Monday, September 14, 2015

GE Cares

For service, call 1-800-GE-CARES.  Those words are printed on the top of a receipt I received from a GE repairman who came to my house to fix a gas leak in my oven.  But does GE really care?

More than a week ago my wife and I returned home from vacation and detected the smell of gas in our house.  It seemed to be coming from the GE oven.  My wife immediately call our local utility provider, Con Edison.  In minutes fire trucks pulled up in front of our house and a team of firefighters entered our apartment.  The gas detector the firemen used did not register a gas leak, so they left.  Nearly an hour later two ConEdison inspectors arrived at our home and we led them to the kitchen.  Their detectors immediately picked up a gas leak.  So they shut the gas valve off and red tagged the oven for repair.

I called the GE service scheduling line to set up an appointment.  Unfortunately, the earliest time they could send someone was mid week, which meant no cooking dinner.  The GE repairman arrived and replaced a part on the oven.  He then turned the appliance on for a while and determined the leak had been fixed.  Since the oven is no longer under warranty, we paid $416.95 for the repair.  We called ConEdison to schedule an inspection, and they said they would send someone over as soon as they could.  But, the scheduler added, an inspection was not necessary as long as the repairman was certified.  We never leave anything to chance, so we reaffirmed our desire for an inspection.

Finally, several days later, Saturday morning, a ConEdison inspector came to our house.  He deployed his gas detector in the oven and the device buzzed, indicating the leak had not been repaired.  He immediately shut the gas off and red tagged the appliance.  Had we not insisted on an inspection the leak could have led to a catastrophe.   

I called GE to schedule another appointment, and complain about the poor service.  I was told that I would have to talk with GE service, and they would be open on Monday.  I pleaded my case for urgent service, but I was told nothing else could be done.  

On Monday morning I spoke with GE service.  The person I spoke with showed no emotion, no empathy when I explained that the gas leak could have led to an explosion and injuries.  The earliest she said she could get a repairman out was the next day.  "Unfortunately, the dispatcher says he has no one available."  What about the $416.95 I paid for the failed repair, I asked?  "There will be no refund, but you won't be charged for the additional service call because it is within the 30 day guarantee period," the customer service specialist said.  

GE is a global giant serving millions of customers around the world.  It has structured and staffed its many businesses so that each company it owns maximizes profits each quarter.  In short, GE cares most about profits.  

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