Shopping Discussion

Serial numbers missing from new appliances

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[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
181 posts
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Maritimes

Serial numbers missing from new appliances

What does it mean when you go to an appliance store and the serial numbers are missing from all the appliances? Is this common? Is it legal? Obviously the purchaser won't be eligible for any manufacturer's warranty, and if something goes wrong with one of these appliances on day one, he's out of luck.
78 replies
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Jun 11, 2005
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noahboady wrote: What does it mean when you go to an appliance store and the serial numbers are missing from all the appliances? Is this common? Is it legal? Obviously the purchaser won't be eligible for any manufacturer's warranty, and if something goes wrong with one of these appliances on day one, he's out of luck.

You answered your own questions. No serial numbers no warranty. Stay away.[HTML][/HTML]
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Dec 11, 2005
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Are you sure they are not just missing from the demo units?

And what do you mean, you can't normally see serial numbers for floor models just by walking around... how did you check?
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
181 posts
22 upvotes
Maritimes
XtremeModder wrote:What store?
I won't say, at least not right now, because I'm not finished researching this company and if I'm going to sue, I don't want the owners to see it coming. Also, I don't want the employees to get thrown out of work or something. Maybe this is completely legal and normal. I don't know much about the appliance business.
I'll just say it's a small chain outlet with branches in several GTA cities.
It offers significant deals on the appliances, some of which have scratches or dents. Maybe people just want the deals and don't care about the missing serial numbers.
brunes wrote: Are you sure they are not just missing from the demo units?

And what do you mean, you can't normally see serial numbers for floor models just by walking around... how did you check?
No, they are not just missing from the demo units. In fact, the floor units may not have their serial numbers removed - I will have to go back to check. They are missing from the ones you buy and bring home. I know because I bought some. I didn't check for serial numbers before buying, because why would that occur to anyone? Attention trolls: we're not born knowing everything and every scam out there. But if it had occurred to me, it would have been easy to find that the serial numbers were missing, by looking in accessible places. Here are the ones I bought:

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/t ... directlink
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/O ... directlink
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Y ... directlink
[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
181 posts
22 upvotes
Maritimes
I'm thinking these are grey market, maybe meant to be sold in another country where prices are cheaper but instead, being sold here illegally. Or refurbished returns being sold as new. They came with all the packaging, so there was no obvious red flag until they were already installed, I was polishing one of them, and noticed the serial number had been purposely removed.
Deal Expert
Jan 7, 2002
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Waterloo, ON
It's illegal in most jurisdictions to remove or deface a manufacturer's serial number. This is for several reasons ranging from facilitation of disposing or stolen goods to facilitation of contacting customers in the event of a recall, especially something that's safety-related.

I don't know if there's any legislation about this in Ontario, at least apart from motor vehicles, so I'd contact the Ontario Consumer Services ministry to ask for assistance.

See Is it legal in the province of Ontario to remove a serial number from a computer and sell it? I don't know how authoritative it is in part because it doesn't cite a specific statute.
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Oct 22, 2002
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Sounds like you bought refurbs thinking they were new. Check the fine print on your receipts.

The serial numbers and/or logos are sometimes removed on refurbished units because the manufacturer wants to make it absolutely clear that the factory warranty is no longer valid. They usually do this on stock that is resold to 3rd party liquidators (as opposed to factory clearance stores, which may have some - usually 90-day - warranty).
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abstract808 wrote: The serial numbers and/or logos are sometimes removed on refurbished units because the manufacturer wants to make it absolutely clear that the factory warranty is no longer valid.
The manufacturer can do this without obliterating the serial number. They could for example stamp "Refurbished" on the sticker or plate.

There are many reasons why the serial number should remain intact regardless of the item's warranty status. Suppose for example that a serious safety defect is discovered with that product and the manufacturer determines that the defect applies only to a certain range of serial numbers. Regardless of whether the manufacturer is prepared to rectify the problem under warranty for refurbished items, without the serial number how is the owner of that model supposed to determine if their specific product has that defect so that, if necessary, they can get the repair done regardless of who pays for it? Just because an item is refurbished and is sold at a discount does not absolve the manufacturer from liability in the event of a safety defect.

BTW I'd like to hear the manufacturer's argument for purposely making it difficult for the owner to determine if a known safety defect exists simply because the product was refurbished. The media would have a field day with that.
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Aug 22, 2003
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noahboady wrote: I'm thinking these are grey market, maybe meant to be sold in another country where prices are cheaper but instead, being sold here illegally. Or refurbished returns being sold as new. They came with all the packaging, so there was no obvious red flag until they were already installed, I was polishing one of them, and noticed the serial number had been purposely removed.

I think you hit the nail on the head, in a roundabout way. ;) I'd almost be willing to bet these are American appliances and the seller doesn't want folks to figure that out. If they did they'd realize that in most cases they'd have no manufacturer warranty at all and it may be difficult to even get them serviced in Canada due to differences. Absolutely not illegal to re-sell US appliances but it certainly should be disclosed and a 3rd party warranty offered in most cases.

Just check out the differences in American pricing to Canadian and you'll quickly understand why a seemingly legit business would use this business model to "compete" without disclosing it....
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Sep 3, 2006
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:arrowu: Wouldn't there be a CSA requirement for selling US appliances in Canada?
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Aug 22, 2003
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jcon wrote: :arrowu: Wouldn't there be a CSA requirement for selling US appliances in Canada?

Not that I'm aware of. There have been several businesses doing this for a few years but they make it perfectly clear that this is what they are doing. There was a big one based out of Windsor that was discussed here in the H&G forum a few years ago. I imported my range and OTR micro from the US. There is certainly no reason why I can't sell them when I so choose to...
Thinking seriously about the 4 S's...Sun, Sand, Surf and ... Booked for Sept in Mexico and booked Samana DR for Jan!
[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
181 posts
22 upvotes
Maritimes
Replies to the above:

If my appliances are refurbished, that's the first I've heard of it and I would not have purchased them if I had known. They don't look refurbished - they look new, although the fridge had a dent and a scratch on it. I don't remember the exact condition of the other appliances when they arrived, except that they were professionally packaged in undamaged packaging. To my recollection they were not advertised as being refurbished. I'll check the receipts closely when I find them.

There haven't been any problems with them yet although if and when they do, I now know it will be difficult and expensive to deal with it.

They say CSA on them, which should mean CSA approved, but everything sold across North America has to say that now, if I'm not mistaken.

As mentioned, I didn't know about the missing serial numbers when I bought them. However, I am in the market for more appliances and went back to the same store to see what they had in stock. This time, I was more suspicious and asked more questions. Here's their response to my question regarding why they remove the serial numbers:

All these are overstock item - Samsung / lg have to issue new serial # for these lots- come with one year warranty - you can buy upto 5 year warranty cost for your appliances will be approximately be $497.99 - for all the appliaces for 1 +4 years

Thanks


This person is saying that even though these appliances had perfectly good serial numbers before, either he or somebody else has ripped them out and this would force the manufacturer to issue new serial numbers. He doesn't follow through and explain why this would or wouldn't be a problem for the manufacturer, or if they do this or not. This makes no sense to me. It looks like the kind of bogus, made-up excuse you would hear from a street peddler of counterfeit goods. But if this sounds like a logical excuse to you, by all means, tell us what to think of this.

Whatever warranty he is offering may have value or not, there are probably terms and requirements that would be difficult to qualify for. Another scam?

I'll contact Ontario on Monday and see if they have anything to say.
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Jan 11, 2008
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Although this is from BC, it is some info from a store that sells overstocks, refurbs, returns, scratch and dent appliances, etc. and this is what they write in their section directed to vendors (who may give this store product). My guess is something similar is the case with your appliances:

http://www.newcountryappliances.com/Vendors.aspx
We are able to handle very large volumes of freight damaged, refurbished, customer returns, discontinued or overstocked products. We purchase all products without any current or future warranties.

We are able to de-brand the products both internally and externally if required, which may involve but is not limited to removing decals, serial number, brand name, model number or any other procedures we are asked to follow as per company policies.
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 27, 2009
181 posts
22 upvotes
Maritimes
So this 'New Country Appliances Inc.' is the kind of outfit where cheapo appliance stores get their stock from. This is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

The guy also said he would be happy to remove the LG logos from the appliances, if I purchased LG from him. I fail to see how that would help anyone including the seller.
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noahboady wrote: So this 'New Country Appliances Inc.' is the kind of outfit where cheapo appliance stores get their stock from. This is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

The guy also said he would be happy to remove the LG logos from the appliances, if I purchased LG from him. I fail to see how that would help anyone including the seller.

I'm not personally familiar with the store, but I don't think New Country Appliances is a place that supplies cheap appliances to other stores - it is itself a discount appliance retailer:

From their "About Us"
http://www.newcountryappliances.com/AboutUs.aspx
Most of our products come from Major manufacturers and retailers who regularly need help clearing scratch & dent, freight damaged, customer return, discontinued or excess stock. That’s why there's nothing but bargains at New Country Appliances.

My guess is that your retailer may be doing something similar?
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[OP]
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Apr 27, 2009
181 posts
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Maritimes
It says on their website:

We have a few retail locations throughout the Lower Mainland, BC. As well as network of over 30 dealers throughout Western Canada.

and

Any item found to be defective or requiring an extensive amount of work is then disposed of as scrap.

If they can afford to sell this stuff for scrap prices, they're buying them for almost nothing. How much will a scrapyard pay for a fridge, $10? $15? Maybe they have connections and they're getting $100 per scrap fridge, but they probably won't sell at a loss.

and

We are willing to purchase and ship products of any make, model or age available from anywhere in Western Canada.

All these things combined make me think they're both a wholesaler and a retailer.
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noahboady wrote: It says on their website:

We are willing to purchase and ship products of any make, model or age available from anywhere in Western Canada.

All these things combined make me think they're both a wholesaler and a retailer.

Possibly, but the specific info where they say they will purchase and ship is directed to the vendors (on the vendor info page) that they are actually getting the product from. So it sounds like they will purchase the product from the vendors and ship it to their (New Country) location.
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