The fridge of horror. Or: A warranty case drama with a nervous breakdown option.

E s is Sunday and I share the living room with my food. It would almost be a cozy rendezvous - cheese, sausage and meat, vegetables, sauces, dairy products and salads loll in one of three large IKEA bags - every now and then the sun shone on romantically. I'm lying on the sofa. However, the sun is schnurzpiepegal me. The man comes into the living room, inspects the food and fishes green salami and crumbly salad from the bags. After a comforting look in my direction he throws the spoiled stuff in the Abfalllsack and makes his way to the dustbin. I'm over-tired and just can not believe that this is the pinnacle of my now nine-month refrigerator odyssey.

If someone told me that story by the way, I would not believe it. Or at least assume that there is a great talent for storytelling resonates. But everything happened exactly like that. And I just have to get rid of the story. Let's book it under self-therapy, just before a nervous breakdown.

It all started in September of last year. Our beloved and formerly very reasonably priced fridge "Candy" slowly gave up after more than 11 years. The cooling performance was reduced and the plastic of the interior in some places very porous. It was time to send Candy to the well-deserved old part and replace it with a new, dynamic and excellent cooling model. In particular, the last part, I should not have wished so clearly ...

After the usual research landed shortly after - schwupps - the device of a German manufacturer in my shopping basket. I like to support companies based in Germany. Three days later, the new refrigerator arrived punctually and well packed. He looked smart with his shiny silver doors. Plug in, be happy.

The luck lasted exactly three weeks. Then we noticed that the contents of drinks bottles suddenly froze overnight. At first, I thought one of the guys might have accidentally turned the temperature knob too high. But it was still at the lowest level. Hm. When, a few weeks later, the snake cucumbers only appeared as slushy slime and the salad basically frozen hard out of the normal refrigerator section, it was pretty clear: Something's not right here. I bought a thermometer and noted -12 degrees in the normal refrigerator. On the back of the device, I had now formed a centimeter-thick layer of ice. Houston, we have a temperature problem.

So I searched the manufacturer's hotline number from the internet and threw myself on the phone. After a pleasing few minutes, a gentleman reported with clearly southern German dialect. After I had described my problem, he first advised me, "but a little tighter jerk on the temperature-wheel ... that would sometimes jam." Oh, really? This undoubtedly nice-looking advice was not able to boost my confidence in the build quality of the device spontaneously. I save the whole conversation at this point, in which I vividly displayed my cog-jerking skills in very bright colors.

In between, however, I had to crawl my head in the fridge and on my knees under the Peel off the vegetable cup sticker with the device identifier from the sidewall. The spelling out of the 24-digit device code number in 6 point size made me almost no more difficulties after I found my glasses. Then finally an appointment could be arranged with a technician, who should look at the problem on the spot. In two weeks. The gentlemen are indeed clamped and have not spontaneously appointments free. Naturally.Because without this sticker, the fridge is without any guarantee. Of course ...

What's the point - if everything is paleted in two weeks (so I thought naive things), I like to store my vegetables on the windowsill and thaw the cheese slices before eating. Can not change now.

Two weeks later: The technician actually came within the agreed 4-hour window. The diagnosis laptop on the kitchen table was opened and the sticker with the device identification number was requested. Of course, I was now well prepared for kneeling on knees with my head in the fridge and even had my glasses ready. Then screwdrivers were used ... I preferred to leave the Lord alone. 25 minutes later, it was reported that the temperature sensor had been crinkled badly and therefore could not measure the temperature properly. Aha. It would have straightened out as best as possible and hope that the problem is now resolved. Should continue to be a temperature problem, a completely new thermostat must be installed. The technician would take this as a precaution in the database. I would have to call in further problems then only at the hotline and mention the thermostat. All right.

For a few days everything seemed ok - then I got frozen food out of things again. Every now and then there are other activities in life such as Jobs, events with the child or even Christmas. But at some point I picked myself up and called again to the hotline.

The sticker-knocking eliminated this time soothingly, because on the repair order confirmation of the technician, there is an order number on which I could refer. And I can read it with a little effort without glasses. YAY!

The hotline computer greeted me with the familiar text, I press the 2 and wait a few minutes on hold. Then a young man answers with an enthusiastic "Good evening!". I was briefly irritated. It was 12:45. But then I realized: This must be a call center abroad! I laughed charmingly, pretending to be worldly, and asked him where he would be sitting. In Poland. Hm. Okay ... there it is not so much later than in Germany. Presumably the coworker desperately longed for the closing time ?! I better focus on the core issue again sooner.

I gave my order number, described the situation and referred to the thermostat already stored in the database. The young man was at a loss. In the database he found no indication. I told the whole story in more detail. From the beginning. Then I was assigned an appointment with a technician. In two weeks. I made it very clear again that the thermostat was essential as a spare part in the appointment. The call center promised to deposit the thermostat in the database immediately. If the replacement part is not available for the agreed date, the technician would contact me and arrange a new appointment. All right.

Two weeks later: A lot of vegetables on the windowsill, constantly turning the refrigerator on and off to avoid freezing or destroying all food ... and no negative message from the technician. Great - so everything should work out. By SMS, I even get an appointment confirmation for the usual 4-hour window.

I'm sitting and waiting on the agreed day. The agreed time window has already passed for one hour. I call the number, which sent me the SMS with the appointment confirmation and speak on the mailbox. Nobody answers. Less than two hours after the elapsed time window, the technician appears. A new one. The gentlemen are very constrained in the tight schedule, hence the delay. Naturally.Unfortunately, the technician in the database finds no indication of the required spare part. And unfortunately he does not have it with us. Then his cellphone rings and there is a long conversation with the head office. Apparently, there are coordination issues for today, and certain things were not properly entered into any systems by the technician. I'm waiting. 10 mins. The technician ends the conversation and is extremely critical of the control center. He always had to do it all. Also the call center would always build only crap. In this case, I have to agree with him - my general sympathy for the thermostatically controlled man, however, is limited.

I would like to know what's going on now. He would now order the spare part and if it were there, they would call me. How long that might take, I inquire. Something between 5 days and several weeks. One would just have delivery problems with spare parts. Oh, right. The technician disappears after an inconclusive 35 minutes. And I'll stay back with my involuntary freezer.

Five days, a week, two weeks pass. Nobody calls me. Meanwhile, I have developed a perfect routine in dealing with the defective refrigerator. As a matter of course, at three o'clock at night, I turn the temperature control knob to "zero" so that in the morning the food is not frozen rock hard. After week four, I'll be back to the hotline proactively. This time I landed again in the south of Germany. The master of the hotline looks like for me in the system, when finally my thermostat could arrive. His embarrassed tone leaves no doubt that the thermostat is ready for days, if not weeks. Apparently nobody just informed me about it. Oh, right. Naturally. But you could send a technician in three days. How wonderful.

The well-known technician number 1 appears punctually within the agreed multi-hour window. I'm excited. When he pulls the spare thermostat out of his bag, I almost flinch with joy. Then again unfold the diagnostic laptop, the screwdriver sprouts ... I leave the Lord again with his job alone. At some point everything is done, the new thermostat is put into operation and the Lord is ready to go. We hold small talk in front of the open apartment door and joke that we better not see each other so soon. The technician underlines this with the hint that he could not explain himself anymore, which could be wrong with the fridge. And should problems arise after all, I should tell the hotline that a replacement device must be delivered. I accept the hint gladly. At the moment, that does not bother me at all - I'm just glad that the whackered refrigerator is finally working.

Well. What can I say. Nothing has changed. Nothing at all. Despite the installation of the new thermostat, the refrigerator will continue to freeze all food. In the beginning, I do not want to admit it. Maybe the system just needs a few days to settle properly? I check with an external thermometer regularly and first determine fluctuating temperatures of +4 to -10 degrees. At some point, however, there is again a wonderful constant -12 degrees in my fridge.

I'm dragging myself to the phone and calling the hotline. The South German lady on the other end has apparently just taken a nap - it sounds like in any case when she answers. I recapitulate the entire process as precisely as possible and request the delivery of a replacement device. Silence at the other end. Then the lady tells me in an extremely sluggish tone that unfortunately she can not do anything.In a nutshell, I wonder where I just called - maybe in Madame Kitty's pouf? However, a quick glance at my repair order form shows me clearly that I have chosen the customer service hotline of a German refrigeration appliance manufacturer completely correctly. It will take me a few more minutes to praise the sedated lady from the rib, what am I - cuckoo! - should do it now. I should write an e-mail, describe the whole process there again and not forget my repair order number. Naturally. Wonderful. Very much. Speak to you soon. At this point, I'm incredibly proud of not having yielded to the overpowering urge to just roar into the phone outside of me.

So I'll phrase an e-mail. I describe the process. I formulate the request for a replacement device. I call the order number. It will take three weeks. I do not hear anything from the German refrigerator manufacturer.

In the meantime, I can memorize the number of the hotline as soon as I get in the mail after week four - admittedly in a slightly strained tone. The hotline gentleman interrupts me after three sentences reproachfully. One would have answered my e-mail the very next day, he would see that in the system. The error must be clear to me. Either I missed the email. No - I read my emails extremely carefully. Or she would have ended up in spam. No - I personally check every email in the spam folder. Hm. Then you do not know any further. Then the hotline gentleman comes up with the idea to match my e-mail address with the one stored in the system. I spell goodbye to myself. Already after the third letter, the Lord clears his throat and informs me that his colleague seems to have typed my e-mail address incorrectly from my e-mail and therefore did not reach me. Naturally. Unfortunately, he could not tell me what content the undelivered e-mail. But he would ask his colleague to send it again with the correct address. I hang up and I'm not happy.

But then: Dawn on the fridge front! The next morning, in fact, the e-mail from my colleague arrives. One would supply a replacement without recognition of any legal situation. For this I have to send only the original invoice, my written consent and the original sticker with the device number by mail to the company. Of course, like. Immediately I get on my knees, put my head in the surprisingly cold cold room and knebbele for the third time the sticker from the side wall of the refrigerator. He promptly tears it into three parts. Bravely, I stick it as accurately as possible to the original invoice and carry the letter to the post office.

Two weeks later, an unknown number calls me on the phone. I wanted to deliver my new refrigerator. I'm delighted! However, it would be only a Saturday in question, since the man of the calling lady can not deliver the refrigerator alone. And he would only have a second man on a Saturday. My delight decreases a lot. Unfortunately, Saturday is the worst day of the whole week. I offer the lady every day from Monday to Friday for delivery. Unfortunately that is out of the question for her, because she has to dispose of it. She would contact me again in 10 days with an appointment proposal. Of course.

After 12 days, the phone rings again. The lady offers me a Friday as a delivery date. Between 11 and 15 o'clock the new refrigerator is to come. I confirm immediately. So on Friday all my cooling problems are finally solved!

At 12 o'clock he comes - the new refrigerator. The food we stored in IKEA bags, an hour will definitely survive unscathed.We control together that the device from the outside and inside is impeccable, I sign and put the men still fast 10 euros as a tip. The old fridge is taken immediately. Wonderful! Since the shaken by the transport cooling liquid is still something to sit, I'm still waiting with the turn on. In the meantime I meet a friend for lunch and tell her about my fridge odyssey, which has finally found a good ending. I'm on my way home in a good mood and relaxed.

Arriving home, I rush to the kitchen first. Time to put the new good piece into operation! I turn the temperature controller expectantly from zero to one. Nothing happens. No light, no humming, silence. I check the plug. The power outlet. The fuses. I stumble on the wheel. I turn to zero, to one, to five. Nothing. The device is dead. No sound. I call the screams for the man. Maybe I made a hysterical mistake? Maybe I just do not have them all together anymore? The man comes and does everything I've already done. Nothing. The fridge is dead. I need a schnapps. Or three.

Then I call the hotline. I want to talk to someone who goes through a bug report with me. Maybe there's a nipple somewhere, a fuse, ANYTHING that I need to press, release, or push to get the fridge started? The lady at the other end is unfortunately unable to help me and asks me to call again. Naturally. I choose again. The second lady is very understanding, but lets me know that there is no nipple, no fuse or other things that could solve the problem. Apparently the device is defective. The ground under my feet sways for a moment. She would put that into the system and then a technician would come and look at it. However, it would already be Friday and unfortunately that would be nothing before Monday. Then somebody would call me ... Of course.

I hang up, drag myself to the sofa and look at the blue IKEA bags. Monday is certainly a great day for refrigerators. If only we survived the rest of Friday, Saturday, Sunday or the rest of our lives without any cooling ...