I bought a £469 Hotpoint fridge-freezer last July from Appliances Online. Since then, the frost-free system has not worked and it has dripped water regularly on to the kitchen floor.

The final straw was in April when family members noticed it was not operating at the right temperature. It then started tripping the electricity every time it came on. Our electrician tried to make it work but did not succeed.

I tried to complain to AO but was invariably directed to Hotpoint, which did not respond. Needing a working fridge, we gave in this month and bought a Blomberg replacement through the local Euronics supplier.

Trying to find a way to complain on the AO website this morning has taken an hour. Hotpoint has been no more helpful.

AB, York

Appliances Online – AO.com – has become an increasingly popular website for buying electrical items, and its sales have boomed. We have received very few complaints, which means it must be doing something right, given its size. The company’s mantra that staff treat its customers as though they were their own grandmother appears to hold true.

That said, the fact that AO wanted to pass on all responsibility to Hotpoint is a concern, given the contract when you buy is always between you and the retailer.

After an investigation, it has offered you £100 as an apology. It has also offered to examine the fridge with a view to a full refund but you had, rather rashly in hindsight, already disposed of it. You have decided to take the £100.

Euronics gets good reviews, and, if the worst happens, you can physically go into the local shop to complain. I would be interested to hear of readers’ experiences of AO – email the usual address.

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