My hope for this page is that it will encourage other RVers who have had failed Norcold (and Dometic) refrigerators despite the many recalls through the years to file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is the agency who deals with public safety issues in this matter (not warranty or reimbursement issues).
They cannot force Norcold to change anything about their design, so it’s up to us to make our voices heard and complain or it will just continue to be business as usual for Norcold, with us paying the price.
“NHTSA cannot directly force a manufacturer to change a design or their manufacturing process. Typically, when millions of units are recalled and costly campaigns conducted, the manufacturer corrects course. However, if there is a safety concern we can open an investigation which may lead to a safety recall.”
Their website was maddening in trying to find relevant information, I couldn’t always find direct URLs to refer back to, and I also found some documents marked with wrong recall numbers.
Here is a site search of NHTSA for Norcold (Recalls, Complaints, etc.) if you want to dig around for more specific info. To get to related documents, notifications and required Quarterly Reports, click on “Associated Documents.” Besides the Recalls tab, look under Investigations and Complaints for even more ridiculous behavior by Norcold. Even after fires caused by the exact same issues as recalls, if you’re not on their list, too bad, they won’t pay. And if you paid thousands last month and then discovered you were on the list but didn’t get recall notice, tough luck says Norcold. And there are quite a few who never got the notice.
Since this has been going on since at least 1999, it’s pretty obvious by now that Norcold has chosen the path of what is most profitable to them and has not corrected their course in any meaningful way.
But as Alex Ansley, Sr. Safety Recall Specialist, further said, “From the safety angle, consumer complaints are the biggest source of our investigative data and we really need complaints filed through our website found here https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/Complaint.cfm.”
It wasn’t a difficult or time consuming process. Just have your model and serial number and your story to tell.
Please think about filing a complaint with your particular details. How can we keep complaining that something needs to be done about this kind of negligence if we aren’t willing to at least start with this much?!
Of course, your focus and info may differ somewhat, but start here and choose “Equipment” to see the info you will need to provide. Then scroll down to type your Description. (You have 2000 characters.) The site will take you through the rest of the data you need to include and you have a chance to review everything before you submit it. Just remember, this agency does not deal with warranty or reimbursement issues.
Other avenues would be your state’s Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau. I’ve heard people say this won’t do any good, but really – how do you know until you try?
All the nitty-gritty information you’d ever want to read about the recalls Norcold has done on their RV refrigerators since at least 1999 and the nightmares this has caused thousands of RVers are contained in these pages of research I’ve posted to my website:
Norcold RV Refrigerators – My experience when the cooling unit failed in my 2012 motorhome and the start of my research into this unconscionable company.
Norcold Refrigerator Recalls – Getting into details about the numerous and ineffective recalls done by Norcold to its cooling units since 1997 and how they are actually now making things worse for the consumer.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): This is the agency that deals with public safety issues in this matter.
Norcold Class Action Lawsuit – Recap of Etter v. Norcold filed in 2012 and still pending. This page also links other lawsuits that have been settled, including one resulting in the death of an owner.
Amish Cooling Unit v. Norcold – I was happy to see there is an alternative to keep replacing with Norcold defective parts. And it also proves a better product can be made, so why isn’t Norcold doing it?