Thread: Engel Usage
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Old May 2nd, 2016, 04:55 PM
dchapman dchapman is offline
Daniel Chapman
KJ4BXR
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 1,120
The difference a vendor makes:

On October 29, 2013 I purchased an Ironman 4x4 Ice Cube 74Q refrigerator/freezer from Justin Monnin at Lucky 8 4x4. The fridge arrived in satisfactory time although it did have a baseball sized dent in the rear of the fridge near/over some louvers that allow air in for cooling/breathing purposes. The dent was no big deal to me but I did share with Justin how the fridge looked once it arrived. I did not feel there was any reason to replace the fridge as the damage was not a big deal to me and only comedic, but the olive branch was extended. I was in a time crunch for the fridge anyway.

Fast forward to March 29, 2015. The fridge quit cooling. The motor/compressor was running but the fridge was not cooling like it should. So I reached out to Lucky 8 4x4. First, I texted Justin Monnin. Justin never responded. So I sent Erik a text. Erik did respond but told me they no longer deal with Ironman 4x4. So I followed up with a phone call to Erik during business hours and gathered any information I could about Ironman 4x4 and their current state in North America. Erik gave me a non-working number to call. It took a bit of research but I finally got in contact with John Love who claims to be an Ironman 4x4 North America dealer. Here is John's information.
John Love
Ironman 4x4 America, Inc.
2700 E 9th St. Ste. 400
Newberg, OR 97132
USA
971.264.9016

Our conversations started off like any other warranty conversation. Here is a transcript of the emails we sent each other back-and-forth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Love
Daniel,

Thank you for the pleasant albeit short conversation this morning.
I understand your Ice Box has a running motor, but the unit is not actually cooling.

Original purchase was 10/29/2013 from Lucky 8 Offorad.
If you would please make a copy of your original purchase so I can proceed with your request.

--
Best Regards,

John Love

John asked for a copy of the invoice so I sent that to him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Love
Daniel,

Thanks for the invoice. The warranty for fridge components is three years. With the purchase date of October 2013 you are within that warranty request period.

To honor the warranty you will need to ship your fridge to us, along with the accessories (power cord etc) at your expense. We will then evaluate the fridge and if we find it is not working and has not been abused we will repair or replace the fridge at our descretion and mail it back to you at our cost.

If you wish to proceed, let me know and I will generate and issue you an RMA number.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
Yes, let's move forward.

Sent from my iPhone


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Love
Daniel,

RMA# 16-789

You can mail it to:
> Ironman 4x4 America, Inc.
> 2700 E 9th St. Ste. 400
> Newberg, OR 97132
>
> We will let you know when it comes in and try to get it resolved for you as quickly as we can.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
Ok, very good. I'll get it packed up and may have it out the door today.

Thanks


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Love
Dan,

We received your Fridge. There appears to be damage to it.
I do not know if there was damage to it prior to shipping it to us, or if the damage happened as a result of shipping it to us. But the condition in which is was received shows signs of being dropped and that will void the warranty.

Our shop rate is $75/hr.

Would you like us to continue forward with the diagnosis?


This is when things started going downhill. The fridge was broken when I sent it to John Love and Ironman 4x4. I was not going to pack up a fridge and spend the $60 in shipping fees if the fridge was not broken. That should be obvious.

Additionally, $75hr to figure out why the fridge is not working when this is a warranty claim?

My response:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
Hi John,

I do not know the extent of the damage you're referring to. Could you snap a photo and send it to me for reference? There was, however, a baseball sized dent in the rear-right of the fridge located near the louvers. This is how I received the fridge new and that damage was disclosed to Lucky 8 4x4 who was at the time the North American dealer. The fridge worked fine so we agreed to accept the fridge as-is. If there is additional damage we need to make a report to the shipper (UPS) as there was insurance on the fridge.

As for your shop rate of $75hr, it is my understanding that the fridge is still under the manufacturer warranty. It states clearly on the Ironman website a 5 year warranty on the compressor and 3 year warranty on the components. Since you are the North American distributor and not a third-party repairman I see it as a bit unfair to charge to fix your product. If I buy a new car that has a warranty and a part fails I do not pay the labor for the repair. Similarly, if I buy a fridge at Lowes or Home Depot and it fails under the warranty period I'm not required to pay additional for the repair.

Additionally, as far as diagnosis is concerned, there are only three parts on the fridge that can fail; the digital thermostat (that will not change from C to F as advertised), the power supply, or the compressor. There were no E-codes present. Obviously the thermostat and power supply are in working order, so that leaves the swing-arm compressor. I don't understand what there is to diagnosis. The compressor runs but does not cool, and seeing that the cooling system in these things is all sealed and sold as one unit the problem is quite obvious. Could you further explain what you would be looking for?

-Daniel Chapman

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Love
Dan,

I am attaching photographs of the received item. If you have photos prior to shipping you may want to contact UPS.

I am bothered you just now are telling us,
" There was, however, a baseball sized dent in the rear-right of the fridge located near the louvers. This is how I received the fridge new and that damage was disclosed to Lucky 8 4x4 who was at the time the North American dealer."

This was not mentioned to me prior to shipping, nor is anything noted on the original invoice.
I wrote to you prior to proceeding with the Warranty Request,
"To honor the warranty you will need to ship your fridge to us, along with the accessories (power cord etc) at your expense. We will then evaluate the fridge and if we find it is not working and has not been abused we will repair or replace the fridge at our descretion and mail it back to you at our cost."

It would have prudent to notify us of this prior to shipping. And we expect a certain level of reasonable care to be provided when packaging the item for shipping. There is no power cord with item and there was no protective covering for the item.

The fridge would be under the warranty; which includes a 5 year warranty on the compressor and 3 year warranty on the components, if there is no evidence of abuse. In its present condition the dents indicate some type of abuse occurred at some time.

Regarding diagnosis, I am not the repair technician so I do not know exactly what tests or procedure will be followed. Which why I ask if you would like us to move forward with testing and repair.


First and foremost, Mr. Love want to chage me a "shop rate" of $75hr to look at the fridge. Then he tells me he has to send the fridge out to a repairman to look the fridge over. So which is it? Is he charging me the shop rate of $75hr, or is he charging me a 3rd party fee? I'm not so sure that's not an FTC violation as it should be considered a cash advance and advertised that way.

These are the photos John Love sent me of the fridge. the first photo was the existing dent. This dent has been there since I received the fridge from Lucky 8.


There were, however, two new dents in the fridge that occurred during shipping by UPS.




Looks like the fridge took a tumble for sure. Good thing it's made out of steel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
John,

The dent on the rear of the fridge was there when I bought the fridge. This dent was reported to Lucky 8 4x4 where I purchased the fridge. I received a call back from a guy named Eli, who introduced himself as the representative for Ironman 4x4 North America. He went on to tell me he was related to the owner of the business in Australia. I do not have Eli's last name and the phone number I had written down for him is no longer working.

You are right there is nothing noted on the invoice about the dent in the rear of the fridge. Personally, I've never even heard of a vendor doing this. I could have Lucky 8 4x4 send you a letter if that helps.

The dents pictured on the bottom of the fridge and on the front of the fridge are new.

The fridge was in non-working order when I sent it to you and the new dents would not have further broken the fridge - they're purely comedic.

The power cord is inside the fridge.

There was no mention in your prior emails or in our telephone conversation about a $75hr repair fee. That's not how things typically work regarding warranties and this is totally unexpected. Typically a vendor takes responsibility for the products they sell when they offer such a warranty.

Since you're unfamiliar with the basic operation of the Ironman fridge, I can tell you how they operate. I have repaired similar refrigerator/freezers in the past. I also own similar products marketed by Engle and ARB. They all use the same parts including the Danfloss compressor. There is one moving part in the swing-arm compressor to fail. However, the company that makes these cooling systems sells them as one unit so replacing the compressor only would not be cost prohibitive. You replace the entire cooling system which includes the compressor. It takes about 20 minutes to swap out. Replacing the compressor only would require specialized tools and new refrigerant. It's a waste of time and a waste of money to pay someone to do this. I would expect someone who sells these items to be knowledgeable in their operation and construction. If you're interested in seeing the parts located on the inside here is a link to short write-up I did in September to my 13 year old Engle fridge. http://www.expeditionexchange.com/fo...6&postcount=22

I really does boggle my mind that the fridge needs to be sent away for someone else to look at. If you plug the fridge in you will see that it does not operate the way it should. There are very few parts inside the fridge to make it stop working and the problem is self-explanatory.


-Daniel Chapman


I did not hear anything back for four days. Today I get an email from a Mark Hawley. Mark claims to be the President of Ironman 4x4 America. Here is Mark's information (same as John's):

Mark Hawley
President
Ironman 4x4 America, Inc.
2700 E 9th St. Ste. 400
Newberg, OR 97132
USA
971.264.9016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hawley
Dan

Your warranty request has been escalated to me. I am the president of Ironman 4x4 America, Inc. the North American Distributor for Ironman 4x4 for the last two years. I wish to get this resolved for you. John our Technical Sales Support personnel you have been working with has been trying to be of help the best he can within the confines of what is acceptable for Warranty. There is a training opportunity here regarding offering repair work, at the same time when a customer feels there is still an open and live warranty. It gets confusing to any customer at that point. To serve you better John should have been more direct as to the status of your warranty claim being accepted or denied. The power cord not with your unit is the 12v cord, again miscommunication and another training opportunity for clarification.

Your warranty request is denied due to physical damage. The physical condition the refrigerator returned to us is extremely poor with excessive physical exterior damage in multiple locations. Drops and impacts are not covered and will void the warranty. The documentation you have provided does not support pre-existing damage. If there was documentation from Ironman 4x4 USA. Inc. the previous distributor, it would be very unusual as Ironman 4x4 takes great care in how items are packaged. I see in John's phone notes from speaking with you prior to you returning the item he explained physical damage from impacts/dropped would void the warranty. You indicate the item received additional damage in shipping it back to us. The person returning an item is responsible for how an item being returned is packaged, shipped and if shipping included insurance. In our evaluations for warranty we have to go by the physically condition an item returned to us is in.

Your diagnosis of 12v refrigerators is generally accurate however the #1 fail point for most is the temperature probe. A bad probe leads to everything running but nothing cooling. General rule for compressors are if they are running then the issue is not the compressor and to look elsewhere.

Thank you,

Mark Hawley

Mark tells me the number one component to fail is the temp probe. So it sounds as though the Ironman fridge fails regularly and the temp probe is the main culprit. I wonder what this part costs? Less than $50? Less than $20? Who knows at this point. I don't know what the temp probe looks like inside the Ironman as I've never opened it up. But if the temp probe looks anything like the temp sensor inside the Engle fridge it looks like this (the black wire with white connector). So it's probably a very cheap part.


My fear when the fridge stopped working was that a copper cooling line cracked and released the refrigerant. Since the fridge was still under warranty I did not want to open the fridge up and possibly void the warranty that way. So that's why I sent the fridge back to Ironman. If, in fact, the problem is with the temp sensor, or probe as Mark calls it, and not the actual cooling system, these guys are going to void a warranty for a $10 part? And then charge me $75hr to diagnose and repair the problem from a 3rd party?

Personally, I can't say I expected much. First I get the "wish there was something I could do" from Erik at Lucky 8 where I bought the item. Since they no longer sell the product they're no longer supporting the products they've sold. Typical of fly-by-night companies. Then I get to deal with all this over the last 30 days from a distributor I should have known better than ordering from in the first place. It's not the money, I've already ordered a $1,500 replacement. It's the service we receive from these shit companies these days. Ironman 4x4 is not the only shit company out there selling a knockoff item, but I'd imagine this is par for the course when dealing with these types of companies and their vendors. If you're looking to buy a new 12v fridge don't skimp out, buy an Engle/ARB.

With all this said it was the complete opposite experience when my 13 year old Engle died. I bought the fridge from Expedition Exchange. I sent a note to John Lee and he replied very fast with what needed to be done. I ordered the part needed after a short conversation and diagnosis with the sales rep and it arrived the very next day. Within 2 days my Engle fridge was back in working order. 2 days!
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