What would you do?

milehihouseJuly 15, 2013

We remodeled our kitchen this spring (thanks Gardenweb!), and everything is great except one appliance. By next week, we'll have had a total of 7 appointments in two months to repair our mirrored Thermador induction cooktop. Thermador has tried several repairs, but they seem to have no idea how to fix it and now they suggest replacing one more part. Of course, that part is backordered. Would you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau? Call the local consumer advocate? Post product reviews on every website that sells this product? Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

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I would give them a chance and ask to speak to a supervisor. Document your calls and follow up with emails. Then let them know you have prepared that documentation. They need to replace with a new induction cooktop. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:42PM
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Have you contacted the store where you bought it? That's where I would start. I would tell them how unhappy I am and request that they help with the manufacturer. You paid a lot of money for your appliance (I have the same in all black which I LOVE) and it should work as well as it's suppose to.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Thanks remodelfla. I asked two reps at Thermador and neither will connect me with a supervisor. (One said that this case doesn't warrant a supervisor.) I've documented several things including my calls to them, the dates of scheduled and actual visits, and the types of repairs/parts replacements they've tried so far (to no avail). I've let them know I have the documentation and I've asked for a replacement cooktop. They "reviewed my file with upper management" and plan to try to replace another part. If that doesn't work, they'll review the file again to decide how to proceed. So frustrating. How do you "go up the ladder" and speak to someone else when the rep won't cooperate?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 9:07PM
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You are entitled to rights under Lemon Laws, which apply to appliances as well as cars. Though the laws do vary by state. Is your appliance still within the warranty period? That is key if you want to invoke the Lemon Law. If your user name means you are in Denver, the Colorado Lemon Law says 4 repairs qualify you for the Lemon Law. Thermador should have replaced your appliance by now rather than keep trying to repair it.

Michael Traub is President and CEO of Thermador Corp.
5551 McFadden Avenue
Huntington Beach, California 92649
Phone: 714-901-6600

Perhaps if you do some digging you can get his email address, or if not, write him via snail mail.

Appliance Lemon Laws

Lemon Laws by State

This post was edited by Mrs_Nyefnyef on Mon, Jul 15, 13 at 21:35

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Hope you are able to get a replacement. They should haul this one off to figure it out and be resold as refurbished. You paid for a new, perfect, expensive appliance.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 11:11PM
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I agree with Mrs. Nyefnyef. I have very good luck with sending emails or letters to presidents of companies, or failing that, there is sometimes a VP of customer service. It always gets action fast.

Interesting that they try to fix it. My appliance store told me that when you have the extended warranty on a cooktop, they usually just replace it because it costs more to keep trying to repair it. Maybe this doesn't apply to more expensive cooktops, and of course this is the original warranty, not the extended third party one. Still, they should have replaced it. Not the way for a company to support the growth of induction.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Holly- Kay

It is ridiculous to have to beg a company to make your expensive appliance "right". Honestly I think they should not only install a new cook top they should also give you a gift certificate to a local restaurant to make up for all the meals you couldn't prepare at home.

I have a small business and it astonishes me that big corporations think they can get away with substandard customer service. If I treated my customers the way you are being treated I would be out of business in the blink of an eye.

Explain your dilemma to the gentleman referred above and tell HIM what you want done. Be firm and polite but don't take no for an answer about total replacement of your unit. IMO if your current ct is prone to repairs this early in the game it will only get worse.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I had a lemon microwave from a reputable companyand they kept trying to fix the appliance even though it was only a couple hundred bucks.
They send someone to my home who came several times and replaced various parts. Finally they replaced it and the new one had problems also!
By this time it was out of warranty but I called and got a supervisor and they sent out an official repairman instead of the local store I bought it from repairman. and it turned out to be something very simple.
In your case I would absolutely be relentless until you get a supervisor. I would also suggest to them that you will share your sob story on every forum you can including YELP, Reddit etc. unless you get satisfaction. You bought a brand new appliance and that is what you should have. The nerve!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Thank you all for the sympathy, for sharing my indignation, and for the information! I'll respond to each of you individually below, and I know that I'm probably "singing to the choir". But I want to make sure you know how much I appreciate all of your comments and suggestions!

fsteph, I contacted the store who supplied the cooktop and they couldn't be more sympathetic... I've stopped by, too, and the appliance shop said they'd involve the Thermador person who takes care of their account. So far, nothing has happened. I'm not sure if I'm a sucker, or maybe they're too small to make a difference. I'll keep trying.
Mrs. Nyefnyef, Thanks for the info on Lemon Laws and contact info for Thermador's CEO. Great idea to send a letter to someone at Thermador and BSH (their service "arm")! LinkedIn will come in handy in identifying people, I bet. I'm having trouble getting more info on Colorado Lemon Laws; I'm finding info that suggests Lemon Laws only apply to new vehicles in Colorado. I'll call the Better Business Bureau tomorrow to get more info.
I appreciate the thought, snookums. Thermador should do the researching on their own time on their own countertop, right?
Ginny, I think it's interesting too that they're spending so much time coming here to service this. I suspect that they're having trouble with ALL of their new cooktops with the mirrored surfaces. Perhaps a new supplier or a new material? Or something? But this is no way to treat a customer.
Holly-kay, You're so right! This cooktop has been removed and unscrewed and messed with more in the last 2 months than my old gas cooktop in 20 years! It's actually worse now than it was when it was installed. It beeps and flashes the EE code more frequently than ever! I'll ask for a gift certificate and will invite all of you to share-
Lee, I love reddit for their jokes ("What's red and smells like blue paint?") and news threads as much as I love Gardenweb's forums. Never thought to post about this issue on reddit or yelp. Great tip.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:57PM
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Dear Mr. Traub....

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:28PM
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Whit- I wish I could write a song, sing it and make a video (Did you see "United Breaks Guitars"?) I'm thinking "My cooktop's a lemon, Here's my dilemma" or "Oh Thermador, I wanted to adore you. Why do you treat your customers so poorly?" or "The seduction of induction was a function of selection: I liked the mirrored one. But I've deducted mine's constructed of dysfunctional material." Or something. But I'll probably write the letter. "Dear Mr. Traub, I was really looking forward to cooking with my new Thermador induction cooktop. But my experience with the cooktop has been dissatisfactory. I am writing to express my disappointment in the induction cooktop and Thermador's service.... "

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:55PM
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You might include a mention of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act in your letter. This federal law requires that, (as part of a full warranty) "if the product, or a component part, contains a defect or malfunction, must permit the consumer to elect either a refund or replacement without charge, after a reasonable number of repair attempts".

I would say that 7 is a more than reasonable number.

Check with your state's attorney general's office or the state dept. of commerce for information about your state's lemon laws.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:57PM
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Even if your state doesn't have a lemon law, it is possible that Magnuson-Moss could cover you if you are in a full warranty period. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 11:17PM
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I guess if you mentioned to a customer service rep that you were prepared to file a complaint with the Attorney General and would like the spelling of their name or an employee number, a supervisor would soon be on the line. Check BBB, AG, and whether your town has a consumer protection office. You could even file a small claims case. The store can keep their sympathy, you have to insist on action within 3 business days or name the owner in your complaints.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:14AM
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I think we err as consumers when we get emotional about the failures of businesses to fulfill their obligations. There was a time when businesses trained employees to soothe and accommodate irate customers, and when customers were not generally unreasonable in their demands.
But I think the climate is coarser now: customers are more likely to complain unreasonably while businesses are less likely to respond generously; the trust that should undergird our transactions is mostly gone. But the rules and laws aren't gone. And it isn't rude or aggressive to use them. It would be much more fun to send a singing telegram (love your verses) but I don't think that will get you the new cooktop for which you paid.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:43AM
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I would make a video on my cell phone every time something goes wrong with the range. Document it and take it into the dealers and show it to them. It's important to have the dealer behind you. But it requires going in person, perhaps multiple times, and being very firm.

I would pressure the dealer to have Thermador replace the whole thing. Multiple repairs on a new appliance is ridiculous. It's a lemon.

Much more clout through a dealer than on your own. If they won't replace then ask the dealer to request a buy back. They credit you and you buy something else.

In my case, I had an oven that didn't work after 13 service calls. My dealer was behind me but the company was being awful. I was so persistent they wanted to get rid of me so they agreed to a buy back.

The company sent someone to remove the oven and cart it away. They gave the dealer credit for it. The dealer credited me. I purchased a different oven which has been superb.

There are too many good induction tops out there to stay with this one.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:01AM
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This may have been said already...but just in case. Check with the credit card company you used to pay for the product. Lots of companies will fight the fight for you or honor the warranty in some way. GOod luck

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:40AM
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Holy cow - SEVEN warranty visits for the same thing?!

I have nothing of value to add, other than to say you seem to be handling this much better than I would.

I had 4 or 5 service visits on a piece of crap brand-new Whirlpool fridge, and I was shocked at how no one cared. No one from the service company, no one from Lowes, no one from Whirlpool....I had to take time off from work for each of those visits, I had a fridge leaking all over my floor, and no one one cared. I tried calling, I tried emails - everything went ignored.

Lesson learned for me - I now no longer buy appliances at big box stores, nor will I buy anything from the Whirlpool "family" of appliances.

I hope it works out for you! I would appreciate it if you let us know how it all turns out too - a company that actually seems to care is a rare thing these days, and it is a company that will get my business in the future.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:45AM
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This is terrible to have been sold a lemon and the manufacturer is not willing to admit it and will not replace it. I will definitely document every phone call and servicing and threaten to report them to the BBB or a higher up court if they do not buy it back immediately as your time is valuable.

Thank you for sharing. Please keep us updated on what you plan to do.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:45AM
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Social media and the threat there of can be very effective.

Don't forget to check and see if they have a Facebook page and get on the horn with your complaint there also.

The more people you share it with and tell them you will share it with...the faster you should get results.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Dear Mr. Traub:

My family and I would like to invite you to dinner at our house on Wednesday night. Let me tell you what you won't be having -- any frickin' thing that REQUIRES HEAT. How does beanie-weenies from a can strike you? Because that's what we've been eating since we bought your piece-o-crap Thermador cooktop.

So looking forward to it!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:47AM
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I dunno if this makes sense to anyone else, but it is increasingly clear to me that the problem is articulated in patriceny's post - they don't care. They don't have feelings about this situation or about you; they aren't your friends. It is a business problem. If you want it fixed, approach them in a business-like manner. We like to think that service providers want to make us happy and do what is best for us. They might, but like anyone else doing a job (other than clergy) they are primarily concerned with exchanging their expertise/labor/products for cash. It isn't personal, it is business.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:31PM
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If you purchased with a charge, the charge company may be able to help.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:46PM
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Thanks for the new tips and the comic relief!

Today I learned from the BBB that Colorado's lemon laws do not apply to appliances. If I file a complaint with my local BBB, Thermador has up to four weeks to respond.

I visited my local appliance store last night, and I gave them the list of service appointments and other contacts. My salesperson said they'd be back in touch before 5 PM today. That's still an hour and 15 min away, so we'll see....

A little internet sleuthing gave me the names and email addresses of Thermador's CEO, the director of customer support for BSH in North America, their after sales manager, a manager of customer support, a "director of business excellence", etc. I'm composing the email as we speak.

I posted a note on Thermador's Facebook page. They responded fairly quickly saying they found my file and would review the situation! They promised to be in contact shortly after the review. Again, we'll see...

I left a phone message for Bart Stock, BSH's regional service manager, located here in town.

I videotaped malfunctions today on my cell phone. Learned flashing red light means video ON; solid red light means video OFF. But I have some video.

I'll give the credit card company a call and look into Magnuson Moss tomorrow. (The cooktop is only 2 months old, so there's plenty of warranty time left.) Great suggestions; thanks!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 5:49PM
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milehihouse, I hope that you finally get action.

I know when Stanley Manufacturer sent me damaged furniture, the store would not take it back or fix it so I sent pictures to the decorating forum and the furniture forum on this Gardenweb forum to see maybe I was wrong and it was acceptable to have mismatched pieces of furniture, crack and glued that showed the cracked pieces and splintering. I got over 100 post replies. I forward this to Stanley that initially said the furniture was now the store's responsibility. They must have read the posts as some people were canceling their orders with Stanley Furniture. The next day, I got a call from the store that they were picking up the damaged furniture and crediting my credit card. The Internet has a large audience that can really cause action to be taken.

Please keep us updated. This is unacceptable to have a new appliance have so many service calls so soon and you need your money back or a brand new appliance.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:22PM
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BTW, I wouldn't send an email. A paper trail is much more effective.

Thermador/Bosch is pretty well known for its customer unfriendliness, I believe.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Very good on the Facebook page.

It is amazing how quickly you can get a reaction when you take it to social media. Naturally, I feel you should approach them directly first but you tried and did not get the results you should have.

I would also email the customer relations department with a link to this thread. I would have to assume they would want to do the right thing by you OR I am sure you will share with us that they did not and that certainly will influence purchasing decisions we make.

These forum comments tend to rank pretty high in Google so they would just be getting negative advertising if they elect not to provide you with what you paid for.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 7:49PM
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IME, the videos are the most powerful help you can have for several reasons. They become facts and I found they got action better than any other form of complaint. The reason is because the people answering the complaints often don't know enough about the technical aspects of things to address the situation. The video can be shown to the techs -- who then cannot say it's impossible that the problem is happening.

Also, it's easier to watch a short video than pick out the story from a dense email.

My strategy with each one was to make it very matter of fact, say my name and where I live, the date I bought the cooktop and mention the name of the dealer -- all in a very conversational tone. I showed the problem more than once in the video if I could. If a repair was attempted for the issue but the problem still exists, I'd mention that. I'd try to do one for each issue with the cooktop. Keep them concise. Remember to summarize and include your contact info at the end and thank them for any help they can give you.

Rather than try to attach and send them (some companies block videos from coming in) I'd upload them to Vimeo or Photobucket and send links. Then the email can be forwarded with the links. No extra work for anyone.

I feel videos are better than dense emails because people dealing with complaints all day surely are skimming those or confusing them. I felt they were more likely to watch the video and grasp the problem than by reading about it and I got excellent results.

Some of my first videos were a bit messed up but I just kept making them. Then I went over them and picked the best ones. On one, I was trying to get a sheet of paper towel to stick to a non-functional exhaust hood while it was running. So it was noisy and the towel was falling too fast to be caught easily after I let it go. But eventually I got it.

Good luck! I hope you will have a good result with this method, as I did.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Wow, that is outrageous! I can't believe they refused to pass you to a supervisor.

I did a quick search and it doesn't look like colorado's lemon law covers appliances. (don't take my word for it, though). However, you are certainly not stuck with it.

If you only remodeled this past spring, certainly the thermador is still under warranty. 7 repair attempts in, what, 3 months? This does not conform to the actual warranty or the implied warranty of fitness/merchantability (meaning when you buy something, the understanding of both parties is that it will work!).

Honestly, if you dont get a response soon, I'd file a claim in small claims court. It's easy (I do it all the time with deadbeat tenants) and if you include court costs in your plea, it shouldn't cost you much, if anything. Of course, the Thermador probably costs more than the max allowed for small claims. But still, if you hit a brick wall, file suit. You'll have a new cooktop or reimbursement check before you know it.

If you're not a litigious as I, you could contact your credit card company and have them intervene, or dispute the charge.

At any rate, I would NOT accept another repair. You need a brand new cook top. And I agree, a few gift certificates for your trouble.

Good luck and keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:59PM
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You have 60 days from the time you receive the bill to dispute a credit cad charge. That's not really an option now.

I was looking to see if I could tell where the nearest BSH showroom was (there is one in Houston) to suggest you call and talk to the manager of the one responsible for your region. I found something you might find interesting on their website.

From the BSH Business Conduct Guidelines:
"B 2. Responsibility for the Image of BSH and its Parent
Companies Bosch and Siemens
The image of BSH and of the trademarks (as well as the
image of its parent companies Robert Bosch GmbH and
Siemens AG) is largely determined by the demeanor,
actions and conduct of every employee. Inappropriate
behavior on the part of any individual employee may
cause significant harm to BSH and its parent companies.
Thus, in the performance of his/her duties, every
employee is required to protect the reputation of the
company in the eyes of the public."

Sounds like some employees didn't read the manual. At this point, they are probably spendsing more money on repairs than they would replacing. They should learn a lesson many of us have had to learn -- there is a time to cut your lossses -- a time to stop throwing good money after bad. They have reached it. I wonder why you are getting the treatment you are. It is understandable that you would be upset, but you need to stay calm when you talk to them. Folks tend to not hear the substance of things that get loud and emotional ,. They just hear the emotion. Make sure that isn't working against you.

Also, I'll lend you my mantra for such things -- patience and persistence. Repeat as necessary.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:35PM
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OK, so this is what I found on Lemon Laws; apparently, there's also a federal law that covers all states and also covers appliances (unlike some state laws)

Lemon Law Coverage

Location: All States:
Consumers everywhere are protected by the Federal Lemon Law which applies to all consumer products, including automoblile, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, boats, and all other ordinary consumer products including computers and household appliances.

Repair Interval and Coverage Period:
3 to 4 repairs for the same problem, or 6 to 8 repairs to the entire product during the warranty period.
Warranty period + up to 4 additional years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Federal Lemon Law

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 12:57PM
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I'm finally seeing some results! I've been promised that a new cooktop will be installed within two weeks!!!

Here's what DIDN'T work: 1. Calling customer service at Thermador. Repeatedly. Neither Brendan nor Chelsea there in the exchanges department would connect me with a supervisor. (Next time, I'll try kksmama's tip and ask for employee numbers to see if that will get me through to a supervisor.) 2. Calling BSH's Regional Service Manager in Denver. 3. My credit card was charged on May 9, so I was about a week beyond the 60-day window to dispute the charge.

Here's what worked: my post on Thermador's Facebook page. What????? Who knew??? (Other than Lee333) They called last night with news that they'd replace the cooktop, just a *few hours* after I posted on FB. (I would've told you all last night, but I was at the John Mayer concert at Red Rocks.)

Things I learned that I want to pass along to Gardenweb users: 1. I should have put the words "Thermador" and "induction" in the subject of this thread. That way, this discussion would be more likely to show up as a Google search result. 2. E-mail addresses for executives at BSH Group (which includes Thermador, Bosch, Siemens, etc.) are firstname.lastname@BSHG.com So the CEO's address is Michael.Traub@BSHG.com 3. LinkedIn is very useful for identifying names of executives 4. Get a Facebook account if you don't have one.... 5. Beanie-weenies come in a can? (See post from MizzLizzie)

Things that *may have* ultimately worked 1. Continuing to contact my local appliance shop. 2. Sending letters to the executives with links to video of the problem and links to this thread on Gardenweb. 3. Going the BBB route or the legal route. Even without a specific Lemon Law for appliances, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act *might* apply to this purchase.

I can't thank you all enough! I was ready to explode on Monday when Thermador said they were going to attempt one more repair. I appreciate your expertise, humor and experience; thanks Lee333, lascatx, rococogurl, kksmama, mizzlizzie, Mrs. Nyefnyef, fsteph, kitten1313, jkom, ilene, holly-kay, raee, ginny, patriceny, lynn, whit, addycal and snookums, pasture and nosoccermom!! I'll keep you posted-

(Edited to include names accidentally omitted; sorry!!)

This post was edited by milehihouse on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 2:16

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Milehihouse, so glad that you finally are having action taken by the manufacturer as they see the world will know if they do not do what is right. Thank you for sharing what worked and did not work so we can learn from this post. Yes, I have learned that the one causing the problem needs to be in the subject line. I will also try Facebook to complain if I ever have a problem. Please keep us updated. Thank you for thanking all of us who tried to help since we all know how frustrating it is to get a manufacturer or store to do what is expected of them to do when one of their products is a Lemon.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:42PM
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Thermador and induction- Milehihouse, Please update us on the results of Thermador standing by their product under the Federal Lemon Law. All manufacturers have lemon products every now and then but it is those manufacturers that stand by their products that give confidence to the public that it is still alright to give them another chance.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:46PM
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I also had good luck posting on facebook when the normal channels don't work.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:49PM
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I'm so happy this might be working out for you!

You handled it better than I did. You didn't give up. I'll admit after taking time off from work for the 4th or 5th time, I got discouraged. I didn't know about this board back then and I didn't know what else to do when calling and emailing 3 different companies was getting me nowhere.

So now I just have a festering hatred for Lowes and Whirlpool. Ha-ha. But I'm so happy to hear you didn't give up, AND that it might work out well for you. (Well, aside from all the extra time and aggravation you've had to endure to resolve this....)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Very glad I suggested Facebook and it worked :)

Their behavior to you has been disgraceful - so glad to see they are finally righting a wrong.

I am an author, webmaster and social media expert so social media was my first thought when your sincere professional attempts to take care of the problem did not work. You have been more than patient.

Keep track of your contacts, etc.(as I am sure you will) till that new puppy is put in place and found to be working.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Hurray! SO happy to hear this. I hope they'll discover that doing things right in the first place is more cost effective than trying to redeem themselves after their reputation has been dinged.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Hey, what am I, chopped liver? I gave you Michael Traub's name and the Lemon Law links! :))

Seriously though, so glad they are replacing your cooktop. I noticed on the other thread in Appliances that people like this cooktop. You got a lemon, but it appears that the ones that aren't lemons are good induction cooktops.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Sorry Mrs. Nyefnyef; I really appreciated your info on Michael Traub and used your tip to get his email address. I'm up to speed on lemon laws now too. Thank you!

I left off a whole row of names in my list of Gardenwebbers to thank. I should have known better than to try to transcribe all your names on a yellow sticky note. I am no less appreciative...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:36AM
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I think your experience had us all fired up. I can just imagine how I would feel in the same situation. We are all excited you are getting a new cooktop!

Will you be having us all over for dinner then milehihouse :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:35AM
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I'm glad you are finally getting the right result. Once they say they won't repair an appliance that is still under the original warranty, they really owe you a new appliance or the warranty is meaningless. I just don't understand why you had so much trouble getting there.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:24PM
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I'm expecting a call from the appliance store today to schedule installation of a replacement cooktop *tomorrow*! I'm hopeful that this is the last appointment. Woohooo!!

Thanks again; you are all amazing!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 4:02PM
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