My Refrigerator is [Running] Ruining My Life

Maytag Repairman Lonely No More

By Julie Freestone

I admit it. We were seduced by the long-running ad that elicits sympathy for the Maytag repairman. None of that company’s products ever need fixing and he had nothing to do. So when it was time for us to replace our not-so-wonderful fridge, we opted for a Maytag.

In retrospect, it would have been cheaper to buy a subscription to Consumer Reports and get an unbiased, non-commercial review of the best product.

Seven months into our honeymoon with the newbie (May 2015 if you want to keep track of this saga), it began to make strange noises and ran A LOT. Enough to make us start worrying about our electric bills, which we had worked so hard to lower.

Call to Maytag. Which isn’t, as it turns out, really Maytag anymore. Whirlpool. No problem. Still under warranty. Was asked to send the receipt. No problem.

Lots of ice

Scheduling the repair: a problem. Hauled out the ice chests (the repair company recommended this). Got ice. Got more ice. Argued with the repair company. Finally the repair person arrived. Fortunately he had his I-phone with him, because he seemed to be able to function only when he interacted with the service manual on the device — supplemented with a few phone calls to friends or colleagues. He suggested the refrigerator wasn’t repairable and he’d have to turn in a report and see what would happen next.

Began asking Maytag/Whirlpool for a new refrigerator to replace the lemon. Also began reminding myself that with all the problems in the world, this was a minor issue. Got more ice.

We Were Lucky

Nothing much happened for a while. More ice. An appeal to the retail outlet where we purchased the product. They brought us a loaner and pointed out that we were lucky. Getting parts for some foreign-made models takes much, much longer.

Another repair person returned, providing a second opinion. It was fixable. They had to order a part. Ten more days and they pronounced it fixed.

Not quite. It began getting warm again. Moved all the stuff back to the loaner, which fortunately was still in the garage. Called Maytag. Asked for a new refrigerator or a refund. Asked for a different repair company, preferably one with trained technicians.

More scheduling. Arrival of a seemingly competent person. More parts to be ordered. Another pronouncement: fixed.

Loaded everything back into the refrigerator. Started doing back exercises.

Free Extended Warranty

Asked to have the loaner picked up. Eyed the fridge with distrust. Began receiving suggestions from Whirlpool that we buy another year’s service warranty, since we were now two months short of a year, when the original warranty would expire. Asked Whirlpool for a new refrigerator. Got a free warranty. Asked them to confirm the warranty in writing.

Which turned out to be a good thing. Celebrated the anniversary of the first repair with another breakdown. (May 2016). Called Whirlpool Was told we didn’t have a warranty. Sent to email to prove we did. They called back and tried to sell us a new warranty product. Referred to the email confirming that we already had one.

Another round with the repair people. More ice chests, more ice. Asked for a new refrigerator. Was told we didn’t have a warranty. Was told the refrigerator was fixed. Asked for a new refrigerator.

Fridge began heating up. Called Whirlpool. Was told “this is a man-made product. You can’t expect it to last a lifetime.” Asked to talk to a supervisor. Case was referred to “review team.”

Small Kitchen, Bigger Fridge

Was called back by the review team (three days later, lots of ice). Told we could have new refrigerator. One problem: no Maytag/Whirlpool/Amana “family” product is the correct size for our small kitchen. Newer refrigerators are all a few inches larger than last year’s model.

Had a contractor come and talk to us about remodeling our kitchen. Called Whirlpool. Asked for our money back. Began collecting receipts saved for ice, increased electric bills, discarded spoiled food.

Was asked for our receipt again (see paragraph 4). Sent it again. Was told we should hold on to the refrigerator until their representative came — with our prorated!! refund — to pick up the lemon, probably six-eight weeks. Then was told we could have the refrigerator taken away and sign an affidavit and they’d send the check directly to us.

Oh yes, it would be prorated. Because the refrigerator was now two years old. And forget the receipt for the added costs. And delivery. And taxes.

So I have a suggestion for the lonely Maytag repairman. I think he’s needed at the Whirlpool factory. Looking for lemons. I’ve got one he can start with.

Julie Freestone is the author (with Rudi Raab) of Stumbling Stone and Howdy, the Adventures of a Disgruntled Pig

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