The Customer Service Survey

Dear Whirlpool, When I Spend A Couple Grand on Appliances, I Expect Prompt Repair Service When Something Breaks a Week Later

by Peter Leppik on Wed, 2013-08-07 14:40

A week ago, I had a new Whirlpool refrigerator and clothes drier installed. The drier replaced a Whirlpool my wife and I bought when we were first married over 20 years ago.

This new drier has not been nearly as trouble-free as its predecessor, however. What started out as a slight rattle after a few days of use has developed into an awful grinding noise which sounds like a piece of industrial equipment trying to destroy itself.

Even if this noise is harmless (which I doubt), it was time to call for repair. This morning I called the appliance store where I bought it, hoping they might be able to come out today to look at it. My family is going to the North Woods in a few days, and as soon as we get back from that I'm going on a business trip. We really need to be able to get our laundry done. The store's service department was booked, but they gave me the number of another local Whirlpool specialist.

The other repair company was also booked for today, but they also told me that even if they had time available, they are not allowed to fix my drier unless I went through Whirlpool's main customer service line. This is apparently a new rule they recently put in place. But, since Whirlpool could dispatch any repair shop in the city, maybe they would be able to find an earlier appointment.

Unfortunately, Whirlpool did not live up to my expectations.

After navigating their phone menus and waiting on hold, Whirlpool's service line took my details and politely informed me that the earliest they can get someone out to look at my broken drier is next Tuesday. I explained that this really wasn't acceptable because of our upcoming vacation, and the friendly customer service representative told me that there was absolutely no way they could get anyone out any earlier. That extra mile is apparently just too far to go.

So I (reluctantly) accepted an appointment for after our Trip Up North, almost two weeks in the future. But like the cable guy, Whirlpool also apparently can't schedule with any more precision than "between 8 AM and noon." That will require my wife to take a half-day off work (I will be on a business trip). And there is absolutely no way they can give us the first slot of the day or do anything else to try to make it easier on us. We are expected to do whatever it takes to accommodate the whims of Whirlpool's dispatch system.

[As an aside--I wonder if Whirlpool's call center allows its agents to take a half-day off work to stay home for the appliance repair guy?]

I fully appreciate that this is a First World Problem, but when I spend well over $2,000 on new appliances, and one of them starts sounding like a drill press on "auto-destruct" mode after only a week, I expect the manufacturer to fix it.

Promptly.

Meaning today, or maybe tomorrow if they're backed up. Making me wait a week says that they're (a) too cheap to pay some overtime to clear the backlog, (b) too disorganized to hold standby and reserve slots in case of emergencies or cancelations, and (c) don't care enough about me as a customer to do more than the bare minimum.

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