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GenTrax 3.5 kVA Generator - trying to make a warranty claim

I’m trying to make a warranty claim on a GenTrax 3.5 kVA generator but am running out of patience and would appreciate advice.

The generator was brought from Crazy Sales https://www.crazysales.com.au/online-free-shipping-gentrax-3-5kva-pure-sine-silent-inverter-generator-77617.html and worked for a while, Then it suddenly would immediately shut down when trying to go off choke and up to full running speed. It was still within the 12 month warranty and so we approached Crazy Sales, as the retailer, for a repair, replacement or refund.

They asked for a video of the issue which we supplied. There was about three or four days awaiting a reply, which asked what items had been run off of it. We advised that it had run items from a caravan: small hot water heater, microwave, aircon, normally at different times, with care not to exceed maximum continuous rated output (3000W).

They advised they needed to contact their supplier, again a week delay. They said we had exceed the rated output because the aircon (1400W) could draw up to four times the current during start.

We advised that the instruction manual gave no warning about that situation, and indeed the website said that it was suitable for caravan aircon (with a “Massive Power” tag - see link above). We also noted that they had still not inspected the generator, so we didn’t know for sure what the issue was.

Again the week delay ‘talking with their supplier’, and an offer was made to supply a replacement inverter. A check revealed that it would cost a minimum of $200 to fit, even if we could find someone to fit it (most repair services we spoke to would not handle that generator).

Again we advised it was unacceptable and that a repair, replacement or refund was in order… and we would want refund of any shipping charge to return the unit (we’re in NSW, the store is in VIC). We also reminded them that as the retailer, it was their responsibility to honour the warranty… not the supplier.

Once again we have the week delay whilst they “consult their supplier”. I believe we have been patient and want to now take the matter up with the authorities.

Who do I see? The ACCC? Fair Trading NSW? Consumer Affairs Victoria (the company is in Victoria)?

Many thank for any advice.

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When you say it “would immediately shut down”, do you mean the engine stopped, or the electrical generator didn’t produce any output, but the engine is still running?
If it is just the engine stopping, I would think it is just a blocked jet in the carburettor.

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Nah - when the choke was on, it would run albeit at low RPM. As you take the choke off, it would rise in RPM then cut out. No splutter, nothing, exactly as you would expect if you switched the ignition off. Always happens as it approaches running RPM and the power light comes on.

The unit does run sometimes. After trying to start 15 or 20 times it might decide to run without issue. Try and re-start it immediately after, and it won’t run again.

In any case - we still don’t know if that is the case because they haven’t inspected it.

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Question, have they looked and assessed the generator or are they assessing the problems based on the information over the phone?

Assuming that the assessment of the fault is correct and whilst not being an electrician, I would expect that the ‘Computerized overload protection’ would activate to protect the generator components in the case of appliances being attached which exceeded the load capacity. No different to an circuit breaker causing a electrical circuit to turn off when overloaded to protect the circuit/wiring and also devices on the circuit. Therefore, if an caravan air conditioner was attached which exceeded the rated capacity, the overload would be triggered causing shutdown of the generator preventing damage.

If the above is correct (someone else on the forum may be able to confirm/correct me), the information they have provided you may indicate a faulty ‘Computerized overload protection’ that has allowed an overload situation to arise. This overload has then impacted on the ‘inverter’. Such damage should still be covered by the warranty as it was a failure of the ‘Computerized overload protection’ which caused the subsequent damage to the inverter. If the inverter is damaged, it could be argued that it is a major failure and a refund is required.

Also, whilst the illustration indicates it is suitable for ‘Caravan Air Conditioner Compatible’, the feature list states it is not suitable for several Appliances as they will cause the generator to overload. These being:
*Air Conditioners

  • Coffee Maker
  • Fridges (not portable)
  • Any motorized appliances or tools which has amp draw of 1000 watts and above

The advertisement is inconsistent in the information provided which is another avenue to take, as they have misrepresented the function of the product. This is also grounds for asking for a refund.

I also have not being able to find out who manufacturers GenTrax or imports it from a quick search. Such information may be on the warranty card/documentation which came with the inverter. If such information is available, it may also be worth approaching the importer/Australian Agent as well. since he retailer appears to be ‘passing the buck’.

If you don’t have any solution, with them, Choice has standard templates which can be used in such circumstances to lodge a formal complaint with the company and the relevant government authority such as the ACCC/State Office of Fair Trading.

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Hi @Obviousman,

Sorry to hear about the generator problems. It looks like you’ve already received some good advice to give the ACCC or your state’s fair trading/consumer advice body a call who will be able to advise you the next steps. From the situation as you have described and the link above, it seems likely to me that you should have remedy within the Australian Consumer Law also (but you’ll be able to confirm this when you make your call).

I’d also suggest to keep in touch with the company you bought the generator from, and to let them know that you’re unhappy and you’ll be escalating the complaint (if you haven’t told them already). Sometimes this can be enough to get the wheels in motion and the problem solved.

Let us know how you go with your case, we’d be keen to hear how it goes.

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@Obviousman Try getting in touch with Out Bax camping . They sell and keep parts for Gentrax . .Their phone number is 02 888 10 333 . They have links on their website .

outbaxcamping.com.au where you can list the equipment your are running in your van and will advise if genny can handle it . I would phone them and have a talk to them as they are in NSW . At the very least they can give you some good ammo to use against CrazySAles if you proceed with your claim for a refund etc . Good luck with it all .

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Very happy to report that after much to & fro’ing, they have offered a refund. We are preparing to send back the generator (at their expense).

Many thanks for all the replies & advice.

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Great out come . Gratz to you .

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Glad to hear @Obviousman. Thanks for letting us know :+1:

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It appears that I have the exact same problem with my general 3.5kV gen. They’re trying to fob me off by asking irrelevant questions.
Looks like I’ll have to take the same route as you to get my money back. I’m in WA and I purchased it directly from Outbax.

I would be interested to hear if you were able to call them. I have no number for them

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No, sorry - it was only by email with the address of info@crazysales.com.au

Would this page be helpful?

https://www.crazysales.com.au/contact-us

Did you end up getting your refund? If you did, what was the deciding factor from your perspective that they decided to refund you.

If feel I’m just about to enter into a battle with Outbax, which is where I purchased it from.

If they were aware of this issue way back when you were persuing a refund, 2017, I believe, it’s illegal to then continue to sell the same product without notifying the buyers of that problem.
Thank you for responding after all this time.
John

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Hi @Bluesti, welcome to the community.

Outbax Sales website has the following links for customer support. (Phone, online chat, email)
https://outbax.com.au/contact/

Or for warranty conditions:
https://outbax.com.au/warranty-returns

Your rights under Australian Consumer Law maybe greater than those listed in the return and warranty conditions by Outbax.

If you are seeking further guidance on how to proceed it can help the community if you can share some more details of the problem or fault. EG model number of the generator, age/when it was purchased, how it is being operated or used when the fault occurs.

Is the fault evident without any load on the generator, or only under load? If so what loads cause a problem?

If Outbax customer support are ‘on the ball’ they will take you through some basic fault checking. How Outbax deliver warranty arrangements is not stated in the link I’ve listed, although they accept ACL applies. The warranty page clarifies ‘Change of Mind’ - 60 Day Money Back Guarantee, DOA, Risk Free Returns 14days, Price Guarantee 60days as Outbax define them per the T&Cs.

There are some possible differences between these and ACL. Having read the Outbax guide/conditions it may be very worthwhile comparing it with the Choice guide concerning consumer rights.

Note:
Fuel related problems are common with small engines, 4 stroke in particular. Unleaded fuel looses some volatiles as it ages, fresh fuel and storage are important. There will be instructions in the operators manual for running the generator dry and or draining the fuel system for storage.

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The reviews for Outbax on Product Review.

There are plenty of absolutely scathing ones.

Item: GenTrax 3.5kW Pure Sine Wave Petrol Inverter Camping Generator from Outbax
Model: Gs-cedd
Order #: 000012077
Purchase: Ordered online from Outbax on 30 July 2020
Usage: For running camping equipment
Fuel: Unleaded 91 octane purchased along my journey

Description:
I first reported this fault to Outbax by email on 14 Sept 2020. I’m testing out my new Outbax generator. Twice now, it’s failed to restart after running for 2 hours or more. Engine oil levels are correct, with the recommended oil spec. After topping up the fuel, I try to restart with econ switch off. It fires up, then cuts out straight away with both green and red lights illuminating. There response was, you must be overloading the gen.
I suggested to them that it would not run for 2-3 hours before cutting out. They asked me if I could run the AC without the extension cord?
I asked a local mechanic to inspect it for, which cost me $150.

He checked the air filter and reoiled the foam filter.

He checked the fuel bowl and fuel filter for contaminants

He checked the plug which was black.

The only way the mechanic could get it to run in his workshop and continue to keep it running was to start it as cold start, then move the choke to half way. Any further, the engine would rev and cut out. His checks were made without any load on the engine and with econ switch set to off.
This was sent to Outbax on 16 Sept.
Outbax said in an email that I was overloading the gen.

I repeated myself to Outbax, that It’s really nothing to do with the air-conditioning. There is nothing connected to the generator, so no load. I told them The unit is faulty. It will not run correctly without the choke being half way between on and off, if I do, the revs would rise and then it cuts out. I told them, that unless Outbax can provide me with a fix to this issue, I will be seeking a refund.
At the time I couldn’t find their number, so I provided my number, hoping they would contact me, their dissatisfied customer.provide They never called me.
Again, they quoted ​airconditioning spec
“Your AC has a cooling capacity of 3.2kW and the generator’s rated wattage is 3kW. You can return it back to us for testing but I’m pretty sure that the AC is just too big for the generator.”
Even after I previously told them, it’s got nothing to do with the air-conditioning. It won’t run correctly, even when there’s nothing connected to it.

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I suggest you immediately proceed to a formal letter of complaint per the template you can find on the above linked Choice pages, or one found on the ACCC web site with a request for a refund or repair per your rights. My interpretation is it is repairable and could be a carby problem, but whether or not I cannot tell. Is the generator of acceptable quality? That is another aspect to read about.

That letter is a precursor to lodging a formal complaint to the state Fair Trading agency with a cc to the ACCC. Anything less than this formal letter with a receipt they received it becomes what I reference as no more than ‘idle chit chat’ toward resolution.

The letter needs to be written to include a statement of your rights, the problem, the claims about the product you purchased, what has failed and what has transpired to date, what you want, and by when, as if you were a silk arguing before a magistrate.

Keep all of your documentation/email/reports and append copies to the letter. If you engage in any voice exchanges, keep copious notes of who, when, and the substance, and time/date your notes so they are as close to real time as possible.

It appears they may be immovable and disinterested object until you go formal, and sadly there are companies that will not respond sans court action even after a Fair Trading determination against them.

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Hello Phil

Thank you for the advice. I’m still out on my camping trip, but will initiate when I return home to Perth.
I’m amazed at how many people have responded to this, given the original post was created back in 2017.
Thank you community

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They are exactly the same symptoms I had. If you can find the advert for the gen on their website, and make sure it says it can be used for running the AC, or at least on the website or in the manual, it does specifically PROHIBIT doing that. If it doesn’t say not to do that, remind them of Australian Consumer Law, that the goods are not fit for purpose, you’d like a replacement or refund, and it is THEIR responsibility for shipping.

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From here:

BEST SELLER - GenTrax 3.5kW Pure Sine Wave Petrol Inverter Camping Generator

“Can power everything from lights to air conditioning

“…because it has the biggest output for a generator of its size on the market. It can even run most caravan air conditioners. ..”

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