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bad experience with AJMadison.com

Posted by elphaba (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 1:59

I purchased a new Frigidaire counter-depth French Door refrigerator from a salesman named Jacob at AJMadison.com on 2nd of July. It was delivered yesterday on July 12 by AM Home Delivery. It has been an ordeal. Perhaps it was partly because I have gotten older and it has been 20 years since we shopped for a refrigerator. Times have changed, I know.

DH and I had visited appliance showrooms here in Houston, Blue Pacific (adjacent to Best Buy) and Lowes and Home Depot. Found only one counterdepth on the showroom at Best Buy. I was looking for a particular model as a result of reading Consumer Reports. Forget the model, Lowes, Best Buy or Home Depot had no Frigidaire refrigerators on display in their showroom. Lowes had no cost information on their counterdepth models - finding a salesperson on Saturdays without having to go to the counter up front and ask for special attention (and then waiting a considerable time) was pretty much impossible. Anyway, I could go on but the shopping experience was rather unpleasant compared to being able to browse online from your home and find exactly the model you are looking for and easily pull up the specs for that model, etc. etc.

I had heard good things about ajmadison.com - people on the gardenweb forum praising the salespeople at ajmadison. This was not my experience. Though Jacob was certainly polite, I felt he didn't tell me in advance about the delivery options, and removal of my frigerator options. It wasn't until after I paid and after I hung up that I learned from the invoice sent via email that removal would have a cost. I also hadn't been explained about the differences between "in home delivery", "white glove delivery" and standard. I still don't know. After calling customer services at ajmadison (since Jacob didn't return my phone call - I actually think he did call back but hung up after one ring probably so he could be given credit for calling me but so that he didn't actually have to talk to me - just my speculation.)

So I called ajmadison customer service asked about the delivery. I learned for the first time that the delivery I had paid for only included the drivers dropping off the refrigerator on my sidewalk fully crated. For $200, they would bring it into the house. She said on the phone that they would uncrate it but the description for "in home delivery" on their website specifically says they will not uncrate it. I was confused but at this point, since I know for sure they wouldn't be giving me my money back, I decided that I could tolerate this ordeal, paid the money which I knew would actually get the frigerator up our three steps into our house and waited for the delivery company to call me to tell me when they could deliver. This was after I had already talked to them and they were clear that removal of my old refrigerator would cost something. I still don't know what that would be since I balked and because they had to change my appt time and told me because of the inconvenience, they would pick up my old refrigerator for free. I can also speculate that my old refrigerator had value for them so if they couldn't get more money from me for removal, it was still worth it to them to pick up for free.

Anyway, there was a mixup about when they were supposed to show up - I won't go into that except to say that the guys I had asked to wait with me and to help me during this ordeal of a delivery, helping me to uncrate if it turned out I had to, or helping me to examine the fridge for dents and damages had to leave before the delivery guy showed up. I talked to the delivery guy at 11:00am and he said at that time that he would/could be at our house by 1:00am (time when guys helping me had to leave.) Delivery guys showed up at 2:30pm. To get my old refrigerator out the door, he had to remove my front door off its hinges. He borrowed my hammer and screwdriver - he had none (or maybe they were in the truck and he didn't feel like going back out and getting them.) He was doing it wrong, thank goodness his buddy who had been in the truck came inside to help with the hinges on the door, otherwise, I was afraid the hinges were going to be ripped off the door frame.

Don't think I mentioned it above, they did uncrate the new fridge in my front yard and left the stack of trash on my curb. Didn't see it until after the delivery guys left.

Our trash pickup will never pick this up, even for heavy trash (which only happens every other month) so I need to somehow get this trash put into our trash though some of the cardboard can go to our recycle place a couple miles away. The styrofoam will fill up our garbage can. We are limited to one can full per week so this will have to be stored temporarily in our back yard for two weeks. Maybe not the worst thing to happen but this is just something else which left me feeling like I was a second class citizen who deserved to have trash thrown in her yard and who didn't deserve having a delivery appointment that they could meet without going through several contortions.

Bottom line, I have a refrigerator that seems to be working (though it set off an alarm 20 minutes after the delivery guys were gone). Because it was a good price, I guess I shouldn't complain too much. But wanted to report here that I may still buy other large appliances on the web and I have quite a few more to purchase but I definitely won't be buying them from ajmadison.com. The only good thing I can say is that Michelle in customer service was polite and had patience with me, someone who was an irate customer and who she seemed to wish she could help.

I did have an electronic error message for "high temperature" that I wanted to know how to get rid of. Oh, did I say I did not get any customer guide regarding the electronics at time of delivery? I searched the web and tried to download the manual but it was taking hours. So I couldn't troubleshoot. I called AJmadison and was given a better link to download a manual and given the phone number for Frigidaire (after downloading the manual which didn't tell how to fix the problem). After calling the 800 number given to me by Michelle for Frigidaire, the options for technical support were that I had to call area code 706 which meant I had to make a long distance call. I did and the Frigidaire person helped me. In the meantime while troubleshooting this with Frigidaire, I noticed another 800 number inside the fridge that according the the Frigidaire spokesman said would not have required me to make a toll call. Well at least it was explained to me how to get rid of the error code. The manual after download is not very useful. After 1 year, I don't think Frigidaire will answer my problem calls for me. Warranty will be up. That isn't AJMadison's fault - guess I should write Consumer Reports who gave this fridge the only recommendation given for a counter-depth refrigerator and tell them that the Owner's guide is very very weak on troubleshooting information.

I plan to try build.com next with my appliance purchases next time. I may try one of the local stores again if I can get my husband to the store on a weekday when it isn't so hectic. Maybe I could even make an appointment for a salesman. Will have to look into that. There has got to be an easier way to buy local. I'll file a report on that experience, good or bad if and when I make that purchase whether locally or online, maybe in a couple months.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

I have sympathy for your frustration, I do. And I think Jacob should have been very clear about delivery options.

However, having said that, it sounds to me that you shopped AJ Madison to get a price better than you could locally. I think you probably got that. Also, usually even when you have a more white glove home delivery, it seems to me that the homeowner is usually responsible for removing any doors etc that needs to be removed; only you know the size of your doors. Had the ceiling not been high enough to put the frig in the room, it wouldn't have been the delivery man's fault.

As for the trash, yes, it is usually the home owner's responsibility to get rid of packing. Heck when I was a kid I STILL remember playing with the box for a new stove that a neighbor had gotten. And this was the late sixties.

I think that you might be best chalking this up to "now I know what to ask about next time." And be willing to pay more for "white glove" service.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

I am pretty sure that ajmadison personnel are monitoring this forum very closely having read other reviews. I knew when I posted that I would get responses from them.
As far as buying online, though I have on occasion had bad experiences, fairly normal, I have nothing but praise for Amazon and for faucetdirect.com and for homeclick.com - too bad faucetdirect.com doesn't sell large appliances so I will try their affiliate build.com.
I didn't think I was paying less to be giving second class treatment - maybe fewer bells and whistles but it is illegal for contractors to leave their trash for the city. Didn't know I would have to deal with breaking the law.
And also, our door is a standard size. I'm pretty sure that removing front doors to get refrigerators out the door is common practice.
But all that aside, I didn't like the WAY I was treated. Just give me the information up front so I can make an intelligent decision. Don't wait until after I've paid to give me all the details about things I didn't ask about and don't give me a delivery service which is flying by the seat of their pants so they can't give professional service even if they want to.
This is not how faucetdirect.com treats you or Amazon - I think the bottom line is that ajmadison is a second rate company and yes, as my husband likes to say "I went to school". Just thought I would post here so others might avoid "going to school" since after all was said and done, I don't think the savings was worth it with ajmadison - others may differ.
At least the refrigerator is working today, 3 days after it was delivered. Haleluja for what should be something we can take for granted - not with ajmadison IMO.
Just wanted to put some balance in the RAVING reviews I've read here without a single negative comment. This was the main reason I chose them to purchase from. - I'm pretty sure I know the of source of most of them.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

I don't know what you were reading to read nothing but positive reviews about AJ Madison. There have been some pretty horrendous reviews of them on here for various reasons, including the Groupon debacle. The majority of postings have mentioned the issues with their delivery service. However, since they have a whole page on their website devoted to telling you about their different delivery services and the fact that they are upgrades, so I'm not sure how you didn't find that when you were doing your research as well.

I've never thought that they have all that great a pricing either. For standard consumer goods, the standard box stores have better deals. Including free in home delivery. You just might have to go into the store though to get the best deals.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

Thanks Hollysprings for telling me about the bad reviews. That helps a lot. I just remembered their good reviews I happened to read as I browsed the forum every other day or so and not the ones that have scrolled off. Didn't do a search - my bad.

And the page that they have about their delivery service is not in fact accurate about their delivery service. They really should remove it or correct it.

The Frigidaire technician was quite sympathetic when I told her what I got for the $200 that I paid extra over the free shipping.

But again, my biggest complaint is not knowing until after they delivered the fridge and after they left, exactly what service I was going to get and when.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

We buy almost everything online, including many large appliances. Pretty much every time, unless I specifically requested to retain the box, including large items like a recent washer and dryer, grill and television purchases, the packaging was taken when they left. That seems to be standard practice for anything that gets an indoor, and not just drop at the door, delivery.

I've never shopped AJ Madison and, based on their overall consumer ratings (not great), and the disclosure here that they reneged on the Living Social deal, which I didn't try to take part in, I never will. They sound pretty shady.

But, then again, I pretty much refuse to deal with any company that tries to up-sell you services after you placed your order ("better" delivery options, accessories, etc.). That just rubs me the wrong way. Not 100 percent certain that's what happened here, but kind of sounds like it.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

The one time I bought a major appliance online, from an outfit in New Jersey, delivery was via freight carrier to my driveway. The driver did not unbox the item but he waited while I did to confirm there was no damage. He surely didn't install it, nor would I *want* or expect him to do so.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

Well to balance al this I will add my experance

I bought a frigidaire gas convection range and hood from them last year. When I called customer service they were good friendly and helpful. I paid $99 for in home delivery on the item. Still I think with the sale and rebate I did better than local big box stores.

Delivery was via A&M home delivery. They showed up at the end of the time window I was given. I can't complain about that they were technically not late What they did was hand me the hood box off the truck then get the range box ready to bring in. In getting it in to the house which was to be included they had to take it off the hand cart and lift it. One guy claimed he couldn't bad back issue so I had to help get it the rest of the way in the house to the kitchen. They did not in box it they did not install it nor would I have wanted them to do so. I got mostly the service I paid for. Once I looked I'm the boxes and seem no damage we signed papers they left and I inboxes and connected the range


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

Times have changed with internet shopping...comparing prices, bulk orders, big savings but sketchy delivery practices. My parents lost every appliance except fridge during storm Sandy. Even their boiler and hot water heater. At 84 and 85 yrs old and having replaced only one at a time the last 50 yrs, this was a bit devastating for them. We spent a week helping with installation etc. They needed local human contact to guide them. Consistent delivery and a number to call.
Sears delivered the wrong stove the day before x-mas and let them keep it for the holiday and was replaced the next week free of charge of course.
He would never order internet or feel comfortable.
My dishwasher was three weeks waiting with no return calls...dumped in the driveway and i was home at the time!...damaged and dented (tiny) but not on the visual face front. We installed to avoid the hassle of return and works fine but so frustrating.
If ordering internet to save money, read all delivery print and ask questions repeatedly by
phone. You will not get the service you have had in the past when you ordered locally. My fridge was delivered white glove by a very good local appliance store and old fridge removed.
No stress and on time and on the day agreed.
My washer/dryer was next day delivery from Lowes.
Yes you can save a bundle but must be flexible.
My neighbors did an e-bay nightmare and it was never delivered. It was protected but took a couple months to get money back...the seller did not have the item they were selling....listed and sold it over and over to take the cash hoping to stall the buyers for another stove in the future...even blamed the buyer for backing out of sale!

My point is...do your homework and do not expect the white glove services of yesteryear...ask for it, demand it and you will be expected to pay for it. It is often included in your local suppliers delivery service. Ask lots of questions. Many stories here of appliances dumped on sidewalks.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

Speaking only to the packaging materials left behind, this has been my experience with every appliance, large tools, furniture, etc. that I've ever ordered, so i assume it's standard practice, at least around here. I typically tip for in-house deliveries, and when I tip I do not hesitate to ask them to take the packaging and the request has never been refused.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

Sleevendog In the past my experience with Sears has been substandard. The fact remains that chain box stores have a horrible reputation. This includes Sears, Best Buy, etc. The fact is in general your best bet is to go with an independent local dealer. The problem is that for the most part prices vs. online can't be matched and sales tax is charged. Online retailers vary widely on in most case exceed the service box chain stores offer and offer free shipping and no sales tax.

No sales tax can be a huge number depending on what you order.

The reality is that there are bad experiences with every retailer.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

I deal strictly with either a local Lowes/Home Depot, or a private appliance store. I have had wonderful service and experiences with all of them.

Lowes removed a door for me before on our mobile home before we finished building our house so we would have a decent fridge in the meantime. They removed the front door, removed the door off the fridge, re-installed all doors involved, set the fridge up and got it running, and took ALL garbage with them. They would have moved the old one into a garage for me, but no further. Ditto with a huge freezer we bought afterwards.

When we finally moved in our home, a local appliance dealer brought my Speed Queen washer and dryer, set them up, and took ALL garbage with him. Without asking.

I do not think it is unreasonable to expect a company to bring an appliance into the home, and remove the packaging, particularly when hefty delivery fees are involved. This does not typically involve installation, such as with a dishwasher or gas range, but it should involve some level of customer service.

My suggestion is to not purchase such important and expensive items like major appliances from the internet. I buy a lot of things via internet shopping when I can't get something locally, but I would never consider doing so with an important purchase such as this. Most stores will order in the models desired even if they typically do not stock them. We've done it a lot.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

When purchasing big ticket items like furniture and appliances, it is incumbent upon you to research the fine print on shipping options. Many retailers allow you to select curbside, in-home, or "white glove" delivery, and they specify what each entails. I don't think it's fair to assume they are going to bring it into the house and remove packaging. Big furniture retailers like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn have delivery centers all over and are set up to do in-home delivery; a place like AJ Madison with a single retail location won't have that kind of network.

I bought the majority of my remodel appliances through eBay. They were shipped from all over the country via freight shippers, who only offer curbside service. I decided that having to get the appliances the few feet up the steps and into my house was worth the $10k in savings. I inspected every delivery when it arrived. In the case of the double ovens, I paid the driver $20 to help my husband and me get the box into our house. For my refrigerator, I decided to buy from a local appliance dealer (outlet), specifically because I wanted their in-home delivery service. This falls into the category of being an informed consumer IMO.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

I think it's a toss up - when you're buying something as big a a fridge - you need to realize that there's a lot of ancillary work involved with getting it into position - things like not getting the floor scratched, and connecting the ice maker. Truck drivers don't do that kind of work.

Likewise the removal and disposal of your old appliance is not a 'given'.

A local company has installers that know what has to be done.

OTOH It's plain slimely for AJ Madison to sell something as big as a refrigerator and not make it clear that it's really a $200 - $400 upcharge to actually get it in the house and unboxed for inspection. Perhaps AJ's price is no better than a local dealer - when you add in the extras.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

I couldn't agree with soibean more! Delivery policies vary from website to website. As a consumer purchasing from a website, it is YOUR responsibility to research the website and know it's delivery policy BEFORE placing your order.


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RE: bad experience with AJMadison.com

The OP mentions trying another on-line supplier. Many on-line 'retailers' are not even actual stores or warehouses. They are middlemen that take orders and contact individual manufacturers and have appliances sent direct from different locations often getting caught with out-of-stock/backordered appliances or even discontinued. "sent within a reasonable amount of time", "not responsible for...", "usually 5-10 business days..." . "we cannot guarantee..."
"do not expect..."
Or on e-bay, "the 15 photos may or may not be the actual appliance you are buying..."

-I have no problem with direct sending from the manufacturer. Or Curbside. But no tracking or actual day of delivery does not work for me. So i avoid it. I ordered my oven through Amazon and had a call and e-mail confirming the day before. Had a call from delivery that morning that they were ahead of schedule and asking if earlier was ok. (yes!)
And a followup e-mail checking if everything went well.

Like mentioned, study the print. Know what the inconveniences might be. Are the savings worth it. Ask about return policies. Human contact with an independent appliance store is preferred but mine did not have what i wanted and the salesmen do not know what they are selling....seems to be a revolving door of staff changes.

Yiddin's in NJ was a dream to not only to visit, (DH hates shopping), but pleasant staff and easy delivery of fridge, gas cooktop and hood. Even talked me out of a floor model wall oven they were discontinuing. Very discounted price, less than half, but seemed to want it to go to someones second home or less used beach house, lol. They seemed to shudder when i kept looking at it.


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