Freezer stopped working

Hoping for some advice.

I bought a new upright freezer, it was the only tall freezer that would fit comfortable in the gap I have. The freezer cost £600, so it wasn't cheap it was delivered and installed, and I waited for it to settle down before turning it on.

Two months later, I was checking the house doors were locked before going to bed. I turned off the kitchen light and saw a light flashing above the freezer door, I opened the freezer and the temperature warning light was flashing. I keep a temperature gauge in the freezer, and it read +8 all the food was defrosted, the freezer compressor was still running.

None of the food could be saved, and we lost £175 worth, in the morning I took photographs of all the food before disposing of it as it was bin collection day. The freezer was still running, but the temperature was +10. I called the retailer, and they contacted the manufacturer and arranged an engineer to come out. The engineer said it was the circuit board.

Both retailer and manufacturer are denying my claim for food loss, I believe the freezer was faulty when delivered, and it certainly should last longer than two months. We are covered under contents insurance, but the excess is too high to make a claim worthwhile. Not sure what to do now.

Comments

  • PHK
    PHK Posts: 1,146
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    As far as I know, under consumer law you'd need to sue for consequential losses if they aren't paying you. It's always difficult to know how these things would go and you'd have to evidence the cost of what was in there.

    I guess their guarantee, which is separate to your consumer rights, doesn't cover for losses?
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,684
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    House insurance should cover freezer food loss.
    Life in the slow lane
  • I’d say keep pressing with the retailer. I assume the freezer had a warranty from the manufacturer, but often warranties specifically exclude certain things, and this would be one of them. If you claimed under your consumer rights act (not the warranty) then I would think you would be covered more so. 

    Just so you’re aware, they’ll (either the retailer or manufacturer) will likely claim that this was repaired under the warranty of the product. You can insist that they treat it is a consumer rights repair (from the retailer). That means that if the device breaks again you can choose to reject the freezer and get a partial refund back (if after 6 months from the original purchase, partial based on the number of months remaining of its ‘lifetime’ which can vary for different products).

    If this was done as a warranty, and the warranty terms don’t include consequential damages, then I would remind them that their warranty terms cannot infringe your consumer rights. 

    There’s a specific note on the act:
    ’… Damages may cover loss or damage caused by the faulty goods, for example, where a faulty washing machine damages clothing while in use…’

    So I would go back to the retailer and explain again, and mention the consumer rights act. It may be they just refuse to, in which case it’s a protocol of complain, write a letter before action, and potentially taking to small court. More likely they’ll offer you some cash (say half) to get you to go away, but if you do to court you will have to prove the costs and if you haven’t got the receipts then I think that’s going to be hard just from photos (is that Aldi value steak or wagyu steak, for example). 
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,698
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    edited 23 September 2023 at 2:15PM
    There’s a specific note on the act:
    ’… Damages may cover loss or damage caused by the faulty goods, for example, where a faulty washing machine damages clothing while in use…’

    Yes, damages may cover loss or damage caused...

    OP needs to have taken reasonable steps to minimise loss.
    A new freezer should keep contents safe for 48 hours without powered cooling. This freezer was in the kitchen, it has a visible flashing light warning about temperature and the OP believed the appliance was faulty when delivered so should have been keeping a watchful eye on it.
    OP seems to have just binned everything. If all foods were unsuitable for consumption that implies they had been left longer than 2 days before checking (low risk foods like bread are safe after 3 days, raw chicken and meat can safely be cooked after 3 days).
  • Alderbank said:
    There’s a specific note on the act:
    ’… Damages may cover loss or damage caused by the faulty goods, for example, where a faulty washing machine damages clothing while in use…’

    Yes, damages may cover loss or damage caused...

    OP needs to have taken reasonable steps to minimise loss.
    A new freezer should keep contents safe for 48 hours without powered cooling. This freezer was in the kitchen, it has a visible flashing light warning about temperature and the OP believed the appliance was faulty when delivered so should have been keeping a watchful eye on it.
    OP seems to have just binned everything. If all foods were unsuitable for consumption that implies they had been left longer than 2 days before checking (low risk foods like bread are safe after 3 days, raw chicken and meat can safely be cooked after 3 days).
    The OP has already said that the temperature gauge was showing 8 degrees. While some food could probably have been saved, by the stage that it has warmed to above fridge temperature there's not a lot that could be expected to be saved. 

    However to try and put the blame on the customer for not being aware of the fault earlier is laughable. Do you expect them to be continuously checking a freezer? They also said they only saw the flashing light when the house lights were switched off, so not a particularly clear alarm. And I'd take 'faulty when delivered' as meaning an inherent fault, not that the OP thought there was a fault from the initial installation. 
  • Alderbank said:
    There’s a specific note on the act:
    ’… Damages may cover loss or damage caused by the faulty goods, for example, where a faulty washing machine damages clothing while in use…’

    Yes, damages may cover loss or damage caused...

    OP needs to have taken reasonable steps to minimise loss.
    A new freezer should keep contents safe for 48 hours without powered cooling. This freezer was in the kitchen, it has a visible flashing light warning about temperature and the OP believed the appliance was faulty when delivered so should have been keeping a watchful eye on it.
    OP seems to have just binned everything. If all foods were unsuitable for consumption that implies they had been left longer than 2 days before checking (low risk foods like bread are safe after 3 days, raw chicken and meat can safely be cooked after 3 days).

    Thanks for the reply.
    Freezers vary in the amount of time they will keep items frozen for when the power fails my Bosch fridge freezer is 44hrs, you need to check the individual specifications the freezer that failed only has a power failure safe storage of 13hrs. The warning light is behind the door and is not visible unless the door is open, I was keeping an eye on it but as my username suggests I am disabled not so easy for me to keep going into the kitchen to check on a new freezer.

    As for "binned everything" I am more than likely far more qualified than most people to judge if food is safe or not as I am a trained chef I also have Crohn's disease and several other serious conditions, food poisoning is horrific for anyone but food poisoning for me could mean death. Any temperature above 4 means bacteria can multiply how long had the freezer been at 8 no idea.


  • The OP has already said that the temperature gauge was showing 8 degrees. While some food could probably have been saved, by the stage that it has warmed to above fridge temperature there's not a lot that could be expected to be saved. 

    However to try and put the blame on the customer for not being aware of the fault earlier is laughable. Do you expect them to be continuously checking a freezer? They also said they only saw the flashing light when the house lights were switched off, so not a particularly clear alarm. And I'd take 'faulty when delivered' as meaning an inherent fault, not that the OP thought there was a fault from the initial installation. 

    Thanks for the reply.
    The reason I think the freezer as you say had an inherent fault when delivered is at first it was fairly quiet then got louder and made strange electronic whirring sounds. The temperature seemed fine, -17.5 I have receipts for the food and photographs matching the food to the receipts. When I mentioned the whirring sounds to the engineer, he said straight away, circuit board. I also videoed the freezer while the compressor was running, showing the warning light flashing and the fact it was still turned on, also videoed what the temperature was.


  • I’d say keep pressing with the retailer. I assume the freezer had a warranty from the manufacturer, but often warranties specifically exclude certain things, and this would be one of them. If you claimed under your consumer rights act (not the warranty) then I would think you would be covered more so. 

    Just so you’re aware, they’ll (either the retailer or manufacturer) will likely claim that this was repaired under the warranty of the product. You can insist that they treat it is a consumer rights repair (from the retailer). That means that if the device breaks again you can choose to reject the freezer and get a partial refund back (if after 6 months from the original purchase, partial based on the number of months remaining of its ‘lifetime’ which can vary for different products).

    If this was done as a warranty, and the warranty terms don’t include consequential damages, then I would remind them that their warranty terms cannot infringe your consumer rights. 

    There’s a specific note on the act:
    ’… Damages may cover loss or damage caused by the faulty goods, for example, where a faulty washing machine damages clothing while in use…’

    So I would go back to the retailer and explain again, and mention the consumer rights act. It may be they just refuse to, in which case it’s a protocol of complain, write a letter before action, and potentially taking to small court. More likely they’ll offer you some cash (say half) to get you to go away, but if you do to court you will have to prove the costs and if you haven’t got the receipts then I think that’s going to be hard just from photos (is that Aldi value steak or wagyu steak, for example). 

    Thanks for the reply and advice.
    Yes, the manufacturer did say repair I have changed their mind polite but firm, they have agreed to replace it, but I don't want the same brand or model. The retailer have agreed I can choose a different one with payment either way. I can match the food to the receipts they were all still in their packets 90% unopened, it was a home delivery so have the emails. The warranty is a year, I also paid for an extended monthly warranty as it was pretty cheap.

  • I’d say keep pressing with the retailer. I assume the freezer had a warranty from the manufacturer, but often warranties specifically exclude certain things, and this would be one of them. If you claimed under your consumer rights act (not the warranty) then I would think you would be covered more so. 

    Just so you’re aware, they’ll (either the retailer or manufacturer) will likely claim that this was repaired under the warranty of the product. You can insist that they treat it is a consumer rights repair (from the retailer). That means that if the device breaks again you can choose to reject the freezer and get a partial refund back (if after 6 months from the original purchase, partial based on the number of months remaining of its ‘lifetime’ which can vary for different products).

    If this was done as a warranty, and the warranty terms don’t include consequential damages, then I would remind them that their warranty terms cannot infringe your consumer rights. 

    There’s a specific note on the act:
    ’… Damages may cover loss or damage caused by the faulty goods, for example, where a faulty washing machine damages clothing while in use…’

    So I would go back to the retailer and explain again, and mention the consumer rights act. It may be they just refuse to, in which case it’s a protocol of complain, write a letter before action, and potentially taking to small court. More likely they’ll offer you some cash (say half) to get you to go away, but if you do to court you will have to prove the costs and if you haven’t got the receipts then I think that’s going to be hard just from photos (is that Aldi value steak or wagyu steak, for example). 

    Thanks for the reply and advice.
    Yes, the manufacturer did say repair I have changed their mind polite but firm, they have agreed to replace it, but I don't want the same brand or model. The retailer have agreed I can choose a different one with payment either way. I can match the food to the receipts they were all still in their packets 90% unopened, it was a home delivery so have the emails. The warranty is a year, I also paid for an extended monthly warranty as it was pretty cheap.

    That’s good to hear - hopefully a replacement one will be better! Glad to hear you have good receipts too - it’s worth keeping a hold of them and if they know you’ve got your receipts they may be willing to offer you closer to the actual amount (but being honest, it’s unlikely you’ll get the full amount unfortunately, but hopefully closer to £200 than £100). 

    Being polite and firm is the best way to go - catch more flies with honey than vinegar etc. Feel some people tend to go ‘all guns blazing’ and then are surprised when that is met with more hostility! Of course - if they stop playing ball then you have the options above (formal complaint, letter before action, and then potentially looking at court action). Keep us updated - always good to know what happens! 
  • Okell
    Okell Posts: 618
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    edited 23 September 2023 at 11:25PM

    ... There’s a specific note on the act:
    ’… Damages may cover loss or damage caused by the faulty goods, for example, where a faulty washing machine damages clothing while in use…’

    So I would go back to the retailer and explain again, and mention the consumer rights act. It may be they just refuse to, in which case it’s a protocol of complain, write a letter before action, and potentially taking to small court...
    Bit I've put in bold - that's a good point.  For anyone wanting a reference it's note 103 from here Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Explanatory Notes (legislation.gov.uk)

    Agree with next steps too: "... go back to the retailer and explain again..." etc etc

    Alderbank said:

    ... it has a visible flashing light warning about temperature and the OP believed the appliance was faulty when delivered so should have been keeping a watchful eye on it...
    I think you must have simply misunderstood or misread what the OP said(?).  He did not say what you seem to be implying...

    He did not suggest that whan the freezer was delivered he thought it was faulty from the outset.  There is no question that he "should have been keeping a watchful eye on it".

    What I understand him to have said is that since it failed and since an engineer looked at it, he has come to the conclusion that it was probably faulty from the outset.  That is entirely different.

    Alderbank said:

    ...OP needs to have taken reasonable steps to minimise loss...

    ...OP seems to have just binned everything. If all foods were unsuitable for consumption that implies they had been left longer than 2 days before checking (low risk foods like bread are safe after 3 days, raw chicken and meat can safely be cooked after 3 days).

    I also don't think the OP has acted unreasonably in terms of minimising their losses.  What they did seems perfectly reasonable to me. 

    When they realised the freezer was malfunctioning (and they had no reason to check on it daily - I certainly don't check freezers daily, more like weekly!) it was already at 8 degrees and was at 10 degrees the next morning.



    =======================================================

    Also (and this is not directed towards Alderbank) I think there's more rubbish comments posted on this board about consumer's having to "mitigate their losses" than there is about any other subject.

    I recall another post on a failed freezer and defrosted food where the poster was advised that what they "should have done to minimise their losses" was to go round all their neighbours begging for spare freezer capacity or even bought a cheap second-hand freezer to see them through.  What utter .........
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