Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Yesterday, Maytag announced that it was recalling 1.6 million refrigerators due to a fire hazard.  There have been 41 reported "incidents" with 16 resulting in damage ranging from smoke damage to major kitchen damage.  Just to show you how lucky I am, I am one of those 16.....out of 1.6 million.
We bought our Maytag refrigerator in 2003, when we moved into our new house.  In September 2007, we returned home from an outing while my parents were in town to our house filled with smoke, and my dog trembling and cowering near the door we would return through.  At first we weren't sure what was going on.  We had no idea where the smoke was coming from, but we quickly called the fire department.  After much hoopla, and fortunately no need for water to be sprayed anywhere, it was determined that there was an explosion of sorts from the refrigerator (evident by the soot all over the cabinets surrounding the appliance, and all over the wall), and an electrical fire had begun.  The fire chief told us we were lucky we had come home when we had, or things could have "progressed" quickly.  
I found this very upsetting.  What if this had happened at night?  Our bedrooms are all upstairs, and we have two young children.  Would we have heard the "explosion"?  When would the smoke detectors have gone off (they were not sounding when we got home)?  And my parents were staying with us.  My dad suffered a stroke 2 years prior to this event and uses a cane.  Stairs are a major procedure for him.  If he had been stuck upstairs at night....I can't even bear to think what could've happened.  
After contacting Maytag the next morning, they informed us that they would send out a technician to look at the refrigerator in a few days.  After some balking, we managed to be able to have someone come the next morning.  The technician was shocked at the damage and told us that all of the major working parts would need to be replaced.  Replaced?  As in new parts put in what was left of the burned fridge?  Yes, that's probably what Maytag will do.  Unacceptable to us, DH and I both spent almost 2 weeks calling Maytag and arguing with them over this.  The appliance was burned!  How could we comfortably ever plug it in again?  Even with new guts......
After a week, they agreed to give us a pro-rated replacement amount.  That sounded ok, until they explained it.  They average the life expectancy of a refrigerator to be 13 years.... and we had already gotten about 3 1/2 years out of it.  So, if we provided them with our original receipt, they would take the price we paid and basically pay us for the "unused years".  Except, at that point, I couldn't put my hand on the receipt.  So, what I knew we paid $1500 -$1600 for, they will then use the lowest price it ever sold for to do the calculations....which was only $999!  In the end, they offered to send us a check for $300!!  What kind of a replacement were we supposed to get for $300?  
It took us another week of phone calls and arguing (again my mom was somewhere rolling her eyes) to finally tire of us and agree to buy back the burned refrigerator for our full price (I found the receipt in the end!).  Our blood pressure had probably skyrocketed during that time, and not to mention the huge inconvenience of not having a refrigerator in a household with, at the time, a 2 year old and a 6 year old.  But the moral here is that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.  If we had taken their first offer, we would have had to shell  out a lot more money out of our pocket....that we had just done 3 years prior!  Persistence paid off....and look, we weren't alone!  There truly was a legitimate issue and it's taken them this long to announce it.  
DH and I have vowed not to buy a Maytag appliance again.  The difficult part is that they also make Whirlpool, Jenn-Air, Amana, and other brands!  It makes it very hard to take your business elsewhere when they're all owned by the same company! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG - I totally thought about your fridge when I saw the news on the Today Show!!!!