Dryer cut clothing. Dryer folk not helpful.
September 8, 2008 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Clothes dryer [new] slashed clothing. "Repaired," dryer snags clothes, makes unsettling noise. Visited store 4x; sent registered mail to manufacturer 2x, nothing. Now what?

A bit over a year ago I bought a new high-efficiency Frigidaire front-loader and matching dryer from a small local appliance shop. The washer is lousy, but no mind. The dryer made the same 1cm J-shaped cut in most of our knit clothing.

It took a while to figure out where these cuts were coming from, of course. When we finally did, we contacted the store, who sent out Local Repair Dude. LRD scratched his head and asked if I was using HE detergent. (Yes.) LRD said he'd put in a call to Frigidaire. Came back, gave me a hard time about the detergent despite standing under many bottles marked "HE," and did something to the dryer that he thought would maybe solve my problem, and if it didn't, it was Frigidaire's problem, not his.

The "repaired" dryer started snagging a lot of stuff -- drawstrings and snaps on baby clothes get sucked in to a rim around the door and don't come out without ripping -- and making a "Hi I'm a broken dryer" sort of ka-thump noise, intermittently. One knit top came out with a terrible slash; the status of the J-cuts is unclear because our old clothes are already too cut up for us to notice new cuts, and good knits now get hung to dry.

The local shop is nearby, so I went in person. At this point I went in at least three times. Oh, they'd get right on it. Had nobody called me back? Goodness! Be sure to get right on that, yes'm! Same deal each time; never heard a peep.

I sent Frigidaire a letter, via registered mail, enclosing a onesie covered in the J-cuts and missing a snap and a plastic bib that accidentally got in the dryer for a few minutes and came out looking like it'd been in a fight with an X-acto knife. Nothing. I sent a second letter, summarized: "WTF? No response to this one, and it's court. Just in case, here is a copy of the letter I sent." Nothing.

Is small claims court the appropriate/best place to pursue this? At this point I would be happy to return the washer and dryer pair for a full refund and never think of Frigidaire or the shop again; I'm not sure what's realistic, though.
posted by kmennie to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
In over a year have you never called the customer service number listed in your owner's manual in order to get this thing looked at under warranty? That's where you needed to start, in order to get a warranty claim in under the coverage period. Has that warranty lapsed?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:28 AM on September 8, 2008

Response by poster: The store promised to handle it under the warranty; they were the ones who sent the 'local repair dude.'

The warranty expired a couple of months ago; the visits to the store and registered letters were before the end of the warranty, though.
posted by kmennie at 8:35 AM on September 8, 2008

I believe my washer/dryer is a Frigidaire model similar to yours and I had a problem with my dryer that sounds like yours. A symphony of unpleasant noises, snagging clothes, etc. I live in an apartment, so my landlord took care of it, but when I was trying to diagnose what the hell was causing the pained groans from the dryer, I found there is a foam-ish gasket between the dryer drum and the front of the dryer. It had come loose and created a space where clothes would get caught, and also bunched up around the drum, which made the noise. I had to have a new one glued on and it has been fine since.
posted by milkrate at 8:49 AM on September 8, 2008

I somewhat doubt that the store ever actually established a warranty claim with Frigidaire.
I'm afraid you're going to have to call customer service yourself and see what you can make happen. Almost certainly, they'll send out a qualified technician, and not the LRD.

Re: the registered mail you sent to Frigidaire...did you send it "receipt requested"? If so, did you ever get the receipt back?

Also...have you crawled around in the dryer tub to see if you could find the sharp edge that is cutting the clothing? Being able to identify a specific flaw like that would help your claim.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:57 AM on September 8, 2008

Check the samurai repairman website. Best all around do it yourself repair site available. Not that you want to do it yourself, but you can get the kind of expert advice you need to figure out what the real problem is.
posted by diode at 9:11 AM on September 8, 2008

I've faced similar frustrations in the past in getting companies to acknowledge communications. The Better Business Bureau has an online complaint form that I've used to finally obtain a response. You might also try your state/local government consumer affairs/protection office.
posted by exogenous at 9:14 AM on September 8, 2008

Consumerist, You state's state attorney general/consumer affairs office, Better Business Bureau. Find the manager, ask for an appt., show up w/ documentation, settle in for a chat, and be very firm that you expect them to fix this, correctly, permanently.
posted by theora55 at 1:01 PM on September 8, 2008

This may be a great opportunity to call up your local paper or TV News to see if they have an column/feature that goes to bat for consumers who feel that they have been ripped off or are unable to get a response from a big company regarding a broken product. In my local paper this column is in the business section, on TV it is often run under a name like TVSTATION on Your Side...
posted by rosebengal at 10:43 AM on September 9, 2008

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