Warning about extended warrantees for appliances

March 11, 2013 7:41:55 PM PDT
When you buy a major appliance, do you also buy the extended warranty? They do provide you with a free repair when you need one, but a San Francisco woman was forced to pay dearly when her dishwasher broke down.

Here's what to watch out for. The technicians could not fix her dishwasher, so they told her to get new plumbing. Now, the woman is stuck with a broken appliance and a plumbing bill. So, she went to 7 On Your Side for help.

Christina Beiser of San Francisco is washing dishes by hand these days and it's definitely not by choice. "Christmas was really fun. We had 20-something people over here," she recalled. Her dishwasher had been working fine for three years, but of course during the holidays, it quit. "It would only stay on for 5 or 10 seconds, fill up with water and then shut off, and I couldn't get it to activate again," she said.

The bottom of her dishwasher was filled with water that would not drain out. "It would flash a code, so I started off by calling the company to troubleshoot it with the code that was going on," she said. Troubleshooting didn't help, but Christina did have this extended service warranty from Home Depot. She reported the problem and a technician came out to fix the machine. "And, he couldn't get it to work and he didn't know what it was so he called somebody else in," she said.

A second repairman came and he said it was a faulty pump. "And, he installed the new pump and ran the dishwasher through and it still didn't work," she recalled. Now, a third technician came out and he said the dishwasher was fine, but she needed new plumbing. "So, I called a plumber he looked at everything and said, 'Ma'am I can replace all of these pipes for you, but I can tell you right now it's not a plumbing issue, it's a dishwasher issue,'" she said.

Christina replaced the pipes anyway. It cost $275 and still, the dishwasher didn't work. "They said it was no longer their responsibility and they have done everything they could," she said. The warranty company said technicians couldn't resolve the problem. Christina says she'd had enough. "I'd seen Michael Finney and thought well, why not? I'm just going to try," she recalled.

She contacted 7 On Your Side and we contacted Home Depot. Right away, the company said it would stand by the warranty and replace her broken dishwasher. Home Depot said, "It's disappointing for us that Ms. Beiser had difficulties because the extended protection plan we offer is a very good plan. If anyone is ever disappointed in the service they receive under their protection plan, they should contact the Home Depot directly to help resolve the situation."

Sure enough, Home Depot provided Christina a gift card good for the amount she'd paid for the dishwasher four years ago. "I was elated. I was so excited and I'm just so grateful to be able to have a new dishwasher," she said.

Most extended warranties promise to replace machines that can't be repaired, but the language is a little tricky because a replacement is at the sole discretion of the warranty company. 7 On Your Side would like to thank Home Depot for replacing the dishwasher and Christina says her dishpan hands are thankful too.


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