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Sep 28, 2008 06:22 AM

Appliance warranty comparisons

My wife and I are in the market for a new refrigerator and have been spending many hours reading what other people have experienced. We have also visited stores and talked with sales people. We have narrowed my choices of what to buy but haven't purchased anything yet.

I thought it might be educational (for me and others) to start a new thread discussing what really happens when a consumer calls for service to repair a refrigerator. Normally when I do research before buying something, I can make a decision fairly quickly but I am taking my time with this refrigerator purchase. The thought of needing to call for service and reading so many horror stories about bad, expensive, or non-existent service makes me scared.

I will definitely buy the extended warranty on whatever I buy. Does it make a difference what store you buy from when it comes to service or do you always deal with the manufacturer? I have read bad reviews about Sears/Kenmore service and also Best Buy and Lowes.
We are considering buying a Kitchenaid, Whirpool, Kenmore, GE, or perhaps Samsung.
I am grateful to you all and very glad this kind of advice is available.

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  1. My husband and I are in the process of remodeling our kitchen. We've purchased the new stove and dishwasher but are now in the market for a new refrigerator. After looking at "several" reviews on refrigerators and some reviews on the warranty.......we've also decided to take our time on this purchase. Warranty on the compressor differ from one manufacturer to another, some are 1 yr and some are 5 yrs. We just started this search
    a few days ago, so we have a lot more research to do. I have also read bad reviews about Sears ( Since K-Mart took over).

    1. We purchased the extended warranty through the appliance store b/c they offered us a fabulous package deal which covered 3 major appliances for the cost of what we would have paid KA to cover our fridge.

      We have a counter-depth french door fridge w/freezer on the bottom (model KBFA20ERSS ). Last week, our freezer kept frosting so I called Kitchenaid for advice. I was told that since our 1 year full warranty was up, we would be charged for the service call if it wasn't a major component covered by their standard 5-year warranty. I went ahead and scheduled an appt for a service call b/c I wanted someone out to the house ASAP.

      After I got off the phone w/Kitchenaid, I called our appliance store to inquire about scheduling a service call under our extended warranty. Turns out both Kitchenaid and our appliance store use the same warranty service provider. They contacted the service provider and told them to bill the appliance store instead of KA for the service call. (BTW, this was also the same case with our Wolf stove in that both Wolf and our appliance store contracted w/the same service provider for service calls.)

      The Kitchenaid repairman spent a whole 5 minutes fixing our freezer drawer. It wasn't a defective component, but user error on our part. The freezer drawer was out of alignment which prevented the freezer drawer from closing properly. Since it wasn't a defective part, I was afraid we'd get charged for the service call, but he left without mentioning a bill and hopefully we won't get billed for the call. If the call had been charged to KA, I'm pretty sure we would have had to pay for the service call.

      The few times I've called Kitchenaid to order replacement door bins for our fridge, ask general questions about our fridge and dishwasher, etc., I've found them to be extremely patient and genuinely helpful. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase Kitchenaid appliances again. We purchased our fridge and d/w 4/07 and absolutely love our KA d/w (model KUDS03FSSS) which gets used non-stop.

      1. I purchased 12 major appliances from Appliance Canada since 1998 all with extended warranties. The first of my appliances were covered by an exterior warranty company whose service was pretty good. Upon moving, We purchased all top of the line Kitchen-Aid appliances which is whirlpool as are almost all appliances and ours were manufactured in the year of the lemon!!!! We presently have 3 Appliances which are still covered under extended warranty which was later offered by Appliance Canada directly. What a joke/nightmare....I have been with out a dryer for over 2 weeks now because of a heating element being shipped (by donkey I believe) from the U.S. at present, the part has finally arrived but the one and only service person in unavailable to repair my dryer for an additional 3 days. You can try calling Appliance Canada's warranty dept if you like answering machines......If you do purchase your appliances from Appliance Canada, do not purchase their extended warranty. You will be sorry, frustrated, disgusted and furious and remain with a non-working appliance until they get around to it. There are several options for warranties including direct from Whirlpool.

        1. Beware!

          1) Some extended warranties are from 3rd parties and not the manufacturer. You almost always can get the exact same agreement cheaper via the Internet.

          2) They almost always send you a better offer if you decline at purchase. Case: purchased a Whirlpool fridge. At purchase $532 for 5 yrs. Even had an "peace of mind for only $8/mo." sticker on fridge. 30 days later, got an offer via mail from same company, same coverage for $450. Same company on web was $399.

          3) There is a term in the product reliability field called the bathtub curve. It reveals that during a product's infancy, a spike of errors has a chance of occurring if you remember to often run the product continuously for a few days at a time to test it out. Any defects should come out during this stage if you do that, and would be covered by the basic warranty. After this infancy stage comes the long period of the product's main life cycle where the product works with very little failures. Then as the product reaches near the end of its useful life cycle, failures begin to increase. When the probability of product failure is graphed out according to these stages of the life cycle, it looks like the shape of a bathtub. The lowest chance of problems occurring with the product is during the long period between the infancy stage and near the end of the product life cycle. This long period where very few problems occur is what the extended warranties try to cover. They are essentially overpriced for the amount of risk.