Buying a fridge off Gumtree?

Let’s face it, sometimes you just need a cheap fridge to see you through the hard times – or because you simply have too much beer. You may find yourself turning to Gumtree to find your answers. There is nothing wrong with buying a fridge off Gumtree, we do it ourselves, but there are some things that can go wrong. Not a day goes by that we don’t receive the phone call “I bought this fridge off Gumtree.. and now it doesn’t work.” So here is a list of things to look out for when buying that cheap fridge off gumtree.

  1. Is it working? It sounds obvious, but is the fridge working. Ask them to have the fridge plugged in and running for at least 24 hours, a week if you can. If they refuse – there is a good reason for that.

    Some of the excuses we have seen:
    “I can deliver it to you” – See it working before you hand over any money, if they deliver it then they won’t hang around for 2 hours while you wait for the fridge to get cold.
    “I had it plugged in but the power cable wasn’t pushed in all the way so it wasn’t actually plugged in” – Come back tomorrow when the fridge has been running over night and had a chance to not only get down to temperature but maintain it too.
    “The power was out” – You have to see it working, probably best to skip this one.
    “I didn’t have time/forgot to plug it in” – Either come back tomorrow or just accept that they are making excuses for a reason.
    When we purchase a fridge we bring it back to the workshop to be tested before we hand over any money, make sure you know what you are buying.

  2. “It just needs re-gassing”… it doesn’t; There is no simple thing as re-gassing a fridge. The better question is why it ran out of gas. Repairing gas leaks is no simple task, and the repair bill will reflect that. If you are chasing a cheap fridge – don’t get the one that needs repairs. If they say it is an easy fix, then why haven’t they done it????
  3. “Just needs new seals.” Some seals can be easily replaced. If you know what you are doing it can be done in less than 30 minutes. We get our seals from Airtight Seals in Bibra Lake, if you want to know about seal replacement, give them a call. Just keep in mind that the seals will only need to be replaced if the rubber is damaged. If the door isn’t closing, but the seals are in good condition, odds are the door or fridge cabinet is crooked. Try adjusting the hinges and/or feet of the fridge and see if that does the trick. But do keep in mind, they may be telling you it needs new seals because the fridge isn’t getting cold and they think that is the problem. Make sure the fridge works before you hand over any money.
  4. Transport – Always keep it upright. Fridge compressors don’t like being transported on their sides, they may not work when they reach their destination. It is always recommended to transport a fridge (or washer) upright. If you do then when the fridge arrives at the destination you can turn it on just as soon as it is installed, no need to wait 24 hours like they did in the old days. If you transport a fridge on it’s side then it may not work when it arrives, it isn’t guaranteed to fail, but when we sell a fridge and the customer chooses to transport it on the side the warranty is voided……and for good reason.
  5. “Just needs some shelves” – Sounds easy right??? Not so. Westinghouse alone has more than 360 models of fridges and freezers in Australia... how many variations on the shelving do you think they have? Finding the right shelf is a real challenge, no one sells them second hand and if the fridge is more than 5 years old then you may not even be able to get it new... and new shelving costs between $50 and $200. Before you get that fridge check to see if you can get replacement shelves. On a side note, if you have some spare Perspex lying around, you may just find it easier to make one for yourself.
  6. “It’s just coming out of storage” – Just because it was working when it went into storage, doesn’t mean it will work when it comes out. Fridges prefer to be turned on and left alone, leaving a fridge in storage for a few years can cause problems. Always always always see a fridge working before you by it.

It is unfortunate that we have to say this, but there are some bad people out there that don’t do the right thing. We have heard this story too many times for us to not try to warn others; There are a number of people out there who pick up fridges from the side of the road and sell them as their own, offering to deliver them without charge and even help bring them into your house. As they take your money they will tell you to wait 24 hours before turning it on. The fridge will never get cold and you will never be able to get your money back. What’s more, there was a reason that fridge was on the verge in the first place... because it wasn’t repairable. Please be careful when buying off Gumtree, we always recommend that you check out your products before you pay for them.

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