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

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By Christopher Elliott

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?


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.

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.


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. (Related: My Whirlpool stove is defective again. How do I get it fixed?)

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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. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

My advocacy team and 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.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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