Very good deal or very bad idea?
May 17, 2021 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I recently became a homeowner and have decided to buy an induction range to replace the awful stove that came with the apartment. I've picked out the model I'm pretty sure I want. The price is basically the same across retailers except for one, and I'm wondering if it's legit or I should steer clear.

The model in question is Frigidaire FGIH3047VF.

At Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. it retails for ~$1799. On Amazon there's a seller (CyberSavings) offering it for $1099. For an extra 70 bucks or so they'll arrange to haul out the old stove and install the new one. About a quarter of the user reviews for the seller are negative. Should I even consider buying it? If the price difference were even 200 I wouldn't do it but 700 is... a lot.
posted by weirdly airport to Home & Garden (27 answers total)
I suspect your best case scenario is the thing will have cosmetic damage.
posted by phunniemee at 12:59 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Is it a floor model? You might ask the vendor for more details, but they may not want to answer. Searching on your model name and the term "floor model" returns hits with prices close to (and slightly lower than) the one you found on Amazon, for instance.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:11 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

A quarter negative reviews on anything would deter me.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:13 PM on May 17 [29 favorites]

IMO returns are difficult enough on Amazon so a huge number of negative reviews would turn me off. I agree with others that at best you are getting a lightly damaged or floor model. At worst you are getting scammed.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:14 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]

A quarter negative reviews on anything would deter me.

Especially on an Amazon vendor, seeing as how it’s blatantly easy for them to pad the system with positive reviews.

I agree with others that this is either a floor model and/or has cosmetic damage (which could include a dent or two that doesn’t affect operating the stove. They could also be an unauthorized dealer, which can make warranty work tricky.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:24 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]

Yikes. I might try someone with 1/4 bad reviews for a small item, for an amount of money I wouldn't mind losing. But for something that expensive and also large? No way.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:34 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

I agree with everyone re: 1/4 negative reviews being far too high, but then again, I am wondering if it's worth the risk because this is Amazon. I've never had an issue with returns and refunds there, even when I've made larger purchases (granted, my largest was $600, so half yours). Worth checking out what Amazon's policy is if it turns out that the item isn't in the condition it was promised to be, like, say, it's listed as new but it has dings and scratches. You should be able to look it up pretty easily, and even get confirmation by folks on their chat/call.
posted by MiraK at 1:45 PM on May 17

That they offer to take away the old stove and do an installation suggests that they're (semi) local.

Any chance they have a physical location that you can check out/ check out their staff for vibes - or even maybe see the specific unit in question first?
posted by porpoise at 1:47 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

If it didn't work out, would you be out more than the $500 you're saving? If you eventually got your money back but it took you a month, or 6 months, or a year of fighting and you had to live without a working stove until you got it sorted, would it be worth the $500?
posted by pazazygeek at 1:54 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

For me the top 3 factors would be warranty, warranty, warranty. And not the kind where you wait months for a repairperson to maybe show up and poke at it. You want the kind that when the minute it stops working, somebody comes and installs a new one. Look closely into who is ultimately responsible for the install, and for warranty service. You want it to be very clear, so you don't get into a game where the manufacturer, reseller, and installer can blame the other guy and leave you high and dry.

Congrats on going induction. We use a $100 countertop unit for all our daily cooking. It's so fast and precise that I can't imagine going back to anything else.
posted by dum spiro spero at 2:02 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

That they offer to take away the old stove and do an installation suggests that they're (semi) local.
they'll arrange to haul out the old stove and install the new one.
A more cynical theory is that your cut-price stove will be installed by whoever CyberSavings can get for less than $70 on Taskrabbit.
posted by zamboni at 2:29 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]

I got taken for about $1500 by an Amazon Marketplace scammer and Amazon made me whole. I'd go for it.
posted by flabdablet at 2:37 PM on May 17

I am wondering if it's worth the risk because this is Amazon

The returns policy for 3rd party vendors on Amazon is very variable, if you are buying a book or something they are likely similar to the returns policy when buying direct from Amazon, but this is not always the case. I have run into sellers who flat out refused any return or refund and Amazon didn't want to know.
posted by Lanark at 2:48 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

About a quarter of the user reviews for the seller are negative.

On a $1K purchase, I would not touch this with your 10 foot pole.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:06 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]

What do the negative reviews say and what do the positive reviews say? Are there trends that speak to the ease of returns and the quality of customer service?

What's their return policy? Are they going to pick it up and ship it back for you, and pay for the shipping?
posted by schroedinger at 3:36 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

This is a great opportunity for price matching. If you can find the exact same model number (and sometimes have to confirm free shipping), home depot and other major retailers will match prices. I've done this in the past for appliances, highly recommend. You usually have to call a call center person to get the price match.
posted by agentofselection at 3:42 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]

Their seller profile reveals they are actually Gold Coast Appliances in Greenvale, NY. They have 2.2/5 stars on Google and 2 stars on Yelp.

I agree that price matching is worth looking into.
posted by bgrebs at 3:49 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Not really an answer to your question, but I thought it might be helpful. When I purchased an air filter with a too good to be true price from an Amazon seller, I received an open box/return. It was not advertised as such. Worse still I was broken. When I asked for my money back the seller suggested I work with the manufacturer as it was still under warranty. In the end I was made whole, but it was a hassle.
posted by phil at 3:57 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Run any URL from Amazon through to detect fraudulent reviews.
posted by blob at 8:20 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

I have to report that I had perhaps my worst customer service experience EVER with a large Frigidaire appliance last year. And I’m not alone. They have a terrible reputation for quality now. And ovens are a particular sore point. Due diligence. Read the Facebook groups with names like “Boycott Frigidaire” and the like. Or the comments on the company’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Hundreds of enraged people.

Took me three months and 9 phone calls and writing 4 bad reviews online before they finally replaced the product as they had promised they would on the first phone call. Positively dismissive, rude, deflecting, and non-responsive company. And thousands agree.

Frigidaire/Electrolux is now Chinese owned. They are not the same companies those names used to attach to. Not sure what that has to do with anything but the new ownership is trading on the old reputations of those brands.

WireCutter guide loves Frigidaire products. That’s when I discovered they don’t factor service or quality over time into their rankings. I myself would never ever do business with them again.

The second unit works fine. But it took more work than would have made sense if all I cared about was the money. They easily wasted enough of my time to pay for a new one.

I found a giant community of people who had the same experiences of being blown off and lied to. Also Google “Frigidaire range” and “exploding glass” for some oven-specific horror stores.

This is my revenge.
posted by spitbull at 2:17 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]

I can STILL sing their hold music theme song. It makes me see red.

My scathing one star reviews of the product I bought and the service I experienced when it didn’t work out of the box are still online at Loews, Home Depot, Amazon, and elsewhere. That’s what finally moved them to make me go away by sending a new one.

Still have the old one too.
posted by spitbull at 2:22 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Oh and to mention, it was posting links to my reviews and telling this story in the comments under their PR articles on their Facebook page (those comments are full of people doing the same thing, trying to get some attention) that finally got them to reach out to me personally and practically beg to resolve my issue at last. They’d post “here are some wonderful fall recipes you can cook on your Frigidaire range” and dozens of angry buyers would post under it each time with “when are you going to fix my appliance/resolve my issue/etc.” Really, check it out. Angry Frigidaire customers have figured out that calling their dedicated service number gets you nowhere, despite promises. Half the time they don’t answer. I had many voice mails remain unreturned. Along with many promises a “manager” would call me back (they never did). Ranting on their PR social media article comments sections, however, gets you a personal call from a manager desperate to stop the facts from getting out.
posted by spitbull at 2:32 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

Imma bet the unit for $700 off is a non-new unit too. They get a ton of returned appliances. I’d be extremely wary of a unit someone else had rejected.

Also knowing Greenvale, Long Island, *extremely* well, I would suspect these are contractor units being resold after a client canceled the job. That part of the north shore of Long Island is mob contractor land, in the midst of a building and renovation boom.

I literally just helped move a relative out of that place.

I’d buy a stove from a local merchant where you are, even at a premium. You want someone who will be accountable for the thing.
posted by spitbull at 2:45 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you so much everyone for the very helpful answers - lots of factors I hadn't thought about (and not just about price per se), especially as a newbie to the universe of major appliances. I'm generally very savvy about ordering online but my experience didn't extend to this kind of purchase. Also, I've cooked with gas my entire adult life and after living here for two months have finally reached the acceptance phase of the 5 stages of grief that my pre-war 60-unit apartment building in central Brooklyn does not have gas lines (I know, right?). I know it's safer and that even highly accomplished chefs use induction but there's a real pleasure in the click and hiss of firing up a gas burner.

Spitbull that's fascinating insight into the world of Long Island north shore contracting! All too easy to imagine.
posted by weirdly airport at 4:45 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Late to this party because Frigidaire isn't available here so I had no insight in your question. But now that I suspect you are looking for alternatives, I like to share my experience. I have the cheapest induction stove one can buy here, and after a learning period, I actually enjoy cooking on it, most of the time. But there is one thing it does really badly, which is no surprise but does bother me more than I thought it would: it's really no good for pans that are larger than the "rings". I have a square grill pan and a paella pan, and they (obviously) only heat up in the areas that are directly over the rings. The heat spreads so slowly, it isn't relevant. So when my brother and sister in law asked, I suggested that they prioritize one of the more expensive stovetops that has bigger heating areas instead of just rings. I have tried cooking on their stovetop, and it is just much better.
posted by mumimor at 5:43 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]

If I can add this, it goes to my suspicion about the cheap one being a contractor return.

When I was first promised a replacement, after my first call, they told me they didn’t want the appliance back at all. Instead they told me I had to cut the cord (at the plug end, lol) and send them a photo of the severed plug alongside the removed serial number sticker. They made me sign a legal form that agreed to dispose of the item (at my expense, by the way, on an item that arrived not working). They were *super paranoid* the replaced unit would end up in “the stream of commerce.” (They then took three months to replace it, as described above, while I had a broken unit with a cut cord in my house.)

I still have it. It looks brand new. It turns on. Just one crucial function doesn’t work. I could easily put the serial sticker back on it and wire in a new plug and it would look sellable.

Such a totally weird experience. Really, I can’t tell you how annoyed I was by the end of all this.
posted by spitbull at 2:06 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]

Oh I have to say this: after the company finally reached out to me in response to my social media posts and linked reviews, a very nice woman rep buttered me up with apologies and promises.

I literally said “you have one week from today to have it on my doorstep or I won’t accept the replacement, but I will chase your company to the ends of social media hell for all eternity.” I meant it too. I was pissed. I did say it politely.

It arrived four days later by overnight express.

The company’s US office is headquartered in North Carolina and when you call you mostly get polite, warm southerners, to whom I did my best to be as polite as I could and whom I always told “I don’t blame you, but your company is really screwing me over,” and who promised very helpful things…that for me never happened after we ended the call, for which I’d often waited on hold for over an hour, and then had to explain the entire situation all over again every time. I *memorized* my unit’s long alphanumeric serial number by the end.

Just had to
posted by spitbull at 2:22 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]

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