Woman puts heat on Frigidaire after AC goes out

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Sangita Desai, of Wilmette, uses a wall-mounted air-conditioning unit to cool her attic bedroom. (Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune / July 16, 2014)

Even during an unseasonably cool summer, the timing of Sangita Desai's air conditioner breakdown wasn't great.

The Wilmette resident flipped the switch on the wall-mounted unit in mid-May and immediately realized there was a problem.

"I was like, 'Wait a minute, this thing is not cooling,'" Desai said.

Although she has central air to cool the lower floors of her house, she uses the wall-mounted Frigidaire unit to cool the top floor, which contains her bedroom.

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Even on cooler summer days, the top floor can get uncomfortable, she said.

Hoping to get the air conditioner running quickly, she called a repairman.

After some tinkering, the technician declared the unit a lost cause.

"He said he can't fix it," Desai said. "I have to replace it."

Luckily, she still had her owner's manual from her 2010 purchase. On page 12 she found the warranty, which stated the $500 air conditioner was covered for five years.

Happy that it was still under warranty, she called Frigidaire.

After hearing an explanation of the situation, the representative promised to send a replacement, Desai said.

"I thought, 'Oh great!'" Desai said. "They said they'd ship it in a week."

When nothing arrived, she began contacting Frigidaire.

On June 18, Desai sent the company an email asking for immediate help.

"We are in the middle of a particularly hot and humid week in Chicago, which triggers severe allergy issues for some of us," she wrote.

Again she was told a replacement air conditioner would be shipped.

Eight days later, with the replacement still missing, she emailed again.

"Please let me know ASAP what is going on," Desai wrote. "I just want this situation resolved. This has been exhausting!"

With that, Frigidaire finally sent a replacement. But when Desai tried to plug it in, she realized it was a 230-volt unit, and her outlet can only handle 115 volts.

Frustrated, she tried a new approach, asking for a refund or a different unit. With no resolution in sight, she emailed the entire board of directors at Electrolux, Frigidaire's parent company, July 10.

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