Jul 11 2016
03:57 am

I purchased a nice but used refrigerator last month from a local company who sells used appliances. I chose to buy used because at the time, financially, purchasing a new one wasn't an option.. I'm not going to mention their name because it appears they did nothing illegal just seems unethical. They have what they call a 90 day in house warranty. This means it has to be brought into their place of business if there is a problem.

Well, when I bought it, it seemed to be a fine working ole refrigerator, and so I didn't think twice about their warranty. This was a very large fridge and so I paid extra to have it delivered. (Do you see where I'm going with this?) When the guy delivered it to my house, he had to remove the handles just to get it through my 3' wide door.

After a day I had turned the freezer temperature knob up a couple of numbers because it wasn't freezing the ice hard enough. This seemed to help but then after a few more days I noticed that the refrigerator side of this large side by side wasn't even cool. That's when I noticed that the coils in the freezer had completely frozen over. I removed everything from the freezer, turned off the whole unit, removed the cover from over the coils and proceeded to take a hair dryer to it. After I was sure all was thawed, I then put the shield back on, turned the knob back to factory settings, hoping it would solve the problem. For a few days it seemed to work, but I went out of town for the weekend and when I came home, it had froze up again and much of the contents in the refrigerator side was pretty much ruined. I repeated the defrosting process a few more times and finally decided I had to call the people I had bought it from. It was under thirty days since I had purchased the appliance so I thought this wouldn't be an issue for them. Sure enough, it wasn't an issue... at least for them. They told me I had to bring it in for repair, or if I wanted, they would send a guy out for $65 to fix it. Bringing this huge refr in wasn't an option and I sure as h$// wasn't paying them $65 to fix a faulty appliance they had sold me.

I wrote all of this to get to my point. Be careful when buying large used appliances. Just because you spend hundreds of dollars on an appliance, there is no true way of knowing if something is wrong with it until you get it home, but then it's to late.

By the way, for future reference, if you have a refrigerator that's freezing up, it may need a defrost thermostat. I've ordered one and hope it takes care of my problem.

bizgrrl's picture

I wonder if buying used

I wonder if buying used appliances works better when buying from an individual? We've done that in the past and had pretty good luck.

We've had some bad luck buying used cars from non-dealer car lots. We bought a used car one time where we spent so much money fixing it we could have made payments on a new car.

JaHu's picture

I wonder if buying used

I wonder if buying used appliances works better when buying from an individual?

In this case I don't see where it could have turned out much worse, and probably could have gotten a better deal. My issue was having it delivered. I have the truck, I just don't have the umph to move it.

bizgrrl's picture

Ah, yes. Moving the

Ah, yes. Moving the appliance. Not an easy thing to do.

JaHu's picture

That's the whole issue with

That's the whole issue with this 90 day in house warranty thing. A stove, dishwasher, microwave or even a toaster oven wouldn't be as much an issue, but when a person buys a refrigerator , that's a whole nuther ball game, and that's usually the most expensive item. Makes me wonder if it's a scam to get more money from the buyer. It's a win win situation for them. For the consumer it's a crap shoot. An the odds could be less than 50% that the buyer is getting a good workable appliance. The used appliance dealer knows that chances are, that no one will bring a refrigerator in for repair. This kind of warranty for large appliances should be illegal.

Somebody's picture

If you don't want to move it

If you don't want to move it back to the store, I'm not sure $65 for the service call is that unreasonable. It appears that's your entire risk, since parts and labor beyond that are covered under their warranty. If they can't fix it, you get your money back for the appliance. If you stand your ground, they keep the money, and you have no refrigerator. It would easily cost you $65 to pay someone else to move it back and forth, or the equivalent in friend-karma if you had someone help you hoist and haul it. Could it be a scam? Maybe, but maybe not. It's a used refrigerator, after all.

Vicky's picture

You can have really good

You can have really good luck when buying a used appliance at an estate sale - if the sale is run by one of the regular estate sale companies - not by a family. Usually they will know the age of the appliance and have checked to make sure it's in good working order.

Of course there is no warranty and you have to haul it yourself but often the estate sale folks know someone who will do it for a fee.

reform4's picture

Brand new is nothing to get excited about either.

Bought a brand new, pretty expensive LG fridge when we moved two years ago. Ice kept accumulating in a plastic 'pan' between the upper fridge and lower freezer, with some ice forming at the cold air outlet, and a thin sheet of ice in the pan where it had clearly tried to melt it, and it would refreeze (even though temp set to 40F, it was in contact with the ice buildup).

Called LG numerous times. They said Knoxville was "too small a city" to have a service center, they would have to "make a contract" with another third party firm to service it. They dispatched someone from Chattanooga (??) who couldn't fix it. I gave up and resigned myself to chipping ice every other Saturday.

Finally, Sears called me to sell us an appliance service plan for a flat monthly rate. I asked if they could work on the LG fridge, they said yes. So I signed up, and had them come out.

The service tech heard the description of the problem, looked at the brand of the unit, and then said, "Yep, I know what the problem is. I have to order a replacement board and a retrofit kit, but your warranty will cover the parts." (and the Sears plan covered the labor for a single service call fee). He didn't even look at it. He said it's a known issue, and "I've probably done a dozen of these this month on LG refrigerators."

So, a design defect that they never offered to fix, and even the national service center didn't know about when I initially called.

You take your chances with new, too.

Pissed N. Asheville's picture

perils of buying used refrigerators

I'm embroiled in just such a situation now.
I bought a used side-by-side Frigidare freezer/fridge from a dealer.
Like the other post, I couldn't afford a new one.
They had several like I wanted and they were plugged in and
seemed to be working in their showroom.

They offered to knock $25 off if I could transport it myself.
I opted for them to deliver it.
The lady at the store said I had a five-day warranty.
The sales receipt gave the name of a guy and his phone number
and said he would fix it as an exchange only, no cash refunds.

When they delivered it the guy went to hook up the icemaker only
to find that the solenoid valves had been removed. He promised to
bring me one the next morning and get it all hooked up.
He never showed or called. Their number gave a "mailbox full" message.

I drove out to the dealer again and asked for the part.
They sent a kid out to the "boneyard" of old fridges behind the building with a nutdriver and I helped him remove a valve from a similar model.

I went home and installed it myself, but even after 24 hours running,
the freezer never got below freezing. By now I had given up on saving
any of my frozen food from the original fridge, now I can't even keep
my regular fridge food cool.

Phonecalls only got voicemailbox full messages.
I drove out again to the dealers. The guy said he can't answer
his phone when he's driving, but promised to come have a look that
afternoon. He came out later and looked, shook his head and said
it had been working in their store, but it was "cycling".
The compressor and both fans were running constantly so I don't know
what he was talking about.

I've tried buying bags of ice and putting them in the freezer hoping
the fans will blow some cooling into the fridge but they melt pretty fast. I am stuck waiting for this guy who won't answer his phone and
meanwhile all my food is going bad.

I honestly think if I had found an individual on CraigsList he would have been honest about the fridge's working condition. I know he would
not have a stock of derelict fridges out in the "boneyard" that had had parts swapped and been picked over to put together something that looked good but barely worked.

I do not want to be a jerk about this but I feel it borders on fraud.
I was never told I would not be able to get my money back if it didn't work, that should be a basic tenant of a warranty.

If I have to I will make a stink on Google Reviews and report them to the BBB. Even used-car people are more honest and upfront than these used dealers.

mdavis's picture


I've had good luck with Quality Pre-Owned Appliances on Western and have sent many friends there with good results. We still use their repairman for our new appliances. There is another major used appliance dealer in town that has a questionable reputation.

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