General Electric customers who purchased a refrigerator with an ice dispenser in the door of the freezer have been finding more than ice rattling around in their cocktails.
"Pieces of plastic were dispensed with the ice into drinks," wrote Madeline of Pompano Beach, Fla. "After a while bits of metal shavings were coming out with the ice."
Consumers have said the pieces of plastic have ranged from small bits all the way to the size of a thick 50 cent piece. James Morris, of Jacksonville, Fla., said the plastic pieces are clear and blend in with the ice.
ConsumerAffairs.com has received about 25 complaints about this problem. All complaints indicate that it is GE models that have a WR30X10061 ice maker.
GE makes two icemakers. However, the model mentioned above, which is in the great majority of GE's refrigerators seems to be the center of this problem.
Morris, who has two young children, said he has replaced his icemaker three times in three years because it keeps breaking and spitting out the plastic. He has now given up on it and does not use the icemaker function of the refrigerator because he believes it's dangerous to do so.
No Surprise to GE
GE is fully aware of the problem.
"There have been rare instances where plastic breaks off the bucket or auger which moves the ice to the dispenser," Kim Freeman, GE spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail.
"Improvements have been made in recent years but we, like all other manufacturers, continue to look for ways to make the plastic parts used in ice makers more robust. Again, instances of metal shavings dispensed from ice makers are rare and this is probably related to the same problem that causes plastic to break -- when the ice maker is trying to dispense ice that has frozen together," she said.
According to PartAdvantage.Com, the part has changed names at least three times. However, a follow-up e-mail to GE revealed no specifics on actual "improvements" or specific numbers of instances in either icemaker.
"Improvements are on-going," wrote Freeman. "The part number you (ConsumerAffairs.com) cite is for the electronic icemaker we have been using for the past five years. Within that time period, we have made numerous improvements to that design."
Many consumers complain that GE won't replace the hazardous ice maker.
"I wrote to GE and asked that they replace this unit at no cost to me," Beverly of Winter Haven, Flor. wrote. "They told me to simply call Sears. I did not purchase the refrigerator from Sears, and when I called them, they had no clue as to what was going on. I wrote again to GE and they have not responded."
Susan of Beckville, TX, wrote, "My husband has swallowed plastic pieces and my nine-year-old daughter actually ended up with a large piece of metal in her mouth. I have called GE twice and been told I would be called back but never have heard anything from them."
Russ, whose daughter nearly choked on a piece of plastic and possibly ingested some, wrote, "I consider GE's lackadaisical attitude regarding safety to equate to gross negligence."