Wow, just wow. This experience with Whirlpool makes me think I never should have bought them, or at least didn’t go with their “top of the line” model.
The story starts idyllically 3 years ago, when I bought their fanciest washer — model WFW9600TA01. Steam option, programs up to wazoo, large enough to fit a comforter in for a wash. And for a while it was good.
Until I got that dreaded SUD/F35 problem (when screen shows that, and then machine just drains the water). Okay, things happen to break down from time to time, though at this point I already started getting somewhat nervous. $1200 washing machine having problems just 3 years after purchase?
Manufacturer’s warranty is out at this point (apparently there’s a larger warranty on certain parts like a motor, but not everything) so I went to whirlpool.com and tried to schedule a service. UX experience was quite awkward, but it was partially my fault not seeing that there was an extra “the last last” step so I didn’t press the final button and spent morning waiting for repairman that actually wasn’t scheduled. My fault. I re-rescheduled it, got the confirmation this time, and the next day the technician actually stopped by to diagnose the problem.
“Oh yeah, lots of these have the same problem, it’s a pressure switch”, — he said (part W10156252, the one that gives you F35 error). “We’ll get the part and replace it soon”. A few days later he stopped by again, with the part. Except it wasn’t exactly the same part but rather “similar” one.
An hour and a half of shaving off “the plastic tab”, attaching, screwing, starting, stopping, and machine continued to try to convince us that it’s having a SUD attack. Technician said that “usually this works, but I guess they really have to get the part”, and their office will call me with an ETA (also that the part itself is more than a hundred bucks, which made me think about that NASA Golden Toilets thing). Lady did call the very next day, to inform me that ETA for the correct part is July 6th. Sounds like Soviet Russia — waiting for weeks to get a replacement part.
Well, no choice, right? My card was already charged $270 for “repair” that wasn’t a repair yet, so I decided to wait. In the meantime I tweeted about this “fun” experience, and I got contacted by Whirlpool’s twitter care specialist who apologized and tried to look further into my repair status.
Except I was informed that “unfortunately, this part won’t be available on July 6th and further ETA is not available”. Now it sounds even more like a Soviet Russia — mega-expensive locally made washing machine breaks within 3 years and can’t be repaired because “parts are not available”. Wow.
But they offered me to do “pro-rated exchange”. So, I figured, that would be more or less reasonable — certainly their top-of-the-line model was meant to last more than 5 years, so I bet the pro-rated part will mean roughly half of the original price or more. Heh, I was too naive. Yes, I did get a call from the exchange department. Lady informed me they don’t make this teal color washers any more (fine, whatever, I can live with mismatched set) and then offered me the new white washing machine that retails for $1100 at the low-low price of … $800+.
Excuse me? Did I mishear something? Bad cell phone connection?
Nope, everything was right. I could get my broken one exchanged for a new one by paying more than $800 dollars.
So the official worth of $1200 machine after 3 years is roughly $250. That makes a projected lifespan of 4 years or so.
And after that they expect me to shell out more than $800 for their product again? So it would die in another 3-4 years? No way.
So I declined politely, and waited for the official part ETA to come and go, to see if the real part will really be available, as Whirlpool promised to the repair company. Sure enough, the part is not available. Appliance Express can’t do anything about it, because they’re at the mercy of Whirlpool.
Another attempt to contact them — via chat this time, and sure enough, the representative confirmed that part is indeed not available. Worse, they have no idea if it will ever be available again. No rough estimate, nothing. Could be a month, could be a year, or never again.
Hello, Soviet Russia, did you export your appliance makers into US?
At this point my only option is to get a new washing machine (I’m thinking about Samsung) and throwing this one away. It takes up space, it doesn’t wash. Maybe I will feel better after smashing this overpriced piece of metal and plastic trash with a hammer. I’m not sure if I can get a refund for a full service charge ($270) as repair did not succeed (I’ll talk to Appliance Express before hammering anything). But I certainly declare myself an idiot for trying to support US manufacturer and for buying an expensive model thinking that those are more likely to last for a long time. Silly me.
Whirlpool appliances? Never ever again.
If you see one in store — run.
*Update: July 8th* I have also sent an email to executives, and today received a prompt call from the executive support about my parts problem. They promised to help and mentioned they may have found the critical part. Cautiously optimistic at this point.