Alberto and Adrienne Despaigne knew something was wrong when they saw their new generator sparking shortly after they tried to use it following Hurricane Irma. The $1,100 generator they purchased just wasn’t working right.
“Once it got going, it got going for a while,” Alberto Despaigne said. “Then it stopped again, in the middle of the night. It would stop and we’d have to go out there and find out what’s going on.”
The couple purchased the machine from an Ace Hardware in Aventura to prepare for Hurricane Irma. They bought the generator mainly out of concern for Alberto, who is 70 years old and has a heart condition.
“He has a pacemaker,” Adrienne said. “He is not in a condition to be dealing with 98 degree temperature in the house.”
At first, they didn’t call Ace because the store’s policy was clearly written on the receipt: no returns on products purchased for hurricanes. Instead, the couple called Generac, the manufacturer of the generator. They were referred to a list of authorized service representatives. But when Adrienne called one of the companies, a technician told her there would be a cost involved.
“It’s a $180 fee,” she recalled him saying, before he added that he doesn’t usually deal with smaller generators.
After four days of being without power and several more calls and emails, Alberto went to the Ace store, where they loaned him a generator for a $500 deposit. But the loaner, the couple said, also had problems, and they were afraid to use it.
That’s when they decided to turn to NBC 6 Responds.
“I called you guys because at the time, I had all but given up hope on getting any resolution from Ace or Generac,” Adrienne said.
NBC 6 Responds contacted both companies.
Ace Hardware “apologized for the inconvenience” the couple experienced with their recent purchase, adding that: “Despite being completely sold out of generators, the store lent out their own personal generator, which was being used to help power the building.”
In an email, Generac told NBC 6: “Rather than repair the generator, we have arranged with the local Ace store where Mr. Despaigne purchased the unit to replace his existing generator with a new one.”
The couple wanted a full refund, but they said they were pleased to get a new generator instead of having to deal with the process of repairing the original one they purchased.