5 On Your Side

Repairman can't get Maytag refrigerator working

Posted November 6, 2008 4:04 p.m. EST
Updated November 6, 2008 6:26 p.m. EST

— A Raleigh woman called for help after repairmen couldn't get her refrigerator working right, despite numerous tries over a year-and-a-half.

When Anne-Marie Davis went refrigerator shopping in April 2004, she had in mind the commercials where the Maytag repairman fixes the cable TV because he has nothing else to do.

So, she bought a $900 Maytag refrigerator and paid an additional $79 for an extended warranty with GE.

In April 2007, the ice-maker broke, and a repairman fixed it. Later, Davis went on vacation but came home to discover a leak in the fridge.

"It was just water – brown, nasty, gunky stuff, so we had to throw everything out," Davis said.

The refrigerator had stopped cooling for long enough that all the food in it spoiled, and then started back up again.

"The milk is the major thing that goes bad," Davis said. "My meat, bacon and yogurt – those are the major things that are spoiled."

Davis called GE, and a repairman replaced a part. But the same thing happened again the next month – and the month after that. The repairmen kept visiting Davis' house through September 2008.

Service records show that over a year-and-a-half, repairmen replaced a solenoid, temperature, compressor, drier sweep, heat exchanger, damper control and blade motor in Davis' fridge.

But none of it fixed the problem, and eventually, Davis said she was done with repairs.

"I got so tired; I said, 'Your lemon policy says three replacements.' She says, 'No, it's the same major parts,'" Davis said. "I said, 'But I'm having the same problem.'"

A GE representative told her the next time the refrigerator broke, the company would replace it. But when that happened, GE sent out another repairman – who couldn't solve the problem.

After 5 on Your Side called GE, a representative called Davis and offered to reimburse her the $900 she originally paid or to replace her unit with a comparable model.

Davis has started shopping around, but says that whatever she chooses, it won't be a Maytag – which she picked for reliability the first time.

"(I was) thinking I was getting a repairman that was not going to be visiting my house. And, instead, he is living at my house," Davis said.

In a Consumer Reports survey, respondents gave Maytag and Frigidaire the worst repair records for side-by-side models. The companies also ranked among the less-reliable in several other categories.