We’ve written before about people who, after having no luck getting an appliance fixed by the manufacturer, successfully turned to the retailer for a replacement. But here’s the story of a New Jersey woman who thought Lowe’s had thrown her a lifeline to pull her out of the hellish swirl of Whirlpool’s horrid customer service, only to find that even the hardware giant was no match for the appliance company’s incompetence.
The woman’s story, as told to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column, begins in March, when she purchased a new Whirlpool fridge from Lowe’s.
Within a month, the icemaker had stopped making ice and the veggies in the vegetable drawer were freezing.
On April 20, the first Whirlpool tech visited and found there was no power getting to the icemaker. This would require a new icemaker unit, so he ordered one.
The icemaker was replaced on May 5, and worked fine… for a few weeks before failing again.
She then got an appointment for June 16, except no one from the service company ever showed and since it was a Saturday no one at the office picked up the phone. She called again on the Monday and no one responded to her message. On Tuesday, she was told that there was apparently a problem with the phones.
Eventually, after the icemaker mysteriously began working again, only to once more fail, the customer had yet another appointment set for July 23.
The window for the call was changed twice that morning and then, after the second window had closed, the woman says she received a call “to say that it was not warranty work and that I would have to pay for the service call.”
So she called Whirlpool HQ and began faxing paperwork to prove the work was still under warranty. She also called Lowe’s, which confirmed the repair would be covered by her warranty and set up a repair call.
The service company hired by Lowe’s then insisted that the repair wasn’t covered by the warranty, so she contacted Lowe’s again.
Lowe’s then tried to set up an appointment with a different company, except it was the same one that had failed to fix the fridge and had first insisted the woman would have to pay.
“I immediately called Lowe’s and I explained everything and requested a different service company,” she tells Bamboozled.
So on Aug. 14, another tech from another service company came out.
“The technician thought I would need another new icemaker,” says the customer. “He also determined that I would need a new damper. Regarding the vegetable drawer, he said that he would have to call their office, when they were open, to ask what to do about that.”
A week later, she says the tech didn’t replace the entire icemaker, but only a part of it. And that his repair for the vegetable drawer was to put some paper towel in the where the cold air vents into the drawer.
“[H]e said that on `older models’ this works,” recalls the woman. “He said to give the icemaker 24 hours to make ice.”
But no luck, and no ice.
After being told by the service company that it had done everything it could think of, she contacted Lowe’s again and was told it would request a replacement fridge from Whirlpool.
Alas, Whirlpool said no to the request, so she had to set up another service appointment.
But the service company, which had already been out to monkey around with her icemaker earlier in the summer, called to give her the bad news that it could not fix her icemaker since it was not the company that put in the original replacement icemaker.
Another call to Lowe’s and more bad news — she would need to have one more service appointment before there could be another request for a replacement fridge.
No one ever called her to set up an appointment, so she contacted Bamboozled, which — surprise, surprise — was able to get Whirlpool to admit the fridge needed replacing in only two days.