This is a guest post by Jennifer Pohlhaus of Harmonic Mama. Jenn is a working and homeschooling mother of two. She has her BFA and currently blogs about her experience with the challenges and fun of homeschooling along with her love of crafting and cooking at HarmonicMama.com. You can find her on twitter and facebook as well.
My family moved into our house just about three years ago. It was built in the 70s and still had the original oven and cook top when we got here. The cook top was stainless steel with four burners but only 3 worked correctly. The other one we affectionately called the boiling burner because regardless of what the knob said it was always on high. This past Christmas I was cooking up what was left of our Turkey to make some soup and the largest of our 3 burners died effectively reducing us to 2 useful burners. We first looked into repairing it but to repair the broken burner and the “boiling burner” and get the cook top in tip top shape it was nearly as much as a new cook top. We decided to take the plunge and get a new one.
Choosing a Cooktop
After doing some research we decided to go with an induction cook top from Ikea. They’re energy efficient and you can have the fine control of gas (which isn’t an option at our house), additionally my mother in law has had a great experience with appliances from Ikea. We purchased our induction cook top from Ikea, which came with a 5 year warranty, it was installed in late January and we loved it. We were so excited to show friends how it could boil a full pot of water for pasta in under 10 minutes and how quickly the temp would adjust at just the push of a button.
Trouble in Appliance Paradise
This love affair went on for about a month until one day, when my husband was making pancakes, the cook top started blinking letters and numbers. I checked the manual where it suggested that I call customer service. No problem I thought it’s only a month old I’m sure there’s a quick fix. I waited on hold for 20 minutes to find out that there was nothing they could do remotely and they set up a repair appointment for me and told me it would all be covered under warranty. I took some time off of work and the repair company came. After 3 hours he determined that they needed a part but assured me it would get there quickly. They sent the part directly to our house and we made an appointment for that Saturday. Saturday came and the repair man opened the part box only to find that the part they sent was broken. We set up an appointment for the following Wednesday and again they come but this time the part is fine but they need a different part too.
At this point I had became a little frustrated, this unit had only been installed and in use for 29 days before it gave an error and became unusable so I hit twitter for some help and started tweeting about my experience. Meanwhile the repair company ordered a new part and assured me that it would be there quickly. Due to my tweet I was contacted by a rep from Whirlpool, she checked on the repair and assured me that the parts would be here quickly. It was a week and a half before the next appointment where I found out yet again that an additional part was needed. I had been playing phone tag with the customer service rep and she was not responding to emails so I hit twitter again. Again instant response to my tweets, she assured me that my repair was in progress and evidently she ordered parts too because over the next few days seven boxes of parts appeared on my doorstep. The soonest available repair date was a full week away and at that appointment they were still unable to repair the unit referring it to their research department. This was a full 24 days after the cook top stopped working.
I continued to tweet about my experience, share it with my friends on facebook and play phone tag with the representative that had originally contacted me. Then a friend of mine, who had been following my fiasco on facebook, contacted Whirlpool’s world headquarters for me, she was referred to the executive offices. There she was able to get me the name and phone number of a woman who would help and more importantly who would answer my call. I spoke with someone in the executive offices on a Friday and just like that she offered to replace the cook top. She said someone would contact me on Monday discuss the exchange. I felt a huge sigh of relief that this would soon be over. Monday I receive a call from the woman who was charged with replacing the cook top and she informed that the unit was back ordered and not available for at least two weeks and then it would be another week for shipping and installation (21 days total) bringing the total number of days with out a cook top to 51. Thankfully she was flexible and an out of the box thinker so when I informed her that our local Ikea had 11 in stock she said she’d talk with them about an exchange. She set up the exchange and that weekend, 34 days after it became nonfunctional, we were able to swing by Ikea and get a new cook top. The exchange went smoothly, especially in comparison.
I will say in those 34 days I became very good at making dinner in the oven, in the slow cooker and when the weather warmed on the grill. We had to become creative with how we cooked and ate out more often then I’d care to admit or could afford. Despite this bad experience we LOVE this cook top and how it performs, when it works, and now we are back again to showing friends how amazing, responsive and great induction cook tops are.
Would I recommend an induction cook top to a friend? Absolutely. Would I recommend our model, or that brand in general?Probably not.
Kelly’s notes: While Jenn’s experience was extremely frustrating, in dealing with the manufacturer she didn’t just take there first response, and with the help of a friend was able to contact someone who could make things happen faster despite repeated attempts to do so via other means. If you’re having a customer service issue with a company try to reach out to their executive office, as many large corporations have offices that are meant to handle this type of problem specifically. Usually a quick google search will help you find the phone number.