I have owned a GF for about 3 years now, and I love it. Just keep it clean and it will work for ever. The top works like the grill and the bottom like a pan, however, the pan will allow the fat and oil to drain. As for the cooking times, I found they were too long as well. I shortened the suggested time by a minute to a minute and a half.
When you clean it, clean it while it is still warm. Not hot, but warm. If it gets cool, the cleaning is somewhat harder.