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Microwave has killed power to our lights // dispute with installers

Microwave has killed power to our lights // dispute with installers

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  #1  
Old 10-27-14, 05:58 PM
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Microwave has killed power to our lights // dispute with installers

Hi everyone,

I am need of some advice on what has become quite an awkward matter. I'll try to summarize the details:

I purchased a Whirlpool over-the-range microwave from a Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home showroom, from my local Best Buy. They arranged with an independent local company to have it delivered and installed, who I paid directly.

The microwave replaced a cooker hood, which from what I can remember, was wired directly from a wire coming down through a hole in the ceiling. The installers explained I would need to pay extra for them to fit an outlet in the cupboard above where the microwave would be going, as there wasn't one there. I agreed to this and they completed the installation; for the last five weeks, it has been working fine.

Fast forward to last week, I started up the microwave and within maybe a second it turned off, taking with it the overhead lights in the kitchen and after further investigation, the ceiling fan/light combo in the adjacent dining room and a ceiling light in a closet.

I have one circuit breaker box in the bedroom and there is also another one in a shared room (I live in an apartment block). I checked both and neither had tripped. For the sake of ruling things out, both have been reset multiple times, but without effect.

From doing some Googling (this is all very alien to me), I found multiple references to GFCI outlets being a possible cause. I have located two in the kitchen and one in the (only) bathroom. None of these had tripped either.

So I called the installation company, who explained it had been over 30 days, (on the invoice it says "30 day warranty on plumbing") so I would need to call Best Buy / Pacific Sales. I did this, and they sent out an appliance technician (again someone independent). He didn't fix the issue, but made two discoveries: 1. There's an open hot on the outlet they installed and 2. they have wired it to my lighting circuit. At this point, I didn't realize we had an additional circuit breaker external to the apartment, so his assumption was it would have tripped it. Since then, I have got access to it and as already mentioned, have found it wasn't tripped.

With this new information, I called the original installers back and explained what had been found. They have told me pretty strongly that "it's been working for over a month, so it's not really anything to do with us, nor is down to anything we would have done". (Paraphrasing, slightly). They have agreed to send someone out tomorrow to check it over, but have stated that if they can't find anything that's attributable to them, I will have to pay out of pocket for the call out.

As someone that knows very little about electrics and DIY in general, I'm trying to get my facts together in preparation for them playing hard ball with me. From what I can gather, microwaves should never be installed on the lighting circuit, so the fact they did this without even so much as giving me a warning it could cause problems, surely makes them accountable here? Whilst I can't argue it's outside their 30 day window, It seems to me, it was something that was bound to happen sooner or later.

Any advice on what the fault could be AND how to deal with the installation company / Best Buy would be greatly appreciated. Any specifics on the rights and wrongs for wiring a 1000W microwave on to the lighting circuit would be particularly appreciated, too!

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-27-14, 06:11 PM
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The fault is squarely on the installers that failed to install the dedicated circuit the instructions call for.

The heavy load on the existing circuit has caused a connection to fail. IMO they should be on the hook to fix this too since the improper instsll caused it to fail.
 
  #3  
Old 10-27-14, 06:53 PM
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PCboss is correct, this is on the installers for not installing the required dedicated circuit. In addition..........

The installers explained I would need to pay extra for them to fit an outlet in the cupboard above where the microwave would be going, as there wasn't one there.
.....the required receptacle has to go in the cabinet above the over-the-range unit and the installers know this when they accept installing such a unit so they in effect have screwed you into paying for this as extra work when it really should have been included in their quote.

I think you have an issue with the company you purchased the installed product from. A major issue.
 
  #4  
Old 10-27-14, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it. I have a feeling this is going to be a major headache.

Any thoughts on what might have happened / how it could be fixed? Obviously the microwave needs rewiring, but what about the lights not working? Given nothing has tripped, could I be looking at some major damage?
 
  #5  
Old 10-27-14, 07:06 PM
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More likely a failed connection at a light or switch. However the installers who caused it needs to be looking for it not you. If you paid by credit card you should have some leverage.
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-14, 07:07 PM
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Cash unfortunately. Needless to say, lesson learned on that one.
 
  #7  
Old 10-27-14, 07:13 PM
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Ultimately a new circuit will need to be run to the panel for the microwave. Is the panel nearby ?
 
  #8  
Old 10-27-14, 07:14 PM
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The panel = the breaker? If so, no, not really.
 
  #9  
Old 10-27-14, 07:16 PM
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Cash unfortunately. Needless to say, lesson learned on that one.
Who did you actually buy the unit from? Didn't you also purchase the installation from them as well? I think you need to be calling them and gauge their reaction to your problem. If they back away from it you have other options, but legal remedies can be more expensive than what you have invested. The BBB, however, costs nothing.
 
  #10  
Old 10-27-14, 07:21 PM
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Paid Best Buy just for the microwave, they arranged / chose the installers, but I paid them directly, in cash.
 
  #11  
Old 10-27-14, 07:26 PM
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I would be barking up that tree until their installers made this right, including fixing the new problem. It is well known that the MW requires a dedicated circuit. This was not something new that blindsided them.
 
  #12  
Old 10-27-14, 07:27 PM
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Paid Best Buy just for the microwave, they arranged / chose the installers,
It sounds to me as if you still have a beef with Best Buy. They recommended and arranged this jackleg outfit to install your appliance and it was botched up. At the very least, the manager at Best Buy should be on the phone telling the installer's boss they need to make it right. They clearly did not install the required dedicated circuit and that has caused you other electrical issues. Like I said before, the BBB costs you nothing. I seriously doubt Best Buy wants a bad experience with them being made public.
 
  #13  
Old 10-27-14, 07:30 PM
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Excuse my ignorance, what is BBB?

edit: and I agree regarding going back to Best Buy, that's going to be my next move if tomorrow doesn't bring any resolution.
 
  #14  
Old 10-27-14, 07:36 PM
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  #15  
Old 10-27-14, 07:41 PM
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Excuse my ignorance, what is BBB?
Yep, Better Business Bureau. I am willing to give any business every opportunity to correct a wrong, but in the end, I am not afraid to complain if they don't.
 
  #16  
Old 10-27-14, 07:53 PM
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My guess is the installers were hired because they had a a Class C drivers license not an electrician license. They are going to need to send out an electrician to fix this and permits may need to be pulled. In fact assuming no permits were pulled the city inspection and licensing department may be another source of leverage.
 
  #17  
Old 10-28-14, 04:23 PM
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I would put some heat on Best Buy as well.
Contact them and throw a review in somewhere the public can see it criticizing their choice in installers they deal with.
As simple as it sounds to "install a microwave", they really should be recommending a reputable electrician for situations just like yours where a dedicated receptacle will be needed.
 
  #18  
Old 10-28-14, 05:46 PM
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Keep all your receipts and take pictures of anything they do/have done. Document your conversations and save any emails.

If you get nowhere with the store manager call corporate. Keep going higher up the ladder. Best Buy contracted the installation, Best Buy can make it right.

Worst case, get a couple of estimates by licensed electricians, not a handyman. Then tell Best Buy that you'll take them to small claims court and sue for whatever it costs to make it right. Don't forget to check as to whether or not they applied for and needed a permit - it can work in your favor.

Best Buy won't like the publicity and may settle.

The BBB, worth a shot but don't hold your breath. Legal action should get things moving.
 
  #19  
Old 10-28-14, 05:59 PM
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aandpdan,

Best Buy didn't hire these guys. They basically suggested them and it was the OP's decision ultimately to deal with them and pay them. I'm not defending the installers or Best Buy whatsoever, but I would think Best Buy has their hands clean from any legal action.
Its like somebody trying to sue ray (I like ray, so I'm going to pick on ray) because they took his advice on this site and their house imploded. It was their choice to attempt what ray suggested.
 
  #20  
Old 10-28-14, 06:08 PM
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I thought the installers were contracted by Best Buy. If I misread that then ignore most of what I wrote.
 
  #21  
Old 10-28-14, 07:26 PM
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I purchased a Whirlpool over-the-range microwave from a Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home showroom, from my local Best Buy. They arranged with an independent local company to have it delivered and installed, who I paid directly.
I'm reading this as Best Buy did not hire these guys because the OP paid the installers and not Best Buy. Best Buy just made the call that they knew of a job for these guys.
 
  #22  
Old 10-28-14, 08:16 PM
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Missed the part in bold. Thanks for the clarification Mr. A.
 
  #23  
Old 10-29-14, 06:50 AM
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The BBB, worth a shot but don't hold your breath. Legal action should get things moving.
The monetary value is not high enough to warrant legal action, that is why I suggested the BBB. The BBB has no legal authority, but a legitimate business, like Best Buy, listens to the BBB and will try their best to settle any complaints against them.

purchased a Whirlpool over-the-range microwave from a Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home showroom, from my local Best Buy. They arranged with an independent local company to have it delivered and installed, who I paid directly.
It doesn't sound as if there was a contract with Best Buy, but Best Buy did set the delivery and installation up for the OP, they do not have lilly white hands here and are definitely a party to the problem. The OP has already had a negative reply from the installers, it's time to go after Best Buy.
 
  #24  
Old 10-29-14, 01:30 PM
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Yeah I thought that Best Buy did the contracting directly.

Small claims is an option, against the installer. It's cheap to file and you'll get it back when you win.

They were hired to perform a service. As part of that service you expect them to comply with all installation instructions and applicable codes.

Check the instructions - does it state "dedicated circuit?"
Check if a permit was required for the outlet install. If yes, get a letter from the AJH attesting to that or call him as a witness.

See if these guys are licensed too.
 

Last edited by aandpdan; 10-29-14 at 01:37 PM. Reason: add info
  #25  
Old 10-29-14, 02:00 PM
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You could also make Best Buy a co-defendant if you sue in small claims court. Not that you'd likely win if it went to a judge but a big corporation would probably settle given the amount. Not a tactic I generally endorse but in this case it might be warranted.
 
  #26  
Old 10-29-14, 03:22 PM
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Just to throw in my two cents, I think you should definitely be pursuing Best Buy as well as the installer. While the installer was the one who was doing work they are not qualified/licensed for, it was Best Buy who recommended them. They should not be recommending an unqualified company as part of the 'deal'.

A well-written letter can often do wonders if you imply legal action. As others have said, small claims court is set up for things like this... but certainly requires your time and effort, and you'll have to decide whether it's worth it.

At this point, I would find a licensed electrican. Have him document what's wrong for you in his quote, and have him fix it for a few hundred $$. You can use this as proof about what they did wrong. (while all these folks here are quite qualified, standing in front of a judge with a local electrician's document probably holds more weight).

Whatever happens, remember it could always be worse and could always cost more... so consider yourself lucky Good luck!
 
  #27  
Old 10-29-14, 07:28 PM
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While I think Zorfdt made some good points, I take issue with one statement.

They should not be recommending an unqualified company as part of the 'deal'.
Best Buy didn't recommend the installers, they actually called them and made all arrangements for them to deliver and install the unit. Some might even construe that as a verbal contract between Best Buy and the installers as a "no-charge" service to the buyer.

They arranged with an independent local company to have it delivered and installed, who I paid directly.
 
  #28  
Old 10-30-14, 04:04 AM
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Twohoots, the OP, lives in an apartment, correct? In most places it is a big no-no for a renter to modify apartment wiring.
 
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