This oven’s a dud. Why won’t KitchenAid fix it?

Donna DiRusso’s KitchenAid slide-in oven range doesn’t work as advertised, but why won’t the company fix it? Let’s find out.

Question: I had a new KitchenAid slide-in oven range installed last year. Eight months later, I began experiencing multiple issues with the electrical aspect of the range. I’ve had about eight service calls, and this morning a technician replaced the electrical panel. I think this is the second time this has been replaced.

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I have no working stove until they return next week. This is the fourth time I have been left without a working stove. Calls to Whirlpool Corporation, which owns KitchenAid, only get me through to customer service. They can only schedule service, and I get nowhere. I have tried to contact Whirlpool, but the website seems to be a loop taking me right back to customer service, no matter the number called or the link followed.

I would like a stove that is operational and that does not require a service call every two months and which further does not leave me with a non-operational appliance. Ideally, I would like to explain my many issues to someone higher up than a customer service agent. By the way, I have asked for a chronology of all issues with this range, and Whirlpool will not release that information. — Donna DiRusso, Burlington, Mass.

Answer: Sigh. Another KitchenAid case. Of course, your oven should have worked right out of the box, and if it broke, the company should have immediately fixed it.

So why didn’t it? Part of the problem is the bureaucracy of its “customer service” department, both online and by phone. But you also took a few missteps.

Let’s start with KitchenAid, though. No matter how you contact a company, it should be able to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently. The labyrinth of nonservice you describe is like something right out of a Franz Kafka novel. The company promises its appliances are “designed to fuel your passion and make cooking and entertaining easier.” Your oven did the exact opposite.

Phoning the company didn’t really help. Your calls just went into a void. Did KitchenAid keep any record of your numerous inquiries? Who knows? Did anyone, other than KitchenAid, have any evidence of your requests? Nope.

That’s why I recommend writing to the company — which you eventually did. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the KitchenAid customer service executives on my advocacy site.

And indeed, dropping KitchenAid a line worked. The company agreed to remove the old oven and install a brand new one in exchange for an “accommodation” payment of $317. I’m not sure what an “accommodation” payment is, but given the many oven-less days you had to spend, I’d say it was about $317 too high. Further negotiations between you and KitchenAid reduced that amount to $158. Still too much.

I contacted the company and it did the right thing, replacing the nonworking oven with a working one without charge.