Thursday, November 8, 2012

The County Line: A Parts House

If this whole farming thing doesn't work out, I think I've found a new vocation for the County Line. I'm going into the storage and shipping business for GE dishwashers. I have already started my collection of inventory. I have three of the exact same part sitting on my porch (or, for the purposes of this blog photo, piled in front of my dishwasher).

I would be happy if I could get just one repairman to install just one of the parts.

This saga began more than a month ago, when I got a letter from GE. It read, in part:
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, GE Appliances has announced a voluntary recall to repair certain Hotpoint and GE plastic tub dishwashers. ... This voluntary recall is due to an electrical failure in the dishwasher's heating element that can pose a fire hazard. GE has received 15 reports of dishwasher heating element failures, seven of which resulted in fire and smoke damage beyond the unit. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers and ... schedule a free repair or receive information about a rebate toward the purchase of a new dishwasher.
There's no date on the letter, but it had to have been the first week in October, since my first part was shipped October 4, and I called the hotline the day after I received the letter. I was assigned a repair appointment between noon and 5 PM on October 10. It was written in pen on my calendar. All was well. Or so I thought.

I then got a phone call from a furniture/appliance store in my region to set my appointment time for October 10. I thought that's what I'd done with my first phone call to GE. I don't know whether I scared them off by saying that they weren't going to find my house if they plugged the address into a GPS unit. I was just trying to be helpful and give directions that would get them here. I didn't figure they'd want to end up south of U.S. Highway 50 when they should be north of the highway. It has happened to assorted carriers, one of whom left Randy's new golf clubs at an abandoned house.

For now, I guess I won't give the business' name. But when they found out I didn't actually live in Stafford, they decided I lived too far for them to come to my house. And, admittedly, I do live closer to Hutchinson than their location. I do understand that the company only gets a certain amount for coming out and doing a repair. So that Kansas business called GE and said they didn't want to do it. The man from there called me back and told me that a Hutchinson company would do the repair, but he didn't know which appliance store it would be.

I think the arrival of the second part was the result of that call. It was sent FedEx Priority Overnight. If only the repairman had arrived in such a timely manner.
So I waited. When I didn't hear anything from anyone in Hutchinson or from GE for a couple of weeks, I called the GE hotline yet again. And I went through the entire encyclopedia of options, having to type in all my numbers and information yet again, no matter how many times I pressed "0" to get a real, live person. 
Eventually, they told me that A & E Factory Service would fix my dishwasher. I couldn't find that business in a Hutchinson phone book, so I asked where the repairman was based. She said she "didn't have that information."  She also assured me that no more parts would be sent since I had two already sitting on my porch.

Another part was shipped on October 23. It arrived shortly thereafter and has joined its two siblings on the porch. I figure the Fed Ex guy thinks I am a hoarder by now. And he's probably tired of delivering the same part to the same house. I know I'm tired of them taking up space on my back porch.
I had an appointment for Monday, but the most specific they could be, even last Friday, was that the repairman would arrive sometime between 8 and 5.  I was singing for a funeral, so I couldn't be here during that wide time frame. So I've rescheduled for this Friday. Let's just saying I'm not holding my breath, especially looking at online reviews for A & E.

I purposefully buy my appliances from a family business - not a big box store. I believe in paying a little extra to support small-town business and get quality customer service. Admittedly, it was not the business that GE wanted to send to repair the dishwasher.  I probably should have called my own dealer directly to see if they were among the businesses repairing the dishwashers.

Let's just say I won't be particularly anxious to purchase a GE dishwasher the next time around. Sorry I didn't make a long story short. I'm hoping for a happy ending.

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