Jennifer Doering: They don’t make appliances the way they used to

  • Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Mid-October we were sitting in our living room watching TV when we heard popping sounds in the kitchen.

We discovered the noise was coming from our Maytag refrigerator panel, and soon after, all of the lights blinked off.

We groaned, knowing that a repair would be coming and our seven-year-old fridge was now past warranty.

We called the repair place recommended by Lowe’s, and were told a repairman would arrive the following day.

When he arrived, he informed us a part on the circuit board was bad, charged $75 for the service call, and assured us the replacement part would be shipped in about three days.

By this time, we discovered the refrigerator was no longer cooling and wondered how we were going to keep our food cold.

We had given away our spare 25-year-old fridge that never required a repair to Habitat for Humanity when we received the new fridge.

So we purchased 10 pound bags of ice for both the refrigerator and the freezer section. We literally now had an icebox sitting in our kitchen.

In less than 24 hours, the ice was melted, making a huge mess inside both compartments of the stainless steel “box” sitting in our kitchen.

We began to wonder how in the “olden days,” people could live with this way of keeping their food cold, and gave a silent thanks to the person who invented the electric refrigerator.

Three days later we received a call telling us the part would not be in for a week. We thought to ourselves, (expletives here) that we could keep on going replacing the ice daily.

We ate as much food as we could and expected that soon, we would be back to the 21st century living with a working refrigerator again.

Then, we received a call informing us that it would be approximately one month before our part would arrive.

At that time, I told Don we would have to rent a refrigerator and off he drove to sign the application.

Little did we know that even with our A+ credit rating, he would have to supply the names of six people who did not live with us for references. I challenge any one to be able to accomplish this task.

Also, a man the size of a bouncer came up (Don nicknamed him Guido), looking like he would knock him over if we did not pay the rental on the refrigerator.

Luckily, the refrigerator arrived the next day, and I spent the rest of the day moving food from the damaged fridge to the rental one, throwing much of the food away. Then we waited expectantly for the part to arrive.

At the end of November, we were called again and told that the part may or not be in until mid February.

Needless to say, we were completely shocked that a tiny piece on a circuit board could not be replaced.

At that time, we looked into forgetting the entire thing and purchasing a new refrigerator. I looked online, and the same unit we paid more than $2,000 for was now about $3,000.

Looking at the new refrigerators online, I would pick one out, read maybe two good reviews and the rest were awful saying to never purchase this brand. I looked at every kind available and found none that I would even purchase.

In the meantime, Don had been telling our story to everyone he knew and he found four other people who have gone through the same thing; their appliance would reach seven to eight years old and they were told it could no longer be fixed.

Apparently, the reality with appliances now is expect to replace it in less than eight years.

Greatly frustrated, I called back the appliance place and told them to be honest with me, pleading, “Will this part ever come in?”

They admitted the part is no longer manufactured and that it probably would never arrive. I was given the telephone number to call Whirlpool to complain, the company who purchased Maytag, (remember the “Lonely Maytag Repairman?”).

I vented to Whirlpool’s contact, Andrew, and he acknowledged what I had been told was true.

Listening to my almost sobs, he suggested I contact Angel Appliance in California, that they sometimes had luck in procuring old parts.

I called them promptly and was instructed how to remove the circuit board and ship it to them. We were told there would be about a three week wait to find the part.

I literally was having nightmares that our refrigerator that still looked brand new, would never be fixed. I would wake up and wonder why, in this day and age, you cannot get a part for a seven-year-old appliance.

As of the second week in January, I finally received word that our circuit board has been repaired and will be shipped back to us shortly.

We are crossing fingers that our appliance will work, and our refrigerator fiasco will finally be over.

Lesson to be learned; if you have a working appliance, do not, I repeat, do not replace it.

Jennifer Doering lives in Salisbury.

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