The recall was announced by Maytag on February 1 and involved 2.3 million dishwashers. The appliances were recalled because of a potential fire hazard discovered after Maytag received 135 reports of fires. Maytag warned customers to disconnect power to their dishwashers and contact the company to make arrangements for repairs.
Unfortunately, customers ran into problems when they phoned Maytag about the dishwashers. First, there were not enough operators to handle the call volume. Some customers reported spending upwards of half an hour on hold waiting to speak to a customer service representative while others noted that after four days they still had not been able to reach Maytag. At one point the phone and computer system temporarily shut down because of the high volume of calls. Some customers who called Maytag heard messages telling them to call back later.
Further frustrating customers was the automated voice recognition system which had difficulty distinguishing between the letters "B" and "D" in dishwasher serial numbers.
Dishwashers affected by the recall were sold between July 1997 and June 2001 for between $370 and $800. Models are Maytag and Jenn-Air under-counter or portable plastic-tub dishwashers. Front panels come in black, white, almond, bisque, and stainless-steel. Model and serial numbers can be found on the dishwasher frame either on the top or left of the door opening.
The problem with the dishwashers is that liquid-rinse aid dispensers could malfunction causing the liquid to spill onto the dishwasher's internal wiring, possibly causing a fire. Maytag has so far received 135 reports of fire and 4 injuries, one of which was a serious hand laceration and three of which involved smoke inhalation. Property damage was also reported.
Maytag is offering three options for consumers with affected dishwashers. Customers can choose to be sent a special cap that prevents use of the rinse-aid dispenser, free in-home repair of the dishwasher, or $75 toward the purchase of a new Maytag, Jenn-Air, Whirlpool, or KitchenAid dishwasher.