Buying a fridge freezer – harder than it should be…

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.

ffu3dp_wh_americanff_opd_l As always, click the image to view it full size, Back button to return.

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.

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11 thoughts on “Buying a fridge freezer – harder than it should be…

  1. Good luck with your new fridge freezer Ron…I replaced mine last September with a Bosch and I am delighted with it. I also shopped at AO and was pleased with the delivery days and times and the guys could not have done enough for me. I bought a large FF as I now only need to order my groceries every two weeks…

    • If you’d had my clowns I doubt they’d have brought it up the stairs – useless buggers!

      One thing I found with the last one is that root veg will keep fresh for a couple of months if over-bagged and sealed.

  2. hi ron happy new year i have a srider lugano powerchair and the lights feature was very helpful i have them now and i was thinking of a cycle odometer to check the miles i may do not sure if they will work on the chair though.

    • Hi Dave – HNY!

      Odometer – three problems – where to mount the sensor, and the gizmo itself (unlike scooters, chairs are a royal pain when it comes to attaching gadgets), and the wheel diameter. All insurmountable if memory serves. Me, I used my old satnav from when I had a car. It shows speed and distance travelled, as well as much that’s irrelevant. On my scooter I mounted it on the tiller, but in my chair I hung it round my neck on a bootlace – as long as it can locate the satellites, it’s happy. Amazon have used units from £24, new from £30 http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_nr_n_0?rh=n%3A248877031%2Cn%3A389515011%2Ck%3Asatnav&sort=price&keywords=satnav&ie=UTF8&qid=1390576599&rnid=248878031 Battery life is critical as you can’t plug it into your chair’s 24-volt system, so look for something a bit longer than your longest journey is likely to be.

      If you have a smartphone there’s probably a suitable app. Again, hang it round your neck.

      And if they haven’t rechipped the Lugano, once it loosens up it should be good for around 6mph. Illegal without a 4mph switch (the speed control button doesn’t count), so don’t tell Plod. Should you get stopped and asked, it does 4mph!

  3. Here’s hoping it lasts as long as your other ones Ron. The FF I have at the moment is actually supplied with all white goods in the lease. It’s not a bad one, keeps things at the right temps and is easy to adjust if needed. Roomy enough as well, it would be even roomier if John did not have stacks of chocolate sweets stored in it!
    I’m a bit of a bugger for LG stuff myself, I’ve had 3 washing machines, a couple of microwaves and a flat screen TV over the last few years, never had any problems with them and will hopefully be able to afford one when we have to move (or indeed, if I get enough money to buy my own place)!

    • Well, I’m hoping it lasts longer! I can’t actually recall when I bought the one that died. Part of me thinks I got it when I was 65, just over 4 years ago, but it doesn’t feel that long and I can’t find the paperwork. Anyway, I decided with this one I’d do something I’ve never done before – buy an extended warranty – should pretty much guarantee it never goes wrong!

      And that’s my buying spree finished. I’ve replaced the TV, cooker, microwave, mini oven, stand mixer, the fridge freezer, of course, PC, and bought a laptop, galaxy S3, food processor and that’s about it – oh and a bunch of tablets and Kindles!

      The reason? Buy while I can afford it, so I’m future proof (as much as I can be, anyway), before IDS decides to mess with my DLA, because if he does I sure as hell won’t be able to afford to then!

  4. are ron i can use my tom tom by the way i have an old 18 plus years electrolux fridge freezer frost free and still going strong and an old hotpoint fridge thats over 25 years old? i suppose now ive said this they will pack up haha.
    That freezer you got is well smart and about dla that new pip is around the corner im not looking forward to that shite.

  5. Wow! That’s a spree alright, but for the same reason I’ve done a bit as well.
    We moved here mid-September 2012 and I had our savings blitzed on the new TV (which we only use to watch downloads, dvd’s and John’s photographs (we won’t go there!). I’d had a new computer the Christmas before, John had a new computer that year, I was given an iPhone, John got an iPhone 2013, a brand new camera and all the lenses last year and I got my iPad at Christmas. Oh, and we got a new suite in 2012.
    Savings have all gone, and John had his usual Social Security letter through to say we were going to get a small rise in April – turns out we get less as the ESA has gone up 90p (faints) but the Income guarantee has gone from £9.45 to £3.45! As you know, the cost of living is so high that it’s such a struggle sometimes, especially around bill time! Of course, we are like you and thousands of disabled, worried sick by each brown envelope coming through the letterbox and knowing that the cuts are going to be coming again for the welfare budget!
    Our most worrying thing is the landlord may be like a lot of the rest and get rid of us as we are on benefits! I have to keep my hopes up that I will win enough compensation to put a roof of our own over our heads so that at least we have that if nothing else!

    • Yep – got a brown envelope yesterday! Turned out to be my pension credit notice – going down by £1.49 a week, from which I assume my pension is going up by a similar amount! God forbid we should make a profit!

  6. Like Jaypot, I have a FF supplied with my lease (partially furnished = cooker+FF) It’s an old Electrolux, probably made in the late 70s, everything stays cool (checked with a laboratory fridge thermometer) but boy does it guzzle electricity. I bought a Bosch Freezer last year, an upright one, and it’s brilliant. Not had one problem with it. I’d like to replace the FF but as with the cooker when it died, the landlady won’t allow me to buy my own in place of her broken one. She has to choose and pay for it. I get told, no, it would mean the lease would have to be changed and that cost would fall to me, when I say ok, she says, no it’s not possible. You have to watch it with private landlords, the rent can suddenly shoot up without warning or if there are expensive repairs to be made and right now I can’t risk the rent going up.

    Of course I could just buy a new FF and forget the old one, but there is nowhere to store it!

    I have a Beko cooker now and it’s the most basic, cheapest model there is. The oven is rubbish, despite endless farting about with the legs, it can’t be made to be totally level and the far right back corner is a hotspot. So everything has to be turned every 20 mins or so to avoid the burnt corner syndrome.

    Wasn’t it Beko who were in the news recently for FFs and washing machines causing fires?

    Hope not!

    Lucy

    • Beko have a bad rep for washers and dryers (yep, there’ve been a few fires), a great one for fridge freezers, apparently, though the one I had last week was total crap and went straight back to the Co-op. I’ve got a Beko cooker too. Oven is OK but the rings have hotspots! Still, a diffuser fixed that. The important thing is that it has solid rings, so is easy to clean. The oven is just used for bread and the occasional cake, so stays clean – not made either for ages – starting again on Monday.

      I use a dead fridge freezer as a kitchen cupboard. Really crap storage space here – the assumption is that none of us cook. Mostly they seem to be right, but I do. Nowhere near as much as I did, but by the standards of the building, still a hell of a lot.

      Ron

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