Never buy Whirlpool products

I have a fair share of domestic appliances from a variety of different firms. Curiously as it turns out, only 1 product from a non-Korean company, the Air conditioner from Whirlpool. Over the past weekend, we have had such a truly awful customer service experience that I have sworn never to buy any Whirlpool products and to spread the word out. Frankly, what the company has demonstrated is that once they have managed to sucker you into buying their product, they just don't give a damn. How you manage your life with/ without it is your problem, they are too busy counting your cash all the way to their bank.

Our air conditioner conked off last Thursday thanks to the wonderful voltage surges that are a delightful feature of life in Millennium city, aka Gurgaon, or as a bucktoothed KBC contestant said once, Gud Gaawan. Friday I called the Whirlpool service center, and was pleasantly surprised to find a polite voiced person on the other end who said I would get a call back within 2 hours to fix an appointment for a service visit at a time convenient to me. Wonderful, I thought, finally someone who appreciates the fact that the person owning an appliance has a life and may not want to stay home all day waiting for a service call.

No call back came within 2 hours. I called them back instead and asked what had happened. The call center person apologised but said the complaint had been logged in and I would get a service person at my home between 4 and 6 pm. By quarter to six I had to leave for a meeting, and no one had turned up. Since I haven't come this close to 40 years of age without any experience, I began to suspect what was coming but called up their service center anyway. I was then given the name of a service mechanic and informed that he would definitely be there by 7 pm and he had gotten held up on his way.

Somehow not surprised by 7 when the mechanic failed to show, I called the service center again, only to not get through. Instead, I was assaulted by a barrage of ads extolling Whirlpool products, and may I say, these ads do not go down well when an irritated and irate customer is waiting for their conked-off product to be serviced? I also heard the mechanical voice say that if I sent an sms to a certain number, I'd get a call back within 1 hour. Since I was busy in a meeting, I sent off the SMS, and by the end of the day, having received neither callback nor mechanic, went to sleep in the kids room, where the Voltas AC is functioning extremely well.

The next day, between my husband and I, we must have made 8 calls to the service center, getting more and more angry and frustrated each time. No senior person from the service/ call center was ever willing to come on the line, despite requests and we were met with stonewalls each time we insisted on having a name for the senior person, a contact number or waiting for the said person to be free. The call center would either cut off the line or transfer us to an automated menu.

Saturday evening someone gave us 'a personal commitment' that someone would reach our home by 8 pm. Well, commitments really aren't what they used to be, are they? Sunday the same story was repeated, except that after some shouting and a serious upping of blood pressure, we got a supposed senior, "Sameer" calling us back and informing us that the service person would be there any time between 1 and 8 pm. So we were just supposed to press pause on our life/ plans and wait for Godot, who like the mythical character from the play, would end up not arriving, after all.

We have by now given up all hopes of this brand and asked a local mechanic to come from a nearby market. I am sure he will be as well trained and at least my expectation of response from him will be lower than that from a company. Meanwhile I am posting this to all Indian blog aggregator sites to warn all consumers against buying Whirlpool products, because if they do, the burden of obtaining service from the brand will be on them and not the company.

There's just some things I don't understand. Why bother with setting up a call center and then not have it connected to a service center? Why bother spending millions of rupees on ad campaigns aimed at new customers rather than sowing and harvesting goodwill from existing customers by servicing them properly? I guess it's always easier to find a new sucker each time than go to someone you've burnt before.


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