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Families Say They Were Duped by Santa Ana Used Home Appliances Store

NBC Los Angeles 10/6/2022 Christine Roher
© Provided by NBC Los Angeles

Home appliances can cost a lot of money. That’s why some consumers try to save some cash by buying used or refurbished appliances. But you need to vet the business you’re buying from. The I-Team’s received complaints from consumers who say they've been duped by one Santa Ana used appliance store. 

Kari Bouffard paid $900 for a used refrigerator after seeing an ad on Offer Up. 

“It looked like it was brand new, something off a sales floor,” she said.

Bouffard says the seller quickly delivered the fridge, but told her to wait two hours before plugging it in.

“When we did, it never worked,” she said.

Bouffard eventually junked the appliance, after learning it needed a $700 compressor. She says the seller ignored her repeated phone calls and the 90-day warranty that supposedly came with the refrigerator. 

“They have it down perfectly. They know exactly what they’re doing,” said Bouffard. 

Tracking down the seller can be tricky. The I-Team followed several online posts for used appliances for sale in Santa Ana. They promise appliances that “work perfectly” and are in “good condition.” A business name is never mentioned. But all the posts led us to Appliance Palacios, according to paperwork filed with the city. Although signage outside the store simply says: Appliance Store. 

Bouffard learned this is where her refrigerator came from, too. The address was scribbled on some paperwork. 

And other buyers are complaining about the company, too: on Yelp, they’ve given the business a one-star rating. One consumer called Appliance Palacios “liars and cheats,” and others say the business is a “scam.” Most of them complain that their appliances never worked or conked out within weeks. 

“I don’t want more people wasting their money, throwing their money out there,” said Bouffard.

The I-Team tried to talk with the owner of Appliance Palacios. One man, who said he was the owner, told us to leave. The company didn’t respond to our follow up phone calls and texts. 

Perry Santanachote researched how to shop for used appliances for Consumer Reports. She says you can save a lot of money buying used, but she says to stay clear of posts you see on online marketplaces. 

“We actually advise that people don't do that because there’s no guarantee that what you actually come home with is actually going to work once you plug it in,” she said.

Instead, Santachote says to shop at a business with a solid reputation. When you find an appliance you like, see if there have been any recalls or complaints about that make and model. She also suggests you get the serial number of the machine and see how old it is. And she says to ask the seller about the history of the appliance, like what they found upon inspection and what parts they replaced. 

“If they’re not able to answer any of these simple questions, then you know they haven’t really looked into it or they haven’t looked at the machine at all,” said Santachote.

As for Bouffard, she simply wants to warn other consumers to stay away from this store and spend your hard-earned money somewhere else.

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” she said. 

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