Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just when you think customer service can't get worse...

Imagine trying to get away with this level of "customer service" in the IT world.

We have an eight year old Whirlpool dishwasher which died recently. A service technician came out and unsuccessfully tried some fixes before deciding that the problem lay in the circuit boards. I can accept that - dishwashers create lots of steam and there may be corrosion on a contact somewhere. The technician disappeared to get information on replacing the board and nothing happened for a fortnight until we followed up with a series of phone calls.

To cut a long story short, we had a call last night from a person working in spare parts who advised up that the parts were now available - two separate circuit boards costing $450 and $500. So add in a service call and we were probably looking at over $1,000 to fix our dishwasher.
  • Why couldn't the technician who came out to see us figure out which of the boards were faulty - the spare parts person didn't know.
  • Could replacing just one of the boards fix the problem? - the spare parts person didn't know.
  • If replacing the two circuit boards didn't fix the problem then would we get the cost of those parts refunded? - Of course not... now did we want the parts or not?
The dishwasher is long out of warranty and I don't have a problem paying for a replacement part plus a service call to install the part. What blows my tiny little mind is the Whirlpool corporate attitude that puts the responsibility for diagnosing and fixing the problem back on the customer. Apparently they are quite happy to keep selling us additional spare parts until we stumble across the one that makes it all better.

Both the technician who made the original service call and the person selling us the parts were courteous but I can't say the same for the corporate policy on repairing their equipment. I'll send this information to Whirlpool and if they want to give me their give me their version of the story then I'm happy to give them equal time on this blog.

NOTE: It wasn't a Whirlpool technician who originally came out to see us - it was an appliance service organization - but if Whirlpool authorizes them to resell Whirlpool parts and service Whirlpool equipment then Whirlpool will cop the PR flack when it all goes wrong.

"Guess who's mum won't be buying another Whirlpoool".


Lotus Evangelist said...

Fix it yourself, but at those prices better off buying a new one.
I have been fixing mine for a while, washer and dryer too. Makes a PC look confusing.
There is so little in these things it's really amazing how people get afraid of these things.
Also, we found older dishwashers can't use gel packs, the things clog up stuff. Stopped using them and it worked again like new.
Just my 2 cents.
but yes, that does sound like horrible customer service.
But more a failure in training to provide how to know which part is bad.

Anonymous said...

When you buy up your competition and put them out of business, the need for good service diminishes.

Maytag was a good company, and the people I met there were good people, and Whirlpool wiped them out overnight. And now they are being sued for screwing over Maytag retired employees.

I wouldn't touch a Whirlpool product with a ten foot pole.

BTW, Maytag = former Lotus Notes shop.

Eric M said...

Great resource, if you decide on the DIY route: http://fixitnow.com/


Roy Rumaner said...

So who are you going to buy a replacement dishwasher from? We bought ours from Sears and are very happy with it.