Local News

20-Year Guarantee Does Not Pan Out For Raleigh Woman

Posted June 20, 2002

— Lots of companies use the word "guarantee" to claim a product will last years or even a lifetime.

So if a product does not live up to a guarantee, you send it back and get it fixed or replaced. Sounds simple, right?

That simple solution turned into quite a saga for Shirley Griffith of Raleigh.

"I enjoy cooking. Yeah, I guess I do. You have to eat dinner every night," Griffith said with a laugh.

Griffith bought a $200 set of pots and pans from Farberware seven years ago. Last fall, she noticed a problem with the nonstick surfaces.

"You'd see white spots where it had come up," she said.

Griffith still had her receipt and a copy of the 20-year guarantee, so she called Farberware.

"I just felt like there was a guarantee," she said. "That's one of the contributing factors to me buying this set. So I was going to call them on it and see if they would make good on that."

Farberware told Griffith to send the pots back to be resurfaced. She expected to get them back within eight weeks; however, they did not arrive.

Griffith said repeated calls to find out where her pots were got her all kinds of explanations.

"I'd been told that the shipment had gotten there, that the shipment was still lost and that they had gotten them and polished them. Later, they would say they didn't even have them yet," Griffith said.

After five months, Griffith called Five on Your Side.

"I was just tired of waiting, but you know, I really didn't want them to get the better of me," she said.

Five On Your Side went on a mission to track down the pots and pans.

It turned out that Farberware had to send the pots and pans to two other companies before they could be resurfaced.

After a week of phone conversations, Five On Your Side got the three companies to talk with each other, find the pots, get the job done and get Griffith her pots back within two weeks.

The refinished pots have not made Griffith a gourmet cook, but she is glad to be using them again.

As for pursuing the warranty?

"I wouldn't do it again. I'd just go out and buy a new set of pans. It wasn't worth the time I put into it," she said.

Guarantees and warranties often fall into the same category as rebates. It is best to consider them "icing on the cake" and not a reason to buy a particular product.

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