The following is a record of correspondence with KitchenAid. If you don't have time to read it, just skim through. I am writing to you after unsuccessfully dealing with various levels of your organization. I read with interest your comments on customer service in an article in “Inside 1to1.” I hope your general success is better than what I have experienced.
In early August I ordered a full set (Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Microwave, Range) of KitchenAid stainless steel appliances from a dealer in Phoenix, Arizona. Because the range was a new model, we understood the delivery of the range would be delayed for a few weeks. In September the range was still being postponed, so we took delivery of the other appliances.
In early October, a range was delivered which was damaged to the extent that the door would not even open. Needless to say I did not accept the product. On November 2, another range was delivered, this time with no visible damage. Very quickly we realized there was a heating problem when the oven temp is raised after the initial preheat. It would take 30+ minutes to go from 350 to 500. I contacted KA Customer Service and scheduled service with “Appliance Doctor” on November 22. Diagnosis “Bad Heat Sensor,” and the part had to be ordered.
While preparing Thanksgiving dinner, we discovered that periodically one burner would just not work. Heat sensor arrives mid December but does not fix the problem. New diagnosis, “Bad Control Panel." Control panel and heat element switch is “rush ordered.” Control panel arrives December 20; the new service tech is not aware of the problem history. The wrong part was ordered for the burner switch. The technician did not want to install the control panel because he did not have the switch to replace at the same time and he wanted to talk to the KA service technicians. And he was also trying to get out of town for Christmas.
Switch arrives January 8. The service technician installs both the switch and control panel, turns the burner on to establish that it would heat and leaves without checking the oven performance. He told me to call if it did not fix the problem. I contacted the sales person at ** who gave me the number for his customer service person at KA. I contacted **, who scheduled A&E Factory Service to come out January 13.
A&E spent 1 ½ hours only to say “I don't know what is wrong – I need to call KA technical service.” He left stating he or his boss would get back to me the next day. During the week of January 17, I left two messages for **, but never got a return call. With the help of a friend, I was put in touch with **, who assured me she would resolve the problem. On January 20 she said she had a call in to the engineer and would get back to me. On January 24 & 25 I left messages for ** but did not hear back.
On January 25 I called and ask to speak to someone in the executive offices to see if ** was in the office. The person I spoke to (unfortunately I did not get her name) said ** was on a conference call but either she or ** would get back to me that day. It is now 5 PM EST and still no call.
This letter was put on hold on January 26 because **did get back to me and put me in touch with ** in the engineering section. His team was able to reproduce the heat recovery problem I have been having. The control panel “fix” was turned over to ** who I believe is the project manager for the “fix” project.
On February 24 ** notified me via e-mail that the new control panel should be ready to ship as early as “next week.” At the same time replacement cooktop controls would be shipped, and a local repair person would do the work. On March 7 and again on March 14 I sent e-mail to ** with a copy to ** and ** to check on the status. As of today I have not had a response.
On about March 16 I had a call from ** to see if I had been given any information on the parts. I said I had not but was about to send a follow-up e-mail. She said she would check on it and get back to me. On about March 18 I called [higher-up KA representative] and left a message requesting a return call. As of 3 PM March 21 I have not had a call. Needless to say my frustration level is very high. I would appreciate any help you can give me which this situation. I can be reached 7 AM – 4 PM at **.
I have not been in touch with you for several months so, just in case you forgot who I am, I have attached a copy of the letter I wrote to [you] concerning the problems I had with my KitchenAid range. The reason I am writing is that I recently received correspondence inviting me to purchase warranty extensions for the suite of KA appliances I bought at the same time as the range. Since I hardly got a “Thank You” for all the trouble I went through with the range, I thought it would be very kind of you to grant me a three-year warranty extension on all the products.
I am writing to you once again to ask for your assistance but also to make you aware of a complete lack of follow through of your customer service organization. As I explained in my first letter, I had a very frustrating experience getting resolution on basic design flaws in my KitchenAid range. It was only after a letter to you that the problem was resolved. When I received offers for extended warranty coverage on my appliances, I wrote with a simple request to extend all the warranties for the three-year offer at no cost to me. I received a call stating that ** was no longer with the organization but ** would handle the issue.
** stated that there was no way they could possibly extend the warranty on all the appliances but they would be willing cover any repairs to the range to be reviewed on a year-to-year basis. I agreed to the offer but explained how disappointed I was with the handling of the problems from day one. I stated that it seemed as if I fell through the cracks at every turn. ** apologized for the previous problems and stated she would send me a letter stating what we had agreed on so I would have documentation to refer to. It has now been almost three weeks since the call from ** and I have not received the letter as promised. I am once again mystified by the lack of commitment to customer service of your organization.
I am once again writing to you to keep you abreast of the ongoing saga of my KitchenAid appliances. So I don't have to recap here, I have attached my previous correspondence with your organization. In July 2007 the refrigerator compressor went out, which was covered under warranty. However, I was charged $129 for Freon. In December 2006, the refrigerator startup capacitor for the compressor went out which cost $229.
In January 2007 we discovered a half-inch chip in the plastic handle for the microwave. I decided I could replace this myself and purchased the handle from a local parts dealer for $46. After some study I realized I could not figure out how to remove the chipped handle. When the repairman was here in July, I ask him to replace it.
After considerable study and calls to KA tech support, he/they could not figure out how to remove the handle. I later got a call from the owner of the repair company stating the only way to fix it is to replace the entire door at a cost of $300. At this point an additional crack has developed in the plastic handle and I'm sure it will eventually break. It is just my wife and I using this appliance, so it is not caused from abuse.
Sometime prior to December 2006, the range sounded like a helicopter taking off when in convection oven mode. Since it was still under the repair agreement your office extended, I contacted the person who took over for ** and they arranged for service. It turned out to be a loose nut holding the convection fan blade.
After the most recent refrigerator repair I received an offer for an extended warranty at a cost of $138. Because of the demonstrated unreliability of KitchenAid products, I paid for the plan. I am so fed up with these appliances that I would replace them with another brand if they were not so expensive. If I do not hear from you with an offer to fix the microwave door and restitution for my repair expenses, I will be forced to go to my local newspaper and television consumer complaint office as well as posting my experience on any Internet site I find under “KitchenAid Problems,” of which there are many.
Resolution Update on 07/03/2009:
Within about a week after I posted two letters documenting serious problems with my KitchenAid Architect Series suite of appliances, I was contacted by the Customer Service Department at Whirlpool, which apparently owns KitchenAid. They offered to fix my appliances (I had a dishwasher problem after I wrote the two letters), reimburse me for about half of my out-of-pocket expenses, and replace the microwave door and stovetop free of charge. They were prompt, efficient, and helpful throughout the process.
Comment67 on 7/3/09
I purchased a 2 drawer KitchenAid dishwasher in February of 2006 and have now replaced it with a standard model dishwasher (Maytag brand). The drawers came with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty and in November 2007 the motor in the top drawer stopped working. A service repairman came out the day after I reported the problem and had to replace the entire motor unit, which had to be backordered - this took almost 4 weeks to receive and have replaced. I didn't purchase the extended warranty, now in June 2009, both drawers were beeping and the error code indicated that the flood switch has been tripped.
Throughout this time, I've experienced a considerable amount of water collecting in the top drawer when the bottom drawer is running, the touch sensors on the top drawer weren't working very well unless I had wet fingers, and the dishes just weren't getting very clean unless I prewashed everything.
I know that to have the service repairman just come to the door is going to cost me around $100, so I've decided to just replace the drawers with a standard dishwasher. I've never had such an unreliable appliance and this was my first experience with the KitchenAid brand. I like the concept of the drawers, as I was able to run a full drawer as needed and not waste water and energy on half loads (until I started prewashing everything).
However, as time went on after getting the dishwasher, the dishes weren't getting cleaned and a white, powdery haze was developing inside the drawers. I had to regularly take the insides of the drawers out to clean them. I eventually started using a product called Lemi-Shine, adding this to the prewash cup and this got rid of the white film and the water stains that were being left on the dishes. It also worked on removing the caked up detergent that was building up under the plate that the rotating arm sits on top of.
The first time this was repaired, the repairman told me this was hard water buildup - I have a water softener and this is the only place/appliance that this was a problem. I pointed out that the dried white stuff under the plate looked like undissolved detergent - which powder detergent is the only thing that can be used. I tried some dishwasher gel, but that created a lot of soapy bubbles and didn't rinse completely off. The detergent cups are to small for the packaged tablets.
After the motor was replaced in 2007, I did some research and found that there were a lot of complaints about the 2 drawer model. After I discovered the flood switch error, which requires a service technician, as that's what the user manual states and I couldn't find any information on the Internet on how to fix this specific issue, I decided it was no longer worth the hassles that I've been experiencing. I'm very happy with my new Maytag, but then it's only been a few days as of this writing. Just like with KitchenAid, I've never had a Maytag appliance before.
ORLAND PARK, ILLINOIS -- My 7-year old built in KitchenAid refrigerator cannot be repaired. The water and ice do not work and after at least 7 service visits, we are told that the entire door needs replacement but KitchenAid no longer makes the door so we have to buy a new fridge at the cost of $10,000.00. This is absolutely ridiculous.
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA -- This is a positive review of the Kitchen Aid Electric Cook-top. I could not be more pleased! There are five cooking areas. One for a very large cooking pot. Two for medium cooking pots and two more with rings that can accommodate large or small pots. I love this appliance and have had it for almost two years.
Kitchenaid double oven, which I paid dearly for is reporting fe20 error. This is ridiculous. The oven is only 3 years old and should be broken, it's not like we're abusing it. My wife is the only one who cooks with it and this it total bull. The oven was 3k when I purchased it so it was not like it was a discount oven. I will not recommend any Kitchenaid products and I would not purchase from them if I were you.
CENTERVILLE, OHIO -- I own several Kitchenaid products, including a Kitchenaid Architect series range. I own two stand mixers, one vintage (I'll never part with it) and a newer professional series model. I also love my KA hand mixer. Initially I had issues with the range regarding the oven racks. After purchasing and when it was delivered, I noticed the racks were poor quality. They bowed if you put a dutch oven in for baking. I was furious.
All that money and the racks bow in middle? Took 7 calls to KA customer service for them to finally send out a technician. What was troublesome was it took that many calls to get action and for them to admit there was a quality issue with those racks. We did get it resolved and they replaced the racks with commercial grade quality.
Still loyal to KA, I purchased a 15 cup food processor recently after chatting on line with a KA representative. This is from their website. They assured me this product was made in the USA. Wrong. When I got it, it felt light and cheap, flipped it over and said "made in China". I opted to return it. Took three calls to Customer service to get a return label.
Now after them having the Food processor back for almost 3 weeks I have yet to receive a refund. I found out after speaking with 5 reps now, each has a different story to tell about the refund and why I haven't gotten it. This last representative told me they only process refunds on Thursdays. My refund request went in a week and a half ago. I must have missed that Thursday's process. So, we'll see if mine made the cut this week.
KA management needs to take a hard look at their operations on the customer service side. While they make what I consider, good products and mostly made in the US which I appreciate, lowering standards will catch up with them. I want to remain loyal to them but I would be hard pressed to recommend buying their products, especially if there is a problem you have to go to them to resolve.
MANALAPAN, NEW JERSEY -- In January, 2007, I purchased a new home in an "Active Senior Development". The Kitchen appliances came with the home. I am living here 5 1/2 years and have had ongoing problems with the refrigerator, the gas range, the dishwasher and the microwave oven. I signed a maintenance insurance policy with Kitchen Aid. It turned out the policy is NOT with the manufacturer but a third party who sends sub-contractors as "repair Personnel".
Shortly after moving in the water connection from the supply shut off valve to the inside of the rear of the refrigerator "failed" inside of the unit. Water flooded from the kitchen into the dining room and hallway to two bedrooms, bathroom and laundry room. Of course the carpet was saturated and the sheetrock in the kitchen alcove required redoing. A part in the refrigerator failed.
After the manufacturers warranty period was over, the ice maker failed. Again sub contractors were sent out to fix my problems and the first one made believe he did something which held until he walked out of the door. The second technician that was sent to me spent almost an hour looking at the icemaker before he announced to me that he wasn't qualified by Kitchen Aid to make repairs but I was charged a second time for these visits.
Out of desperation I called in a company from the yellow pages who fixed the problem in less that a half hour. Now the entire ice maker failed, not just the motor. Water overflowed from the ice cube maker tray and proceeded to flow on the rear of the ice cube container on the door, down the front of the several shelves below the ice maker, which all froze.
I was able to shut the switch that controlled this gadget. After I was able to get the ice waterfall removed and expose the icemaker unit, I found that the plastic was completed deformed by the ice and the entire unit was destroyed. I spoke to several of my neighbors and lo and behold they had had similar problems. Some had maintenance insurance; the repairs cost was in the high two hundreds.
One that didn't have insurance paid slightly over three hundred dollars to get it replaced. The repair people said that the way the unit was manufactured failed parts could not be replaced and that the entire icemaker must be replaced. I will never again buy a Whirlpool-Kitchen Aid product and warn anyone else that will be thinking of buying these brands that they are better off buying anything else!
It was down to Viking, Wolf and KitchenAid for our high end remodel. We chose KitchenAid (price - performance seemed comparable). The $6500 dual-fuel range has NEVER heated properly. KitchenAid repair can't figure it out. They told me live with it. Then a light went out in the hood. The manual says to unscrew two screws to replace it. But the screws are improperly manufactured and even service repair couldn't get them out.
I called KitchenAid to complain that I can't even replace a lightbulb in my hood and that it is a latent defect. They told me too bad - out of warranty. So I wrote to KitchenAid and got a total blow-off, they said in essence "parts fail", too bad. If you are buying high end products, don't even waste your time on KitchenAid. I've had Wolf equipment and they never treated me as poorly as KitchenAid. AVOID KITCHENAID TOP END PRODUCTS
Update 3/10/2011: I wrote a letter to the Consumer Affairs department and cc'd the CEO and Chairman of the Board or Whirlpool. They called me back and said they'd pass my issue on to engineering. That was 2 weeks ago. Still waiting. It's very unfortunate that I have to take the time out of my day to write to the CEO to get attention to an obvious design flaw and failure on the part of the company to respond in a responsible way. I'm understand that products fail. But that's what customer service is supposed to be for. Trying to work with KitchenAid customer service is like dealing with the DMV - a very discouraging experience.
And to those who commented that I should have done research before buying - I did, but you miss the point of my review. All the high end products have complaints. My issue is not with the products per se but rather with customer disservice. When you buy a top of the line product, it should come with top of the line support.
Purchased the disposal in November after looking at many others. The moment it was installed by the plumber, I knew it was a problem. There is a flange that the waste products must pass down before the disposal will work. The food will NOT go down into the disposal and customer service told me today, after sending out a "service person" that I am required to either push the food waste down manually or use a tool.
It is supposed to work this way. No where in the literature or in the demonstrations at the showrooms does anyone indicate that this is the way to operate this machine. This is unheard of and inappropriate. Not to mention it is ridiculous. I have had four garbage disposals before and never had this issue.
I absolutely cannot stand this machine. I also find that the "customer service" is non existent. The person dealing with the issue in the executive office has never had a garbage disposal or has never used one, nor has she saw a Kitchenaid disposal at anytime in her company experience, yet she is telling the consumer HOW TO USE THE MACHINE and that this is the correct way and that this machine is working properly.
Has anyone else had this issue with the disposal? The service man came to check the machine and he also indicated to me that this is unheard of and inappropriate, yet went back to the office and stated to the company that it was running perfectly. Did he tell them what they wanted to hear? It was only 5 days before I reported my disappointment with the product, yet once it is installed, there is no recourse for the consumer other than to deal with a machine that is HORRIBLE. Also, the service man stated that the engine was not working properly, yet they reported that he stated it was fine!!
What is my next step? Other than to tell anyone who is looking for a disposal to MOST DEFINITELY NOT PURCHASE THIS MODEL. Perhaps if people stop buying the product, they will do something about the poor performance and workmanship. Also, I thought customer service was supposed to help the consumer? Did they forget that without the consumer, they would NOT have a job??
TURLOCK, CALIFORNIA -- "Thank you for visiting the KitchenAid website. We appreciate hearing from you. We're sorry to hear that you've had 4 units delivered to your home and they were damaged upon arrival. Our records indicate that you called and spoke with a supervisor, Carolyn. Unfortunately, we can only suggest the same thing of having the delivery company inspecting the unit before delivery. We apologize that there is nothing else we can do at this time."
This is the response I received regarding the slide-in range I ordered that has showed up damaged 4 times. "Nothing else we can do.." HA, what it should say is.. nothing else we are "willing" to do.. Big business steps on little customer again.
I thought I was purchasing quality products when I ordered KitchenAid, after all I paid quality prices. I wish I had investigated further and came upon your website before purchasing 3 major appliances in the last 2 months; a dishwasher, a range, and a micro-hood. All of which are KitchenAid. I wanted all the appliances in my kitchen to match. I can only hope that when or should I say if the range arrives undamaged I don't have any problems after it is installed. I would refuse the range, but I've already installed the dishwasher and the micro-hood is waiting to be installed.
Unfortunately for me, I can not afford the restocking, shipping, and removal of the dishwasher and other appliances or I would buy another brand completely. The suggestion of the KitchenAid Rep. having the delivery company inspect the unit before delivery is a good one, although not original. I requested this after the arrival of the 2nd damaged unit. However, their own delivery company "Quality Whirlpool Express" refused to do this. On the upside, they did offer to do this before the 5th delivery attempt. I would think they would do this before the 1st delivery attempt. After all, the cost of gas is over $3.00 a gallon now. But, like I said, nothing else they are "willing" to do.