Last week, I had to buy a new fridge freezer after the old one died. In an attempt to save money, I bought a Beko CFD7914APW from the Co-op. It cost £399 while the American-style models I favoured started at £600** and headed swiftly for the stratosphere. Sadly, it was, by any definition, a piece of crap.
**Not at the Co-op, theirs are even pricier.
It was delivered with a part missing, a full-width fascia moulding which covered the adjustable and toe-shredding (for my bare feet – still can’t wear shoes or socks for long), front feet and which I had, in fact (wonderful thing, hindsight), watched the delivery guy carry away, thinking it was part of the packing material! Things went downhill from there.
In four days the fridge section never reached its correct operating temperature (5C or lower), unless the thermostat was turned up to Max (normal setting would have been the midway point according to the manual). This, of course, mean that it had no scope for rapid chilling – also made a joke of its A+ energy rating as it ran almost continuously. On Max, the freezer section, which didn’t have its own controls, headed rapidly for -30C – just a tad extreme.
In addition, the water dispenser didn’t work. It either dispensed nothing, or the valve mechanism, held together by nothing more hi-tech than friction, would fly apart, dumping the contents all over the freezer section and my carpet (due to the fact that my kitchen is tiny, and the only place in it to put a fridge freezer is also occupied by a very sunny window and a radiator (but has no electrical socket), it has to be in the living room with me).
Oh, and the manual claimed the water reservoir could be filled with a jug. It couldn’t because the shelf a couple of inches above it precluded that, so the whole unit had to be removed to fill it, rendered a little tricky by the fact that it wasn’t designed for that, and had no handle(s).
So I invoked the Distance Selling Regulations (DSRs), which gave me 7 days to return it, for any reason or for none (essentially, it’s a cooling-off period for online purchases, and the first time I’ve had to use it), and sent it back.
Initially, the Co-op were helpful, though they confused the issue, rather, by giving me two different days for collection then failing to clarify it. As I’m housebound, it was a minor point, but they didn’t know that.
They then sent me an email which, as well as containing a variety of punitive charges for any bits I failed to return (£10 for a manual that probably cost 10p struck me as a bit bloody rich!), said that they would test the appliance in their warehouse, to see if I’m telling the truth about it which, as I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn, pissed me off.
Not least because, in their warehouse, they cannot possibly replicate the environmental conditions in my home, so any comparison would be meaningless, but mainly because the fact that I’d invoked the DSRs takes precedence. And for the record, previous fridge freezers, in the same location, have worked perfectly for 17 years, as does the Hotpoint American-style unit with which I replaced the Beko. That reached its operating temperature in a little over 4 hours.
I emailed my contact, pointing out the DSR fact. I was ignored.
So, at the moment I’m awaiting a refund, which should NOT be a problem if the Co-op abides by the law. A lot of online retailers, it’s worth pointing out, are ignorant of the DSRs or choose to ignore them, as a look at their T&C sections will confirm. Shop elsewhere is my advice.
I have, by the way, figured out why the Beko didn’t work (the water dispenser was simply shit design). Fridge chilling mechanisms, over the years, have gone through various incarnations. In some, the ice-box chilled the whole fridge while the fridge sections of fridge freezers had a chiller plate on the back wall. Then the plate was incorporated into the back wall, in conjunction with an auto-defrost function. American-style fridge freezers, though, are mostly chilled and kept frost-free by circulating chilled (or in the case of the freezer section, sub-zero), air.
Now the Beko, while not being American-style, was much the same size (which was the attraction), but it used the old-style, chiller-in-the-back wall, auto-defrost, technology which, I believe, simply could not cope with the sheer volume of the fridge compartment. This was complicated by the fact that the thermostat was in the ceiling of the unit – the warmest place in any fridge. However, I put my monitor sensor (I have commercial-grade temperature monitors for both freezer and fridge sections), in the bottom of the fridge section and it never got below 10 degrees C with the thermostat set at the mid point and, as I’ve said, would only get down to 5C on Max.
It also had solid glass shelves, which meant that there was no way for the chilled air to circulate properly. A passive system like this, I believe, needs wire shelves to allow that to happen. They’d tried to compensate for this by having a one-third depth shelf, but all this did was dramatically reduce storage space – a seriously dumb idea.
In the end, I bought what I should have had in the first place, a Hotpoint FF3UD X American style fridge freezer, which works perfectly. I don’t know how long that link will stay live as this appliance is on offer. For reasons which elude me, you won’t find it on the Hotpoint website either – I shall try to find out why.
In case it does vanish, here’s a photo of the white version which, mysteriously, costs £58 more than the stainless steel version I opted for (£606), while the black version is £8 cheaper. No, makes no sense to me, either.
Finally found a Hotpoint link, though you can use their search function until hell freezes, it’ll give you nothing! Likewise, their archive.
It was, unfortunately, delivered by the surliest, most unhelpful, trolls in the known universe, who clearly had no interest in actually delivering the appliance to my flat until I firmly pointed out that their company had supplied a similar-sized unit a few years previously, with no access problems, that another had recently been delivered and removed (the Beko), and that I expected no less from them.
I firmly believe, though, that if I’d shown the slightest weakness or doubt, they’d have been back in their van and away without any hesitation.
As it was they moaned and whinged to each other throughout the entire operation about how impossible it was, when it clearly wasn’t, after I’d had to point out that the packaging added several inches to its size and needed to come off first, after which there would be no problem. And there wasn’t, though the whining continued unabated.
And again, I’m quite sure that had I not intervened over the packaging they’d have announced, “No, sorry, doesn’t fit!” and buggered off. They really did not want to be there (and my flat, by the way, is on the ground floor and there are no steps!).
Makes me wonder if they were like that everywhere they went? Probably. And with all the people who are unemployed there seems little justification for employing such useless buggers. And yes, I do know it’s a physically hard job – so did they when they took it on.