Appliance Jive Turkey Award: A Sears/A&E Servicer in South Florida

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on April 5, 2004

in General Appliance Wisdom

This latest Appliance Jive Turkey Award goes to a parts changing monkey who works for Sears/A&E in south Florida. Reason for award: this monkey boy tells customers with refrigerators that have had a sealed system leak that the sulfur in their water corrodes the copper and causes the leak.

Our story begins with Charlie, in Florida, who has a two year old Whirlpool refrigerator model number ET21PKXGT02. Recently, the nearly-new refrigerator stopped getting cold. She went through all the basic checks with guidance from several appliance gurus at the Appliantology Group and it became apparent that the refrigerator had developed a sealed system problem. Since the sealed system is covered by a five-year warranty, we advised her to call for warranty service and have it repaired. What happened next reads like something out of a Franz Kafka novel. Charlie tells the story in the forum, but I’ll summarize it here.

The jive turkey who came out to the house was not a Whirlpool employee–he works for A&E Factory Service, a service company owned by Sears and is, in fact, a Sears employee with a different uniform. A&E is given priority on all Whirlpool-dispatched service calls, but Whirlpool has no real control over A&E operations or targeted markets. This is a really bad situation for both Whirlpool and the consumer because, through this arrangement with Sears, Whirlpool has lost all control of its warranty service to Sears. You can read more about this sick saga of corporate inbreeding here.

Anyway, our illustrious Appliance Jive Turkey Award recipient took one look at the blackened copper tubing in back and fed her a line about how sulfur in her water was corroding the copper tubing, causing them to leak and that this was not covered by warranty. He wrote the service ticket up as non-repairable, passing the buck to Whirlpool, and left. Intrigued by this novel line of bullsheist from an obviously accomplished jive turkey, Charlie called his employer, A&E Factory Service.

Now, here’s where it gets Kafkaesque. A&E told her that she should have known to paint the tubing with acrylic paint to protect them from the sulfur. I guess the fact that her previous refrigerator (a Frigidaire) only lasted 15 years in that same location should have been a clue that sulfur is a problem! It reminds me of Franz Kafka’s The Trial where a bank clerk is arrested and put on trial. He never learns the nature of the charges but is told that he should have known better. (Not a happy ending, either. In the end, he is taken away by knife-weilding officials who kill him ‘like a dog.’)

Another tech in the forum, fixum1, gave her the number to the Whirlpool partner line and suggested she might have more luck with that office. But they just gave her the run around, seemingly reluctant to get involved. Whirlpool’s authorized warranty service company, A&E, has become completely enamored of their star jive turkey’s line of horse manure and has reported this “sulfur corrosion” phenomenon to Whirlpool…without laughing too much. Whirlpool is probably wondering what those parts changing monkeys at Sears/A&E down in south Florida are smoking.

Obviously, the line about sulfur in the water corroding the copper was a very creative bald-faced lie told to avoid doing a lengthy sealed system repair at 4:30 in the afternoon. According to forum guru, fixum1, the real reason the copper tubing turned black was that a faulty brazed joint in the copper tubing around the filter-drier released compressor oil in the tubing around there. Although this jive turkey repairman is a Sears/A&E employee, Whirlpool is still on the hook for the repair. A warranty is a warranty and they have yet to make good on it. Stay tuned for updates on this situation as we follow it to final resolution.

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