Sunday, June 12, 2011

Victory, Dammit

Two years and four months ago, we bought a new front-load washing machine. No matter what machine I looked at in our price range, someone had a bad experience, so I went against my usual habit and bought the extended protection agreement.

The washing machine went wonky a couple of weeks ago. We called the repair number, and the guy told us we were covered, even though the protection agreement says 3 years for Kenmore and 2 years for other brands, and ours is Frigidaire. He said no, the model number was Kenmore. Okay, we said skeptically, and scheduled the first available repair date.

Eight days later.

One of my coworkers told me she'd had the same problem, and save me her grief and expense, told me how to access the drain catcher to get out whatever's clogging it and preventing it from draining. The problem was, our machine doesn't have a front access panel like hers, or an easy-to-open drain catcher. Ours has a back panel and a drain unit attached under the drum, near the front of the machine, with spring clamps facing in the wrong direction.

J did some research, and found tons of people talking about this ridiculously insane design, and how to deal with it. We decided to wait for the repair people. So we did the laundromat thing (GOD, that's gotten expensive), and waited more than a week. I took time off work to be here on time.

And guess what?

You got it. No-show.

I called the repair number. The automaton on the phone line said her next available schedule date was next Thursday. I demanded a supervisor, hung on the line for 20 minutes, and got disconnected. Called back, told him what had happened, he immediately said he'd connect me to his supervisor, and I hung on the line for another 15 minutes before getting put BACK in the freakin' queue. The person I got next tried her best, but she was hamstrung. There was no way to put me in an earlier slot and bump someone else, which infuriated me.

I mean, you don't go to the grocery store, stand in line for half an hour, and have the clerk say "sorry, I can't help you, go to the end of the line and wait again." They said the reason for the no-show was that they were overbooked, and that they called me and the line was busy. LIARS. But besides that, *I* get punished because they're not willing to pay enough contractors to do the work?

She gave me the local number, but I was worn out on confrontation and didn't call them. Instead, I insisted we do it ourselves. It was freakin' HARD. All the clamps and screws were facing the wrong way. We did find there was an access hole on the bottom, so we tipped the machine to its side and managed, after much struggle, to remove the spring clamps from the rubber drain connectors and remove the unit.

I pulled out a couple of hair ties, a barrette, and an underwire that was probably catching in the motor, and cleaned out the foul-smelling rubber box. (I don't think two hair ties and one barrette are too bad for two years and four months of use, actually, but the kids will have stricter orders about checking pockets.) J went to the hardware store for screw-tightened ring clamps, as the spring clamps would have been impossible to get back on. We reattached everything, put the machine back, and started it.

And voila. We are perfecto.

Machine ran just fine, and there's no leakage (the major concern once we were done). Take THAT, crappy Sears repair service!

(I've used Sears appliance repair before, and they were great. That's obviously changed, so I highly recommend avoiding them at all costs!)

Now I shall go celebrate our victory by running a load of darks.


Karen said...

We've had Sears repairmen before, too, without problems - glad to know aahead of time that things may have changed. Glad you guys were able to repair it yourselves!! My DH would have be making the air blue!!!

Cathy in AK said...

I live in fear of our washing machine taking a header. Getting a repairman out here is insanely expensive, warranty or no. We were warned our new High Efficiency (read: sensitive) washer would lock up if too much soap was used, and the ONLY way to get it going again would be a reset by a professional.

Congrats on your triumph!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Karen, that was me! I'm much quicker to temper. :)

Yikes, Cathy, yeah, I can imagine how difficult/expensive it would be up there. Tip: Make sure all underwires are secure in all their bras before washing. :)

MJFredrick said...

I'm so impressed! But wow, how frustrating!