Service Representative "got" the information and the response always was "Yes."

And the response was: Silence. No calls from tech support to set a time to fix the problem.

I went back and read the box's troubleshooting guide and thought I found - and fixed - the problem.

Tried the ice maker. No change - no ice.

Waited an hour and tried again. No change - no ice.

Once again to BrandsMart's Web site and once again I defined my problem and what I did to resolve it, along with the notation that the ice maker STILL was not producing ice - neither chips nor cubes. Hit "Send" and continued waiting.

Three days later I STILL am waiting to hear from BrandsMart.

Mind, the box is less than a month out of the box. We are NOT talking about the end of the three-year extended contract so there is no question that BrandsMart is trying to stretch out the problem until the warranty expires.

AS IT HAPPENS, what I did to the ice maker eventually fixed the problem and I was - and still am - waiting for a call from BrandsMart to tell them to cancel my three requests for technical support.

I am, however, curious to know why BrandsMart sells a product with a guarantee it apparently has no intention of honoring. The warranty is very clear that it is with BrandsMart and NOT with Samsung. Perhaps BrandsMart is the "China" of warranties - looks good but has no value.

Extended warranty or not, if we have any more problems with the Samsung box I will contact BrandsMart and cc Samsung so at least the company that brands the box will know that it's vendor's warranties are not worth the paper on which they are printed.

What's happened to American pride? Does anyone take pride in their work any more? Does anyone even CARE any more? Based on the inaction of BrandsMart and the Made-in_China coffee urn, I guess the answer is a resounding "No, no one cares."

What did I expect from the importer of the Chinese urn? QUALITY CONTROL, sampling of incoming product. Is my defective urn one out of 10? One out of 100? One out of 1,000? My guess is that the importer has no clue and probably doesn't care - it's probably cheaper to refund a customer's purchase price that it is to do any QC on Chinese products.

Which is why we will order a new West Bend urn tomorrow.

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