Sorry, Your Four-Year-Old $3K Oven Is Too Old To Repair

Are all appliances, not just cheap ones, now considered disposable? Celia tells Consumerist that she paid $3,000 for her KitchenAid double oven four and a half years ago. The appliance broke down after she did something completely unreasonable during Thanksgiving: she tried to use both ovens at the same time. After a lengthy attempt to get it repaired, she learned that it wouldn’t be possible to get the oven fixed. Why? Because Whirlpool, parent company of KitchenAid, doesn’t make the part anymore.

I am having a problem with the Whirlpool Corporation and with A&E Factory Service, which is owned by Sears, and I wonder if it might be a story that is of interest to you, or a situation you could provide some assistance with.

I have a four and a half year old KitchenAid double oven. It was purchased new and cost around $3000.00. The day after Thanksgiving it quit working, for no reason other than I was using both ovens at once, something I may have never done before. I went on the KitchenAid website to find who they recommended for servicing of appliances, and called a company called A&E Factory Service. They came out on Dec. 2, 2010 and said the control board would have to be replaced. They required me to pay in advance for the part ($503) and labor ($129) before they would order it. This seems like a bad business practice, but I went ahead and paid.

A few days later a part arrived, but it was broken. A&E came and took the broken part and placed another order. A few days after that they called to tell me it was back ordered. I didn’t hear anything more from them after that. I did call to see if I could get a refund but they said they could only refund me for the part after I got the part, and that they could not refund me for the labor.

Today, January 4, 2011, I called KitchenAid, who informed me that the part is no longer being made and cannot be found. They did arrange for A&E to refund me for the part, but not for the labor. The refund is to a credit card and will take seven to 10 business days; seems kind of long. I think $129 is high for a diagnostic call, but that is not the main thing I question here. What I really wonder is how a large company such as Whirlpool can make an expensive oven and then only four years later no longer have parts available for it when it breaks.

That does seem unreasonable. Maybe the executive customer service contacts for Whirlpool that we posted here might have something to say about the situation.

Update: Celia wrote in with this information about the part, which some readers requested:

Thanks for posting it! The model number is KitchenAid KEBC247KWH05 and the part number is listed as “CONTRL-ELEC 22 664 8302305. 1027939.” I think that “1027939” is the main descriptor. It’s the main control board. I’ve looked for it online and not been able to find the part but I am a novice at this.