SINGAPORE: The Electrolux glass cooker hobs that were recalled on Friday (Jan 6) had repeatedly given problems for some time, users of the affected models told Channel NewsAsia - and in at least one instance, the issues did not go away even after the company attempted to fix it.
The four models - EGT9637CKP, EGT7637EGP, EGT7637CKP and EGT7627CKP - caused small explosions and the glass on the cooker hobs to shatter.
One user, Mr Sam San, who has owned the EGT9637CKP since August 2015, said he first encountered problems with the hob shortly after installing it. "There was a very small 'explosion'," he told Channel NewsAsia, describing it as an indistinct sound with flames that snuffed out. He subsequently also had trouble lighting the hob.
Electrolux visited his home to fix the hob at no charge, he said.
However, the problems did not go away; instead, there were more "explosions" and on one occasion in September 2016, it left Mr San with a scalded arm. “I reported the matter to Electrolux via email as I could not reach them through the customer service hotline despite calling for three days,” he said. “And then I received a call from customer service claiming that the unit was no longer under warranty.”
(Photo courtesy of Sam San)
Mr San said he had tried to explain to Electrolux that the issue was one of safety, but that Electrolux "insisted" that he fork out another S$400 to have the spare parts replaced.
"My question to them was: 'Would this solve the explosion issue and why did the problem deteriorate when the hob was repaired during the warranty period?'" he said.
Mr San said he was asked only to decide whether or not to proceed with repairing the hob. “I was really disappointed by the product and Electrolux’s customer service. I also thought of escalating the matter to CASE,” he said, adding that he has stopped using the stove for a couple of months now.
NOT THE FIRST CASE, ELECTRICIAN TELLS HOB OWNER
Another owner told Channel NewsAsia that her cooking hob too, has been riddled with issues since she got it in July 2015.
"I am a stay-at-home mum so I cook every day for the family," said Ms Geraldine Guo, who owns Electrolux’s EGT7637CKP - a different model from Mr San's hob.
"From the beginning, the hob has been hissing loudly when it is turned on. Sometimes, it is also difficult to ignite."
Ms Guo added that the hob gave off abrupt popping noises when the gas was turned on for too long or when the heat was too high. Flames would also go off too while she was cooking, she added
She nevertheless continued using the cooking hob until it gave way in August 2016, slightly more than a year after she bought it.
"Suddenly while cooking, there was a mini explosion. Smoke was seen coming out of the stove and below the stove," she said, adding that parts of the hob "must have burnt". Shortly after she took her pot of soup away from the stove, Ms Guo said she saw the glass start to crack slowly.
Shattered glass on Electrolux glass gas cooker hob EGT7637CKP. (Photo courtesy of Geraldine Guo)
Even though the hob was still under warranty, Ms Guo paid about S$80 to S$100 for an Electrolux electrician to replace the shattered glass, as well as a few small parts of the stove.
“I didn't ask Electrolux for a refund at that time because I thought I was just an unlucky customer who received a defective item,” she said. “The guy told me the glass was not under warranty, only the parts of the stove.”
Ms Guo also revealed that the electrician sent to her home by Electrolux mentioned that this was not his first case concerning shattered glass, and he has also heard of cases in which the hob had exploded.
She added that, for the safety of her three children, she is apprehensive of using the cooking hob and will eat out in the meantime. "It’s inconvenient also because Chinese New Year is coming and we're having our reunion dinner at my place," she added.
HOB OWNERS TO GET FULL REFUND BY CHEQUE
Both Mr San and Ms Guo told Channel NewsAsia that they have been disappointed with Electrolux's handling of the matter.
"I reported the issue in September last year and just learnt that they have been aware of it since April,” said Mr San.
Earlier on Friday, Electrolux had revealed that it had been working closely with SPRING Singapore on the matter since April 2016.
"The experience wasn't so good because I feel they took so long to assure those that are affected," said Ms Guo. "I'm also surprised that the authorities already knew about this last April but took so long to take action."
She added that, even after the recall had been issued, it took several attempts before she managed to get through to Electrolux's customer service hotline at noon on Friday. “At that time, they said they had no solutions yet and are still in discussion with SPRING Singapore," Ms Guo said.
In a media advisory on Friday night, Electrolux said it would arrange to remove or pick up the cooker hobs and provide affected customers "with a full product refund by way of cheque in exchange".
It added that "a goodwill gesture of a S$100 voucher will also be given as a token of our appreciation and recognition of any inconvenience including installation, temporary loss of use, et cetera."
The first scheduled collection of the affected hobs will commence from Jan 12, Electrolux told Channel NewsAsia on Saturday. The company added that, as of 5pm, it had confirmed collection and refunds with close to 250 customers. Appointments with developers who purchased the affected units have also been set up to start on Sunday.
Of the 5,800 units affected, about 80 per cent were purchased by property developers, said Electrolux.
Residents can contact Electrolux directly to start the refund or collection process, it added.
But for users like Ms Guo, the damage may have been done. "I have started to lose confidence in the brand," she said. "How would I know whether the same problems wouldn't occur again?"