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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

8 Responses to Whirlpool Customer Service: A Basket Case

  1. cody said on Sun 5/11/08 at 4:19am

    it is your responsibility to make sure the basket is the size you would like before you purchase it. it’s ridiculous to think they would just give you another one because YOU feel it is too small. that’s what’s wrong with america…people are spoiled and feel they deserve everything handed to them.

  2. LarsVargas said on Sun 5/11/08 at 11:58am

    If I had purchased the dishwasher new at a store, I woudl agree with you 100%.

    But this dishwasher was included with the house, and I didn’t see it (or even really have a choice … long story) before getting it.

    If you re-read my post, you’ll see that I was willing to pay a reasonable amount for a basket, and wasn’t expecting one to be “handed to me”. Their price was way out of line, however, so I exercised my American right to find another vendor.

    Two years later, and guess what? I’m happy with my new basket. 🙂

  3. Tracy said on Sun 6/8/08 at 8:52am

    We have a new Whirlpool dishwasher and are expriencing the same problem with the silverware basket filling up before the rest of the dishwashwer. As we speak, I’m in the process of searching for a second basket (My keyword search led me to your post). At the store, the basket appeared adequate to meet our needs; however, once we began using it at home, we quickly discovered it was too small. So, although we considered the size of the basket at the time of purchase, actual usage revealed the problem. By that time, the dishwasher was already purchased and installed. Luckily, this will be an easy fix by simply buying another basket. 🙂 Thanks for your post.

  4. LarsVargas said on Sun 6/15/08 at 4:25pm


    I’m glad you found my post helpful.

    — Lars

  5. stuart said on Thu 7/3/08 at 12:11pm

    We also have a kitchen full of Whirlpool appliances which admittedly have performed well. However, I concur with their version of “customer service.” The quarter coin
    size plastick crisper part on my refrigerator failed. The cost for a repacement of a 1/3 ounce plastic replacement ws $12.95 with an additional,obscene $8 for “shipping.”
    SIgn me up for your “I hate Whrilpool club.”

  6. Jennifer said on Sat 9/6/08 at 7:41am

    Don’t be too quick to blame the companies for the shipping prices. Except for maybe a handling charge, the price for shipping is regulated by the Post Office and UPS. I do the shipping for an ebay store and know that the shipping prices are based on the weight and sometimes the dimensions of the packaging. That is the weight of an item IN a box with packing material, not just the item. Also, the prices vary by location. Florida and California are usually the highest for shipping. Also, the price for shipping depends on the way it is shipped. If you want it tomorrow- you’re going to pay more.

  7. LarsVargas said on Thu 11/13/08 at 9:18am

    Jennifer, I never even got to the shipping price. The item itself was too expensive, so I never even asked what the “plus shipping” was going to cost me.

    I usually don’t have an issue with shipping prices as most companies (and eBay sellers) are up-front about shipping and handling costs. If those costs are too much, of course I don’t buy there. If they’re tolerable, I purchase without complaint or comment.

    Whirlpool simply blew it in this case by price alone. I will consider their products in the future (since they do work well) but they’ll receive extra scrutiny.

  8. john mack said on Thu 8/25/11 at 6:48pm

    IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND WHY THE SILVERWARE BOX IS TOO SMALL, AND THE THINKING (OR LACK OF IT) BEHIND IT—-YOU MUST UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT TYPICAL AMERICANS. THE DEFINITION OF AN AMERICAN, IS SOMEONE WHO WILL PAY FIVE DOLLARS TO PARK HIS CAR, WHILE HE EATS A TWO DOLLAR HAMBURGER. THESE ARE THE SAME AMERICANS WHO DESIGN SILVERWARE BOXES THAT ARE TOO SMALL, UNSAFE CARS THAT GET EVERYONE KILLED (but they pass laws requiring seatbelts–so these seatbelts can keep you pinned in the car, AFTER the accident, so you can burn to death) Instead of penalizing DETROIT, for making unsafe cars, so they can keep their PROFITS high. America is the land of plenty—plenty of waste—-especially between the ears.

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