Am I taking advantage of Costco?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

It’s the time of year when the humidity in my basement creeps up to 60 percent, and if I don’t turn on the dehumidifier, silverfish and other creepie crawlies move in. Last fall, my LG dehumidifier from Costco quit removing water from the air, even though the air temp was still fairly warm and the humidity was over 50 percent. (The fan still worked.) I thought maybe the hose to the drain was clogged ,so I made sure the line was clear. When it still didn’t work, I returned the five-month old appliance for a full refund.

Confession: It was the second time I had returned an LG humidifier to Costco. The prior one lasted about eight months before it developed the same flaw.  I returned that one as well. Feeling that buying and possibly returning a third one was taking advantage, I checked Consumer Reports’ ratings. They recommended a model by Danby, which I discovered Costco sells online only.

I’m sure that some readers or business owners will feel I took advantage of Costco’s generous return policy, but in my defense, it’s my way of letting Costco know they are selling an inferior product. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the LG dehumidifer is problematic because one local retailer that sells Costco’s returns had several of the same LG models for sale last week.

Readers, let me know your thoughts. Was I sending Costco a message about a bad product or a message that I’m a serial returner? Also, has anyone else had trouble with dehumidifiers petering out after one season? My Sears model, which I bought used, worked for five years.  

“Extreme” major appliance sale this weekend

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Need a new major appliance soon? Check out Warners’ Stellian extreme warehouse sale from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday (March 14) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (March 15). Hundreds of appliances will be below cost, according to the website. Expect a wide variety of makes and models including overstocks and scratch and dents. Many of the items came from the outlet in Minneapolis and the bargain rooms at other stores. Manufacturer warranties are also included with sale items.

 The sale takes place at the St. Paul warehouse (550 Atwater Circle, 651-222-0011), not the Falcon Heights store as I wrote earlier in the week. I have not been to the sale before, but reader Frani, who assured me she is not a Warners’ employee, said the deals are incredible and the staff well-informed. She warns bargain hunters to get there before the doors open, as the lines can be long. I will try to catch the sale but please let me know if Frani and I led you astray or to a bargain.

BTW, my column next Tuesday will give additional tips for buying and repairing major appliances. Check it out.