Action 9 investigates appliance warranties

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ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando woman claims an appliance chain sold her a refurbished washer and dryer that didn't work from day one and when she asked for a refund, she couldn't believe what they said.

Julie Bishop bought a refurbished washer and dryer from Appliances 4 Less, which advertises one year warranties.

But Bishop said when she complained that first day, "They said I would have to swap it out, void the warranty and pay a 25 percent restocking fee."

It's not what she expected with a warranty and said all attempts to get her money back were shot down.

"It was like entering 'the Twilight Zone.' I've never dealt with a company that did this to a customer," Bishop said.

The company had an F rating at the Better Business Bureau with 29 other complaints.

After Action 9 contacted Appliances 4 Less, it offered to give Bishop her money back but only if she signed a statement that read, "My issues were resolved," and, "I would recommend this company to anyone."

Bishop refused, "Because it wasn't true and my signature's important, and I wasn't going to sign something that was not true."

Action 9 took the issue to the service center, where customer complaints are managed.

"Demanding she sign a letter like that, you can't be serious?" said Action 9's Todd Ulrich.

"Again, we are a separate company. She did not purchase from our company," the manager said.

And yet, managers there knew about Bishop's case. And according to the BBB, it's part of the same operation.

The BBB said the letter the company wanted Bishop to sign crossed the line.

"They are holding her money hostage. That's just not the way you should be doing business," said BBB president Judy Pepper.

A week later, Bishop got a full refund of nearly $400.

"If (Action 9) did not get involved, I would still have a broken washer-dryer in my garage," Bishop said.

Since Action 9's investigation began, the BBB rating for Appliances 4 Less was raised to a C after it responded to other complaints.

The company said it stands by its warranty and works to resolve all complaints.