Did my refrigerator repairman botch my ice-maker installation?
May 17, 2016 1:47 PM   Subscribe

The ice-maker in my KitchenAid KBFS22ECMS, french-door style refrigerator died, and I made an appointment for a repair person to come out and replace it (under warranty). Now all I have is a very inconvenient "water maker", but no ice!

It seems that the refrigerator repair woes that I previously posted about just won't end.

A few hours after the repair guy left (this is the same company that previously lied to me that "all French Door refrigerators are flawed"), I checked the ice bin to see if the unit started making ice again. But the only thing that I was greeted with was a tub of icy water/sludge.

So I call the company to inform them about this, and they said they won't come back out unless we go through the whole warranty process again. Needless to say, I am furious.

Just out of curiosity, I poked around the new ice maker using my camera phone, and noticed that the water tube that feeds the unit seems oddly placed in a way that would make the water leakage make sense to me.

Here are some photos I took:


Refrigerator repair nerds: Does this look right to you? And if not, is this something I can safely fix myself, without having to deal with the Soviet-era bureaucracy of KitchenAid's warranty replacement process?
posted by melorama to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
It looks identical to our Jenn Air french door fridge (they were sold under many names) and our ice maker has worked perfectly since day one. If that stiff wire is up it stops making ice. Just escalate, find them on twitter or facebook, get the truck to roll, ask for consideration, tell them you have to miss work.
posted by fixedgear at 2:02 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

So I call the company to inform them about this, and they said they won't come back out unless we go through the whole warranty process again. Needless to say, I am furious

That there is some bullshit. I'd call back and escalate to the highest ranking person there. KitchenAid is going to pay these clowns for NOT fixing your ice maker.

I'd just say, (to a manager) "Look, it didn't get fixed, I stayed home from work, and waited for your guy, and it wasn't working when he left. I'm not going to go through the warrantee process again, because I don't need to, it's your responsibility to make this right. It would be different if it broke again, but it was never fixed to begin with. Can you send him back today? I'd really rather not take another PTO day."

For sure get on Twitter about this as well. FWIW, it cost me $425 to replace the icemaker in mine. It's worth it to escalate.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:09 PM on May 17, 2016

It's hard to tell from your pictures, but it doesn't look like the feed tube is directing water into the ice mold, so water will just be spraying out. I have a different make, but when I replaced my feed tube, there was a fill cup thing the hose went into. I'm guessing it's the white plastic thing right above the hose in your first picture. Can you check and see if there's a hole in it that the hose can be redirected into?
posted by IanMorr at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Definitely post on their Facebook page or send Facebook messages. This gets appliance makers attention. It worked for me when I had an oven problem. Also, post on the "reviews" page for this model on the manufacturer's site and at Home Depot etc. They will respond by asking you to be in touch with a specific email or phone number.
posted by beagle at 2:12 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Post your pictures! That's ALWAYS good.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:12 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can probably fix this yourself. That tube is made of soft rubber. Simply move it up and over so it is sitting inside the plastic thing above it, like this. That way the water will actually go into the ice maker and not down into the ice hopper.
posted by zsazsa at 2:16 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's partially that i do this at work as part of my job, but i would get on the phone with these guys and not get off until i had a time they were sending someone out again. Not like, "later this week", like "Ok yea, Taylor will be out between 1-4 on Thursday".

That day should be like, tomorrow. Fixing a fucked up service call should be a higher priority than new calls and they should honestly bump someone.

I would want to talk to whoever the most senior person in the office was, on the phone, if no one below that would help me.

This is not a "can you" situation, this is a "you messed this up and you will" situation. Don't be afraid to be that demanding belligerent customer a little bit because you're in the right here.

It seriously doesn't matter what's wrong, and we shouldn't be trying to diagnose it here. THEY didn't finish the job and it's their problem to figure out how, why, and what needs to be done.

And this is coming from someone who's "managed" half-assed vendors for stuff like this at work for the more than half a decade at this point.

Another point is, you should call kitchenaid and tell them about this experience even if they fix it this time. Whether or not they do, this counts as a fail. It doesn't matter if it's eventually "ok". And honestly, on that complicated of a fridge that's already had weird problems, i seriously doubt it is or even that they didn't possibly make it worse.
posted by emptythought at 2:28 PM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

I do warranty repairs on home appliances and those repair jobs come with their own warranty. ie. the machine is my responsibility until it's fixed right. This may be an end-run by the repair company to try to double-bill for this job by having you call it in as a new repair; I would definitely call the manufacturer and politely but firmly raise hell.
posted by bizwank at 3:42 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

UPDATE: So my wife valiantly went through the gauntlet of calling A&E Factory Service (there is apparently no way to contact our local A&E repair rep directly...probably to shield them from angry customers like us!) to ask them to right this wrong.

The A&E CSR literally said to her "there's nothing we can do" and if we wanted them to come back out, that they would charge us for it. The advised us to open a new case with Warrantech, who originally issued warranty.

In frustration, my wife directly called the repair guy who installed the ice maker (we had his mobile number because he had to call us in order to get in our building). The guy mumbled some bullshit about how there was "no way" he could have installed the unit improperly, and that he too, "can't do anything about it", and that we'd have to go back to square one.

Ultimately they rescheduled the guy to come back tomorrow. Which means another day I have to take off work.

He left a voicemail saying that the unit he installed yesterday was probably faulty, and that he would bring a new unit by.

But my cynical self thinks that he's "swapping out" the unit because he doesn't want to be embarrassed by the fact that he missed the proper positioning of the water tube by a mile.

I would like to call him on his bluff, and ask him to let us keep the "faulty" unit with us so we independently verify if the unit is bad (much like one would do with a car repair place). But am I entitled to ask for the "bad" part, since this is a warranty replacement?
posted by melorama at 11:51 PM on May 17, 2016

I would like to call him on his bluff, and ask him to let us keep the "faulty" unit

You gain nothing from calling someone's bluff unless there's a pile of chips on the table.
posted by zippy at 11:58 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I just realized...to add insult to injury, I actually tipped the guy $15 when he left!

I'm guessing that asking for a refund on my tip would probably be going too far...
posted by melorama at 1:05 AM on May 18, 2016

Don'nt tip him again.
And channel your rage into calling kitchenaid with a detailed complaint and leaving angry ratings online.
You have nothing to gain by demanding back tipps and other displays of fury.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:40 AM on May 18, 2016

As someone who has literally gone that route, you gain utterly nothing. How will you prove the unit is fine, another repair shop? This will only cost you time and money. And your time is not worthless.

All that matters is getting the machine repaired, and making sure that the OEM who sold the warrantied device(kitchenaid) knows that one of their vendors did a bullshit job.

I really hope you don't end up paying them anything. If they try and charge you, call kitchenaid. Do not call them. Ask them to leave if you have to.

I know it sucks taking time off work, and i've paid my way out of situations like this both with manufacturers and shady landlords who had the warranty paperwork, but seriously never again.
posted by emptythought at 1:30 PM on May 18, 2016

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