Whirlpool, A&e / Microwave / 125 days of unsatisfactory customer service
A&E wins the All around award for worst customer service in the world. Whirlpool and A&E have taken terrible customer service and made it even worse. My dealings with them started in early April 2008 and after 4.5 months it still hasn't been resolved... Yes over 4 months and 4 trips by A&E technicians.
My saga started with a microwave from Whirlpool. My elderly mother had gotten the insurance for peace of mind. The microwave stopped working a year into the insurance. The first complaint was made on April 4th, 2008. She got scheduled for a technician to visit on April 18th. He ordered a part for the microwave after having spent 10min. The part was finally shipped 2 weeks later and then the appointment scheduled again which took another 10 days. The technician comes in and realizes that this is the wrong part and leaves telling her that he will order the right part this time. And here we go again. It takes 3 weeks to ship the part and another 2 weeks to schedule a technician. We are nearing end of June now -- about 2.5 months since the first call. The technician installs the part and it still doesn't work. He concludes that there is no issue with the microwave but with our internal electricity and tells my mom that she should look into this asap as it could have serious consequences. So she hires an electrician to come check the internal wiring. After paying $200 to the electrician we are told that this is a new house and there is nothing wrong with the wiring. He then goes on to clearly demonstrate that the issue is with the microwave. Great. Time to call the wonderful folks at A&E again. I also call Whirlpool to really get to the bottom of this. I figured they would care about how their outsourced company was dealing with their customers. I even asked that they send someone else than A&E. However, I was politely told by the supervisor that since the ticket had been opened with A&E, I have to complete it with them. There hands are tied and unfortunately they cant do anything to help. When I made the point that this insurance is not really buying any peace of mind and cant use the microwave at all, I was slyly told that it would be better if I just go buy a new microwave. Hmmm... So why do they sell insurance in the first place. Ahhhhh. Bingo... Most customers would have given up after the second month and this is what Whirlpool and A&E counts on. It clearly improves margins for Whirlpool by screwing the customers. Get money upfront for value that is a mystery and let the customer end up holding the short end of the stick. I really wonder how are American companies are going to compete with the Asian companies. The rapid rise of companies like LG and Samsung taking away market share from Whirlpool doesn't surprise me anymore.
Well, enough about my rant on macroeconomics... I finally muster up the energy to call A&E and get an appointment for July 24th. The technician comes in and this time I am there since my Mom has been tricked by these guys 3 times already. I repeat the experiment that the independent electrician had shown us. He acknowledges and agrees that the problem is indeed with the microwave. Within 5 minutes he nails the issue to a corrupt power cord which now needs to be replaced. He calls in the part to be shipped. I had learnt about the serial nature of setting appointments and asked the next appointment to be scheduled rightaway. It got scheduled for Aug 8th as that gives enough time for the part to be shipped. I called on Aug 7th to figure out where the part is. I was told it was getting shipped on Aug 7th and that they have to now cancel the Aug 8th appointment. Well, of course. What else should I have expected at this point. Now its Aug 14th and I call again. I am told that the part has still not been shipped and that it is the manufacturers fault. I asked to speak to a supervisor and spoke to Rebecca, who assured me that she will personally call the parts department and figure out why a power cord was taking so long. I now have an appointment set for Aug 22nd, 2008. Lets see if they can manage to stretch this even further.
Its been 4.5 months since this saga started. I have gone from frustration to amazement and seriously I am somewhat amused on how terrible Whirlpool's customer service is. I would love to write a business school case study on this.
Btw: when I had asked to get A&E's corporate HQ phone number I was told that they didn't have it at the call center. The best she could do was to give me an address. Well, I am sharing it here if anyone feels like writing snail mail.
1300 Louis Henna blvd
Round Rock, TX 78664
Lesson learnt: NEVER buy extended insurance. Its far better to just throw the appliance and purchase a new one. This way you never have to deal with any customer service. Plus they should change the name from Customer service to Suckers beware.
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