For those of you who follow my Twitter and/or Facebook pages, you have some idea of the Fridge Drama I kept hashtagging. And for those of you who are still learning about hashtags, maybe that can be another post, hehe. Basically, I am here today to help you in case you have some appliances delivered and installed. We had major issues with our installation, and I can blame the company (and I do, even if we signed a settlement paper that said they don’t accept liability), but I also learned a lot from the experience, and I know that some people have the same problems with other companies. I never knew as much about hardwood floors, refrigerator installations, drywall, mold remediation, and plumbing before. I also learned a lot about hassling people to get what I needed.
Back in February or so I asked K if we could get a new refrigerator. It had always been the plan since we moved in because I dislike side-by-side fridges. We needed a French door fridge because of limited space around our kitchen island. Because we were expecting a baby, I thought it would be nice to stock up on freezer meals. The refrigerator we had was not able to handle all of the frozen food I wanted, let alone bonus food for post-baby. K and I decided to go during Memorial Day sales. He did the research, and I let him know what features I wanted. We finally settled on a fridge we could both enjoy. Our plan was to move the old fridge into the garage and have extra storage for meals/drinks/etc., while having a more functional refrigerator for everyday use.
The day of delivery, our time window was when I was at work, so K would be here for it. This was great since he knew what to look for with an installation, and pregnant me didn’t need to stress about it. Well, they called in the morning to come extra early. This meant I would be home for it! No big deal, K told me to make sure they didn’t bang the cabinets or hit the refrigerator on anything (we were concerned because the path to the fridge is tight, and the fridge was just going to fit around the island). All of that went fine, and the people left.
Well, about a week later I noticed some water on the floor. The next day it was there again. K checked behind the fridge and saw water damage to the wall and floor. When we called the store, they told us to wait 2 weeks before they could send someone. Long story short, they sent different people at different times who couldn’t do anything. After many many many phone calls, we still weren’t getting anywhere. I ended up paying for the plumbing, flooring, and mold remediation out of pocket. This happened near when I stopped working, but instead of enjoying my last month of pregnancy and being free of work, I was constantly on the phone, doing research, and worrying about my kitchen. So much for time to make lots of freezer meals!
Eventually, the company did settle with us, and they gave us an appropriate amount of money to cover the repairs. However, it took about 3 months. In the meantime, it was a stressful situation. There are a few things we wish we would have done differently, but also some things that we did correctly.
- For any installation, I recommend watching some YouTube videos to learn a bit about how things should go. For instance, they should have checked the water line of our fridge before pushing it back in place (then we would have seen the leak).
- Document everything, even if you think it went well. It doesn’t hurt. This includes dates, times, full names, comments on what was said, phone numbers, etc. Don’t forget pictures! Luckily I happened to have taken a picture of the specific part they broke before they broke it, to show the leak had not existed prior to the installation.
- If you have an instinct, go with it. We thought about calling a plumber as soon as we noticed the water, but the company said they would handle everything. If we had acted immediately, the damage would not have been so bad. Of course, there is the risk of them not paying us back, but that would have been a different battle.
- Use experts. Having a plumber state what caused the leak helped our case. He was a professional who found fault with the installation. We had to pay for him out of pocket, but we were able to get the leak fully fixed, and have his statement to back us up.
- Your homeowner’s insurance might not cover these problems. (Ours didn’t.) Call anyway, just to see, but be forewarned.
- Get multiple estimates. With something as upsetting as what we went through, you might just go for the quickest people, but by finding other companies and getting more advice, we were able to get everything fixed fairly quickly, but also for a more reasonable price. (One mold remediation company said we needed to tear out half our kitchen! This would have taken our repairs past my due date for sure.)
- Nag, nag, nag! And try to make personal connections to the people. I complained to everyone I could about how long the process was taking, how unfair it was, how pregnant I was, and so on. Oddly enough, I didn’t get much assistance until I kept complaining on Twitter. I wasn’t complaining for help, I was just really angry. It turns out, the whole squeaky wheel thing is true! There was one guy in particular who was really helpful, especially at the end when I couldn’t get a hold of anyone else. He took a personal interest in what was going on because I made him understand the full story, and he was concerned with the mold and my pregnancy. When I would call, he instantly remembered me as the girl who was due to have a baby in a very short time. Even if the people annoy you, or you are annoyed by the situation, it doesn’t hurt to be a bit friendly and get the people to like you. This can make them want to help you.
- Don’t give up. What all of the repairmen told me was that these things happen, and the companies don’t want to pay, but if you keep pushing they eventually will. They are hoping you will forget about it or move on. I stuck with it, even after I was taking care of the Fudgelet.
Most likely, I won’t be purchasing from this store again. But if I do, or even if I go with some other place, I will definitely do my research ahead of time and make sure everything goes how it is supposed to. Don’t expect the companies to be the experts. Sometimes you have to take charge!