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We wish your friend luck in dealing with ACODECO.

We had a terrible experience and after a year or so we gave up.  Roger Bellido heard about our experience and started tweeting to key Twitter accounts and created a lot of noise for us.  We finally were able to get our refund and we purchased a refrigerator at another store.

This was a nightmare and the excuses, now, are laughable. Below is a correspondence during this time. 

____________________________________________

We purchased the refrigerator in December 2013 and it was delivered in December.

We plugged the refrigerator in and about a week later it starts to make a loud banging noise at random times.  Sounds like a hammer on a metal pot.  Loud.  Twice the food in the freezer partially melted.

In January 2014 we went to Audiophoto and we were told to contact Samsung.

In February a Samsung technician came to the house, heard the noise, said it is a common problem with this refrigerator, it cannot be repaired.  A search on the internet and Youtube shows the numerous complaints this model of refrigerator has. We waited for Samsung to send us the report and no replies.

We went to Audiophoto several times and first asked for a replacement with a different refrigerator that was not the Samsung.  They said no. We then asked both Samsung and Audiophoto for a refund and we were denied.  We have been ignored by Audiophoto and we no longer want to conduct business with them.  We want a refund.

We also contacted Samsung and we were told that the loud banging noise is normal for a refrigerator.  We were then told to make a video recording of the noise and send to them.  This is absurd.

We exhausted all efforts and decided to file with ACODECO.

XXXXX at ACODECO told us that the law states that Audiphoto has 30 days to make some type of offer to settle this problem.  Since they ignored us and let the 30 days lapse, ACODECO told us that they have essentially lost their case / rights and must refund our money.

ACODECO was finally able to get the technician's report from Samsung.  XXXXXX said that a video recording of a noise is not admissible evidence.  He said he would schedule us to appear before the ACODECO "judge".

We had many delays in getting the appointment but we finally were given an appointment on September 15th.  We were told to arrive early so we could complete the paperwork giving permission for Nancy Burgess to act as an interpreter/translator.   Nancy was told to bring a copy of her passport so that she could complete the paperwork that gives her permission to interpret for us.

We arrived at 2 PM for the 3 PM meeting and twice asked for the paperwork and twice were denied.  They claimed they were busy however they were just sitting at the desk.

We were then taken into an office with an ACODECO representative, a female who did not give us her name.  The meeting was suppose to be with XXXXX.  We never could get an answer why we were not appearing in front of the ACODECO judge.  The ACODECO woman made it very clear to us that she wanted nothing to do with resolving this situation.  She would not answer our questions about why we were not in front of the judge, what the law states in regards to the 30 day limit, or anything.  Both the ACODECO person and the representative from Audiophoto made derogatory comments about us being "Americanos" thinking we did not understand Spanish, even though we had an interpreter with us fluent in Spanish.  

The ACODECO woman made us sign a paper that said we will reschedule because we do not have the paperwork completed allowing for the interpreter.  We said that we were denied the paperwork at the front desk.  She ignored us.She would not look at us and or answers questions.

On our own we attempted to settle this with the Audiphoto representative.  Audiophoto said that Samsung said they do not trust the judgment of their own technician and they want us to record the sound.  We asked how do I record a sound that is random.  A sound that occurs at 2 AM.  She said when I hear the noise at night, to get up and record it.  I said that is after the noise occurred.  She laughed at us.  I said that ACODECO/ XXXXXX told us that a video of a noise is not admissible.  When question the ACODECO woman would not answer us to as whether this is true.  We then said that Pat could stand in the background and make the noise with a hammer.  The Audiophoto person laughed and nodded her head (yes).

We asked how do we get this video to you.  How to record?  On what format?  The Audiophoto rep had no real answers because the request was so absurd.  Then both the ACODECO person and the Audiophoto person said to bring the recording to the store in David and they will decide.

We said that is not a compromise.  And we did not agree to be bound by the decision made by Audiophoto after viewing the video.  They wanted us to agree to this but we would have done this silly task, Audiphoto would listen to the tape and say nope and then that would be perceived as an agreed upon settlement.

We refused.  We were told to schedule another meeting.

Our interpreter had a difficult time getting the appointment.   They kept telling her that ACODECO has done all they can do.  Nancy replied that ACODECO has done nothing and has not even attempted to mediate this claim.

We contacted our attorney and he also ran into problems and we then decided to let this drop.  Too much time and aggravation.

Then Roger Bellido intervened and we were able to sort this out with ACODECO and Audiophoto.  During this time, we were told that the case was closed because they scheduled us for another meeting but we never showed up.  We were never contacted. There were many half-baked excuses offered.

_______________________________________

Bring lots of documentation with you.

Good luck.

 

 

 

Edited by Pat and Susan
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I agree ACODECO is worthless, not worth the trouble.

Coffee Mountain Inn in Santa Fe refused to give me the jubilado discount. Soon after, on December 10, 2014 (a year ago) I filed a complaint with ACODECO. I hired a translator to go with me.

I have in  hand a resolution that says the owner of Coffee Mountain Inn is supposed to be fined $200 and I am to be refunded $138.38. But I sure haven't seen the money and I very much doubt that Coffee Mountain Inn has paid the fine.

During this entire year, I have spent useless time in their office, and from time to time I have my employee call to check the status. Each time we are told "call back next month." The person in David handling my "case" is Dalila, 775-2536.. (If Roger Bellido can get this resolved, I'll gladly give him half of what I'm refunded.)

I give up. The time I've spent and the aggravation is worth more than $136.

 

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Lucky us. A few weeks ago we shopped at Audiophoto for a microwave oven. The salesman tried to sell us a Samsung brand. Didn't like the "hurry & buy" approach, so did a quick exit and bought a better oven for less money at a different store. 

Sorry for your horrible experience with ACODECO (Dottie, sorry for you also.) Two of my friends told me that this agency is a "joke". One man gave up after three years with zero success trying to resolve a refund dispute.

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Ladies

Despite your bad experiences I do still have strong confidence on ACODECO.  They have given solutions to almost 90% of the cases presented.  All favoring the customers.  It is a beast very difficult to handle but once you dominate the way to do it you will see the results.   In Panama City the name of ACODECO and people complaining to file a claim cause fear on the stores and business.  Lately it has solved problems in the real estate arena.   This past "black Friday" in Panama was very busy for Acodeco and they helped consumers with their claims against some stores and business.

Not all cases are the same.  Some are more complicated than others.  Some cases have more relevance than others.  But there are some hints and procedures to follow.   Remember that filing a claim through ACODECO is becoming LITIGANT.  Remember that the business will try to avoid any responsibility so you should be prepared and knowledgeable.

I will try to give you some recommendations:

 

1.  You or the person who will do the talking should speak Spanish language as much as possible to understand what is being required, said and to expose your case well before the authorities.   When in doubt ASK, ASK, ASK... don't let things to interpretations.   This is very important.  You should present a strong case.  With all the facts, documentations and everything written you will be successful in your claims.

2.  Have all your documentation in written and handy.   Have your purchase invoice at hand.  Write down a letter to the director of ACODECO with the following information: 

      Name of the store or business you are filing a claim

      Correct Address of the business or store

       Business phone number

       Your name and ID number

        Your address

        Your phone number    

3.  Have the description of the problem very clear and written.   Be able to crearly express and demonstrate the problem to the authorities and the business you did the purchase.

4.  Write down the name and the position of the salesman, the store manager where you bought the product.  Also write down the name and position of the people at ACODECO who is attending your case.   Also get their phone number and/or cell phone number to contact them.

5.  Write down or make them to write you down the dates for the meetings or new visits to ACODECO and/or the store.

6.  Follow up weekly the process with calls to ACODECO or the store.

7.  Remember the stategy is "Iron fist - Velvet Glove"

 

The professional buyer in my house is my wife....and she is so strict when purchasing and you should see her when complaining.   Very polite but firm she will get what she wants and people at the stores fear that she file a complain at ACODECO.    We have never lost a complain with business and stores.

 

Hope this help. 

 

 

Edited by Roger B
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 Roger, I did everything you suggested. But now I've spent more time than it's worth. Contrary to your statement, I have no confidence in Acodeco. Based on my experience, I wouldn't bother to file a complaint with them again.

Also, according to Pat and Susan, you had to get involved to finally get resolution of their case.

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Yes we did everything that Roger suggested and more.  This wasn't our first rodeo and you need to know when to just walk away.

Roger heard about our plight and started a Twitter campaign and got the attention of Samsung and ACODECO.  We are very grateful to Roger for helping us to get resolution of this problem.  

I posted this as an advisory so that people will be aware.  I have also heard a few good stories about ACODECO which is why we were surprised about our dealings with them. 

I only posted the main highlights, there were other absurd and aggravating interactions with ACODECO and Audiophoto. 

The worse was when the ACODECO rep and the Audiophoto rep spoke in Spanish in front of us thinking we would not understand and they made derogatory comments about us being "Americanos" and they were not going to negotiate with us.  We've never experienced that before in Panama.  

Apologies were eventually given by ACODECO and Audiophoto but it shouldn't have been this bad of a situation in the first place.

 

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29 minutes ago, Querencia said:

Possibly a little off topic but what was the model of the Samsung fridge please. I plan to buy a fridge soon.

Continuing off topic: I don't know what size fridge you want, but a couple of years ago I bought a large Panasonic with inverter. I hesitated to buy it because I couldn't find any reviews, but hands down, it's the best refrigerator I've ever had

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2 hours ago, Querencia said:

Possibly a little off topic but what was the model of the Samsung fridge please. I plan to buy a fridge soon.

I will try to find the model number, it is a three door with the freezer on the bottom, 26 cf.  Audiophoto and Panaphoto have this model.

The other point is that we've had smaller items break down and we just decide what is worth our time and aggravation - this refrig was $1800.00 so it was initially worth our time and aggravation but this experience was so bad, we decided to walk away from it.  It was taking up time that we'd never get back.

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It is really bad business when Audiofoto would not take back a clearly defective product that was only a month old.  I swear all the manufacturers have bins at the end of their production lines marked "Accept", "Reject", and "Reject and Send to Latin America."  They send all the crap here that would not be acceptable to sell in the U.S. or Europe.  It has gotton so I am afraid to buy anything electronic here.  I got a DeLonghi espresso machine from eBay almost 10 years ago.  It started leaking (but still works), so I bought another one here.  It worked 6 months.  Panafoto sent it for repair, unsuccessfully.  So they gave me a new one.  That one quit in 4 months.  I'm afraid to buy another one.  I commend Panafoto for honoring the warranty though and trying to make good on it. 

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4 hours ago, Pat and Susan said:

I will try to find the model number, it is a three door with the freezer on the bottom, 26 cf.  Audiophoto and Panaphoto have this model.

The other point is that we've had smaller items break down and we just decide what is worth our time and aggravation - this refrig was $1800.00 so it was initially worth our time and aggravation but this experience was so bad, we decided to walk away from it.  It was taking up time that we'd never get back.

I read an article from Consumer Reports that if repairs for an appliance would cost more than 30 per cent of the original purchase price of the item, toss it out and buy a new one.

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6 hours ago, Dottie Atwater said:

Continuing off topic: I don't know what size fridge you want, but a couple of years ago I bought a large Panasonic with inverter. I hesitated to buy it because I couldn't find any reviews, but hands down, it's the best refrigerator I've ever had

I've heard really excellent reviews on Panasonic refrigerators with inverter. Really don't know how the inverter works or what role it plays. Can you explain?

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2 minutes ago, Dottie Atwater said:

I don't know how the inverter works, but it's supposed to require less electricity for the refrigerator..

Dottie: where did you purchase the refrigerator?

i'm looking for a small refrigerator (66 inches high x 30 inches wide) with a freezer on the bottom.  Know where I can find?

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4 minutes ago, Dottie Atwater said:

I don't know how the inverter works, but it's supposed to require less electricity for the refrigerator..

Well.  Inverter means that the motor or the compressor works in DC but the power coming from the grid is AC.   Using a low voltage DC motor allows to consume less energy.  The motor works at adaptable speeds instead the constant speed.  The appliances with inverter technology  adjusts to demands for power, it does not need to run at an optimal level all the time. This characteristics is what makes them energy savers.

 

How this translate in a Refrigerator.  At day, when you use the refrigerator the most opening and closing its door constantly the motor or the compressor will work at full speed but when  it is reaching the desired temperature the speed of the motor will slow down just to keep the temperature level.  This action will use less energy.   The old technology will keep the refrigerator at the same motor speed.  Other technology  shut down  the motor and start it again but this peak could harm the motor and will require more energy to start working.

 

Hope this help
 

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4 hours ago, JudyS said:

It is really bad business when Audiofoto would not take back a clearly defective product that was only a month old.  I swear all the manufacturers have bins at the end of their production lines marked "Accept", "Reject", and "Reject and Send to Latin America."  They send all the crap here that would not be acceptable to sell in the U.S. or Europe.  It has gotton so I am afraid to buy anything electronic here.  I got a DeLonghi espresso machine from eBay almost 10 years ago.  It started leaking (but still works), so I bought another one here.  It worked 6 months.  Panafoto sent it for repair, unsuccessfully.  So they gave me a new one.  That one quit in 4 months.  I'm afraid to buy another one.  I commend Panafoto for honoring the warranty though and trying to make good on it. 

You could be correct about the general quality of appliances sent our way.

During a trip to the US last year we special ordered a Miele dishwasher. Couldn't locate what we needed here. Crossed all fingers and hoped for the best. Took a very long time for this appliance to arrive (via sea) and was too expensive, but this machine is great. Quiet operation and dishes sparkle.

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30 minutes ago, Marcelyn said:

Dottie: where did you purchase the refrigerator?

i'm looking for a small refrigerator (66 inches high x 30 inches wide) with a freezer on the bottom.  Know where I can find?

I purchased it at Rodelag but other stores also had it at the time. I don't know if the same model is still available. It has two doors in front (side by size). Below that is a  deep drawer (refrigerated) that has a pull-out tray. Really holds a lot of stuff. Then on the bottom is the freezer. It also has a pull-out tray. This is the best refrigerator I've ever had in my entire life. 

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1 hour ago, Roger B said:

Well.  Inverter means that the motor or the compressor works in DC but the power coming from the grid is AC.   Using a low voltage DC motor allows to consume less energy.  The motor works at adaptable speeds instead the constant speed.  The appliances with inverter technology  adjusts to demands for power, it does not need to run at an optimal level all the time. This characteristics is what makes them energy savers.

 

How this translate in a Refrigerator.  At day, when you use the refrigerator the most opening and closing its door constantly the motor or the compressor will work at full speed but when  it is reaching the desired temperature the speed of the motor will slow down just to keep the temperature level.  This action will use less energy.   The old technology will keep the refrigerator at the same motor speed.  Other technology  shut down  the motor and start it again but this peak could harm the motor and will require more energy to start working.

 

Hope this help
 

Roger:. You explained how an inverter works very well. I now understand. Thanks ?

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I am a little afraid of saying something wrong here since I am not sure how this site works. I try to say something nice and get immediate dislikes? 

However, I will reiterate a very positive experience with ACODECO.  Having proper documentation in a case of approx. a $5K settlement - l am legally bound to not disclose the details. They were professional, prompt, and clearly on the side of the consumer - us. The vendor tried to take advantage of us since in good faith, we made a sizeable down payment while the vendor never ordered the product, which is illegal but we wanted to move on.  We were refunded our money since having the documentation in this case was relatively straightforward. 

Best Regards and wish everyone the same experience.

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3 hours ago, Val said:

I am a little afraid of saying something wrong here since I am not sure how this site works. I try to say something nice and get immediate dislikes? 

However, I will reiterate a very positive experience with ACODECO.  Having proper documentation in a case of approx. a $5K settlement - l am legally bound to not disclose the details. They were professional, prompt, and clearly on the side of the consumer - us. The vendor tried to take advantage of us since in good faith, we made a sizeable down payment while the vendor never ordered the product, which is illegal but we wanted to move on.  We were refunded our money since having the documentation in this case was relatively straightforward. 

Best Regards and wish everyone the same experience.

 

Val:

 

Dont worry.  Until today I have not seen nasty remarks or comments from one person to another regarding a post.  

As I previously stated, each case is different and has it particular characteristics.   You stated something important:  Proper documentation and follow up.   I know that some examples posted here by some ladies have their own special characteristics and for some reason werent solved the best way it should be.  But in general,  the experiences from people I know, friends, family, colleagues, etc. have been good.   I know that sometimes there are people that didnt do things the best ethic way but I can say that in general they do a good job.

In the case I helped Susan Farrell there was something strange in the way the claim was handled by the people of ACODECO.  What I did was to post a harsh comment about this case in the twitter account of Acodeco and to make additional pressure I copy the twit to a couple of famous journalist in Panama.   It worked.   I got the attention from the person who manages the twitter account and sent me all the details and contact information of the Chiriqui's regional director of Acodeco.  He was contacted from the main Acodeco's office from Panama regarding the twit I sent.    I called him and explain the situation as I understood it from Susan.   He was unaware of the situation and personally took care of the case.  He was so kind to call me and receive my calls.  He got the file with the case and explained to me what was written in the file and according to the information I got from Susan I clarified all the situation.  He commanded his employees to review the case again and give a quick and fast solution.   Finally it was solved in favor of Susan.  She got the return of the money and she could buy another refrigerator in other place and another model she could trust.   

Lessons from this case.  

LANGUAGE total comprehension is a must.   I did explain them the case and it looked as they understood something different and they didnt try to give clear instructions, or have better communication with Susan.  They told me things totally different from what Susan told me.  I decided to explain them, the situation again and ask them for a quick solution - Polite but Firm.  That is my motto.  

Second thing.  If you are dealing with a low level employee and you have proof and you are sure he is not giving you the best solution or attention go for his Manager or Supervisor. Polite but firm explain nice and easy the case and the way you feel about how your case is handled.    I didnt want to talk to the low level employees so I contacted the Director.   He was so kind and cooperative to give a quick and satisfactory solution to the problem.  He called me a couple of days, after they contacted Susan and she visited Acodeco offices and went to Audiofoto, to see if Susan (my cousin) LOL, was satisfied with the solution of the case.  Yes, in order to talk in representation of Susan I told the Director she was my cousin.   She was the sister of the husband of a cousin I have living in the USA.   A little white lie.

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For what it's worth, we are on our third inverter-driven refrigerator (one Panasonic, two Samsungs) in five years. All three have been highly satisfactory, and all three emit the random, loud thump a couple of time a day. I imagine it is an unavoidable characteristic of the inverter switching system. We are used to it, and are only occasionally startled - and just grin and accept it as a sign that all is well with the fridge...

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