Bamboozled: Icy response to repair request

All Corie Gaylord wanted was ice. Ice, and cooled – but not frozen – vegetables.

Instead, she had a chilly experience filled warranty headaches and repair twists and turns.

But no ice.

And frozen veggies.

In March, Gaylord’s refrigerator stopped working, so she visited the Lowe’s in Princeton to purchase a new one.

She found a Whirlpool model she liked, complete with an icemaker, and it was in stock and ready for delivery the next day.

“This sounded great. Unfortunately, a month later the icemaker stopped working and my vegetables were freezing in the vegetable drawer,” Gaylord said.

She called Whirlpool, the manufacturer of the refrigerator, and it set up a service appointment with a manufacturer-authorized local repair company.

And thus began several months of failed fixes and frustrating service attempts.

“Since it is a Whirlpool product and they have done little to rectify the situation… they should be the ones held accountable,” Gaylord said. “Lowe’s tried to get me a replacement, but Whirlpool denied it.”

The first technician came to the South Brunswick home on April 20.

“I had to show my original receipt to prove that it was under warranty,” Gaylord said. “They found no power was getting to the icemaker and ordered a new icemaker. The technician also increased the temperature in the refrigerator because the vegetables in the vegetable drawer were freezing. He said that would fix it.”

But that was only the beginning.

On May 5, the technician returned to replace the icemaker, which thereafter operated just fine.

Until it didn’t. By June, the icemaker had failed, Gaylord said.

She called and made a June 16 appointment with the same service company. The day before, when Gaylord called to confirm, she said the company told her to call in the morning to get a window of time for the service call. She did.

“They gave me a window of 3 to 6 p.m. No service technician showed up, nor did anyone call and the office was closed – it was a Saturday,” she said.

So on Monday, June 18, Gaylord left a message at the service company. No one returned her call.

On June 19, she called again, but this time received a message that there was a problem with the telephone line.

So she called Whirlpool, which said it would work on getting Gaylord a new service appointment.

While she waited, the icemaker inexplicably started working again, so Gaylord didn’t pursue the appointment.

But a month later, the icemaker stopped again, and the vegetables were once again freezing in the refrigerator.

Gaylord called Whirlpool again, and it arranged for a July 23 service appointment.

The call was scheduled for between 9 a.m. and noon, but that morning the office called to change the appointment time to between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. They called again at 12:55 p.m. to say the technician was running late.

“Then they called 10 minutes later to say that it was not warranty work and that I would have to pay for the service call,” Gaylord said. “Then 1:24 they called and said… I would have to reschedule.”

Frustrated by the cancellation and knowing in her bones that the repair should be covered by the warranty, Gaylord called Whirlpool again. The rep asked Gaylord to fax the purchase receipt so that Whirlpool could update its records, and it would call when that was done. After that, Whirlpool said it would make arrangements with a different service company, given the lack of satisfaction Gaylord had with the first firm.

To cover her bases, Gaylord called Lowe’s with an update on her repair history, and Lowe’s told her it could also arrange for service, and it confirmed the fix would be covered under warranty.

Gaylord waited, willing to give Whirlpool a chance.

More than 24 hours later, the Whirlpool system hadn’t been updated, and Gaylord had enough.

She called Lowe’s, which arranged for a service call with a different servicer for July 30 between 1 and 5 p.m. Gaylord was hoping for a different appointment time, so she called the company herself.

“They stated very rudely that I must pay for the service call because their records indicate that the refrigerator is not under warranty,” she said. “I called Lowe’s back and told them.”

Lowe’s would take care of it and make arrangements with a different service company.

On July 27, there was a message from Lowe’s.

“They had set up a service appointment with the company that originally came out that didn’t show up twice or return phone calls,” Gaylord said. “I immediately called Lowe’s and I explained everything and requested a different service company.”

Lowe’s promised it would look into it, and Gaylord soonafter received an email from Lowe’s with an appointment with a new service company for Aug. 14.

The scheduled 1 to 5 p.m. window stretched and stretched, and the technician arrived at 7:45 p.m.

“The technician thought I would need another new icemaker,” she said. “He also determined that I would need a new damper. Regarding the vegetable drawer, he said that he would have to call their office, when they were open, to ask what to do about that.”

Two days later the parts were in, and the technician arranged for the installation on Aug. 21.

That day, the tech arrived and replaced a part in the icemaker – not the icemaker itself – and put a piece of paper towel in the opening where cold air was coming into the vegetable drawer.

“I asked about this and he said that on `older models’ this works,” Gaylord said. “He said to give the icemaker 24 hours to make ice.”

The next day, no ice.

On Aug. 23, Gaylord called the service company, which said they could make another appointment, but they “didn’t know what else they could do.”

So Gaylord called Lowe’s again, which said it would put in a request to Whirlpool for a replacement refrigerator.

Request denied.

With repairs her only option, Gaylord set up another appointment with the most recent service company for Aug. 30, but within hours, the company called.

“They stated that they could not come out and fix my icemaker since they did not put in the replacement icemaker,” she said. “This did not make sense since they had already been out to fix my icemaker, but they said they would not do it under warranty and that the original service company that had come out held the warranty for the icemaker.”

So Gaylord called Lowe’s again. After nearly an hour of transfers and waiting on hold, Gaylord had an answer.

“She said that I would need one more completed service appointment before I could request a new refrigerator and that they would replace parts first,” she said.

She said a service company would be calling to set up an appointment.

No one called, so Gaylord called Bamboozled.


After reviewing a very detailed timeline of Gaylord’s experience, and the paperwork involved with the purchase and the service calls, we reached out to Whirlpool to see if it could help this patient customer.

Within two days, Gaylord was contacted by the company.

“[The rep] said things like, `It needs to be exchanged,’ `I was looking at the service history and it is unbelievable,’ and `It’s suspicious what happened,’” Gaylord said.

The rep said Gaylord could pick out a new comparable model or an upgraded model and pay the difference, and Whirlpool would make the exchange.

We asked Whirlpool about the case, and it said its general policy is to repair an appliance if it is under warranty, free of charge.

“There are some circumstances in which the repair may not be cost effective or there have been multiple service attempts,” said Whirlpool spokeswoman Kimberly Thompson. In those cases, we consider replacing the appliance. Whirlpool decided to replace Ms. Gaylord’s refrigerator for this reason.”

He said it usually takes 10 to 14 business days for a replacement appliance to be delivered.

Thanks to Whirlpool for helping this customer.