Samsung Design defects, inadequate user manual, sometimes poor service
I purchased a Samsung refrigerator model number RF28T5001SG/AA in the past half year and was happy with it until I tried to clean it. Something had spilled onto the lowest shelf of the three shelves – the shelf that holds the fruit and veggie bin drawers below it and has the water filter attached to the middle shelf support.
Whatever had spilled had gotten under the glass and onto the plastic part of the shelf which supports the glass. No problem, I thought, as I Iifted out the two top shelves and then proceeded to the bottom shelf.
Instead, I found a big problem: the bottom shelf immovable. Between two houses, each with two refrigerators, I have cleaned many refrigerators and have never had any problems removing and cleaning refrigerator shelves. No common sense approach seemed to work so I went online and read the refrigerator user manual. Lo and behold, there was not a word in the manual about how to remove the bottom shelf. So I called the customer service number posted under the model number on the refrigerator.
The customer service rep was very pleasant and spent nearly an hour seeking the answer and then explaining the need to push in part of the plastic support beneath the shelf. This had to be done simultaneously on both sides of the support. Once again, these two rectangular parts of the support were unmovable. I had a friend at the house and we each pushed on a side. Still immovable.
Finally, the rep said “well, there is this YouTube video that might help.” She sent me the link and said goodbye. It was a very useful video, one for which Samsung could take no credit. Much as I had discovered earlier, the guy who made the video stated upfront that surprisingly there was no information in the user manual about how to remove the bottom shelf. Then he showed how to remove it: he stated that you would need to push the plastic support with two screwdrivers, one on each side, in order to disconnect the shelf at the front. You pretty much need two people, one of each side, to remove a refrigerator shelf.
But it gets worse. Then, the video instructs, you must flip over the shelf to get out the glass because there are two very delicate little clips that break very easily at the back of the shelf that hold the glass in place. He was correct. As delicately as I could, I pressed the clip feet together but one of them broke anyway. So now I had to get back on the customer service line where I got another rep who was very nice but, after more than a half hour, was unable to help me and unable to locate the clip so that it could be replaced. All she could do was give me a telephone number that she referred to as “the e-commerce department.”
I called that number today – and heard a recording almost immediately stated that Samsung has the “best customer service” - and got a guy who at first said that the clip wasn’t necessary. Because it is not clear to me that the part is truly unnecessary and because it is designed as part of the shelf, I asked him if he could try to locate it. He said he would try to find it for me and asked me to wait on the phone while he located it. I waited 17 minutes and then was turfed back to the initial customer service line; that is, he abandoned me rather than providing me any service.
My conclusion about Samsung: while they got some of this right, there is too much that is wrong:
1) The bottom shelf is poorly designed. This is clearly a design defect if you must have two people to remove a refrigerator shelf so that you can clean it.
2) It is another design defect if a cheaply-made clip to hold the glass in place breaks incredibly easily.
3) It is unacceptable to have a user manual that fails to communicate how to carry out expected maintenance of the appliance (removing for cleaning the bottom shelf), especially when doing so is so unnecessarily difficult.
4) The fact that I was dropped by the last customer service rep speaks to poor training and poor supervision of their customer service function.
My friend who helped me with removing the bottom shelf (who held the screwdriver to the other side of the shelf support) is building a new house and will need new appliances. Based on what we went through just trying to remove the shelf, she said she would pass on Samsung appliances. After reading this, you might do the same.