Sunday, January 17, 2010

Extended Warranties and Lowe's/Samsung

I used to be a member of the group that did not believe in purchasing extended warranties on new items. It seemed silly to spend money on the chance that a brand new item would have problems early in its life. But problems with a newer appliance that cost several hundred dollars to STILL not fix made me rethink that process.

Last year we acquired a new washer, dryer, and dishwasher (at different times). I bought them at Lowe's, and the salesman assured us that the Samsung brand was one of the top-of-the-line, and I should have no problems with it at all. However, he went on to advise us that Lowe's also offered the industry's best extended protection. Five years of security for just pennies a month and we would be guaranteed to have no problems at all. Since we were investing a lot in these appliances, it really did make sense, and the money I had set aside allowed enough for the warranties. So we trusted Lowe's on both counts.

Fast forward a short time. The dryer started squeaking shortly after installation. Samsung was warranting at that time, so they sent out Mr. Appliance, who replaced the pulley system. Turns out that the factory had never bothered to oil any of the internal parts. Since then, my buddy at Mr. Appliance (he knows me well by now) has been out repeatedly...he's replaced all the pulleys and the main belt AGAIN and has even installed an entire new motherboard because the timer stopped working and nothing got dry! Granted, this cost me nothing, but how ridiculous to have the service folks out 8 times in a year on a NEW dryer!!!

As for the washer, have you seen the Samsung commercials that show the kid stacking toys on the washer and they say that you never know it's running? HA!!!!!!!! We have one of those "ultra quiet" models like the commercial promotes. That thing is so unbelievably loud that it's almost intolerable! And not only does it vibrate, it vibrates THE ENTIRE HOUSE!!!! You seriously think there's an earthquake if you're upstairs, every wall in the house rattles, and even the toilet shakes! Those commercials royally tick me off!

Now we move on to the nightmare. Back in early December, the upper spray arm popped off. When we put it back on, it came off again as soon as the dishwasher started running. So we called Lowe's Extended Warranty department. Sadly, it had been about a month over a year. But the salesman had told us how great Lowe's was, right? *sigh* They assigned this joke of a company called Turner Consumer Services to the job. Google them - every review is horrible. They can't do anything right, and I can attest to this. What's most frustrating is that they LIE all the time! And this company represents Lowe's? So far, I don't think Lowe's is much better.

Turner came out after I had detailed the problem over the phone. The guy was here about 2.5 minutes. He said, "yeah, it's broke." Really?? Gee, I didn't know that. He said he had to order a part and left. Several days later he called to schedule the install. He came out, popped the part on and was here maybe 4 minutes. I wouldn't let him go until I tested it, and guess what? The new part popped RIGHT back off! So he said, "I have to order another part." He left....again. So I waited. And waited. And waited. I finally called Turner Consumer Services to ask when they would be back. She said someone had to call me back. So I waited and no call. I called again and was told the part was on backorder. Then an hour later, the part was on order and en route. Huh?

So I called Lowe's to demand to know when I was going to have it fixed. They informed me that their file said my dishwasher was fixed. They put me on hold and called the idiots that be at Turner. When they came back, they said the part was in and I would be on the schedule the next day. Okay, so in one day the part goes from backordered to ordered to in hand???? Riiiiight. But at least he'd be out the next day, right?

WRONG! I got a call the next day....."Uh...I just opened the box and we got the wrong part so I can't fix it today." Okay, let's establish something. The first part was flat and about 8" long and 1.5" wide. Small, right? The new part was an entire internal arm setup, about 6 FEET long and with several components. Call me crazy, but does anyone believe that there is any chance in the world that those two parts would come in the same size box????

So I called Lowe's again. This time they sent me to the "complaint department." I supposedly got a supervisor. He said he would get them to work on it and he would call me back on Friday to make sure I had heard from someone about getting it finally fixed. It's Sunday. Do you think he called? Yeah, right. Never heard a word from him, even after I called him and left a message for him to call me right away.

Can you even believe this nightmare???? I've been dealing with a broken dishwasher for over a month now, and I have absolutely no idea if or when Lowe's or Turner Consumer Services is going to do anything at all. I've been told that due to contractual obligations, I'm stuck with Turner Consumer Services. What's funny, though, is that another rep at Lowe's checked their orders and found that they never ordered the part I needed. Never. So we've proved they lied, but we're still stuck.

I guess the lesson here is don't bother with the Extended Warranties. From what I understand, only about 5% of appliances require service in the first few years, so it's a gamble anyway. Take the money you would have spent on the warranty and set it aside in your checking account. Then if you DO need a repair, find a reputable company and get it fixed. Reputable...Lowe's apparently has no idea what that means. If you buy the warranty, you're forced to take whatever low-life, works-for-nothing-and-worth-less-than-that company they choose to send you. And you are stuck. Completely stuck. It's really not worth it!

I hope none of my readers ever have to deal with this situation. And even more than that, I hope I never have to go through this again. I just hope someone grows a brain soon and actually helps me. It saddens me that Lowe's would treat their customers this way. We have bought a LOT at Lowe's in the past. It's a good thing they have lots of competition!


Michelle said...

what a pain!!! so sorry you've had to go through this. I truly think it depends on the company and the product. doing extended warranties on the kids' stuff like Leapsters, etc...has been awesome, as they just generally do a replace. Ship in the broken item, get a new one.

I guess I won't be thinking about any major appliance purchases at Lowe's anytime soon! Hope it all works out soon.

Annie Jones said...

It's rotten that you're having to deal with this lack of customer service. Do you know whether or not each Lowe's store contracts with a specific repair company?

I ask because we bought our washer and dryer from Lowe's in 2003 and bought 5 year extended warranties for both. We only had to talk to Lowe's get the necessary phone numbers and contract numbers for the warranty company. The contract was through Zurich (on Whirlpool appliances) and we dealt with them directly.

To be honest, I can't even remember what problem we were having, or whether it was with the washer or dryer, but when the repairman came, he found the problem, ordered the part and was back in a couple of days. Then he even showed Shane how to fix it if it ever happened again!

We had great service, which is why I'm wondering if each store is deciding how repairs will be handled. Seems like a huge discrepancy in the quality of service.

Chellie Alden said...

I am sorry that you have had such an issue. We too bought from Lowes a Samsung high end Fridge. We purchased the extended warranty- which was like $60. Thank goodness we did! A year after we bought the fridge the LED display went out on it. Called in on warranty and all was good. Then about another year later the LED display went out yet again. This time they are unable to fix as they cannot get the part in. With this news we were also told that being as they cannot fix it, we will be receiving a check for the purchase price to buy a new fridge. Yes we've had a few issues with the fridge but the extended warranty has been a god sent gift!!!