Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Case of the Broken Refrigerator

Our refrigerator had been slowly warming since Mother's Day. I would go to get some cereal, and the milk would be warm. We were due for a new one, as the old one stuck out like a sore thumb.

On Thursday July 30th, 2009 David and my brother John drove to North Seattle to pick up a refrigerator that I found on Craigslist. It retailed for $2799 and the lady gave me a story that her son bought it from a friend who worked at an appliance store to put in his room. Then he realized that a full size refrigerator does not belong there and decided to sell it for less than what he paid. I should have seen this coming!!

It cost us $500. I sold our old fridge on Craigslist for $170. New fridge cost: $330.

It worked great - for about 6 hours. Then it was warm. David read online that sometimes they need time to settle after the jostling of moving in. Did that, next day the fridge worked great. About a week later it happened again. We unplugged it and I called the Maytag man. I figured that for $330, we could afford the $89 service call to get the fridge working again. David plugged it in again and it worked. We played that game for a few more weeks until David got a chance to look online and figure out what our problem was. Compressor. We needed a new compressor. It would overheat and then shut down. No problem. I called Maytag and told them I think I have a bad compressor - could you send someone over who was prepared to fix it. A week and a half later was their earliest appointment. The guy came over and confirmed David's educated guess. Apparently it is a very common problem with these refrigerators. However, Maytag does not do compressors.

A week and a half later the other company was able to send someone out. I explained that it had already been confirmed as a bad compressor - could they send someone to fix it. No, they had to diagnose it themselves. Another fee. Damien came out and said that he would have to order the compressor, it would be another week and a half. HOWEVER, the fridge was under warranty still! Even though we were not the original owners? YES, it is a transferable warranty. YAY. We did not have to pay the $800 that it would cost to replace the compressor!!! Damien came out a week and a half later and replaced the compressor. 12 hours after that, the fridge was warm. A week and a half later, Damien was able to come back out and look at it. We had a leak.

Due to the location and the dissimilar metals that need to be soldered together, the chances of him ruining the fridge trying to fix the leak are high. He will tell them that it is non-repairable and they will replace the fridge. I didn't know that was an option. He said Whirlpool would be contacting us.

Apparently Whirlpool makes Amana, Estate, Jenn-Air, Kenmore, Kitchen Aid, Magic Chef, Maytag, & Roper.

Three days later, I called Whirlpool. They were not going to replace my fridge without a second opinion. They gave me the number of two different appliance companies that could offer a second opinion - at my expense. I went round and round with them on that and gave up. I will pay it to get a new fridge. I called both places. Neither would send somebody out. They both told me that this is a game Whirlpool is playing, and I would be better off calling until I got a manager and arguing with them. I tried that. Three phone calls later, I was still at square one.

Four days later, I had this hot-shot, I-Can-Fix-Anything service technician at my door. He called Whirlpool. He explained that this was a big mess and they were better off replacing my fridge. They asked "Can you fix it?". "Well, Of course I could fix it, but it would take a while." So they told him to fix it. I told him no, to call them back because I had talked to his boss, and they didn't do refrigerant work. He said they could now that he is employed by them. He called Whirlpool back, but refused to admit that he couldn't do it. He then called his dispatcher who promptly told him - no, he could not fix it for us because their company didn't do that. He said he was sorry, and then wanted me to pay him. I was furious. I had to pay him because he wouldn't leave until he got his money and I wanted him out

I called Whirlpool in tears. I told them that this problem was not going away and I was at my whits end with them. I got a very nice man named Robert who said he would put in for a request to replace my fridge. He said they would be contacting me. A week later, I still hadn't heard from them. I called back and no one had heard of Robert. I gave them his employee number and they said they could not transfer me - but they would tell him I called. No, Robert said you could transfer me, so you will. So they did. Robert called me back the next day and said he would check in on it, call in a few days - he forgot to put the request in, but did so right away. I called back and got the same response from the Whirlpool rep - Don't know any Robert . . . Oh, yeah I guess we do have a Robert . . . no I can't transfer you . . . Oh, umm I guess I will then. I played that game three times

On October 15th, 2009 I got a call from Whirlpool. I was in the shower. I no longer take a shower without the phone within arms reach. I attempted to call the number she left. I got voicemail. I called every other day. I did not receive another call back for a week and a half. I had left a pretty stern voicemail that said she should change her voice message so it no longer promised to "return calls within four business hours", as she is apparently not capable of it. I got a call that day. They wanted to "Refund" my money or replace the fridge. We bought the fridge on Craigslist, so I didn't feel right accepting a check for money I didn't pay. I chose to replace. She said she could get it ordered and shipped right away. I asked if by chance we could get a different fridge - the Kitchen Aid that matched the rest of the kitchen. She said that if I paid the $200 upgrade fee, she would ship that instead. I told her that I needed to check with David first and I would call her back as soon as I knew. She said she would be sure to answer this time, and if I had to to leave the info on her voicemail and she would get it taken care of right away.

I will not leave my credit card info on some one's voicemail. I called every day. She did not call me back. On October 21st I began dialing random extensions until I got someone. She took my credit card info and said she would let my representative get that started. I was assured that we would have a refrigerator delivered to our home within 7-10 business days. I was really hoping that we would have it before Carter's baby blessing. No luck.

It goes to a warehouse in Roy, from there it goes to an appliance store. They contact us to set up a time when they could bring it over. The first time around, it was supposed to go to Weaver's Appliance in Sumner. I called them right away to let them know I was expecting a fridge. I was told by a very rude woman that she was busy and off the next day, but she would call me back first thing the day after. No call. I called her. She said she would look and call me back, then hung up. I called her right back. She did not say when she would look or when to call me back. I reminded her that she promised to call me, and I am having to contact her. She said she would go look right then. No fridge. I checked in with her every day. She discovered that the fridge had arrived at the warehouse on October 27th and she would wait for it to come. I told her that I needed it by the weekend. On Friday, October 30th I called her every 10 minutes. It went to voicemail. I finally left a voicemail and prayed that it came in. She never called. I called again about 4. She said that I could have gone to the warehouse in Roy to pick it up, but they close pick up after 3. I was livid. Why hadn't she told me this before. I had offered to pick the fridge up from her store to get it by the weekend.

I had given up. I figured I would just let it come. A week and a half later, on November 9th, we still had no fridge. I called Weaver's Appliance and the voicemail is full. I called Whirlpool and left a nasty message on the phone of my representative. I received a phone call within an hour. Apparently, Weaver's had sent the fridge back to Whirlpool. She refunded my money for the upgrade and ordered the fridge again. She said that she had it sent to a different retailer, as she could tell from my voicemail I was dissatisfied with Weaver's. 7-10 business days and we should have a fridge. That would mean that I should have a fridge no later than November 20th. She gave me the info for the new retailer. I waited a week and called them up. Their service guys are not in on Monday, and they didn't know if they had a fridge for me or not. They said it would be 7-10 business days from the day they receive it. I told them that was not the story I was told. They said there was nothing they could do about that and if I didn't receive a call by November 24th to give them a call. So, that means that I may not get a fridge until after Thanksgiving. I called Whirlpool again. I left a voicemail. I did not get a call back. Two days later (Today) I called again and left a not so nice message. I received a voicemail later in the day that let me know they appliance company was wrong, and it should not be that long. However, it is coming upon Thursday, and nobody has called to set up an appointment to drop it off. They are not open on Mondays, nor will they be open next Thursday or Friday.

You may be asking me "What do they eat?". Well, we have a chest freezer that we put anyting and everything that can be frozen. Dry Ice was cooling everything else. Dry Ice gets expensive: $1 per pound. You buy it 10 pounds at a time, and that lasts a day and a half. In the third week in October, my friend Dawn emptied her mini fridge and I drove over to her house with the baby and the truck and packed it home. We can now have all the chilled food we want, as long as it fits in 3 cubic feet. I am a master crammer/packer, but even I have my limits.

So here we are 16 weeks without a working frige. What a mess. Thank you for listening to me vent.


  1. Lisa! That is terrible! Sorry you have had to go through all of that! I think you should call them back and have them refund you for the full retail amount. You have spent enough time on it to justify the extra money. Plus! That is how much it will cost to get a similiar working on. Good luck!

  2. Yaeh, but they won't "refund" the tax, so we would have to pay an extra $300, and wait another "7-10 business days". If they snd a check like they send a fridge, I would have a harder time tracking it. Nice thought though.