5 On Your Side

Buyers Complain of New Refrigerators Making Knocking Noises

Posted November 26, 2007

Dan Riley thought nothing could go wrong in his newly remodeled kitchen. But that changed when his refrigerator started making strange noises.

Research showed that other consumers have complained about their new refrigerators making similar random, knocking noises.

Riley spent nearly $3,000 just over a year ago on a General Electric Profile refrigerator specifically to fit his remodeled kitchen. The knocking began almost immediately, he said.

"To compound it, see, (the refrigerator) is backed up to our master bedroom. And you can almost schedule (the noise) to happen most every night between 2 and 4:30," he said.

Riley said a GE representative told him that the sound would work itself out in 3 to 6 months. When it continued, Riley called for service. However, the noise persisted after several repair visits and phone calls, prompting Riley to send a letter to GE's chief executive officer.

"A gentleman on his staff called back, and he pretty much said that this is normal operating conditions for this refrigerator. And this is standard; we can't really help you," Riley said.

The only recommendation Riley said he got: Put a carpet under the refrigerator and on the wall behind it.

"We paid a fortune to get these custom cabinets put in that are designed around this specific model," he said. "I don't want my money back. I just want them to fix this refrigerator."

Internet research by 5 on Your Side found plenty of other consumers complaining about a similar noise involving new refrigerators from several different manufacturers. Whirlpool lists supposedly normal noises on its Web site – Riley's knocking noise is not one of them.

GE representatives did give 5OYS an explanation, but after our call, Riley got another call from the company, holding firm that the noise is "normal." A GE representative told him that because of government energy guidelines, refrigerators are being made differently and manufacturers are still working out the kinks.

A representative from another manufacturer gave 5OYS a similar explanation, but said the new designs created noises that customers will simply have to get used to.

"I'm just at a loss as to what the future is with this refrigerator, other than just biting the bullet and trying to get rid of it and going out and buying another one," Riley said. "It won't be a $3,000 refrigerator this time, though. And it sure won't be a GE Profile."