A Frigid(nightm)are / Electro-sux Horror Story

This is my family’s personal horror story about our ongoing customer service nightmare at the hands of Frigidaire/Electrolux.
On July 24, 2009, our eight-month-old Frigidaire refrigerator unexpectedly broke down and stopped cooling. All it would do was beep continuously. There was no reason for the failure: it simply stopped working.
We called Frigidaire/Electrolux customer service (their call center is located in the Philippines) to report the problem. Little did we know that we would be forced to call them every day, several times a day, for the next month.
The part to fix our refrigerator (the control board) was out of stock, so on or around July 30, 2009, Frigidaire/Electrolux customer service told us that if the part had not arrived by August 4, 2009, our refrigerator would be replaced with a new one. We would have been happy with this resolution, had it in fact taken place as promised. But as we soon discovered, Frigidaire/Electrolux customer service is full of empty promises.
In the meantime, we had lost about $400 worth of food that had been stored in the refrigerator. We threw out most of the food and kept what we could in a couple of coolers. We have been buying 40 pounds of ice practically every day since July 24, to keep the food cold.
On August 7, 2009, we received a copy of a letter from Frigidaire addressed to our local dealer from whom we had bought the refrigerator (Fry’s Electronics), requesting that Fry’s replace our failed refrigerator with a new unit.
That letter was sent from Frigidaire to Fry’s customer relations on August 7, 2009. On that same day, my wife Sandra personally went to Fry’s to ensure that they received the letter and to expedite the replacement of our refrigerator. Then ensued two days of being bounced around between Fry’s and Frigidaire — Fry’s wouldn’t release a replacement until they could verify the letter from Frigidaire, and it seemed that no one from Frigidaire was willing to take ownership of our situation and help us get our replacement faster.
On August 10, 2009 we called Frigidaire’s customer service call center for what seemed like the dozenth time. We were getting frustrated because we didn’t know anymore what to say or how to complain to them that would get our replacement refrigerator into our hands faster. Finally, the call center in the Philippines put us in touch with a higher-up customer service representative in the Frigidaire/Electrolux headquarters in Georgia. This person, Felicia Roseboro, told us she was referring our case to the “replacement department,” to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
On August 13, 2009, Ms.Roseboro told us that they could not find a local dealer in San Jose, CA who would agree to replace our refrigerator. On August 14, 2009, we received a call from a certain Keela Rhodes of Frigidaire informing us that instead of replacing our refrigerator, they would simply ” buy back” our refrigerator for the purchase price minus the tax, delivery and installation charges. She told us to expect a letter from Frigidaire/Electrolux later that day.
At the time of this writing, we have received a copy of said letter. It instructs us to send our own letter of response to Frigidaire/Electrolux agreeing to the buy-back, as well as the original purchase receipt and the refrigerator’s original “serial tag.” Since we are not sure what this “serial tag” is, for the last three days we have been sending email and leaving voicemail with Ms. Rhodes and Ms. Roseboro, asking for a simple clarification of what this serial tag is.
We have not received any response from Frigidaire/Electrolux since August 14, 2009.
Meanwhile, we have been spending extra money on food and ice for our coolers, every day since the eight-month-old refrigerator broke down 26 days ago. In four days, it will have been one month since the refrigerator stopped working.
We feel that no one in Frigidaire/Electrolux is genuinely interested in helping us receive a replacement.
We feel that if we do not call or email Frigidaire/Electrolux on a daily basis, then that company is perfectly content to disregard the hardship and inconvenience that our entire family has suffered, and continues to suffer daily, due to the failure of their eight-month-old refrigerator.
It’s bad enough that the refrigerator failed after only eight months of operation. It’s even worse that Frigidaire/Electrolux do not seem to stand behind their product. The worst part is that they make their customers feel like we don’t matter to them at all.
We just want a working refrigerator. We want Frigidaire/Electrolux to do right by its customers and ensure that this issue is resolved to our satisfaction, After all, it’s not our fault that the product failed. We have already been promised a replacement. How long do we have to wait for that replacement to be given to us?
in conclusion, my advice to you all is to stay away from all Frigidaire and Electrolux products. Let’s refuse to support a company that doesn’t value its customers enough to process a product replacement in a timely manner. Let’s use the vaunted power of the consumer to punish Frigidaire with our wallets.

Jolicloud saved my 5-year old!

So the airport antenna on my 5-year-old son’s PowerMac G5 (coincidentally also 5 years old) has been gradually degrading over the past couple of weeks, deteriorating into complete failure this weekend. This isn’t good, because without his Airport antenna, son has no Internet, and without Internet son has no Spongebob Squarepants on his computer, and without Spongebob, he keeps bugging Mom to use her computer, which upsets Mom, which then eventually means that I never hear the end of it.

Rather than spend $30 on a second-hand Airport antenna on eBay, my temporary solution was to set up my son with my Asus EeePC 701 running Jolicloud, connected to an old 17-inch VGA display. Son gets access to internet, Spongebob and other flash games (via Friv), therefore doesn’t bug mom, and everyone’s happy. I would never have thought that my EeePC under previous OSes such as EeeBuntu or CrashBang Linux would have been usable by my five-year-old, but Jolicloud is very accessible.

Jolicloud Alpha 2c on EeePC 700

jolicloud desktop
jolicloud desktop

Jolicloud OS for Netbooks (currently in private alpha) invitation arrived two weeks after I signed up for it.

I was amazed at how well it supports my Asus EeePC 700 out of the box. Normally when I install an alternative OS on my EeePC, I have to tweak the OS extensively post-install to force it to recognize my wireless card, to support onscreen brightness and volume indicators, processor throttling, etc. Jolicloud, however, supports all these things on the EeePC 700 directly after installation; especially impressive considering Jolicloud supports many other Netbooks aside from the EeePC.

Jolicloud is built upon Ubuntu Linux, and as you can see from the image above, its interface resembles Ubuntu Netbook Remix. However, the installed size is smaller than a default Ubuntu installation, taking up just 2.5 gigs of my EeePC’s 4GB SSD. Jolicloud is a stripped-down Ubuntu install, de-emphasizing local applications and skewing heavily toward web-based apps that live in the cloud. So, for instance, Open Office isn’t installed by default; sure, you’re free to install it afterward from Jolicloud, but you can also just as easily choose Zoho or Google Docs. Jolicloud treats local and cloud-based apps equally, blurring any distinction between them. The message seemsto be that with Jolicloud, it really doesn’t matter where your apps reside; what matters is what you can do with them.

I’ve tried many different OSes on my EeePC: the default Xandros Linux (very poor), EeeXubuntu (a custom version 0f Ubuntu 7.10, hasn’t been updated in a while), Eeebuntu (very nice EeePC-specific version of Ubuntu, constantly updated) and CrunchEee (an EeePC-centric version of CrunchBang Linux, a lightweight Ubuntu variant using the Openbox window manager). My previous longtime favorite has been CrunchBang for its simplicity and economy, although the learning curve is rather steep for the average user. Jolicloud beats them all, in my opinion. Even as an alpha release, it is a more complete and seamless experience than anything else I’ve ever run on my EeePC.

Netbooks pre-installed with Linux reportedly suffer four times higher return rates than Windows XP. Jolicloud has the potential to reverse that trend because of some key innovations. First, it makes browsing for, adding, and removing apps drop-dead easy, thanks to the Jolicloud “My Applications.” This is a big ease-of-use improvement over Ubuntu’s Synaptic Package Manager, which can be a barrier to non-technical users.

Second, Jolicloud integrates very nicely and easily with the social web. It’s the first Netbook OS that rivals my iPhone in casual easy browsing of Facebook or posting Twitter status updates.

Third, it just works, as I explained earlier with its out-of-box support for all of my EeePC’s esoteric hardware and features. It runs all web apps full-screen in Prism, a simple browser without the normal browser interface.

Overall, Jolicloud is impressively polished for an alpha release. I can’t wait for future releases.

love + hate = netbook

I have an on-again, off-again relationship with my netbook, an Asus EeePC 701 I bought two years ago, at the very dawn of the netbook era. In retrospect I should have waited before buying, because now I’m stuck with a netbook that’s too small, its keyboard too cramped, storage too tiny (non-upgradeable 4GB SSD) in comparison to today’s netbook offerings.

My Eee PC spends most of its time sitting on my desk, unused. I’ll dust it off every few months, when a new version of EeeBuntu or CrunchEee is released, to test the latest in EeePC-optimized distros (CrunchEee is my favorite), but mostly the thing sits idle.