WEST ALLIS -- — When West Allis mom Kristen Payne's refrigerator broke down, storing her twins' bottles became a challenge.
Payne paid close to $3,000 for her Whirlpool refrigerator in January. At that price point, she wasn't anticipating any problems, but they came anyway.
"It stopped working about 70 days after we purchased it," said Payne.
She says for close to two weeks she's been using three mini-fridges to store breastmilk.
"It's more than just an inconvenience. It really is a safety issue. We're talking about infants that eat very little else at this point."
With the refrigerator under warranty, she thought a quick call to Whirlpool to set up a repair would be all that was necessary. But she says, it's been a lot of back and forth.
"They sent a company out to inspect it. That company said that they were unable to fix this type of refrigerator."
"It's got like a butane system in it, so you can't solder parts on you have to use a special tool and they didn't do that, so Whirpool was then saying they weren't sure if they were able to find anyone in our area to even service the product, so it took them even a little while to find a person."
Payne says a second repair crew came and identified the problem with the compressor. That crew told her parts for the compressor and the compressor itself were out of stock.
"So, then Whirlpool was saying they were allowing themselves three to four weeks to find the parts in their own database," said Payne.
"So we wouldn't even know if we were going to even have a repair potentially for three to four weeks here," she added.
She had enough and just wanted a refund. She contacted our I-Team for help and when we reached out to Whirlpool on her behalf, the same day she got her money back.
A Whirlpool Corp. spokesperson provided the below statement:
We regret that this consumer had a difficult experience in resolving an issue with her appliance. We are pleased to have come to a resolution that she is satisfied with. We stand behind our products and encourage anyone who has questions about their Whirlpool appliance to reach out to us at 866-698-2538.
In general, pandemic-related supply chain issues are impacting appliances.
If you find yourself waiting weeks for parts or repairs, you can try asking the manufacturer if they can extend the warranty. But even before that, if you're buying a new appliance, look through the warranty closely and ask questions about how the company handles repairs and replacements.