Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Am I Throwing Out my Dryer? A Letter to the CEO of Whirlpool

Mr. Jeffrey Fettig
Chairman and CEO, Whirlpool Corporation
2000 N. M-63
Benton Harbor, MI 49022-2692

Dear Mr. Fettig,

I write to you today with a sense of frustration about the fact that I'm about to throw away my beautiful, two-year-old Whirlpool dryer (model awz 3477), for a very simple reason: it has stopped drying clothes.
The dryer looks great. It spins nicely, and blows air wonderfully. Sadly, it only blows cold air. You may wonder, why don't you get it fixed? We tried. The technician who came took the machine apart, looking for problems. When everything looked great, he took the electronic board out to bring to an expert for examination, assuming that this was the problem. The technician took one look at the problem and said, "That's a Whirlpool Dryer? The board is fine. It's the core heating element that's the problem and needs to be replaced. It's a known problem." (Funny, I didn't know about the problem. But the people who fix these things do.)
My wife confirmed this by speaking to a parts supplier, who told her that there are sixty of these heating elements on order.
Why then don't we get the part replaced? Simple economics: the machine itself, reasonably priced, cost around 1,200 shekel (we live in Israel). The replacement part costs at least 500 shekel, and including installation that's at least 650 shekel. Would you spend 650 shekel on an old machine that broke after two years? Would you spend 800 shekel (a full 2/3 of the price of the machine) for a service plan? Or would you just cut your losses and decide to get a new machine?
Clearly this is a frustrating waste of my money. But it's also just a frustrating waste - throwing out a beautiful, almost-new dryer. It's a waste to the environment, which I'm not indifferent to, and simply a wasteful act.
Why am I writing you about this? Actually I'm not. I'm posting it on my blog. But I'm doing so in order to complain about the fact that your machines, which are supposed to be of high quality have a known problem and I have no recourse but to throw it away and get a new one, as it's out of the one year warranty period. Whirlpool relies on its brand name to represent a quality product; one which will attract consumers looking to make a long-term investment in a large household appliance. Quality means producing good products. But it also means that when something goes wrong, you stand behind your name and fix the problem.
Because for me, the Whirlpool name simply doesn't mean that much anymore.

Yours truly,
Reuven Spolter
Yad Binyamin, Israel