Whirlpool washing machine: a lemon for you, and would you like another?

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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.

19 Responses to “Whirlpool washing machine: a lemon for you, and would you like another?”

  1. Kay C Keefe

    Great, I just read your essay about your “teal” machine – the same exact model as mine. This F35 annoyance started about a week ago. Yep, I also paid a whooping $1200 for this stinky, and I do mean stinky piece of &^#%. My towels stink no matter what I do! When I purchased the set for my new home I had the contractor “build them in!” It will be quite the expense to replace these appliances. Class Action Suit anyone???

    Reply
    • Kay C Keefe

      MODERATION?? Everything I said is the God’s honest truth. These Whirlpool machines are a huge expensive joke!!!

      Reply
      • Max Smolev

        I moderate all comments to avoid trolls 🙂 Sorry about that. The internetz are not what they used to be *sigh*

        Reply
    • Max Smolev

      I’ve been keeping the dor ajar on the washing machine all the time (as was recommended by some people) and it actually seems to have worked — I don’t have mold/smell problem.
      Were you able to get it repaired? Or did your repair technician also said “not possible to get a part” (in my case I was finally able to obtain proper sensor by carpet-bombing a bunch of emails at Whirlpool)

      Reply
      • Nancy

        I am a victim of a new Whirlpool electric range LEMON – it ruined Thanksgiving (Whirlpool send repairman), who declared it fined – then, it died just before Christmas. I bought it from Ikea, who tauted the five year guarantee from Whirlpool; however, Whirlpool will only repair NOT replace with a new range. I am furious at both Whirlpool and Ikea for the run-around and treatment that I have received. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks

        Reply
        • Max Smolev

          Sorry to hear about your problem. I haven’t had a problem with my built-in range (it’s gas) so far and, unfortunately, don’t know what your options might be.
          Were repairs unsuccessful or did they say you have to wait a long time for it to be repaired?
          I believe they might issue a replacement if you go through multiple repairs, but it would depend on your state law.

          Also, if you paid with a credit card within a short time, you might want to call their customer support and see if they can help (some cards have “return” guarantee where they can help you return the item you bought with the card even if original retailer refuses to accept the range back).

          Reply
    • Carlene K. Gorham

      I’d be glad to join in if you can find an attorney that would be any better than Whirlpool — believe NO SUCH CRITTER exists. – Have same problem as you and machine has been ‘in use’ for 13 months. ckg

      Reply
  2. Michele Fregia

    I purchased this same lemon washer from Whirlpool (WFW9600AT01)! Instead of the F35 error, I received an F70 and sometimes and F71 code. The machine is almost @ 5 years. I bought Whirlpool as I thought it was a solid name. I paid $1600 for it. We are a 2 person adult household…no major usage. Usually, 3-4 loads a week. I never expected the issues I am having. The first time I called in was Dec 2012 and I was told to push some configurations of buttons and use a different cycle to wash. That worked for a few more weeks. Then, I had to call for service again. The guy came out in January and said we need to order a part that would run me around $500 parts & labor and that it might not fix the issue. If that part did not work, then I would have to order another one around the same price quote. I got a second opinion. I called another repair man who was a referral from a friend. The guy came out and said he could have it repaired within a couple of weeks and we would only have to replace one part…just under $500 and it would be working. I thought ok, I can do that. I understand that parts break. We replaced the part and guess what, the first repairman was correct! Now we needed to order another part which had an original estimate for delivery in Feb, then March 25th, then June 22nd. Today, when I called Whirlpool for assistance, I was told the date has moved to July 19th and there is no guarantee. Now, we are renting a washer to do laundry until said part arrives. I complained and was basically told, it has been documented but we are sorry there is nothing we can do because of the age of the appliance. I will be posting everywhere I can to let all know–DO NOT BUY WHIRLPOOL!! Customer service not helpful and as a consumer being without a washer for more than 6 months and told that I should have ordered extended warranty is basically a slap in the face. So much for the reputation I thought Whirlpool had.

    Reply
  3. D Mrozowski

    Problems with a machine five yrs old is one thing. However, our Whirlpool washer is seven months and we have had a repair man here three times and we ate told there’s nothing wrong with the machine. Really? There is soap residue on lightweight tee shirts and heavier sweat pants. We have changed HE detergent three times, try hot water, warm water, cool water, heavy duty wash, normal wash, nothing makes a difference. We have been doing wash for over forty years and our old Kenmore is still running with no issues. After numerous phone calls to Whirlpool, we still don’t have a resolution. Oh, and we have even done the clean wash. This machine is costing us more money and we don’t know where to go. They won’t consider a return. Never, never, never buy Whirlpool again.

    Reply
    • Carlene K. Gorham

      Me too – However took interest in your comment re. using your “Kenmore” — Whirlpool MAKES Kenmore. but— I have purchased a whole houseful of Kenmore products over my 79 years of life– and ALL have lasted. What a waste of all of our $$$ as these ‘fancy’ machines are ‘BUILT TO BREAK’ — I, too, cannot afford the service repair costs @ $1300/month total income for ALL my living expenses – Suppose it might help to VENT. WOE! WOE! —

      Reply
  4. S Jackson

    Grrr! So, I am sorry to say that I, too, am now a member of this “club.” I purchased my Whirlpool washer (the teal model – WFW9600TA01 model) in 2008 and the washer is DEAD! I had a serviceman come to my house to repair the machine and the estimate of repairs/cost necessary to have the machine running once more totals over $1,791.21 and $260.00 in labor fees!

    What needs repaired to the washer? A new tub, basket and back bracket!

    This is unbelievable!!!

    Reply
    • Max Smolev

      Wow, did the serviceman tell you what the basket got damaged? It’s unbelievable — cheaper to buy a new machine 🙁

      Reply
  5. Cliff W

    I too have a problem with a high end Whirlpool front loader. My error is F28. Have had two repair companies here and they can’t fix. into repairs for $500 and they can’t fix!! Mine is only 1.5 years old.

    Reply
  6. Jamie clarke

    Mine had trouble the first 3 yrs! And today the cpu went out! Piece of shit! I asked is this not a lemon? They said you must get the same problem 3 times in so many months! First off I will never by a kenmore because it’s Sears that should back it! And they did not !!! As for

    Reply
  7. M Cohen

    The unfortunate decision to purchase a Whirlpool washer–not same model; apparently they are all bad–was indeed mine too. Reliable brand. WHAT A JOKE! Bought from Sears because they are reliable. WELL, NOT NOW. THAT WAS SOME YEARS AGO. Now we suffer the Whirlpool curse along with you. This is the 3rd repair in this calendar year, and it is just August. The Whirlpool here won’t go into the spin/drain cycle. And so I have a load of sheets in my dryer that are so wet I can’t even hang them on a line. BTW, Sears is sending someone out tomorrow to “repair” machine again. I suppose careful people read these posts before buying, but most only after there is a purchase and a problem. Suggestions. Still under extended warranty.

    Reply
  8. Harriet

    My appliance guy advised me to get the extended warranty the first time he came to repair the machine. UGH.

    Reply
  9. J

    I’m getting an F3E2 code. This is the 4th time it’s broken and the machine isn’t even old. They come out to “fix” it and if the code doesn’t show at the exact moment they’re here then they say it’s fine, only to have it happen the second they leave. I just had to renew my warranty to get them to come out again and probably not fix it. At what point do they replace it?

    Reply
  10. J

    I’m getting an F3E2 code on a whirlpool washer. This is the 4th time it’s broken and the machine isn’t even old. They come out to “fix” it and if the code doesn’t show at the exact moment they’re here then they say it’s fine, only to have it happen the second they leave. I just had to renew my warranty to get them to come out again and probably not fix it. At what point do they replace it?

    Reply
  11. B. Easley

    Purchased a whirlpool washer not even 4 months ago. Today will be the 4th tech visit and all for the same problem. The washer refuses to spin. Left with sopping wet clothes and it has been 3 weeks with no washer. DO NOT BUY WHIRLPOOL!

    Reply

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