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Consumer Alert

There may be a way out in an unwinnable situation

Q. We are having an absolutely horrible experience with Samsung. We purchased a new Samsung washer and dryer and after about six weeks of use, the washing machine failed. I called Samsung and 10 days later a service technician came to evaluate the washer. He was unable to repair the machine. Eventually Samsung decided that we should get an exchange rather than a repair, which meant that they would replace our defective washer with a new one. Then we were told that an exchange was not possible because the retailer, The Home Depot, did not participate in their exchange program. Instead, we would be issued a refund. Three times we have submitted to them the original cash register receipt and the invoice showing the itemization of the merchandise purchased, yet we have been told repeatedly that our refund request has been rejected. We need your help.

RACHEL WERKEMA, ASHLAND

A. Sometimes consumers get stuck in a weird place from which there appears to be no way out. Kudos for quickly realizing this was one of those situations.

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Whatever wall you were running into with Samsung appeared unmovable. You seem to have taken the proper steps: You documented everything, you contacted the right people, followed up, and even escalated the problem to the executive level.

It should have all worked. Because it didn’t, this was an easy fight to take on. Still, it ends up back in the company’s hands to see if they will make it right. Fortunately, Samsung did.

“While we aim to provide 100 percent customer satisfaction, regretfully in this case there was an unintentional mistake that caused a delay in the refund process,” the company said. “Samsung has been in communication with the Werkemas, and we expect that the refund will be delivered to them within 5-7 business days.”

Sure, it would have been nice if they did a bit more to make nice after the frustration of dealing with them, but the refund is what you were due and, at last, you will get it. Not every dispute is so black and white, but when it is, you have to look for every edge you can to get someone to listen.

Mitch Lipka has been helping consumers out of jams for the past two decades. He lives in Worcester and also writes the Consumer Alert blog on Boston.com. Mitch can be reached at ConsumerNews@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @mitchlipka.
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