Expensive Whirlpool fridge never worked properly

Mindy Pollishuke paid $2,700 for a KitchenAid refrigerator in 2013. It was a KFIS29PBMS French door model with 28.6 cubic feet of space.

Alas, her fancy fridge needed repairs twice a year. The ice buildup was so extensive that it would overheat and stop working.

“We had to empty the whole fridge out multiple times and find neighbours to store our food temporarily,” she said. “The extra bar fridge and small freezer we bought a few years ago were not big enough to hold it.”

In January 2019, after the fridge died three times in one week, she wrote to me in despair. I contacted Whirlpool (the manufacturer), which offered a cash settlement to let her buy a new model.

While happy to get rid of her lemon, Pollishuke didn’t like the buyback offer of only $1,362.78. It didn’t reflect the cost of repairs and the replacement cost of a new fridge.

Last month, I went back to Whirlpool to plead for a bigger buyback. I couldn’t imagine living with the disruption of emptying my fridge every six months and finding shelter for its contents elsewhere.

Whirlpool’s customer service department had a warm heart after all. It offered a full refund of $3,049.87 (including tax) for her six-year-old refrigerator that didn’t cool properly.

“I can’t thank you enough for all your assistance through this very frustrating ordeal,” Pollishuke said.

She’s not alone. If you check reviews for this model at Amazon.com, you find that 91 per cent of purchasers give it a rating of one star out of five.

Here are some of the headlines:

“Horrible. Do not buy this product.”
“Manufacturer knows there is a problem and will not replace, even if field warranty service cannot fix it.”
“LEMON — Beautiful design, terrible company warranty policy.”

My advice: Don’t buy an appliance unless you check reviews online and at Consumer Reports. Don’t buy a new model with no track record.

Finally, do buy from a retailer that will help you fight for a settlement on a defective product. Life is too short to wait for a manufacturer to fix the unfixable.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

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