Sunday, 9 December 2012

Auction Mart: Internet clearance bin

Every year Global Winnipeg holds an internet auction through Auction Mart. You can bid on goods and services and hopefully get something you want at less than what you would normally pay for it.


Last April I bought an electric fireplace from a local furniture store. It came packed in re-used bubblewrap and copious amounts of packing tape. I know the wrap was re-used because it had labels on it for living room furniture.

When I finally got around to unwrapping it I found some damage to the finish on the top. Not great, but oh well ... I guess we got a good deal on it, as long as it heats up the rec room ...

So I plugged it in and ... okay ... now what? I presume there is some way to turn this thing on but there's no remote control. After a short search I found three toggle switches tucked away in a corner of the unit, but after trying them in every combination at least 3 times nothing happened. Well, okay, maybe I should check the manual.

There is no manual.

So I copied down some numbers from the back of the fireplace and looked up the fireplace on the internet and eventually found a pdf version of the manual on the manufacturer's website. "The unit is operated with the ON and OFF buttons on the remote control." Yes, well ... I don't have a remote.

So I emailed the manufacturer with the model number and explained my problem..
The fireplace that we purchased will not start up. There is power going to the unit, but the unit shows no signs of life when turned on. I have tried all combinations of the control buttons. Does this model come with a remote control?

"The manual switch needs to be in the II position in order to use the supplied remote and in the I position if you use the manual switches on the insert.."

The fireplace did not come with a remote, and the switch on the right does not have a 'II' Position. It has only 'I' and 'O'. Is this model supposed to have a remote?

"Yes this model should come with an on/off functioning remote only. Where did you purchase this model and what is the serial number off the sticker on the rear that tells me when it was manufactured."

I provided the info but heard nothing back. So, I contacted the furniture store in an ornery mood and threatened to return it, but apparently because I bought it through Auction Mart it could not be returned. When you buy through the auction you buy it as is, except you can't see how it is when you buy it.

To the store's credit, they did send away for a remote control for me. I drove down and picked up the remote, which also came with a different power adapter. Alright ... well maybe I can get this thing running now.

I plugged the new adapter in and pressed ON and ... we have a humming sound! We have heat! But ... there is no light. Isn't there supposed to be some kind of flame effect or something?

So the next step is to check the light bulbs. After reading how to change the light bulbs in my pdf manual on the computer, I pulled the thing apart and found this:
Nice.

These aren't ordinary burnt out light bulbs, but like .. exploded bulbs or something. What the hell happened to this thing. Did it get hit by lightning?

Anyhow, I replaced the bulbs and FINALLY it's fully functional. For how long who knows, but for now it's working, and doesn't even look that bad as long as you don't look too closely.
Still, this cost me far too much time and effort, and wasn't much of a deal all things considered. My advice to you is to beware: you can get good deals on on-line auctions like Auction Mart, but some retailers simply use them as a clearance bin for crap they can't otherwise sell.

6 comments:

ehtesham hyder said...

Nice blog! I like your valyable thoughts. Keep posting and keep entertaining with your valuable thoughts.
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Shaun M. Wheeler said...

I too like your valyable thoughts. I've been meaning to buy an electric fireplace for the living room. How do you like your model?

cherenkov said...

I'm surprised the spam filter didn't block that. Usually the filter is pretty good at blocking comments from Wheeler.

Ha! I kill me. Seriously though, I would be better able to answer the question after spending a winter with it, but it seems okay so far. It's an easy solution and looks okay.

little gray bird said...

It's a pretty nice looking fireplace, now that you have it working. We have an electric fireplace too (bought at Canadian Tire on a 40% sale a few years back) and love it. It seems to be cheaper than running our electric heat in the living room which is a nice added bonus.

Shaun M. Wheeler said...

No spam filter can keep me out!

We took a look at the fireplaces at Canadian Tire and are considering options!

Anonymous said...

I bought a new $3500 fridge for $1600 last April on Auction Mart.

Midland Maytag said it was a display model on the phone and I said that was not stated in the ad so I received a brand new S/S fridge.

They were pretty easy about it.

 
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