ConsumerWatch: Bay Area Man’s Fridge Turns Into Ice Machine

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Refrigerator. (CBS)

Refrigerator. (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Home appliances are expected to last several years. But when Ken Teng bought a brand new refrigerator two years ago, he never imagined it would turn into an ice machine.

“There’s a slot or vent you’ll see the accumulation of the ice,” Teng said. The refrigerator is two years old. But in the last year Teng said he’s been forced to scrap the ice off. “If you don’t chip the ice, the ice will accumulate.”

For Teng, getting his fridge fixed comes with a price tag, since the one year warranty is no longer in effect. Richard Holober with The Consumer Federation of California said it’s unusual for a refrigerator to break down after a few years of use.

“A refrigerator is expected to last about 15 years,” he said. Holober adds if an appliance breaks down within a reasonable time frame the company should repair it at no cost.

Unfortunately, Holober adds there is no legal requirement for a company to make repairs after the warranty expires. But it may help to go on the web and post comments. “Companies monitor those websites to see who’s saying what,” he said.

Teng decided to email CBS 5 ConsumerWatch where producer Jessica Ayala contacted GE and agreed to waive the fee to send a service technician out plus the cost of any parts. But Teng would have to pay for the labor. “They’re making some token effort,” Holober said.

For Teng, that token of effort is no consolation since he paid over $1,500 just two years ago. “This one may be fancy, but don’t go for the look because mechanically there is something wrong,” he said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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