Customer service has become a marathon that you can never win.
Recently, our four-year-old refrigerator’s ice maker froze up, repeatedly. It had worked well for more than four years so I figured I just needed to check the internet on how to defrost it. There were numerous detailed instructions and videos on how to do this. More than usual, I thought. I dug deeper and discovered that hundreds of irate consumers had the same problem.
Now, an ice maker is a complex device so plenty can go wrong. But we’ve had other refrigerators with ice makers that behaved well. Why this one and so many of them? Well, I figured, it’s made by Samsung, a very large corporation with a good reputation. Our two Samsung TVs work well. They can certainly afford to fix an ice maker and it would demonstrate good customer service.
Our first call to Samsung support was on March 15 (Beware the Ides of March) when we talked with “Carlos.” Did we defrost and reset the ice maker? Yes, multiple times. He said there was no recall on the device but we would hear from the repair department within 24 hours to schedule a no-charge repair. That department called us to say they couldn’t find anyone willing to come to Red Wing to fix it and suggested we find our own repair person. What?
We contemplated this and called Samsung again to make sure that a repair we arrange would still be covered by them and this time we talked with “Yashia.” She gave us a case number and said we had three options: have the ice maker repaired for free (parts and labor), get a 50 percent discount on a new Samsung refrigerator, or get a refund of $435. We could keep the old refrigerator. Yashia affirmed that Samsung would reimburse us 100 percent if we found someone to repair it. So we chose the repair option. Certainly someone in the area could repair it.
One local repair person said he didn’t work on Samsung refrigerators. Another did not reply to a message we left. Finally, we found an authorized Sears repair service that would work on it. When they arrived on April 11, they discovered that the appointment was not arranged by Samsung, so they didn’t have the parts. But they could order them and repair it for just short of $1,200. Huh? I found a replacement (upgrade) kit on the internet for about $225.
While they were still at our house, we called Samsung to resolve this. This time we spoke with “Esther” who told us that the previous information regarding 100 percent reimbursement was wrong. But she was only able to have a supervisor call us. So we paid the repair service their $120 trip bill and they left, having done nothing.
The Samsung supervisor did not call us in a week so we called again. This time we spoke with “Arthur” who transferred us to “Jose” who said he was a manager. He said he would research this and call us back, which he did that same day. He told us that the repair service that was at our house does Samsung repair work but does not have the contract for the Red Wing area. Huh? The repair service covering the Red Wing area refused to come to Red Wing. What? He also told us that Yashia was wrong and that there was no reimbursement for hiring someone on our own to repair it.
Our only choices with Samsung were to take the tiny refund and fix it on our own or accept an electronic coupon (e-coupon) for 50 percent off the cost of a new refrigerator ordered through their website. I did not want to try fixing it so we chose the e-coupon which would be texted to us within 24 hours.
We waited a week and on April 26 we called and “Jessica” couldn’t verify that the e-coupon had been created. She contacted the e-coupon department who told her that it hadn’t been generated. No reason was given. She requested that the e-coupon be generated and that it be given expedited attention. We even got a reassuring escalation ticket number and were told we would receive the e-coupon in email within 3-5 business days.
On May 5 we called Samsung again and spoke with “Mark” in the e-coupon department but he said we first had to talk with the case management department. He couldn’t transfer us there for some reason so transferred us to tech support for refrigerators who transferred us to case management for home appliances. That got us to “Geraldine” who said the e-coupon had been requested but not yet generated. She said she told the e-coupon department to expedite it and then told us to expect it by May 9.
On May 13 we called again and spoke with “Nicole” who put us on hold for about a half hour to research our case. Then she told us the e-coupon would be texted within 24-48 hours. We received it in 72 hours and used it when ordering a new refrigerator which was delivered May 24. We gave the old refrigerator to a nephew who will attempt the repair himself. I think he got the best deal.
At least the new ice maker is working fine – so far.