Friday, February 22, 2013

A guarantee is maybe a guarantee

GE Profile refrigerator #3 

The brass bell on our front gate clanked against the aluminum cladding – tink, tink, tink.  I opened the gate to two men standing by a truck, a third man the driver-owner stayed inside the truck.  The two delivery men carefully slide a new side-by-side refrigerator off of a pile of lumber and bricks, onto our sidewalk.

Our third new refrigerator had finally arrived.

A gringa friend of our recently quipped that she could make a bundle by setting up an appliance store next to our house – just to supply us with refrigerators!  True. When we moved into this house five years ago we had a lovely new stainless steel side-by-side GE Profile ice-making refrigerator.  

Through a series of power bumps, and power brownouts it suffered electronic brain troubles that wiped out the ice-maker.  Not the end of the world, unless you happen to have a spouse that needs ice.  Not just likes ice, or enjoys ice, but really needs ice for his sodas or the occasional glass of single malt whiskey.

Fixing the wiring - again - for ice-maker on GE Profile #1
We contacted the Cancun Sears service department for repairs, but discovered that the service technician was more interested in working off the books than fixing the problem.  Eventually he brought over a new mother-board for the water dispenser and ice-maker, and popped it in.  Simple.  Plug and play.  

The next time the mother-board frizzed out Lawrie took the offending part into Sears and asked for a replacement piece.  They said that unless their qualified technician installed the mother-board, they could not guarantee it.  Oh well, buying the part was a cheaper fix than using the Sears technicians.  But of course, the part they sold us didn’t fit the refrigerator, and when we took it back to Sears the service department staff responded, “Sorry, it’s not returnable.” 


Lawrie - fixing the ice-maker once again

Eventually Lawrie figured out how to baby the mother-board back to life for another year or two.  We finally gave up on refrigerator number one in March of 2012.  We bought the same make and model a GE Profile through the local Chedraui Super Store.  It fits the space in our kitchen and has the same plumbed in ice-maker.  

When they arrived to deliver refrigerator number two we discovered our custom-built front door was two inches too narrow to accommodate either the old fridge, or the new one.  It took four strong guys to man-handle the refrigerator around the side of the house and into our kitchen area.  





Chedraui deliving GE #2 March 2012
Great!  We are all set for another five years.  Sparkling new, no rust or corroded electronics to fight with, and we splurged on a reasonably expensive surge protector in hopes of keeping this refrigerator alive longer.   Good to go.  Almost.  

Around the middle of November we noticed that frozen things weren’t staying frozen.  This refrigerator was only seven months old.  I confidently took my receipt to the customer service desk at Chedraui.  No luck.  As both the manager and the electronic manager explained to us the Chedraui guarantee is only good for two weeks; anything longer than that we must deal with the authorized GE service centre in Cancun.  

They called ServiPlus in Cancun to schedule a repair appointment for us – for November 29th.  We waited, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and after my eighth phone call to ServiPlus in Cancun the technician arrived on Monday.  The diagnosis; we need a new compressor.  He will be back on Saturday.  And yes the parts and service call will be covered by the guarantee. 

We forgot to ask which Saturday? What month? And as it turns out, what year?


Eleven weeks without a fridge - Serviplus sent a new one
Guarantees in Mexico are not necessarily guarantees.  It’s a game of Survivor.  Outlast your opponent - with persistence.   We have several friends who have had their own frustrating experiences; returning a new but-broken coffee pot to Wal-Mart.  The customer finally pointing at the overhead sign: Wal-Mart makes everything right with our customers. 

Or another friend had a new dryer delivered, non-functioning, from Sam’s Club with lint in the lint-trap and someone else’s socks still inside the drum.  It would seem that another customer returned the broken appliance.  It was then boxed up and place back on the floor - available for purchase.  This same friend was the recipient of a new washing machine delivered broken.  Her handyman husband fixed it rather than face the inevitable delays for the warranty service.  


Lawrie unwrapping GE Profile  #3
I continued to telephone ServiPlus in Cancun three times a week.  I can be very persistent.  Tomorrow, next week, soon were the consistent answers.  We even went into Cancun to see if we could locate their service department.  Nope!  They had moved with no forwarding address.  

After twenty stumbling Spanglish telephone conversations I enlisted the help of our friend Freddy Medina.  He made another twenty or more telephone calls to the company we were now snidely referring to as ServiMinus.

Freddy said, “You just have to keep calling until they give in.  This is Mexico.”  

Eventually a miracle happens, que milagro.  We recently received a telephone call from ServiPlus in Mexico City.  The young woman spoke perfect English and said we would be receiving a brand new GE Profile refrigerator on Thursday February 7th 2013 – eleven weeks since our refrigerator quit working.  Wow!  I was ecstatic.  A new refrigerator, I’d have been happy with just a new compressor. 

Foolish me.  Never, ever, tempt the gods. 


Delivery guys man-handling #2 along the side of house

No refrigerator on Thursday morning, or Thursday afternoon.  By Friday afternoon I had finally reached the end of my patience.  I didn’t have the telephone number of the person in Mexico City so I called the Cancun office and vented my frustration on the staff there.  





Going to car ferry with fridge on hand truck
I demanded a return call within ten minutes giving me the exact date for the delivery of the new refrigerator.  And again: que milagro.  The woman from Mexico City called back within eleven minutes – the GE Profile would be delivered on Monday morning, February 11th.  It was! 

The two delivery guys man-handled the new refrigerator around the house and into the kitchen, and removed the old refrigerator using the same route.  They then loaded the broken one onto a two-wheeled hand-truck and proceeded to trundle two miles to the car ferry for the return trip to Cancun.  

Would we purchase another GE Profile, GE Cafe, Mabe, or Easy appliance?  Probably not because we would end up dealing with the frustrating, stonewalling tactics of ServiPlus.  

But in the end, what does it really matter?  We are lucky enough to be able to afford a stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator.  

Others are happy that their children are well, they have food on the table, a roof overhead, and the sun is shining.  

Maybe that’s the best guarantee.

Hasta Luego          
Lynda and Lawrie








6 comments:

Life's a Beach! said...

Lynda, one man's trouble makes a very funny post! I'm laughing because we have the big-assed GE Monogram in our kitchen and I wouldn't ever buy another one. Ours came with a one-year warranty and the trouble started shortly after. We've replaced the ice maker part of it twice, and the thing is now making a loud buzzing noise when the compressor kicks on. We actually bought a homeowner's warranty to pay for repairs on it and the A/C units. (It's the U.S., so those repairmen do show up eventually.) Replacing either would be like buying a new car. Ha! Glad you got GE to replace the fridge! Hope you ARE good for another 5 years!

Lynda & Lawrie said...

Hi Becky - it's amazing how many people emailed me and said; let me tell you MY experience! Good for a giggle - especially once it was resolved! Cheers Lynda

Anonymous said...

Lynda
This may be a silly question...but do you filter your water before it goes to the frige or how does that work considering you "can't drink the water"
thanks Roz

Lynda & Lawrie said...

Hi Roz: Not a silly question. We purchased a little electrical pump that sits on the top of a garaffon (20 liter bottle) of purified water. A thin plastic line runs from the bottled water behind the sink, and into the fridge. It has worked well for five years. Gives us purified ice in a few minutes. If you want more info I can take a photo and send it to your email address. Cheers L

Louie Frias said...

What a great blog...and this post is my favorite so far! It's one I should read often in my quest for "patience". Keep up the entertaining writing!

Lynda & Lawrie said...

Hi Louie: It's always entertaining learning how to manage day to day in another country. Glad you enjoyed the article! Cheers Lynda