Current local Las Vegas time is 12:18am, January 17, 2018.

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Whirlpool Customer Service: A Basket Case

Our new home in Las Vegas came with new appliances. The builder made a big deal out of only supplying Whirlpool appliances. Whirlpool is a name I have always associated with quality, and the appliances in our home attest to that. We are happy with them except for one detail.

The dishwasher’s silverware basket is simply too small. There are only two compartments to hold dirty silverware, and they only hold about one-half what they should. In fact, they are about one-half the size of any other dishwasher silverware baskets I have ever seen.

I don’t think that Mrs. Vargas and I are use inordinate amounts of silverware. The plate to fork ratio is roughly 1:1, as is the bowl to spoon ratio. In fact, sometimes it’s two plates to one fork. But the silverware basket always fills well before the rest of the dishwasher.

Figuring that the tiny basket was Whirlpool’s way of cutting a few cents off their cost, I decided to call them and find out if I could order a larger basket for the dishwasher.

I called the toll-free customer help line. After the obligatory wait on hold, a rep came on line and asked all sorts of questions like name, address, model number, serial number, etc. She was entering it into her computer as I spoke and the process was over within a minute or so.

The conversation went roughly like this:

Lars: The silverware basket in our dishwasher is too small. I would like you to send me the larger one.

Whirlpool rep: I show only one basket available for that model. We only have one size.

Lars: OK, please send me one of those. The one that came with it is too small. We will simply use two baskets.

Whirlpool rep: Certainly sir. We can have that right out to you.

Lars: OK, great. You have my address…

Whirlpool rep: …and we need your credit card information.

Lars: Why is that?

Whirlpool rep: To pay for it.

Lars: You mean it’s not free? It should be. I’m not the one who put a basket that’s too small into the dishwasher.

Whirlpool rep: I’m sorry you feel that way, but our engineers design them that way.

Lars: Whirlpool has evidently hired engineers who either hand-wash their silverware or eat with their hands. The provided basket is simply too small. I don’t care what your engineers think. The customer thinks that the basket is wholly inadequate for the job and needs to be replaced with a larger one. Since a larger one is not available, I’m willing to settle for a second basket, which you should send as a courtesy.

Whirlpool rep: I cannot do that. The basket you have meets the requirements for…

Lars: …it meets the requirements for people who do not use silverware baskets or who only use salad forks. Seriously, this thing is half as big as any other I have ever seen, yet it’s in a full-sized dishwasher. I’m sure you official policy says to deny my request, but I would think a plastic basket sent out as a courtesy isn’t too much to ask. Especially when plastic baskets cost only a few cents to make.

Whirlpool rep: I’m sorry, Mr. Vargas, but you will have to purchase the basket.

Lars: Fine. How much is it?

Whirlpool rep: That comes to $35 plus shipping.

Lars: I beg your pardon. I think I heard $35.

Whirlpool rep: You did. Plus shipping.

Lars: You’ve GOT to be kidding. I was ready to pay $10, but $35 is just plain abusive, especially for something that should have been provided with the machine and was engineered incorrectly.

Whirlpool rep: Well, we haven’t received any complaints about them yet.

Lars: Well this is number one. You really should reconsider this design choice. It’s a poor one.

I really wanted to tell her to tell the engineers to go fork themselves, but some hereto-unused filter kicked in and I simply thanked her for her lack of help and hung up. No sense shooting the messenger.

The dishwasher is great. So is our stove. We’re happy with both, but Whirlpool really needs to increase the size of those baskets or give (not sell for $35) extras to customers who use them. It’s silly to have a dishwasher that will hold 20 plates and only about 10 forks, knives and spoons.

Then again, I’m not a Whirlpool dishwasher basket engineer. Maybe there is some reason for this. Perhaps some misguided study group told them that less is more for silverware baskets.

Either way, if you’re going dishwasher shopping, take a look at those silverware baskets. Apparently they have shrunken in the past few years.

In the end it doesn’t matter to me any more. I found one that afternoon on eBay for $4 plus shipping. It’s large and it works great. It came out of a GE dishwasher.

Published Sun 12/11/05 at 6:41am

Categorized in Flashbacks, Lars Vargas