*warning* ... whirlpool's extended warranty scam

kidzitiJanuary 4, 2012

We had a problem with our 2005 FL Whirlpool washer (GHW9100LW2) banging on the spin cycle. We called Whirlpool about options, and they recommended their "Repair Plus One" service contract, touting is as effectively a flat rate repair plan for the washer at $316. We bit. It was a complete scam, and we are shocked that Whirlpool endorses this tactic.

Coordinated through the Repair Plus One plan, an A&E repairman showed up, examined our machine and spent a lot of time on the phone with a plan representative. He then told us that the plan decided to terminate my policy and cut me a check for $282.15 - that the repairs exceeded the worth of the machine. I was not asked about this - the service technician and plan adjuster simply cancelled my policy and I was informed of that decision by the technician.

It was by searching here on GardenWeb for other options in replacement machines that I discovered several parts of this washer are still covered, including the inner and outer tubs, the most expensive part of the repair. When I called Whirlpool about this, they agreed and told me to contact the insurance company that handled the plan. When I did, they told me the technician and adjuster already knew about that manufacturers coverage and calculated that into the final estimate for repairs. They told me to call A&E and arrange the repair.

The final repair estimate, including parts and labor for non-manufacture warranty work, came to $293.62, only $11.43 more than the amount the plan would compensate me for.

When I called A&E about this, asking them to go ahead with the repairs anyways, they told me I would have to start all over again with a new service appointment. I told them they already did that and knew about both my manufacturer and extended warranty coverages. A&E told me they also needed an authorization number from Whirlpool for the covered parts, and that they (for some reason) could not call Whirlpool for that information, and that I was not authorized to ask for it - essentially telling me that the authorization information form Whirlpool was unobtainable. This from a contracted and authorized Whirlpool repair facility that Whirlpool itself set me up with. What a scam.

So I came within $11.43 of getting the machine repaired, but instead I am asked to pay for an entirely separate service appointment and get an entirely new estimate. When I asked A&E if I could get the parts from Whirlpool and call them to do the repairs, she would no longer guarantee the $293 repair even if I paid for a new service appointment, saying, "I would hate to see you get stuck with a higher estimate."

So Whirlpool has taken care of itself, A&E will make sure it gets to charge another service call, the extended warranty service bailed for $11 when they actually had a chance to provide a service, and a dedicated Whirlpool customer is left in the cold after investing in a recommended repair program.

I highly recommend AVOIDING any extended service plans obliged by Federal Warranty Service Corporation, United Service Protection, Sureway, and Assurant Service Protection.

We have purchased Whirlpool appliances for over 20 years. Our next purchase will NOT be Whirlpool.

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Extended service plans are rarely worth the cost. It's an insurance policy ... the plan carrier is betting service won't be needed and they'll pull 100% profit, while the consumer is betting service will be needed. As with any insurance policy, which party wins majority of the time?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 8:26PM
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I agree that extended warranties are rarely worth it - I almost never buy them.

The thing is that, in this case, the damage was already there (albeit undiagnosed), and Whirlpool promoted this as buying a flat-rate repair for whatever the problem turned out to be.

The washer could have been repaired with an $11.43 outlay, but that did not happen because of the administrative barriers they have put in our way.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 10:24AM
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In my experience, it's never a good idea buying an extended warranty from anyone but the manufacturer. While Whirlpool endorsed this extended warranty you are speaking about, technically it is a third party warranty with lots of conditions. Usually when you buy an extended warranty from the manufacturer, not a third party, you will have better coverage. Sorry about your trouble.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 8:22PM
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You are so right. I purchased it over the phone with a Whirlpool rep thinking I was getting a Whirlpool flat rate repair, but instead got a third party warranty. The policy was $316 and the max value they would pay out on my machine was $282 - I was doomed from the start, and while $34 isn't much in the way of loss, it still smarts that they would throw that out as a remedy to a loyal customer looking for manufacturer support.

We're looking at Samsungs and LGs now. Heard Miele was the best, but (1) I don't really want to spend that kind of money on a washer and (2) while many say that Mieles will last 20 years, they still only warranty them for 1 or 2. I can't reconcile why they won't put their money where their mouth is...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 8:49PM
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I avoid A&E at all costs! I did buy an extended warranty for my F&P washer/dryer and it has paid for itself, but I will not allow A&E to ever touch my machines again.
This is not a blanket discrimination of A&E, only my own personal opinion based on their service record with me.
Best of luck to you in whatever you decide on.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 4:52AM
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We had major problems in the past with A&E and avoid them at all costs.

We just purchased a new LG wave force top load washer and steam dryer. We were very tempted to purchase the extended 5 year warranty available through Home Depot for only $198 for both units. However, we decided to skip it since it appears that A&E does the service.

We have a pretty good local repair company that I will use if needed - and we purchased the units on our AMEX so we will get an extra year of warranty...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Thank you, Chris! Sending email today...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Hi, folks - thought I would post here that Chris from Whirlpool did in fact get in touch with me and we discussed my situation over the phone at some length. The crippled Duet washer was removed today - replaced wth a Samsung WF330 - and Chris called an hour after that. So there's timing for you!

It appears that Whirlpool does engage with social networking. In my opinion, that's a huge thing with respect to customer service, which was my only "beef" with Whirlpool.

We are working on the situation now, and with Chris' permission, I will post later what we discussed and the resolution. But I wanted others to know that Whirlpool does seem interested in customer issues enough to reach out in my case, and that - in my opinion - is a huge motivator.

That said, everything I have posted earlier is still true - and I have yet to receive any check from the third-party warranty service. So stay tuned. I give a shout out to Chris with another "thanks" - I suspect he's on the ball enough to be monitoring this thread.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:00PM
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We had a problem getting response from the warranty. They claimed thay had no record of the warranty until i mentioned I paid by credit card and had a copy. Then the gentleman, one of many I talked with, told me "as a courtesy this time they would repair my washer and it it broke again before 8-13-13 it would not be covered". (How did he know the date?) After long wait, and several trips to laundramat. A&E came, (He was very nice) discovered it was defective part installed at factory. No cost to me. BUT, I get letters wanting me to REnew my non-existance warranty!
I purchased a warranty because we are elderly and washer in basement. Lots of trouble getting one hooked up.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:42PM
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Getting extended warranty is always a tough choice that should be decided before you go buy the appliance. When you are there and admiring your new purchase you get a little too easy to make a sale to. We read all the horror stories of nearly every machine and every brand and get scared of the potential of being hit with a huge bill with a breakdown.
I purchased a Maytag refrigerator about 4 years ago and purchased a 5 year extended warranty through Home Depot. I didnt feel too bad about that because it was only 100.00 additional. Soon afterward the company went out of business and sold all its contracts to another company.
But I also got a lot of offers from Maytag for extended warranty as well and the prices were nearly as high as the purchase of the refrigerator itself over 5 years!
What kind of risk is that if they collect enough to purchase a new machine?
I am sure glad that for most of my appliance repairs I can fix it myself because between the outrageous cost of manufacturer extended warranties, non manufacturer warranties that are much cheaper but who never actually honor the contract, and the highway robbers that call themselves appliance technicians (and I am not accusing all of them of being this way but a large number of them) I can see how people really are discouraged from buying any appliance. You just cant trust anyone these days.
Learn to fix some of this stuff yourself and stop being robbed is my best suggestion.
If you are too old to do it yourself, maybe just buy the cheapest stuff you can and replace it when it breaks. It wont be much more expensive than these bandits. A lot of them only go around diagnosing and not fixing anything because they are getting 150.00 and up to show up and make phone calls..

Oh, and my Maytag refrigerator which later I read a lot of reviews warning about this model being junk, has been perfect in every way. I guess some people just dont know how to care for thier machines and you read a lot of wailing from those who have breakdowns as a result. Dont buy extended warranties based on all that wailing.

This post was edited by fordtech on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 20:16

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 8:10PM
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I was about to buy the five-year extended warranty for my new $1,500 LG combo washer/dryer from Home Depot for an additional $150 (I'm also buying with an Amex card). Are you guys saying this is a universally a bad idea? I just checked Home Depot's site--the contract is with a company called N.E.W. Customer Protection Company, Inc., Chicago, Illinois (the name of the company in Florida is New Electronics Warranty Corporation of Florida).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:38PM
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By the way, I have since discovered repairclinic.com, and am able to handle most simple repairs myself, if needed. I'll be replacing the rubber rollers on my current LG as soon as they arrive.

So while I'm confident in performing simple repairs myself, it's major components which worry me. Our LG needed service in the first year requiring the entire drum to be replaced. Sure, I could've done it myself, but the parts costs would've been fairly high if this had happened out of warranty.

By the way, has anyone ever made a successful "extended warranty" claim with Amex? It's a curious process that doesn't sound too easy to accomplish. For shipable items, you basically make a claim to Amex, then once the claim is "approved," you send the item to Amex (not the dealer or manufacturer), then Amex presumably mails you a check (or buys the item themselves, and ships it back to you--I don't remember which). I didn't find this out until I made a second exploratory call to another Amex CSR. The first CSR gave me totally inaccurate information ("Yes, you just take it back to the dealer, and they'll 'know' about the Amex extended warranty, and honor it." This is completely false.)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:52PM
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I've been looking to buy a fridge and washer from PC Richards, and was planning to get extended warranties for both.

Does anyone know who services PC Richard's extended claims?

I've heard from lots of people that extended warranties are not worth it - but my biggest fear is that given how appliances are made today (only expected to last a few years and hence will break sooner than you think), I'm afraid I'll end up paying through the nose if anything breaks...

Lastly, how is it possible that the insurance co that handles the extended warranty can terminate the contract single handedly? Is that even legal? Are there ways to fight it?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Most contracts are written to protect the company, and often have a cancel-at will clause, or some other loophole to protect themselves. Usually, these types of contracts have many such loopholes, written specifically to allow the service provider a way out, if they so desire. Read the contract carefully, and, as always, caveat emptor.

Even if the service provider does fail to comply with services contracted, suing for breach of contract would be an expensive proposition since you'd need a lawyer, and they generally start at $200/hour.

I'm not quite sure what to do either. The Home Depot 10%-off sale ends on my washer tomorrow. Maybe it's worth it just for the parts coverage? I don't know.

I will say one thing . . . I had a problem with a cooktop that I ordered online from Sears. Upon delivery from a common-carrier, I noticed a small scratch. The driver called a "special number," then handed me the phone--the Sears person on the other end offered me a $200 credit to my card on the spot. I also heard an incredible customer-service story about Lowes from a co-worker. Lowes made a mistake on a window order which took so long to correct, they offered him an additional $1,000 store credit as an apology. Although I'm sure there are many reports to the contrary, large retailers are often easier to deal with regarding after-sales issues.

Best Buy was a little tougher, and that's why I'm buying my washer from Home Depot instead. I was delivered a stainless steel refrigerator with a small dent. When I called to ask for another one, they put up a fight, and requested digital photos be taken first. But in the end, they sent us another refrigerator.

This post was edited by studio460 on Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 22:50

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:48PM
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After Home Depot hired a scammer to install carpeting I wont do business with them anymore, and I am boycotting them for other reasons anyway.

But I have found Lowes to be of the best integrity wise and have no problem doing business with them. You can even find great buys at locally owned retailers during thier sales if you keep a sharp eye open. I find that the independents offer a better after sale experience, especially if they have instore maintenance/repair services.

Sometimes the after sale experience is more valuable than a discount.

This post was edited by fordtech on Wed, Jun 5, 13 at 7:51

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 7:49AM
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Yes, I would put them in this order: Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy. We had carpet installed by a Home Depot contractor and everything went great.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 10:58AM
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kidziti said: "We're looking at Samsungs and LGs now. Heard Miele was the best, but (1) I don't really want to spend that kind of money on a washer and (2) while many say that Mieles will last 20 years, they still only warranty them for 1 or 2."

We finally decided on an LG. The main reason which stopped me cold from buying a Miele or Asko are the reports of customers having their control boards go bad. This is incredibly bad for a number of reasons: 1.) they're often very expensive parts to replace; 2.) your model may have been already discontinued, replaced by a newer model, so replacement parts are no longer available from the manufacturer for the older unit; 3.) you may be forced to buy a newer, mis-matched washer or dryer; 4.) or, as some have done, ditch the entire $5,000 investment, and buy new, matched units.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Home Depot's 10%-off sale on major appliances ended today (6-5-13), so I pulled the trigger, and ordered our new LG washer/dryer combo unit. A 10% ($160) discount applied, and was already reflected in the listed price; however, some other, mysterious, further discount of $125 also applied at check-out.

Since I felt ahead of the game with the total $285 discount (plus, free delivery), I went ahead and purchased the $150 five-year extended warranty as well [note that Sears' five-year extended warranty for the same machine is $400].

Not sure how good Home Depot's current contract-service provider is (N.E.W.), but hopefully everything works out if something goes south.

This post was edited by studio460 on Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 6:30

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:35AM
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Another thing that caught my eye which I thought a bit unusual:

I noticed that under "specifications" on the Home Depot site, the LG unit is listed as "returnable" for up to 90 days--which seems unusually liberal. For the compact GE units we were also considering, under its specifications on the same Home Depot site, it says "non-returnable," which, conversely, seems unusually prohibitive.

This post was edited by studio460 on Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 18:36

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:51AM
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Even though extended warranties would be cost-effective for many products-- such as home appliances with electronic controls-- I refuse to buy them.

Why? For one simple reason: the companies that underwrite these insurance policies (and that's what extended warranties really are) are basically scam artists. When you buy an extended warranty from a company like Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot or Lowes, even though they may give you a brochure with their logo plastered all over it, the policy is really handled by a company like Assurance or N.E.W.

If you do a google search for 'extended warranty' and one of those store names, you'll see a number of websites with a plethora of complaints from people who have bought these policies and then been royally screwed by the companies responsible for fixing the broken products.

If I could be certain that the warranty would be honored in good faith and with competent service, I would buy these plans, even for somewhat more money than the stores presently ask. But, based on the widespread horror stories I've read, investing in an extended warranty is about as sensible as flushing greenbacks down a toilet.

You're better off hiring a competent repairman to fix the unit.

Here's a good tip: many credit card companies will DOUBLE a product's warranty (up to one year) FOR FREE, if you charge the purchase on the credit card. Check with your card's bank to see if this feature is part of the deal--(I think the credit card company reimburses you for any repair costs).

So with this deal, you at least get 2 years of warranty on most appliances.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 2:43PM
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I have to have an appliance service because I have 6 rental homes. I did my research before I purchased all six contracts. My contract includes full replacement of any appliance if the unit can not be repaired. I have had to replace 2 washers and one hot water heater in the past 7 years. I pay nothing for service calls. Make sure you READ the entire contract for cost of service calls and appliance replacement. Good Luck

    Bookmark   January 22, 2015 at 6:14AM
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I could have saved the money on my service contract for my Maytag refrigerator that has had zero problems for 5 years. That was the duration of the contract. I probably would not have purchased it because of the great durability I have had from Amana/Maytag refrigerators but I fell for reading too many reviews from people who supposedly had horrible service from theirs.
If only all the people who had zero problems would step up and say so, there wouldnt be so many contracts sold.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 8:42AM
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