Whirlpool Welcomes Me To The Era Of Disposable Appliances

What’s worse than an appliance breaking down and having to pay for the expensive repair? When it happens and the appliance is only a few weeks out of warranty. That’s what happened to Jonathan. His Whirlpool refrigerator broke down when he had owned it for thirteen months. Yes, a repair was possible, but cost only $300 less than he originally paid for the fridge. What’s with all of these disposable appliances?

In mid-August 2011, we purchased a Whirlpool refrigerator, model ED2KHAXVQ01. We chose the brand based upon the recommendations of friends and family that Whirlpool was a quality brand. Two weeks ago, the fridge stopped cooling. A repairman came and told us that the compressor needed to be replaced, and that the fridge is out of warranty by a little more than a month, meaning the financial responsibility is ours.

We purchased the fridge for $1079, and the repair estimate is $790. For a fridge that is a little more than a year old! Attempts to explain the situation to Whirlpool and [Lowe's] (the store where the fridge was purchased) has fallen on deaf ears, as either company refuses to acknowledge the extenuating circumstances of the problem. I was told that in the past Whirlpool warrantied their “sealed refrigerator parts”, compressor included, for 5 years, but that is no longer the case, and as the standard one year warranty has expired, Whirlpool does not have any obligation to repair the fridge.

I’d like to highlight the poor customer service of Whirlpool as well as its business practices. As this problem is only one example, I cannot make the case that Whirlpool uses inferior-quality parts, but I can make the case that Whirlpool does not stand behind their product quality, good or bad.

These circumstances aren’t all that extenuating: the fridge broke and the warranty’s up. What’s irksome is that the repair costs so much more than the original purchase price of the appliance, and that the warranty time is so short. A refrigerator isn’t an iPhone, a fragile gadget that you take everywhere and drop on the ground. You buy them with some expectation that they’re going to stay around and function for a while. That lifespan used to be measured in decades, not in years.

Other readers have found success complaining to Whirlpool’s executive customer service representatives about various Whirlpool brands through Facebook and Twitter. Old-fashioned letters or e-mails to executives work pretty well, too.