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Whirlpool / front-loading washing machine a lemon

1 Ontario, Canada

A little over 2 1/2 years ago, I purchased a brand new front loading Whirlpool washing machine (Whirlpool LHW0050PQ) with stacking dryer. About a month ago, it stopped working (the warranty for the machine was 1 year, so it is no longer covered). The power would come on - but the machine would no longer begin wash cycles (the Start button did nothing). I had a repair person in who took several visits to diagnose the problem. In the end, it was determined that the machine required a new control panel. The control panel cost over $500. With labour, I have spent approximately $800 now. When the part was replaced, as soon as the repair person left, I did a load of laundry, only to discover that the problem still existed *exactly* as it had before. I called the repair company - who wanted to take the machine to their shop to diagnose it. What they found was that the new part had almost instantly shorted out as soon as the machine was used for the first time after replacing it. They contacted Whirlpool technical support who told them that something in the machine must be causing the short. According to the person at the repair shop that I spoke to, Whirlpool offered to give them a door latching mechanism for free for the washing machine so that they could perhaps see if it was causing the short (my repair people did install this part). In addition, Whirlpool gave me a new control panel (a new $500 part to replace the one that I bought that had burnt out - because it was still under warranty as a new part purchase). I now have the washing machine back and it seems to be working, but I have no faith whatsoever that it will continue to work for any length of time.

Here are my concerns:
- obviously, it positively sickens me that I would have to spend $800 to repair a washing machine that is only 2 1/2 years old. The washing machine was not cheap. I thought I was buying quality. This obviously wasn't the case.
- upon learning that the replacement part would cost so much, I would have just bought a new washing machine (not from Whirlpool!). However, the repair shop explained to me that my stackable Whirlpool dryer was only going to fit on top of a Whirlpool washing machine. So, to replace the washing machine would mean that I would also have to sell my dryer. Weighing the pros and cons of the situation, I decided to fix the washing machine even though it positively sickened me to give Whirlpool another cent. I find it equally repulsive that, when one buys a stackable unit, they're basically stuck if one part of it fails (this would be more acceptable, of course, if the machines lasted considerably longer than 2 1/2 years).
- when the repair person first brought the replacement part to my house, he mentioned that the replacement part was now being sold as part of a kit (control board with motor board - that's how they had purchased it from Whirlpool). He mentioned that, when parts come in a kit, it usually means the company has had problems with the part (so they sell the parts in a way that makes the many repair jobs easier). If Whirlpool has been having problems with this part, I have to wonder why they wouldn't instead compensate customers who'd bought the part in the first place. The fact that the replacement part had *exactly* the same problems as the original part makes me wonder the exact same thing.
- I have to wonder how much Whirlpool is making off of these replacement parts. It is absurd to me that any washing machine part should cost $500 - unless, of course, the company selling the part is marking up its value considerably. I really have to wonder if this isn't part of the company's business model: selling units that fail shortly after the warranty expires and then selling the parts required to fix the units at a jacked up price.
- related to the above point, the $500 replacement part has a guarantee of 3 months. Three months for something that cost over $500! In other words, if the part goes again in 4 months (and the machine's history tells me that this is a great possibility), I am completely out of luck again. I have never - ever - spent $500 on something that didn't come with a guarantee that wasn't at least a year long. You can buy a $30 toaster anywhere and it comes with at least a 1 year warranty! But I guess, considering what I believe to be their business model (see above), I'm not really that surprised by this.
- I am extremely confused by Whirlpool technical support's involvement in this. You would think that the nature of their involvement was an admission that something in the machine had caused the $500 part to go in the first place. This is especially suspect since they offered another part for free to try to make that determination. I just have to wonder why I should have had to pay $800 to replace a part that was caused by a fault with the machine in the first place.
- I have spent $800 and been without a working washing machine for over a month now. That alone is ridiculous. But, to add potential injury to insult, I now have a washing machine with parts that have proven to short out because of a deficiency with the machine. In other words, I now have to wonder if my washing machine is going to catch fire every time I use it!

I have written to Whirlpool 3 times now about this situation. All they really told me in return was that they appreciate my business and that they have added my concerns to their database. I don't think I need to explain to anyone what little consolation that has given me...

Jc

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