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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 11562
Experience:  25 yrs. of experience in employment law, real estate and business law, family law, criminal defense and immigration.
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My refrigerator stopped working on Fathers Day this year (June

Resolved Question:

My refrigerator stopped working on Father's Day this year (June 15). The part that stopped working was deemed "unrepairable" by certified Samsung technician and under warranty. Warranty says "Samsung will repair or replace defective parts at their option.." Samsung refuses to replace (they say they have no process that would allow them to exchange a fridge older than a year) and can't repair it (technician says the defective parts are inaccessible by design). Samsung offered me a refund (started out at half the value of the fridge and rose, as I jumped through numerous company hoops like a trained poodle, and then called the Better Business Bureau) but I cannot buy another fridge of comparable size, value and features for what they will pay me. In addition, they want me to sign a letter that say, "By signing the Customer Refund Acceptance Document and attaching the serial decal as well as the image of the cut cord from your unit, you are accepting the refund amount and assuring us that you will not sell, use, nor attempt further compensation for the product. This refund Approval/Offer is valid for 14 days from the date of this email." In addition, their company policy caused me to be without a fridge for many weeks at which point I went and rented one. They are still telling me it could be another week. I feel frustrated by company policies that delay the replacement of a vital appliance (I have small children) and are designed to make honoring the warranty impossible. I am not so concerned with the cost although it would be nice to be compensated for my fridge, my lost food, my time and the rental fridge; I am more concerned with big business doing whatever the hell they want and not honoring their warranty. Is it worth it to take them to small claims court? Will I win? Will it affect the company? Will they be forced to rewrite their company policies or rethink them or will it only benefit my family?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, My name isXXXXX am a licensed, practicing Attorney and would like to help,

 

I am sorry to hear about the trouble you are having. Your question is especially interesting to me since I bought a Samsung refrigerator just 3 weeks ago.

 

It is very clear that Samsung is not living up to its warranty to "...repair or replace ........." and giving you a partial refund on a refrigerator which is almost brand new certainly does not absolve them of liability to you. And, I cannot see why they should restrict what you do with a refrigerator which they, themselves, admit cannot be repaired. I could see their placing a restriction on what you do with it if they gave you a complete refund, but since that is not the case here, what you do with it should be your own business.

 

If I were in your position, I would sue them in Small Claims Court because, First, the language of the warranty is clear and it is equally clear that they did not and will not live up to it; and second, it will cost them a lot more in Attorneys' fees to defend the lawsuit than it would have cost them had they given you a complete refund. They might even reconsider and raise their offer of settlement when they see what it will cost them to defend your lawsuit,

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I paid $1362.92 in Sept '09. They offered me $700 something first then what I paid if I sent in my receipt minus the sales tax. As if I would want to pay sales tax twice. After the BBB complaint they offered me the full price but with the decal/cord caveats. So they are paying me what I paid but I bought on sale and years ago. To replace my fridge it costs $1700-2200. If they lived up to their warranty I would already have a fridge and it wouldn't cost me anything. But, again, it is not the cost so much as the principle. I explained to the company representative that called after the BBB complaint that I wanted them to honor their warranty, and if not a full refund including sales tax AND an explanation about their warranty practices. No response. Should I take the money and run? And what about the nonworking fridge cluttering my kitchen? And I own almost everything Samsung. I want them not to do this to me again.

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I was not aware that they offered you exactly what you had paid and I do not know what made me think it was only one year old. If they are offering you the amount you paid for the refrigerator and the refrigerator is four years old, then I would take the money because you will not get any more than that if you take them to Court because the Judge is not going to Order them to do any more than that.

 

I understand that it is the principle, but they have already shown that they cannot live up to their warranty and they are doing the next best thing by giving you a complete refund. I realize that you could not buy the same refrigerator today with that money, but no manufacturer will give a consumer the replacement cost today. The non-working refrigerator in your kitchen will be taken away by the store which delivers your new refrigerator. As for their not doing this to you again, I doubt they will because they saw that you are a fighter and you do not give up,

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I really appreciate these answers. I did not want the hassle of court but was feeling that I should. It seems criminal to treat us the way they have and I am unsure that they will actually send the check, as they have been dishonest and untrustworthy in other ways (i.e. warranty, "I'll call you tomorrow with that information" and don't call, design the fridge to make the compressor inaccessible and warrantee it for 5 years, offer low ball amounts and alternatives only if I objected, give partial information, delay tactics, etc.).


 


On the other hand, would taking them to court potentially get them to uphold their warranty? Or would it only be monetary judgements? Would they be required to cover the costs of our lost food, eating out while they stalled, and renting a fridge because these were costs incurred as a result of their unwillingness to meet the warranty?


 


And 23 days later they are still telling us another week before the check? Is that okay? Most people don't have a spare $2000 to buy a new fridge. We are like most people, we can't buy one until we get the check.


 


So, would court if we won only have monetary gain for my family or would it affect the company at all? Is it possible that they would be ordered to change their policies? I thought a warrantee was a legal document that gave the consumer the rights written in it. Is it?

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Christi, You have valid points and valid questions,

 

1. Going to Court would result in monetary damages. If they testify that the part cannot be repaired, or replaced, the Judge will not compel them to make good on their warranty under these circumstances;

 

2. A Judge in Small Claims Court does not have the power to force a company to change its warranty policy; But, there really is nothing for them to change here because if they could repair or replace it, they would. So, I do not think that the Judge would force them to change their warranty policy, even if the Judge had the authority to do so;

 

3. I know how much of a hardship it is to be without a refrigerator and all the extra costs that go along with being without a refrigerator. I had the same thing only a few short weeks ago. However, these are what are called "consequential damages" and if you read the warranty, you will probably see that Samsung disclaims any liability for all consequential damages incurred as a result of the product malfunctioning;

 

4. If you believe they are stringing you along in not sending you the check they agreed to send you, give them an ultimatum in writing and say that if you do not receive their check in the amount of $ __________ , within 5 business days, they will leave you no alternative but to file a lawsuit against them,

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please be kind enough to rate Excellent Service" so that I receive credit for assisting you,

 

Bonus and Positive Feedback on survey is very much appreciated,

 

ANDREA

 

 

Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 11562
Experience: 25 yrs. of experience in employment law, real estate and business law, family law, criminal defense and immigration.
Andrea, Esq. and 12 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much. I know what to do now. I'm sorry you bought a Samsung fridge. You probably did your research like we did and saw they had a good record. At least now you know what to do if you have problems: just keep insisting that they do better, always keep your receipt and warranty info, and document each call.


Thanks again.

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