Whirlpool won’t fix these cracked shelves on my refrigerator (again)

Despite her own efforts to salvage her Whirlpool refrigerator with duct tape, Paula McGee is at the end of her rope. Will the company do the right thing, even though her unit is out of warranty?

Question: I’m hoping you can help me resolve an issue I have with my Whirlpool refrigerator. I bought the refrigerator in 2010. By the summer of 2011, the shelves were beginning to crack.
I contacted Whirlpool’s customer service department, who informed me that I was out of warranty and directed me to their website where I could purchase new shelves at about $100 apiece. I decided that duct tape was a better option.

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Over the past four years, the shelves have cracked more and more. In fact, the shelving cracked so badly that it no longer supports the drawers. As a result, we can only use one of three drawers in our refrigerator.

Last week, out of complete frustration and desperation, my husband decided it was time to look into replacing the shelves. As soon as I typed in the words, “Whirlpool refrigerator shelves,” and “Whirlpool refrigerator shelves cracked,” I found your story about cracked Whirlpool shelves. I also found many complaints regarding this specific issue of cracking shelves.

I emailed Whirlpool that evening and expressed to them my concerns in hopes that they would replace the five shelves free of charge. Instead, I got the standard response, “Sorry. You are out of warranty.” In fact, the representative I spoke with tonight on the phone also added, “Our products aren’t perfect. They are man-made.” Oh boy, way to stand behind your product!
Obviously, I am extremely frustrated. I am a second grade teacher who works very hard for her money. To spend that amount of money to replace a product that was clearly just poorly designed is outrageous. — Paula McGee, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Answer: Oh no, not the cracked shelf problem again! Whirlpool should have never sold that product in the first place, and when these problems emerged, it should have promptly fixed them.

True, your refrigerator was out of warranty. Here’s a copy of your contract. So, technically the company was correct to tell you that you were out of luck. Correct, but not right. Given the number of complaints about the cracked shelves, maybe Whirlpool should have issued a voluntary recall and replaced all of the faulty parts. I agree with you; the company should have never sold refrigerators in that condition.

The “man-made” excuse is exactly that — an excuse. And not even a good excuse. Does it even matter how a refrigerator is made? No. The point is, the shelves were faulty. Whirlpool is essentially asking you to take responsibility for its failures.

I list the names and numbers of Whirlpool’s top executives on my site. You could have taken this up with them, although I fear they would have sent you another form response.

I contacted the company on your behalf. In response, you received an email from the company promising to replace the broken shelves at no cost “as goodwill.” That’s a resolution with which you said you are “beyond pleased.” So am I.

8 thoughts on “Whirlpool won’t fix these cracked shelves on my refrigerator (again)

  1. We bought a Whirlpool fridge in 2012 — fairly high-end (for Whirlpool), with ice & water dispenser in the freezer door, and a water filter in the refrigerator side. I had insisted on buying it at a locally-owned appliance store, not a big-box place. Of course, the store closed up shop about 6 months after we bought the fridge.

    Just over a year later, I started noticing a big puddle of water in the bottom of the fridge, and it was starting to leak out onto the floor in front of the fridge. Contacted Whirlpool, and got the same answer as the OP — “out of warranty.” So we called an appliance repair company we’ve used before (and that we know is reputable), and the verdict was that the water filter was leaking. Repair guy told us that the solution was to disconnect the water filter, which he did (to the tune of $150). Fridge hasn’t leaked since.

  2. Not China…I live in Western Arkansas and we had a Whirlpool plant in Fort Smith that made refrigerators. In 2006, the plant employed 4600 people by 2010, only 1000 and in 2012, the plant closed when production moved to Mexico. All of their refrigerators except some high end models are made at their mega plant there. The high end models are made in Ohio.

  3. Oh boy…

    This past August, I had bought a Kenmore fridge. Sept 9th was the first repair call. The box was a waste of plastic and aluminum. I played with Sears from then until the week of Thanksgiving (NOTE: Thanks to Elliott’s executive contact list, I was able to get a corporate rep to help, which lit a fire under the local reps!).

    Finally, my corporate rep offered to replace the Kenmore with any brand or model Sears sold.

    Yep, I went with Whirlpool.

  4. I can’t believe the quality of appliances today. I had problems with a GE range and got no help from them once the warranty was up–it was the same problem over and over again. Got a Kenmore range and one burner has been giving me fits since it was installed. It doesn’t matter what appliance brand it is, once the warranty is up, forget about it! Our condo in AZ is starting to need appliances that are from ’98 and I dread having to get them replaced. Already done the washer and dryer and some days they sound bad but the warranty is up! A neighbor who bought high-end appliances only 6 years ago is starting to have really serious problems also. The repairman is on speed dial!

    1. Agreed! I’m still using the washer and dryer I bought 19 years ago. My children have the new fangled high efficiency machines and you couldn’t PAY ME to put them in my house given the problems they’ve had!

    2. My parents put the old fridge in the garage when we got a new one. 35 years ago, the thing still works great. These companies today make you pay a warrantee if you want an appliance to work more than 6 months. How is it that we pay so much more for such poor products now?

      1. We bought a fridge in 1971 when we bought our first house. That lasted in the garage until about ’05. We finally decided to get rid of it cause the motor was getting hot and we didn’t want to burn down the garage!! Over the years my husband had to replace one part but it worked fine for many years. The current fridge we have from Sears quit working one day and we decided to try to fix ourselves cause it was out of warranty. There was a panel on the top that said “only an authorized service person could open and work on it”. Well, we decided to open it. It was plain to see that a fuse was burnt out. We went to Sears parts store and they didn’t carry it and said they didn’t think we could get one–only a service person would have it. We went to Lowe’s and found it and fixed it just fine. Only cost a couple dollars vs. the fee you have to pay to just have a service person even look at your appliance.

  5. I think that whirlpool is a lower end brand now, unfortunately. We’ve had the midlevel kitchenaid applicances for a little while and when we needed service (admittedly under warranty) they were very good. I don’t know about the high end brands.

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