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Consumer Alert

When it comes to faulty products, turn up heat

Q. I purchased a brand-new $6,000 Fire Magic grill from grillandpatio.com last June. It was installed at the beginning of July, and by the end of August the computer display became garbled and failed soon after. The seller of the grill has supplied various parts under warranty, and I have paid $700 to a grill repair person for three visits that failed to resolve the issue. The seller advised me to contact the manufacturer, RH Peterson Co., which I did shortly before Thanksgiving. I was promised a new grill to be delivered and installed (with the faulty grill removed) and made the case for reimbursement of my repair bills. Two months later, I’m told the grill is being held up due to paperwork issues and there’s no resolution on the repair bills. I am truly at my wit’s end.

MITCH CHERNIACK, BOSTON

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A. For $6,000 you would expect a grill to work. Heck, you’d expect that even if you paid $150.

We’ve talked a lot about defective products lately and the obligation the seller has in Massachusetts to refund, repair, or replace it. In this case the seller, a Florida-based company, passed the problem to the manufacturer. After a very slight nudge, the logjam holding up your replacement was broken, and the issue of paying for the repairs resolved.

“Resolving the issues with Mr. Cherniack’s Fire Magic grill has taken too long, and for that we apologize,” said Leslie S. Bortz, president of RH Peterson. “After several attempts to fix the grill with new parts were not successful, we made the decision to send Mr. Cherniack a new grill. The paperwork to do that has been processed, and the grill will be sent from our factory this week. We have also let Mr. Cherniack know that we will cover his expenses for the service work and the installation of the new grill.”

Sometimes, a consumer just needs a little help to be heard. If only every company I dealt with was so agreeable. Whether it’s using social networking, a consumer agency, a consumer advocate, or the Better Business Bureau, amplifying your voice can help get the message to the right people.

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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