OK, I paid a lot for a Maytag fridge, the one with stainless steel and the bottom freezer – Well, two years and a month later, the fridge started making a nasty click-buzz-click noise which I suspected was the compressor. Soon after, it stopped making cold.
Luckily I had a handy-dandy Home Warranty Contract (American Home Shield) so I gave them a call and paid my $45 deductable. I gave them the model & serial number on the phone and expected them to come with a new compressor, fix it and go away….
Home Warranty Guy arrived, said “Compressor is bad – but it’s still under Maytag warranty so call them” …… and left.
I called Maytag. they said, yes. Parts and Labour are under warranty for five years (yippee!), but there’s a charge (why?) for the callout/travelling. And, because you want a guy there in the next few days, it’ll cost even extra.
OK – maybe I’m old fashioned or really out of touch with reality, but ‘Parts and Labor’ to me means I DONT PAY ANYTHING. SO here’e the breakdown:
Labor charge (that’s what it says on the invoice) $147.95
Extra cash coz I want the fridge repaired this side of Thanksgiving $30.
Man turns up in big Maytag van, nice Maytag uniform and tells me what I know already. “You need a new compressor!”. But guess what? “I don’t have one with me (We’re not allowed to carry them on the van)” There are No compressors for your two year old fridge anywhere in the United States (backorder). It may take 7-10 days to get them. Call back on Friday. Bye Bye!
At this point, my wife goes ballistic, this being 18th November and Thanksgiving getting close and three children under 7 in the house.
I call a local Maytag ‘Authorized Warranty Service Company’ (Valley Oak Appliances). Yes, we have the part, we can come out in two days!
Very Nice man comes out, replaces compressor, charges us $65 and goes away. Wife is happy, children are happy.
Now, the end game….
I call Maytag – to cancel service call and get a refund.
First person listens to what I say, says she can’t give me a refund cos that was for the service man’s time, travelling. When I protest (calmly, with no expletives) she hangs up.
Call back next day, speak to ‘Amy’ and she listens and explains that labor and parts are free, what I paid for was travel and mileage and ‘diagnosis’ or my problem. When I explained that I know what the problem was, that I gave her the model/serial number and told them what the problem was and that I expected them to turn up with the compressor and didnt need any goddam diagnosis she said that ‘we can’t take people’s word for it – we need to diagnose it ourself’. She refused to consider a refund and when asked said she could not authorise one anyway. I asked to speak to someone who could and she passed me to ‘Kenneth’ who, after repeating the company line with such familiarity that I guess he must have it stuck to his monitor, said that he couldn’t authorise a refund either. He then got stuck into a corporate groove and kept repeating ‘send a letter to the Consumer Affiars at the address I gave you’ and called me ‘Sir’ a lot.
So I called my Home Warranty people and said – ‘I pay you guys to fix my broken stuff and your guy didn’t – now, I have to pay MayTag to fix things that are covered by you – so where do I send the bill?’
To their credit, the Home Warranty people did give me an address and an authorization number, but the fact remains that Maytag, for their $177 did exactly nothing, and I have another bill, for $65.
So, to fix a fridge that is under a ‘parts and labor’ warranty has so far cost me:
$45 for Home Warranty Deductable
$177 for Maytag’s gailure to fix anything
$65 for Valley Oak to fix it.
(not forgetting the $30/month the home warranty costs me)
We’ll see what effect the letter to Maytag has, but this does bring up some issues about what constitutes ‘Labor’ and whether $147 is an acceptable surcharge (it’s a standard fee for Maytag under-warranty parts) and whether ‘diagnosis’ is part of ‘labor’. Anyone interested in a class-action lawsuit?
Maytag have a useful link on their website to send emails to Customer Service. So I sent them this:
I am EXTREMELY upset with Maytag and it's response to my request for service for my 2 year old fridge/freezer. I want to speak to someone outside the service department (who just completely blew me off) who will get me a refund for a completely abortive service call I had. $177. Please call me asap before I go to Amex and get them to reverse the charge on my card.
and they replied back (6 days later) with this:
So I replied with this:Thank you for visiting our Maytag.com customer service page. We appreciate your interest in our products and service. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and understand your frustration. We would like the opportunity to review your product file history and contact you personally for further discussion regarding your concerns. We look forward to speaking with you and appreciate your patience while your file is being reviewed. If you have additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us. Sincerely, Cynthia Maytag Consumer Services (Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time)
Hi Cynthia, Refer to my blog page for details: http://www.scamdex.com/ScamBlog. I'd be grateful for a URL that shows your 'Parts and Labor' definition(that excludes mileage, travel time, diagnosis etc. and explains why$177 is a reasonable amount to pay for all the above).
To which they replied:
Hello, Thank you for visiting our Maytag.com customer service page. We appreciate your interest in our products and service. If you filed a claim with the Third Party Administrator before August 9, 2005 and have not received notification regarding the status of your claim, we will be happy to forward your e-mail inquiry to the correct department for review. For you convenience, you are welcome to contact the number below to request status of your claim. 1-888-462-9824, Option 9 If you have additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us. Sincerely, Monica Maytag Consumer Services (Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time)