Consumer affairs columnist (and my former colleague) Dan Higgins stumbled upon a well-guarded secret—the real reason the Maytag repairman has nothing to do. It isn’t because the appliances are so reliable. No, apparently it’s because Maytag dispatches Sears repairmen to make warranty repairs, then refuses to reimburse customers because Sears isn’t an authorized repair provider. At least that’s what happened to this nice elderly lady.
Mary Olsen of Copake, NY, called Maytag when her washer had motor problems. It was still under warranty, and the Whirlpool rep transferred her to Sears—the retailer the washer originally came from.
The repair guy, who came from Sears, fixed the washing machine. He charged the couple $466 for parts and labor, and left.
And the Maytag was back in business.
When the Olsens tried to get reimbursed, they were denied. Why? Not because it was the wrong part that failed. In fact, no one disputes it was the motor, which was still covered. No, apparently because Sears was not an authorized Maytag repair center.
“Then why did they transfer me to Sears?” Mary Olsen asked, reasonably. “I didn’t know who was coming to fix it.”
An epic consumer battle has followed, since $466 is $466. Sears has offered the Olsens $100, and a letter to Whirlpool’s CEO produced an offer of $180, covering parts but not labor. (Whirlpool bought Maytag a few years ago.)
If you find yourself in a similar situation with Maytag (or any appliance company) how can you fix this situation once your washer is fixed? If you don’t have your own newspaper columnist on retainer, check out this post or this one to learn how to get Maytag to listen to you through the magical power of the executive e-mail carpet bomb.
Though, in this case, the Olsens did write to the CEO and that still didn’t produce the refund they should be entitled to, so maybe media attention was needed here.
Maytag balks on warranty [Albany Times Union]