Getting a recall done on your car is easy*. When its a home appliance you bought on eBay... not so much.
Back in August when my father in law passed away, his large record, cd, tape, 8-track, movie, and memorabilia collection was bequeathed to my wife and I. Well, more or less. He didn’t have a will, but her being the next of kin and him pretty much telling her on his deathbed “Don’t let anyone touch my shit” and promising some of the music and movies to his granddaughters meant we were in charge of them.
Not wanting to leave them where they were, where people had access (he lived with his mother in law) we decided to bring them all home. Problem is, we’d have to store them in the basement. Not a BIG problem, as they had spent most of their lives in one, albeit a de-humidified and heated and air conditioned finished basement.
Ours is not finished, and while it does stay pretty darn cool in the summer, and warm in the winter (thank you hot water boiler for heat and your many many pipes) it does suffer from water entry when it rains, or snow melts, and it can be pretty damp down there. Not the ideal environment for albums dating as far back as the 60's... or pretty much anything else.
So I went dehumidifier shopping. I wanted a name brand, with good reviews, and I wanted to stay around $200 and get the largest home unit I could find, which was needed for the square footage.
I found that a 70 pint unit would be perfect, and after hunting around I found a seller on eBay selling “Store Display Model” Frigidaire units for $159 plus shipping. Good reviews. Over 1000 sales. Seemed like a great deal! So I bought one, plugged it in, and immediately decided I needed to hook up a hose to it and let it drain into the sewer in our basement. It was pulling A LOT of water from the air. Which is good. It was quiet, did its job, no worries.
Then I saw a story on Facebook. A house a county over had burned down because of a “Recalled Dehumidifier”. I immediately Googled the recall, and the brands. Shit. Frigidaire was one of them. I unplugged it within seconds of finding that out...
Now here’s where it gets confusing.
There’s an earlier recall from 2013 for models built by Gree, a Chinese company that makes a lot of products, including dehumidifiers. It was re-issued in 2014, and again during my battle with this Frigidaire.
ANOTHER recall was issued for Midea made units. Another Chinese company, making a lot of units for the same brands.
The latter is the recall my model, an FAD704DWD fell under. Or so I thought. THAT model, as I researched, was only subject to recall based on the serial number. And when I went to find the number, it wasn’t there. Just the model number. So I went back to the auction scrolled ALL THE WAY down and found “Model# and Serial# stickers was removed by Frigidaire before units sent to us.”
That seemed odd. I reached out to the seller, who was more than willing to send me links to fake looking websites PRAISING the FAD704DWD, and saying that “No No No, this unit never recalled.” linking me to the 2013 Gree recall.
Well that was wrong, I called him on it, and he agreed to take the unit back. He even refunded me the full price including shipping, and sent me a return label.
After I got my money back I reported his auction(s) to eBay, for selling recalled items, and made a note about the serial numbers being removed.
In the meantime I contacted Midea. Told them what was going on, that there was no serial number sticker, and they said they couldn’t help me. I even asked if there were any stampings or numbers on the INSIDE of the unit that would help determine if it was recalled.... No. And since I didn’t buy it from an “Authorised Retailer” they could not take it back.
So I reached out to Frigidaire, Midea non-recall services, and the CPSC government department that regulates recalls on household items. The first two seemed to go nowhere, at first. The third I think contacted the second because about a week after returning the Frigidaire to the eBay seller, getting my money back and buying a Honeywell 50 pint unit off Amazon (that has an annoying whine at both fan speeds but is not as bad on high) Midea called me. SEVERAL times. They seemed VERY interested in sending me a new dehumidifier, if only I would send them my address and e-mail.
So I did.
Then I got a call again to confirm the address, and talked to a nice lady there who explained they could ship me a COMFEE brand in a day or two, or a Frigidaire but that would take 6-8 weeks. After looking up the COMFEE brand and seeing pretty good reviews and NO RECALLS, I said sure. NEVER did she, or anyone mention sending the old unit back....
And the COMFEE unit arrived today
Its a lot quieter than the Honeywell (which runs a lot due to it being a 50 pint model) I purchased from Amazon, so I think I’ll keep it. PLUS, it has a TURBO button!
So for all my running around, several phone calls, and not having a working dehumidifier for several weeks (thankfully it was during the coldest and driest part of the winter here) I think I shouldn’t feel bad for the “free” product.
I paid for a recalled item and was refunded by a shady seller who’s probably STILL selling these things to the unknowing public out of his store in PA where my unit was shipped back to, or on ebay, where the auctions are still up.
The company that MADE the unit was unwilling to help until I complained to the guv’ment, and they made good on it by sending me a new one.
And hopefully the guv’ment (if they’re not too busy these days) checks those auction links I sent them and goes after this dude... because I’m sure that selling recalled items is somehow illegal.
But that begs another question.... HOW DID HE GET HIS HANDS ON SO MANY IN THE FIRST PLACE?
*In my experience. To put this into auto terms, it’d be like buying a used car that can burst into flames when driven, but ALL YOUR VIN NUMBERS are gone so you can’t verify YOUR car is recalled, and the car maker won’t tell you WHY its recalled or what component causes the fires.
Oh and I am returning the Honeywell to Amazon, partly due to the noise, but mostly to get my $200 back so I can enjoy my FREE Comfee dehumidifier. With turbo button.