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GE / ge retroactively ends warranty without notice

1 n/aCA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 1-800-447-1700

This complaint is twofold: 1) ge consumer electronics refuses to honor a printed warranty valid at the time of sale, and 2) the microwave in question poses a consumer safety hazard and should prompt a recall because what this complaint is about to describe has also been described by many other owners who have posted reviews on the web.

Three years ago I bought a 1.2 cu. Ge rotisserie grill microwave, model jes1289sk, manufactured in 2003 and purchased march 3, 2006. As we do with all appliances and electronics, we kept the receipt stapled to the owners manual and filed away for future reference.

Recently, the microwave began to arch. It emitted an unusual sound, sparks were literally flying and it did not shut off. We were in another room when this started. Only by the grace of god did we prevent the house from catching fire given that it did not shut off and would not shut off until unplugged. Judging from other reports i've read, there are many consumers who report the same but because the unit continues to run some of the affected consumers have continued to operate it despite the presence of an apparently dangerous electrical flaw.

We took our ge microwave to an authorized service center, whereupon the runaround began. The service center insisted we arrange our own repair with ge because there was no warranty on the suspected part. We quoted both the service center and ge customer service representatives the warranty statement in our manual in which it stated that the magnetron was covered for five years from the date of purchase. This was to no avail. The terms of the warranty had been "retroactively" revoked. No ge product carries more than a year warranty, we were told.

The service center claimed that ge notified all its customers that the warranty statement in the manual would no longer be honored. Now understand that we register all our electronics religiously in the event of a recall or a problem of this sort, and despite the fact that we have not changed addresses we were never notified in writing of any change in warranty coverage whatsoever. Furthermore, upon reading the warranty that was in effect when we bought the appliance — as printed in the user manual — there is no language to the effect that ge reserves the right to amend or cancel the warranty terms at any time with or without notice.

As the original owner, I am inclined to file a class action lawsuit and would like to hear from a lawyer experienced in consumer law to fight this on behalf of what I suspect are thousands of ge customers who have been unlawfully denied warranty coverage. Make no mistake: this is not a controversy over abuse or misuse of a product. This is a violation, to the best of my knowledge, of california, if not federal, law.

After spending an hour on the phone with ge on friday, may 1, 2009 it would appear that staff have been coached to do everything in their power to feign ignorance and thereby delay and obfuscate us into giving up in frustration. At one point, an employee insisted that none of ge's own product literature read like ours did.in so many words, we were being accused of lying about what our warranty statement said. Now I don't know what revision number this customer service agent was looking at — given that all technical manuals have some sort of revision code to signify when they were written or published — but I find it impossible to believe that a company that must receive calls like this everyday from consumers and service centers alike would not be clear on the rights of an original purchaser. We are able to supply proof of their own warranty statement, an original receipt, a serial number and a purchase date. There's no excuse for the impression that the customer service reps had either been trained to deny warranty coverage for spurious reasons and/or did not have adequate enough record keeping to confirm for themselves whether our claims of warranty coverage applied.

We suspect that we received the runaround from ge intentionally because most customers would not have the time or patience to pursue a matter, let alone go without an appliance they use on a daily basis while the matter is being straightened out. We wouldn't be surprised if the average person, at least in better economic times, would throw a 3-year-old appliance in a dumpster, environmentally insensitive to the consequences of that act let alone cognizant of the reality that an enforceable warranty may still apply. Ge undoubtedly has solicited studies on consumer behavior in this regard, so it would not come as a surprise if they are training their employees to push their consumers to go out and spend the money to replace a product rather than to pursue a warranty repair. However, this is a different economy and like so many american households, the main breadwinner has been out of work for many months. Our money doesn't grow on trees, and even if it did we would not put it toward another ge product! That is why we find it more than ironic that in this recession wherein customer service ought to be at its best in order to keep bottom lines and stock prices propped up, ge customer service agents cavalierly drive off repeat customers with service that is not only poor — transferring our call about for an entire hour without ever arriving at an an agreement to replace the part — but, worse, seemingly afoul of the law.

Like too many companies that have grown too big to fail, ge does not appear to have a customer-first mindset. As product purchasers, we are essentially left to choose from "evil" or the "lesser-of-several evils". That's what happens when a few big corporations corner the entire market. None of their products have to compete anymore, and even more ironically many consumer products are essentially built for a short shelf life and a disposable end even as we enter a time when "going green" ought to mean building something to last. Consider, if you will, how many items, from microwaves to toasters, last less than five years even as a 1950s a wedding gift might continue operating for 25? Building products cheaply is a recipe not only for consumer frustration, but the necessity to go out spending over, and over again to replace products stacking up at landfills because they were built so cheaply as if to be a form of "planned obsolescence" on the part of the three or four manufactures that presently supply in excess of 90 percent of the electronics and appliance brands on the us market.

It seems obvious to us that this ge combination microwave oven was manufactured and purchased before changes to ge product warranties went into effect. Our product manual states that we have a "5-year magnetron warranty" and we're going to demand it if for no other reason that large companies should not be permitted to badger customers into believing that warranties are not enforceable. Nobody wants to call a company and feel that they are being tossed around from one telephone extension to another like a hot potato, or that the customer service reps who have taken their call were hired less than 24 hours ago and can't answer questions about their own products.

My plan is to report this microwave to the consumer safety product commission and ge to the better business bureau. My reason for posting on this site, however, is to ask anyone who has experienced this problem to come forward and share their own story. If you own a ge product that is still under warranty according to your instruction manual but the company denies it, please do not make the mistake of posting nothing more than a comment. If you have the original receipt and warranty statement to prove it, please write up and post a separate complaint on this website so that the true numbers of people who have been cheated out of their warranty coverage by ge will become apparent. Finally, I would also like to hear from someone in the consumer advocacy or legal profession who can confirm whether or not ge consumer products division appears, as we suspect, to have acted in bad faith.

GE

Lv
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Comments

  • Lv
      5th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    Update:

    Here is a woman who claims a GE repairman told her GE intentionally installed faulty subcontracted Chinese magnetrons, which suggests there may be many victims of this dangerous arcing and sparking across many microwave model lines. Before GE went to a shoddy part supplier, their magnetrons on pre-2006 microwaves carried a 5-year warranty and I happen to have an older user manual on that states as much. Nevertheless, GE and the service center still won't budge so after submitting this complaint I filed a Consumer Product Safety Commission complaint regarding the fire hazard and the fact that there is no "kill switch circuitry" to prevent the thing from running in a dangerous state. I also filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint because GE refused to acknowledge that a warranty of this length ever existed and kept bouncing us to one extension after another for an HOUR at which point I now have to call back and do it all over again armed with the fact that I found a cached copy of the user manual on the Internet in which the warranty reads exactly like mine does (see below).

    If you think you are never going to buy a GE again, also read this link for the response from a repair expert who indicates that most of the brands out there are made by just a handful of companies. Your experience may lead you to move to another name — as I too will do — but be careful that your "new brand" doesn't line the same set of pockets in the end.

    http://www.fixya.com/support/t1612482-buy

    Here is a cached copy found by Google of the original GE JES1289 user manual for the GE microwave oven double grill with rotisserie, whereas GE now feigns ignorance and their website has a newer version of this same owner's manual that lops off four out of the five years originally offered. If there was a retroactive change in terms the reason is apparent: To avoid performing a valuable safety service that might start a fire. That's not a good reason to invalidate a warranty!

    Somehow, I don't think what GE is doing is legal. Compare the revision number identified on the front cover of your product manual with the version that GE will allow you to download from their website and view the warranty page. You might be surprised to see the differences. This cached user manual contains a warranty statement identical to how my copy reads, as identified on the front cover as "49-40447 02-05 JR":

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:a9-N_8vXV3EJ:www.ajmadison.com/ajmadison/itemdocs/JES1289SK.pdf+JEs1289+arcing&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari

  • Au
      26th of Oct, 2010
    0 Votes

    I have a Whirlpool roughly 5 years of age that did just the same thing the other day. It was a good thing that my wife and I were cooking the popcorn instead of our 11 year old son making popcorn as a snack after coming home from school. I'm sure he would have panicked and ran out of the house, allowing it to burn down. Our unit was a built-in model, so it took several minutes for us to unscrew the molding and mounting kit in order to remove it.

    Whirlpool sent out a factory trained technician from a local appliance repair center and he confirmed that the problem was a faulty magnetron. It has been 2 days and no word from Whirlpool as yet. Frankly, I don't care if it's "under warranty" or not. The product is "UL Listed"... companies spend a lot of money and time having their products tested by independent laboratories in order to get that rating. Nothing that someone purchases should have the possibility of catching on fire under proper use.

  • Kr
      22nd of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    Our Ge microwave caught fire on Christmas Eve, and filled our home with smoke. I contacted Consumer Product Safety, Underwriters Laboratories, Federal Trade commission and many many others. Consumer Product Safety and Underwriters Laboratories both want to examine our microwave! I was very happy how interested they were in getting to the bottom of this. Chubb is asking for it back, it is our evidence of our horrific experience and the health issues it caused if this is not resolved to our satisfaction. It is evidence of the hell they put us through, and the only way to prove it is their negligence, their continuous cover up. I guess the cost of the recall is more important than the risk they are knowingly putting people through. Are they waiting for a loss of life? Could it be this has not gotten enough media attention it deserves? This should have been on every news channel (News 12 did interview me and aired it) it should be on the front page of every newspaper, people’s lives should be more important than GE profits! . After googling a bit I found GE microwaves are well known for causing fires. You should go and Google GE microwave Law suit, GE microwave Class action, Google it under video, you and I are certainly not the first nor the last. Check out bringgoodthingstolife.org. This is nothing new; Attorneys all over the United States are trying to get Justice from GE.

    Our particular health issues from the smoke (smoke and asthma don't mix!) merit more than a class action can return. We continuously try to survive Chubb’s roadblocks at resolving this, if it doesn't work out, we will have to take more drastic action against them. This is something that health wise, really hit us hard, the fumes and smoke seem to never go away! It reeked! It was everywhere!, GE, their insurance company Electric Insurance, Samsung, and their insurance company Chubb know all about it, GE is in court for it now! Our family has asthma, and Ge, their insurance company, and attorney did nothing to help us except bounce us around from department to department, insurance company to insurance company for over a week like a ping pong ball, IT IS A GAME OF HOT POTATOE! Tossing us around hoping we give up or go away, I told them WE WILL NOT GIVE UP OR GO AWAY! The smoke smell from this malfunctioning/defective microwave irritated our asthma and we are still coughing. GE wouldn't even give us a hotel room and restoration when we called over and over begging for relief and their insurance company gave us no relief. We cleaned and sent our kids to live where ever we could till even we were too sick to clean. It ruined our Christmas, ruined our health, they don't seem to care.
    I had to get a GE tech, to come verify cause, and yes it was the magnetron/transformer! They wouldn't come Till Thursday December 30th, 2010! The fire was on December 24th, 2010 mind you. Then we had to wait for the paper work to go through! Not so much as a hotel to stay in, a trailer for us to sleep in to escape the smoke! NOTHING! So much for standing behind their product, MORE LIKE HIDING BEHIND IT!
    This GE was made by Samsung, their insurance company did not admit by phone, writing, or email when they did finely accept liability! When Chubb did approve restoration and told us to get estimates, I did, then they wanted a quote in some exactomate program, just a delay of another day. Then they called the next day and said they needed another estimate (they delayed the claim, float the claim). We stressed the importance of our asthmas issues, the smell, the coating of residue from the horrible fumes left on everything, the coughing, nobody cared! It irritated our respiratory system and wore us down so badly we ended up with respiratory infections, on antibiotics, one of my children was even put on steroids, and my youngest, only 3 at the time had to be given a second round of antibiotics.

    To our complete disbelief and shock Chubb called our company of choice Advanced restoration, behind my back and canceled them! Is that even legal?????? They told our company not to come!, they told us to get an estimate and canceled them!!! They told our company, they being Chubb, that they were going to use Paul Davis restoration. They canceled the the 2nd estimate they told me to get! Why, so they could get a low ball price from their preferred company even though they only had a crew of 3 or 4 and were not available for days! Talk about BAD FAITH. We fell back onto using Servpro, who did the best they could with the low ball price from Paul Davis, oh, go look up Paul Davis Restoration complaints, I googled them and found too many complaints, why were they even still in business? Chubb (Samsung’s Company) didn't even want to put us up in a hotel, I had to fight for that!

    Our experience with GE is common, I saved every email, documented every person I spoke to since day one, their Name, title, company, conversation, and case number. I suggest you do the same. UL is stamped on the microwave, start with them, then Consumer Product Safety, yes the Federal Trade Commission. And if that doesn't help try http://bringgoodthingstolife.org/ or any of the other attorneys, they all want these cases. Our ordeal will hopefully be resolved through Chubb.

    I wish you the best.

    Signed
    Determined in New York

  • Ta
      27th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    The reason GE wanted PDR is that PDR is a sales agent for GE. When our house burned down PDR was the preferred vendor recommended by our insurane company. They talked us into getting GE appliances throughout the house because they ar a GE dealer. Strange how the circle works. By the way PDR cannot be tusted to do a job corrctly. In our house their are numerous code violations such cut trusses, wrong hurricane straps n worng ceiling board just to name few. The reason their still in business is because they are on all the insurance company "preferred vendor" lists.

  • Ch
      10th of Sep, 2012
    0 Votes

    (Sept 10, 2012) Called GE @ 888 239 6832, transfered to 800 432 2737. Magnetron is under warranty but I am told they will not honor the magnetron warranty unless a "GE certified technician" orders it and comes to install it. They will not send it to me. Spoke with James ID # L689296. This was due to "company policy". A few years ago, thanks to this thread, I successfully ordered, received, and repaired the magnatron in another home owner's GE microwave in my neighborhood. I am disappointed that GE now refuses to honor their warranty. Obviously hiring a technician is not smart money-wise and GE knows this. Very clever...and shady. I suggest that others who have this issue note the details of their case and name/ID of the person they speak with so that legal action can be pursued. Thank you for creating this website.

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