Customer Reviews: Secura 8100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Gold
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on March 13, 2011
I swear by gas stoves. Wouldn't buy a house that didn't have gas. It was my ONLY show-stopper condition when we were house shopping. I was flexible on everything but that.

I cooked A LOT. The only reason I bought an induction cooktop was because I wore out both sides of the inserts on my [brand name] gas cooktop (they rusted to bits from constant use) and since I wanted time before I decided what my replacement would be, I ordered one of these to tide us over. We had the grill insert, so with one "burner" and a double grill, I'd have time to think.

I was shocked at how great the Duxtop induction cooktop was. I was a tough sell, but they won me over.

Water (for pasta) came to boil faster than my gas stove ever did. Peanut oil, for frying chicken, was also ready faster than anything I'd ever experienced with gas, and it stayed hot (I burned the first batch!). It has also been marvelous for wok cooking, and that's what made me a total convert. I've had to learn how to cook with it, but that hasn't been too difficult, since the results have been worth it.

The heat is so hot that I ruined a wok with a non-stick coating and had to go for the old-fashioned, steel kind instead. I like that! You'd think that would have turned me off of induction cooking, but just the reverse. Stir fry is SUPPOSED to be hot and quick (that's how you get cooked through veggies that maintain their color). I spent $25 on an all steel Wok at the cooking store with the initials W&S, and I've been making the best stir fry to ever come out of my kitchen. If for no other reason, getting one of these cooktops is worth it just for that (just don't use your non-stick coated wok with it--it WILL get too hot). Be sure to buy a wok with a flat bottom, and it has to be steel, of course, or the induction won't recognize it, and it won't turn on.

I was enjoying all of this so much, I ordered a second Duxtop cooktop, exactly like the first one.

The other thing that's been fun is cooking wherever I want in the kitchen (or where there is an outlet). There's a nice spot, right next to the sink, where there's great light in the kitchen. This is where it has been best to stir fry, near the sink (as I don't have a pot filler tap next to my stove), and having water close to a steel wok for quick rinsing between dishes is a good idea. No problem if I spill a bit, and it is close to where I've cut all the veggies. No walking back and forth to the stove. (Made me realize even more how badly laid out my kitchen is--as if my husband needed me to have more of a reminder of that!)

All of this has made me rethink my stove replacement. Maybe I don't need to do anything other than buy a replacement drop-in for the exact same cooktop I already have, and continue using the Duxtop Cooktops, as I'm using them now. Maybe we should all rethink how we cook in our kitchens, eh? Some of us have multiple sinks and dishwashers now. Why not multiple cooktops, in different cooking zones?

And no, I'm not a shill for Duxtop. It just makes sense to think about cooking zones in the same way we're thinking about other zones in our kitchens.

This is not to say I'm a total convert to electric cooking. It still has its downsides, as always. I can't scramble eggs with it without burning them or overcooking (or anything that requires medium or subtle heat, or with copper bottom pans--which is unfortunate), but induction cooking does bring something to the party that ordinary electric cooking never had: Higher, quicker heat. Did I say quick? I mean IMMEDIATE! Electric cooking is always going to have the same problem of hot zones that it always had, and these are not going to solve that problem. With gas heat (especially with copper bottom pans) the heat spread is even, and spreads evenly up the sides of the pan, covering the bottom. With electric, the heat is going to be hotter where there is a coil. Induction improves on that a bit, because there are no coils, but there is still a cooking center. (I found that if I move the pan so that it doesn't have a chance to get too hot in any one place, I burn the food less.) All of this takes practice and experience. I'm sure that people who have more experience with electric cooking burn food on gas stoves, so it is what you are used to--so this isn't a magic bullet, but it is certainly better than the old-fashioned coils. But, as I said, the speed at which you can boil, or bring heat to other dishes is well worth the learning curve, where it wasn't worth it before.

These cooktops have two methods of setting the temp: either a numeric setting of 1 to 10 or a kind of high/medium/low, but in a setting of 1 to 4 (I think, I never use that setting). I prefer the 1 to 10 setting (giving the greatest control). I set to 10 when I want to bring water to boil, but then quickly change the setting to about 3 to keep things boiling, and 2 to maintain a simmer (for things like sauces), or 1 to keep things warm.

It's my belief that every house needs at least one of these. They're handy for parties (when you need an extra burner), for emergengies (if the gas stove breaks), they'll be great for the summer for boiling corn (take it outside and put near the grill), and there is no way to get this kind of high heat for stir fry or quick boiling without upgrading your gas pipe to 3/4".

You don't have to be as crazy as me and buy two, but at these prices, it isn't as crazy as it sounds. Party, table cooking (for shish kabap or steak on "stone") will be great this summer too.

I'd recommend these to anyone... and I'd recommend two. Just avoid buying the interface disks (the products sold so you can use pans other than steel). Those ARE a waste of time. They don't work (they get too hot, causing the cooktops to shut off). Spend your money on a few extra steel pans instead... because you can't have too many pans EVER.

UPDATE 2/2012: I've had these a year now. I continue to use them, meaning they haven't ended up in the dead/bored appliance part of the pantry. Most of the time I keep one by the stove (that I still haven't fixed) and one by the sink. I'll move them around, as needed. I'm still not a very good electric-stove chef, but they continue to work, as advertised. If the food doesn't turn out properly, the fault is definitely with me. They were a saving grace during the Holidays: 3 burners were enough to get us through Thanksgiving and Christmas. The advice above, to allow the pan to warm up a bit (to setting 5) before blasting it (at setting 10) has prevented other non-stick pans from losing their non-stick coating, and having it flake off on the food. Not a good thing at all.
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on December 20, 2010
This Duxtop is my 2nd induction cooktop. The 1st one is working fine, but has only 1300W. I did enjoy the no flame heating of induction cooking, but the other big advantage of induction cooking device is the fast heating, which is missing with my 1300W cooktop. Now I have this more powerful duxtop cooker, I can tell you the cooking speed is really amazing. How fast is it? I did a test heating up the same amount of water using 1300w induction cooktop and my 1800w duxtop. It took the 1300w 6mins to boil the water, but it took duxtop only 2mins and 40secs to boil the same amount of water. That is over 100% percent saving of your precious time. If you are looking for a powerful and reliable induction cooktop or just want to see if induction cooking technology is something you may interested in, I will recommend this duxtop.
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on June 16, 2011
We bought this to see how we would like Induction cooking since we will be replacing our stove soon. I had read about induction on some other web pages and thought this would be a good way to try it out.

So it's been a month and let me put it this way - this is our "go to" burner when we need to cook something on the stove. We set it up on our countertop (old laminate not granite) next to our also old cooktop. All we can say is WOW!! It is fast and leaves no heat in the kitchen like our old electric burner. (Important when you live in the South and it's in the 90's everyday.) There doesn't seem to be much or any heat coming off the bottom - our countertop is still cool when we're done using the Duxtop.

There is a fan that turns on when you start it. That is to keep the magnets cool and when you turn the burner off, the fan runs for a short time - just a few min - afterward and then shuts off. My husband couldn't believe how fast it boiled water and cooked some of his favorite items. Suffice it to say, we're sold and yes, we're keeping this baby. Next purchase will be a set of induction-ready cookware. Like some others have done, it would be a snap to put it outside to boil corn in the summer when you don't want all that steamy heat in the kitchen.

This is easy to use. Take a magnet with you when you are shopping for pots/pans. If a magnet will stick to the bottom, you can use it on the induction hob. And also check the pans for a flat bottom. Some pans are slightly rounded on the bottom and I don't think they would work as well on the induction cooktop.

Enjoy! Bon Appetit!
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on March 30, 2011
The upper 6 cooking power levels are advertised as 1200W, 1300W, 1400W, 1500W, 1600W and 1800W. Using a kill-a-watt, these all measure correctly. However, levels 3 and 4 are supposed to be 800W and 1000W, but draw 1000W and 1100W respectively. I've tried various steel and iron vessels of various sizes and have gotten similar readings. It makes it hard to fry things like eggs without burning them. Levels 1 and 2 are advertised as 200W and 500W--they achieve the lower levels by cycling the power to the coil on and off at 1000W, which makes it impossible to maintain a slow boil/simmer when cooking things like rice and pasta.

I contacted Secura and asked if this was "normal", and they responded with an indirect answer about grid voltages being different that could cause power variations of +/-5%. They didn't address whether cycling power on the lowest 2 settings was normal, so I assume it is. I emailed them back pointing out that the upper 6 levels were all within 1% tolerance, but the lower 4 were high by well over 5% and they never responded.

To amazon's credit, they offered to allow me to return it on their dime. But since all I do with it is boil water, stir fry, and cook eggs for breakfast, I'll just learn to like my eggs scrambled. However, if you really need the finer power control, I would recommend against buying this item.
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on July 7, 2013
Alright after using this product for a while theres some definate huge downsides to it. I've cooked a number of things on this using both cast iron and steel pans.

I'll start with the upsides first:

1. Heats up the pan very fast. If you're trying to boil something, make soup, or cook something in a sauce pan, its very quick, much quicker than a normal electric burner, which is nice.

Now the downsides:

1. It has very poor temperature regulation. Theres a method of dialing in 250, 280, 220 degrees up to 460 or 490 I believe, however all this does is turn it on full blast for a few seconds, then leave it off for a few seconds. This is not nearly desirable as a steady heat since it not really as predictable. When its heating up the pan initially it goes full blast till it gets somewhat near the target temperature. During this time, it can leave whatever you're cooking horribly charred as it massively overshoots the target temperature while heating up, which is a problem if you throw the food in too early. This isn't very intuitive or desirable. I threw a few bacon slices, turned it on, and turned my back for a minute and they were completely blackened.

2. The central heating element is pretty small, mainly heating the center of the pan. Iron and steel don't really distribute heat as well as copper/aluminum (which you can't use with this), so the heat distribution isn't as nice as a gas or some other burners.

3. It shuts off when it gets a bit hot. This is really the most annoying part. You can't sear a steak in a cast iron pan well because its shuts off before it can get really got. Theres a "target temperature" more where you set the desired temperature, then a constant power mode where you supply a dialable power level between 1 and 9. Anything over a 3 or 4 and it shuts off after 5 minutes and doesn't turn back off for a bit. This is a massive failure as far as I'm concerned.

4. The controls are flush with the surface, and not heat proof. I melted the lamination off when the pan slid over, oops, would be nicer if they were heatproof.
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on June 29, 2012
Chinese product imported by Seller: Sleek, looks nicely constructed, yet it's economical for a portable 120V single pot induction cooktop.

In my opinion there are many 5-star ratings for first time users of induction cookers. It truly is miraculous in some applications and I'm sure the first caveman that was given fire to cook with didn't complain that the torch they were handed had too much flame on it.

This review is for after the novelty of induction passes and it is sitting on your countertop and doesn't do everything that is claimed and you wonder if a better quality portable induction choice is out there and at what cost:

The video shows the flaw my brand new unit has in "keeping food warm" which caused the poor rating. The video was made after the simple boiling of water at 140 F indicated the problem. That should not happen since boiling is 212 F. Imagine buying an oven you set for one temperature but is actually 100 degrees higher!

The cheap design will cause the product to fail to perform at low temp/power settings and mine is not what the seller would call "defective" (see reason below). At the lower temperature or power settings, it cannot be used to keep liquid foods *just* warm - it forces them to boil. But one of the major attractions advertised is this ability to set the temperature as low as 140 F which would be a great hotplate you could serve food directly off at the perfect temperature to dig in and eat right away.

Even if is not important to you to use the below boiling settings that it has, and you are happy to bring everything to a boil or pull it off in time, it is worth watching the video to see how this generally heats. In the case of the video I put a meal-in-a-bag, my dinner tonight of sweet and sour chicken. You can see it is set to 140 F which *should* only be keeping the food warm and at 140 F, you can basically eat it right from the pot or at most just waft momentarily a bit of air to remove the minor excess heat right in your spoon without having to wait to be sure not to burn your tongue.

But: In the video the unit cycles around the boiling temperature every five seconds or so -*even though it is set to 140 F*- boiling my dinner.

The reason it bubbles in cycles is because this product's induction heating tries to achieve lower temperatures by turning itself on and off to regulate how much heating the food received, kind of like some drivers I know use the gas pedal by flooring it and braking all the time ;-) instead of having a soft touch. Evidently my unit is blasting it with far too much energy into liquids as it is maintaining it at 212 F - boiling - though the controls are set only for a comfortable 140 F warming only. Not only is this a problem for warming, but it also means if you put anything with milk or potatoes, pasta or any other starches or proteins, it will burn them even on low settings since it gives them too great a blast of heat which burns alternating with turning off in this "low" temperature mode. If it were "on" less time and "off" more time, they might have pulled it off, but really what is missing is a smooth adjustment in the low range. But they didn't and it is useless for just warming liquid items. Better to get a traditional hotplate, or just burner that you can adjust down with a continuous low supply of heat.

That is where the "cheap" quality is apparent. A truly good induction cooktop wouldn't be poorly calibrated (see Bulwinkle's review - I wish I had read it beforehand) at the low end. It wouldn't alternately blast and turn off. Think of how you cook with gas. Imagine turning it up to a High flame and off to keep something warm, but causing it to boil anyway because you overdo it. That's exactly the problem here. The "good" quality product would simply have lower wattage settings that worked - which would be like turning on a very low flame just to keep things warm, or putting the electric coil burner on low. Probably low level induction power like this costs more to do properly and that is why we get what we pay for.

I bought it to use as a keep-warmer, even 150 F would have been ok. It fails for this yet it is one of the selling claims. I found this out immediately by my first use. I put a cup of water and set it to 140 F. It boiled shortly - not as quickly as the higher settings (and that is *fast*), but maybe in twice to 2.5 times the time which makes sense since the cycling seems to be on only half of the time. I feel bad about bumping it up to 3 stars since it is misrepresented. My respects to everyone who is impressed by inductive cooking in general. I'm going to find a product since I love the technology and would like to have the flexibility to use it as I would a gas or electric stove.

The unit arrived today with a brief instruction booklet that I completely read in less than 10 minutes. The reason I purchased this was because the Amazon description is clear about saying it had a temperature range of 140 F degrees (and goes much higher on the upper end). This is confirmed in the instruction manual which explains that power settings are independent of temperature settings and from what I see only one mode can be used at a time. That means, you can't put it on 140 F AND have the lowest power setting "1" on the scale of 1 to 10.

The first try was with a cup (8 fl. oz. = 240 mL) of tap water in a smooth magnetic pot (same one in the video) that fit precisely in between the max and minimum sized circles painted on the top of the unit for that purpose. It has nothing to do with my pot as I found after I reread some of the other tech-ish reviews; it is just the design of these low end single place cooktops.

Result: The 140 F setting for temperature gradually increased (pretty quickly) the liquid to a boil (212 degrees F). I repeated the test with new cool water in the power mode set to the minimum "1" setting. Similar result. It gradually came to 209 F +.

It is an excellent unit which responds extremely fast to heating. Impressive. If you just want something higher than 1200 W to quickly boil or fry, this will be a good purchase.

Great it has a 140 F setting to keep things *just* warm! (Or so I thought! but ... no.)

Depending on someone's tolerance, if they put something in their mouth over around 130 F degrees, it will burn. Then I tried it with a prepared meal-in-a bag dinner. That is in the video and shows the same happens with it even though it 2 1/2 cups of a typical mixed ingredients. The temperature steps below 212 F are not useful when it comes to liquids because of this.

Conclusions. Interestingly the manual says there are 10 levels of temperature and implies as is in the case of the power you will set levels one through 10. However, this is not accurate for the product I received which instead of temperature levels 1-10 reads the actual degrees 140 F and up directly on the display. However since it doesn't work it's all moot.

Finally - if you want it *only* for quick heating, I would recommend it. But, doing half of the job is *not* acceptable for my needs.

The heart of the problem, after researching it further, is that all of the induction cookers on Amazon in this price range make similar false claims about temperature control. The temperature control this product and the other cooktops under $400 claim is false and hype. This particular model made in China or something with very similar guts is sold by at least three other vendors under three different brands on Amazon alone for the range of $50-$110. But this one is one of the least expensive, so I'll rank it with three stars for the benefit of others since a lower ranking might contribute to someone thinking another cheap one is better when it does the same thing.

A true warming-simmering performance cooktop this size or a little more powerful is available for about $600-$700. So even though all these sellers claim temperature control for warming to simmering, none of the cheap products deliver and it is fluff all of the sellers competing with each other are saying so the other can't outdo them - confirmed and a pretty sad state.

If you don't want the temperature control and just a quick heating to boil or fry, this unit is fine and the price is right. If you need the temperature control to make more delicate foods, and to really enjoy induction cooking as a replacement for electric or gas in a wide range of output, this product and all cheap ones like it are not very good - getting a high quality adjustable gas or electric hotplate in this price range is a better choice unless you can pay the $600+ bucks or have the need for boiling speed (but a powerful microwave might take care of most of those needs and isn't restricted to magnetic cookware only). The traditional burners have better warranties and/or less to go wrong (the coil inside this has fragile winding that can fail compared to nearly indestructible quality standard electric resistance burners, so in the long run I wouldn't buy this over a good hotplate unless my only use was quick boils and I only expected the product to last a year. If not, I'd start saving up for a good one without all these toy buttons, that just has a single control that works well for warming, which is all the best gas and electric stoves need, and btw, is the design of the $600-$700 induction cooktops. Anything besides the normal dial is unnecessary. The extra buttons this product has make it better suited as a prop for a 1960's TV spaceship show since they are colorful Chinese factory bells and whistles that don't add much value for me. I mean, give me a regular power knob thatcan be adjusted well and what good is all the rest... really?!

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on June 26, 2012
We were initially happy with the Duxtop 1800 Watt Portable Induction Cooktop however due to a BAD DESIGN we ended up throwing it away. The whole top surface is completely flat which means that if you have a large pan it actually will touch the control panel. Ours touched the control panel and must have fried the circuits with the heat. It is completely useless now and in the TRASH!

I just received a Max Burton 1800 Watt Portable Induction Cooktop. A much better design because the control panel section is lower so a large pan will not even touch the panel at all. The Max Burton works the same and should last a lot longer!
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on January 10, 2014
Only works with pans 10" or larger. Displays the "EO" message on anything smaller. Since my induction sauce pans are 6" and 8" I am disappointed that this does not work with the smaller (but not "tiny") pans. There is an inner circle on the top of the unit that is about 5" in diameter, falsely setting the expectation that it would work with a 5" pan. But it does NOT work with anything smaller than 10". I expected it to work with a standard size sauce pan, but it does not. DO NOT BUY IF YOU WANT TO USE POTS AND PANS SMALLER THAN 10 INCHES. Induction cookers have interesting features. The timer and temperature settings are nice on a stove-top unit, but it is a DISAPPOINTING product overall.
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on January 31, 2014
This Duxtop was my first foray into induction cooking and I was initially quite pleased with the unit; it does heat very quickly, is well-constructed and very reasonably priced.

After using it for a couple of days I've changed opinion. It has two problems that make it unsuitable for many cooking tasks.

1) The temperature increments are way too coarse, 30 or 40 degrees such that you can't set your target temperature finely enough. For example, one of the first dishes I tried to make included a sauce which required simmering for 20 minutes but the Duxtop offered temp settings of only 180 and 210 degrees, neither of which appeared to allow for simmering (I'm at an altitude of about 5200 feet where water boils at about 202 degrees).

A note on temperature control - one cannot expect the actual temperature to match the set temperature because the cooktop has no way to directly measure the temperature of the contents of the pan. The actual temperature achieved will differ from the set point based on the pan's materials and construction, the ambient (room) temperature and so forth. For example, a wide frying pan will have more surface area through which heat will be lost; pans with thin sidewalls will lose energy (heat) through the sides more rapidly, and so on. This has nothing to do with the Duxtop unit specifically; it's true of all cooking technologies that do not provide immersion temperature sensors, whether electric, gas or induction.

Back to the sauce! First, I tried the 180 degree setting and found it was too low to produce a simmer. I then tried the 210 degree setting which initially looked good, producing a gentle simmer. A few minutes later I noticed that my sauce was boiling rapidly, not at all what I wanted (see item 2 below).

I decided to try another brand. I contacted Amazon and explained the situation. I told them that I wanted to give the NuWave PIC Pro a try, but that I might want to keep the Duxtop and return the NuWave if it didn't perform better (because the NuWave is roughly twice the price of the Duxtop). As always Amazon was very accommodating, issuing an RMA for the Duxtop good for 30 days which allowed me plenty of time to test the units side-by-side.

2) Far worse than the temperature increment problem is the temperature regulation problem. Based on the experience I had trying to simmer my sauce, I decided to see what was happening with temperature control in the pan's contents.

To perform this test, I used an immersion temperature probe with a remote readout. I filled the same pan I used for my sauce (a 10 inch stainless steel frying pan with a thick bottom and thin sidewalls) with about a half-inch of room-temperature oil. I positioned the probe so that it was not touching the bottom of the pan and was covered with about one quarter inch of oil.

I set the Duxtop to 210 degrees and watched the temperature readout. Over the next several minutes I watched the oil temperature climb past the 210 degree set point until it reached 286 degrees! It then slowly decreased until it finally stabilized at 237 degrees.

The oil spent several minutes over 270 degrees during this process and took about 20 minutes to stabilize. To summarize, the Duxtop overshot the selected temperature by a whopping 76 degrees and stabilized at 27 degrees above the set point. I could forgive (and compensate for) the latter, but not the former.

For these reasons I can give the Duxtop no more than 1 star. When I've had time to evaluate the NuWave I'll post a review for it as well.
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on July 7, 2011
Beware..even though the paperwork indicates that there is a 1-year warranty there is no information ANYWHERE on how to go about getting warranty service.

I bought the Duxtop 1800 Induction Cooktop Model 8100MC and immediately discovered that the temp control function doesn't work when using the Power setting. After about 3 minutes of use on power setting of 5 (medium heat)the machine displayed an error code of E2 indicating that it had overheated due to temps in excess of 450 degrees. Thinking maybe it was something I had done, I tried it several times more under different conditions. I was using a 10 inch fry pan made specifically for induction cooking and, by the way, also manufactured by Duxtop. Each time it would error out when using the Power setting. It worked fine under the Temp setting.

Within 45-days of purchase I decided to return/replace/repair the machine under its manufacturer's 1-year warranty. But, despite the Warranty agreement in the Users Manual I couldn't find who to call, when or how to send it. Neither of the manufacturer's websites (Duxtop or Secura) contained any information - not even a phone number - and an email inquiry to them, through their on-line inquiry function, has not been responded to.

A Warranty is no good if there is no one there it provide the service!

Update July 11, 2011: Within 24-hours of posting this review, I received an email from the Lafraise Amazon Marketplace, the seller, providing me information on how to contact Secura, the manufacturer. I contacted Secura via email and they have agreed to immediately replace the burner without waiting for the defective one to be returned. Because of personal conflicts, I asked and they have agreed to delay mailing the replacement item until later this week. Based upon their willingness to work through these issues, I have changed my rating from 1-star to 4-star. I'm not giving it a 5-star because, in my opinion, the manufacture should clarify their warranty policy in the User's Manual and make it easy to contact them for assistance.

Update July 27, 2011. Secura did replace the first burner and I experienced the same problems as before. Although they insisted that there was no defect, they agreed to accept the return of both burners and 'promised' to refund me in full for the cost of the first burner. Since Amazon had previously agreed to accept the return of the defective burner I returned one burner to Amazon and the 2nd to Secura. For whatever reason, Amazon reduced the amount of the refund. When I brought it to Secura's attention and asked them to reimburse me the balance in accordance with their 'promise' they refused to do so stating that after they agreed to refund me they determined that the burners weren't defective and therefore they owe me nothing and, by the way, they were sorry for any confusion. Thanks to Amazon...they agreed to reimburse me the balance that was previously withheld. But, I will never purchase a Secura product again and would not recommend them to anyone else. Were the items defective? I say 'yes' - they say 'no' - one will never know but, after they 'promised' to accept the return and reimbusement me, in full, they should have stood behind their promise.
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