Best Buy Refrigerator Delivery Ruined Kitchen and Basement

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Jan 5, 2017
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I purchased a Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator with confidence from Best Buy because myself and my family have purchased several different products from their stores over the last decade and have had no problem.

Unfortunately, in my last purchase, the employees who installed my refrigerator installed it incorrectly (I purchased the refrigerator water connection kit as suggested on the website and the employees advised me to return it because there was already an existing water line) and I came to realize over three weeks time after purchase that over 48 quarts of water had been leaking down behind my fridge onto my brand new wood flooring and down the back wall of my basement. There is ceiling damage and rotting in multiple spots, as well as potential mold, water leaking under all of my less-than-a-year old heating, cooling and furnace appliances, and all over my basement floor.

I filed a repair claim with Best Buy on December 20th. They referred me to Sedgwick (their insurance company) where I left a message and received a call back a few days later with a claim number. I also was told to call Frigidaire because the unit was only about 30 days old and they had advised that this issue would be handled under manufacturer's warranty, which made sense -- so I filed a claim with them, as well. At this time, I did not know what the issue was because I had just moved into my new house a month prior to this phone call and everything passed inspection and no water damage, or damage otherwise, was present. Hesitant to change the exact setup of how Best Buy installed the refrigerator, I didn't want to move the refrigerator or open the basement ceiling to see exactly what the issue was. However, the leak was getting out of control and I didn't want to risk further damage to my brand new home.

The next day I pulled the refrigerator away and realized exactly where the problem was. I now knew that this was not a Frigidaire defect/manufacturer warranty, but an installation issue. The copper water line that Best Buy had connected to the refrigerator was leaking everywhere. (Mind you, the seller's of this home I just bought had the exact same refrigerator as mine with the exact same hookup that caused my fridge to leak ... and passed inspection with flying colors -- (I have proof of this). I immediately called Best Buy after cleaning up as much as I could (I have pictures) to have them reinstall the fridge correctly until I could have Sedgwick continue with my claim to repair the damages.

When the Best Buy employees came for the second time to install the refrigerator, they were asking me how to install the fridge and asking me plumber specific questions, which I unfortunately have no idea about. I had faith in Best Buy and my purchase prior to this situation.

Patricia Morales, who is the supervisor handling my claim at Sedgwick, advised in an extremely rude manner that she would call the delivery company to let them know about what was occurring and that now the liability would fall on their behalf. Mind you, I am now 16 days into my claim with my refrigerator pulled out of my wall with no access to that water/ice and have a housewarming party this coming Friday, the 6th.

When I asked Patricia when I could expect to hear back from her or the delivery company, she simply responded "I explained to you that I would make a call to the delivery company". When I asked again when I could expect a call back seeing that I was being given the run-around for over a week on my situation, she gave me the same response. I just called her again today, the 3rd, and she had called the delivery company again but could give me no time estimate on a call back, let alone when someone could repair my fridge so it could be used again, as well as when someone could come out and fix all of the issues caused to my brand new home.

I do understand that some delays may occur due to the holidays, however, I'm extremely disappointed in the level of customer service I'm receiving from Best Buy. The second installation individuals that came out to my house said that I need a plumber to come and diagnose the issue on how to correct the functionality of the refrigerator... Sedgwick has still not addressed this issue.

I received a written letter from the delivery company in which I called the number to have the information they wanted me to snail mail them sent via online. I still have not heard back from anyone at Best Buy, Sedgwick or the delivery company on this matter.

--I've attached just some photos of the damage that this has caused (and this is visible damage only) over just the last month.
 

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Feb 9, 2016
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First off, you can mitigate your party water and ice issues but purchasing ice and water. I understand it is inconvioenient, and not what you had planned, but do try to make the best of the situation and enjoy your party.

I suggest you reach out to best buy via twitter and/or Facebook first. Send a simple tweet, post a simple post, about how you have always received excellent customer service from Best Buy, are having an installation issue, and are finding it difficult to communicate and connect with the insurer, which surprises you considering your personal experience with Best Buy.

Here are the contacts

http://elliott.org/company-contacts/best-buy/

Even if you are frustrated, be polite, professional, complimentary. You'll catch more flies that way.

If that doesn't work out, I would suggest writing an email to Best buy customer service with the same strategy. Succinctly detail your situation and experience. Ask for the resolution you want.

I'm sure my colleagues will be along with more thoughts soon.
 
Jan 5, 2017
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@sas80 -- I've had to buy water and ice for the last couple weeks because of this ... that isn't the issue as much as having a refrigerator blocking a walkway ... i've written sarah labbe from that contact list before writing in this forum and have yet to receive a response from her, as well. will use twitter/facebook now. appreciate any other suggestions.
 
Nov 3, 2015
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Proceed as SAS80 as outlined.

Get that copper water line out of the standing water. You don't want backflow into your potable water lines. There is usually a cutoff valve for that line, or at least for any line I have installed. Find and close it. You can then push the refrigerator back into the space, pending icemaker line repairs.

I was surprised to see what seems to be a water heater directly on the concrete floor, too. Does that meet code where you are?

The drywall forming your basement ceiling is not a big loss; I actually prefer to be able to see all plumbing connections and the like in an unfinished basement so I can spot trouble and make repairs easily.
 
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@ORresident i shut off the water valve and removed the copper water line from the water as soon as I saw it (over two weeks ago now). in terms of the heater meeting code, i have a code compliance certification. the drywall is also not the bigger issue as much as the mold remediation is.
 
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@sas80 -- I've had to buy water and ice for the last couple weeks because of this ... that isn't the issue as much as having a refrigerator blocking a walkway ... i've written sarah labbe from that contact list before writing in this forum and have yet to receive a response from her, as well. will use twitter/facebook now. appreciate any other suggestions.
Take everything to writing. Email that woman from the warranty company and (nicely) document everything to date. then ask for what you want. Start writing the BB contacts from that same link. Same format/info as I suggested re FB/Twitter. Lay down a bullet timeline if you want. Tell them what you need/ask for what you want. Customer service first. Hopefully you will hear back tomorrow AM. If no response at all, come back and update & we will keep advising. Do stress that you are starting to experience mold.

You may want to mention that you are concerned about mold and are ready to file homeowner claim.

have you spoken to your home insurance to get their advice?
 
Jan 5, 2017
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@sas90, like i said, i already emailed someone from the contact list on this website with the description i put on this thread. i pretty much copied and pasted my email onto this thread. i've also done the same with the delivery company who best buy and best buy's insurance company have passed the liability onto. i had told the best buy contact that i was going to wait 48 hours before contacting one person higher up than her but i feel like at this point, after reaching out on facebook and to best buy and to the insurance company AND the delivery company with no success, what is emailing someone higher up going to do when she's already in such a power position. it feels hopeless.

i have not spoken to homeowner's yet because i don't want to pay a deductible or even make mention of it ... i'm not responsible for what happened whatsoever and i'm not paying to fix it. best buy is at fault and needs to resolve this.

i apologize for my tone but i've had no success with ANYONE i've talked to. even the best buy rep on facebook was not helpful. link below.

https://www.facebook.com/bestbuy/po...otif_t=feed_comment&notif_id=1483636006131915
 
Feb 9, 2016
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No, you are fine. We have a lot of really upset people here. We get used to that really quickly and see 'past' it. I missed that you had already sent emails.

I was wondering if maybe your homeowners might waive the deductible and then sue the warranty/installation company for full value of the repair.

you don't have to open a claim with them, but it may be worth it to have a discussion surrounding the situation. They may have information/avenues to pursue you didn't even think of. It is worth it to call, explain the situation. Maybe someone from the ins company can call over to the installation company and have a serious talk with the woman who keeps being rude to you? Ask them for help.

wipe down the mold with bleach asap please

I would think you would get a reply from sara labbe by tomorrow. the only thing you can do is be persistent with the company contacts. Usually we advise waiting a week to move up the ladder, but I feel like you shouldn't wait more than 2 days because of your situation.

Keep us posted
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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Call your homeowners insurance and let them battle it out. You need this handled immediately and the way to do that is to file a claim with your homeowners policy. While you are trying to get some assistance from Best Buy who is responsible for hiring these people. Talk to your Homeowners Ins claims department and let them assist you.
 
Likes: sas80
#10
Call your homeowners insurance and let them battle it out. You need this handled immediately and the way to do that is to file a claim with your homeowners policy. While you are trying to get some assistance from Best Buy who is responsible for hiring these people. Talk to your Homeowners Ins claims department and let them assist you.
Then, through no fault of her own - the homeowner has to answer "yes' to 'have you filed a claim in the last 3/5/7 years' when she wants insurance? To get rated and charged more? Not my recommendation.

I tend to be big stick first - you can always be nice later.

You've given them a chance to repair it - all they have done is pass the buck. As long as you have - IN WRITING - demands for repair that list times and dates and have responses from those email addresses - this is what you do:

1. contact a remediation company to clean up the existing mold and remove damaged drywall and whatnot;

2. find a licensed contractor or handyman service to perform all required repairs and to hook up the water line properly.

3. gather up the photos - before you pay the contractor get a written statement under oath of the repairs required and what they were due to - i.e., improper water line hookup -

4. File a small claims action for the total price against Best Buy corporate, the local store, and the delivery company. I'm hoping this will be less than $10k - because then in most places it is small claims -

5. Bring the documents and photos to court - then - after you get your judgement [because no one will show up] and 10 calendar days after you've made a demand for payment in full - you then get a sheriff to go to the local best buy store with a writ of attachment and start raiding cash registers and seizing sales that are made to ensure payment.

You will be smiling standing in the lobby of the store while management scrambles to get you a check . . . . don't take one. They can put a stop order on it - cash only -

I did this with an airline at LAX once - the emotional succor you get from making THEM scramble is priceless.
 
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kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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I will also caution to think twice about filing an insurance claim, especially water/mold. The insurance companies maintain a collaborative claims database. A claim in the past few years will be a flag as @Joe Farrell commented, and water damage is a big flag. When I was changing insurance companies, my broker commented that several companies do not underwrite any properties with water damage history (fortunately I don't).

Hope you're made whole, soon!
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#13
Vanessa, this is just an awful situation that we can all relate to, a nightmare. The way BestBuy is handling this is terrible, they should be ashamed of themselves. I went through a waterline leak, a pinhole which wasn't detected for six months which ruined my hardwood. I've not had another ice maker since. No problem with my H/O insurance tho; this thread has been a learning experience.

My colleagues have given you lots of great advice ... I would only add that you should shorten your letter a great deal, just state the facts in chronological order. As it stands now, your letter is probably not being read, just set aside 'for later'. You want the person reading it to grasp the situation quickly and get moving on this problem.
 
Jan 5, 2017
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@Joe Farrell thank you so much - that is exactly why I didn't want to go through my own homeowner's. I actually contacted Trish Walker via email before anyone responded on this thread yesterday ... someone under her called me back and said that they would get back to my by EOD today. small claims was my next move by end of next week if nothing was done. i'm really just blown away with how much i'm being handed off. i got an email back this morning from the third party delivery company that best buy used and the person assigned to my claim said : " Good afternoon Vanessa, I have copied our facility on this e-mail as well. They are in review of your documentation and also I informed them that you would like for us to send someone to your home to assess the damages." ---- so yes, she's finally acknowledged me, but that's about it. there's no urgency, no understanding for how severe the situation is. it's just blowing my mind. and best buy's social media outlet didn't work that well either. they responded to one comment and then stopped responding. unbelievable.
 
#16
@Vanessa B - I'll be honest- there is a deep reason why best buy is closing stores, getting really ratty looking in the stores and generally on the road to extinction.

As long as they can respond when they want to - you will see the company respond slowly. You may always go away. That's what they are counting on.

Now - another way of looking at this is that they did not complete the installation properly - and caused damage. I don't know how you paid for item, but if a charge back is available - I'd do it. This way you will rapidly get someone at Best buy in the loop - no one likes chargebacks.

The only way to get them responding to you in what you consider a timely manner is to pay the piper yourself - which means small claims.

Small claims takes weeks to months to resolve - there NO reason why you cannot resort to suing them now - and then "discuss settlement' while they are defendants. At that point there is an artificial deadline to their response and repair.

Just make sure you don't skip any steps in the process - and I would immediately resolve the mold issues- thats an emergency health issue -
 
Jan 5, 2017
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@Joe Farrell i paid for this item online, hence why I couldn't go forth with your suggested method of going into the store, as much as i would love that at this point.

as of a few minutes ago, sedgwick (best buy's insurance company) called and said that by tuesday i would have a call back about PDA shceduling a time to come out and do an unbiased thorough investigation of what the damages are. moments later, i also received a call from spirit delivery company (probably after seeing my email RE small claims court this morning) about scheduling an independent contractor to come out as well.

sedgwick recommended having both contractors come out, which is what i am going to do. however, the contractor that spirit is sending out is someone with his own cellphone number who asked me to text him the time and date that we confirmed (tues at 7P) with my name and address ... beyond sketchy. which is also why i am OK with also having PDA come out for additional inspection.

for reference, i thought some of you might find it interesting to see the google reviews posted for spirit delivery. see link and click on google reviews.

https://www.google.com/search?q=spi...rome..69i57.1519j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 
Feb 9, 2016
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oy vey! 1 star average!

I found another review site where the posters all say they will never purchase from Home Depot again because of Spirits behavior. no bueno for HD!
 
#20
@Vanessa B - there is NO reason why you should not:

1 - contact Servpro or one of the remediation companies to get rid of the mold and any bad wood or flooring

2. file small claims if you know you $$ damage

3. continue to work with the various entities and see how long it takes them to discover they are beng sued -

If you bought the fridge online you used a credit card - charge it back right now - they did not install it correctly and the item does not work as intended . . . .