Whirlpool - Quality and Customer Service Nightmare
36" Cooktop and Downdraft fan system - Complaint
In April of 2009 we purchased several Architect Series stainless steel KitchenAid appliances from a local authorized dealer including a diswasher, microwave, stove, warming drawer and a 36" cooktop and downdraft unit (~$10,000 of product). When the cooktop unit arrived it was installed by the local dealer's service technicians. During the installation we discovered that a number of pieces were missing from the cooktop including burner tops that prevented us from using the cooktop.
After 3 to 4 phone calls to Whirlpool and about 2 weeks later we finally received the parts and discovered that Whirlpool (owner of KitchenAid brand) had sent the wrong parts. After several more phone calls we were finally sent what we thought were the remaining correct parts. After the technician arrived to install them he found that we were missing more burner parts from the high capacity burner and that using the burner without these parts had scorched the cooktop slightly. At the same time we discovered that the downdraft system activation button was not working correctly and more new parts for both items were ordered by the technician. A new cooktop was ordered and then installed about 3-4 weeks later by the local dealer. After the cooktop was installed we discovered that it was scratched badly and ordered another.
About 2 weeks later the parts for the downdraft arrived and were installed by the local dealer technicians. The next day the downdraft system got stuck in the up and on position and could not be turned off. Another cooktop arrived several weeks later and was installed. I called the local dealer frustrated at having paid for a new cooktop in April and still not able to use it fully in late July and was told by the owner that we had to wait to have a Whirlpool authorized 3rd party technician come to our house to evaluate the unit before Whirlpool would do anything to replace or repair the downdraft unit. Meanwhile, after 4-5 phone calls and being transferred around in Whirlpool's "customer service" bureacracy of divisions we tried to get a replacement unit and were told by Whirlpool that they would send us one but that they were on backorder and it would be mid-August before one could be delivered to our home. We asked them if they could find one at a distributor or retailer and have that unit sent to us and were told by the "customer service" person that they don't do that. They furthermore said that we could try to do that on our own but that they would only refund exactly the discounted price that we paid from the local retailer and not what we would have to pay to get one delivered from somewhere else in the country to our home.
I run a manufacturing business that sells products in the same price range as these appliances through distribution to retail stores. We occasionally make mistakes as do all companies. When a customer has a problem, our customer service ensures that the customer is taken care of immediately either through a local retailer or directly from us. We see a problem as an opportunity to have customers rave about our service levels to other potential customers and realize that service attitude and responsiveness pays for itself several times over in the positive word of mouth versus the negative that would occur if we didn't do this. Whirlpool had a huge opportunity to have my wife and I telling a wonderful customer service story that would have positively influenced other potential customers in an affluent community where many of our friends and neighbors are upgrading kitchens. Instead I will be telling as many people as I can both verbally and online about my experience and the impact to their sales will be 10-100 times what it would have cost them to be nice to us and try to solve our problem. I hope that someone in the management of Whirlpool someday gets this message and uses it to change the company for the positive. Meanwhile, I suggest that if you can, you should avoid buying any of the brands that are made and serviced by Whirlpool.