My problems with major appliances this past week have left one of my Twitter followers to suggest that maybe the house is build on an old Indian burial mound. In the space of two months, the Kenmore refrigerator has died twice, the Samsung television needed repair and, most recently, the Whirlpool dryer crapped out.
The dryer is a six-year-old gas-heated model. Not under warranty any longer; not the newest but not old enough to replace, either. So I called Whirlpool to find out about servicing the unit.
After stepping me through the likely repair costs – $129 plus the cost of parts, the customer service rep suggested a different flat-rate plan that would cover me for 12 months for $259. And if the cost of repair were less than that, I could call the company to refund the difference. Seeing as how I didn’t have anything to lose, I decided to fork over the $259.
“OK, the soonest we can get someone out is…the 30th.”
A week from tomorrow. In the meantime, I have wet clothes mouldering in the basement.
I told her I wanted to cancel the contract – I’ll just call someone local who can do the repair more quickly. For that, she told me, I’d have to call another number.
The transaction was barely a minute before, but she lacked the ability to cancel it. Once it was done, that was it.
So I called, waited, and talked with someone. After I was put on hold and transferred, I was told I had called the wrong number and was given a third number to try.
Which I did. By this point I was steaming. But after I explained the situation, the rep told me the contract would be “same-day cancelled.”
Nearly an hour after I started, I was temporarily $259 poorer, much more frustrated and no closer to having my dryer fixed than before.
I ended up calling a local repair service which told me they’ll be out to fix the dryer tomorrow. In the interim we’ll run what we need to at the dryers at the nearby laundromat.
Look, I’m not unreasonable. I understand logistics for large-volume consumer-facing companies. Obviously there’s no sense in giving someone the ability to schedule a service call until the call has been paid for.
But for Whirlpool to make me jump through the additional hoops of having to call a different department (and giving me the wrong number on top of it) is inexcusably poor customer service.
I’m glad, in retrospect, that the fourth person I spoke with was able to at least cancel the transaction. I just wish it hadn’t gotten that far.
I’ve used Whirlpool appliances for most of my adult life – my wife’s insisted on them. When we needed to replace our washing machine last year, it was with another Whirlpool unit. And our dishwasher is a Whirlpool model as well. But I’m having serious misgivings about ever giving the company another dime of my money. Getting their products fixed shouldn’t be this much of a hassle.