Whirlpool sues contractor over allegations of fake customers and phony repairs
Appliance company claims it paid more than $4M to Kelowna partner for non-existent services
Whirlpool Canada is suing a B.C. contractor over what the appliance giant claims are thousands of invoices filed in association with phony repairs provided to customers who do not exist.
According to a B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim, Whirlpool paid more than $4.6 million to companies controlled by Mohinder Singh Sidhu and Kinder Kaur Sidhu to perform six years worth of warranty services for its B.C. Interior customers.
But Whirlpool — which also manufactures and sells Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air and KitchenAid home appliances — claims an audit revealed that many of those claims were fake.
"The claims were made for service and/or repairs in respect of customers that did not exist. The claims were made for service and/or repairs for appliances that do not exist," the lawsuit says.
"The claims were made for service and/or repairs that were not provided ... the claims were made for service and/or repairs on the basis of falsified customer contact information."
Audit reveals alleged fraud
The lawsuit, which was filed in the Vancouver registry, includes a massive binder full of invoices allegedly provided to Whirlpool from three companies, all allegedly owned and operated by the Surrey-based Sidhus.
Their companies — Interior Appliance Service Ltd., Interior Appliance Services (2013) and Anderson's Appliance Service (2009) — acted as independent contractors for Whirlpool in Kelowna and Vernon.
"(They) would provide warranty service and repairs to Whirlpool customers in their respective regions for Whirlpool products, or products under brands owned by Whirlpool and would submit payment for these services and repairs to Whirlpool," the claim reads.
"Whirlpool would pay for services rendered ... and Whirlpool would reimburse Anderson, Interior and Interior 2013 for parts used in the provision of warranty services."
Each service claim included details of the service or repairs, the date of the service, the model and serial number of the appliance, the cost of parts and labour and the customers name, address, telephone number and request.
According to the claim, the contractors filed 29,323 service claims.
Whirlpool paid $2.7 million to the three companies for labour and more than $1.8 million to its parts distributor, "which then sent the relevant parts to Anderson and Interior."
But the company says an audit conducted in February 2019 revealed that the contractors had been accepting payment for services they didn't render and falsifying information in the claims.
Home transferred for $1
The lawsuit says the Sidhus have stopped processing new claims for Whirlpool.
The amount of the alleged fraud is not specified, but Whirlpool claims that the couple has transferred ownership of its Surrey home because of the "claims against them in respect of the fraudulent claims."
According to the notice of civil claim, they transferred their Surrey home from joint ownership into Kinder Kaur Sidhu's name in March 2019.
"The consideration for the transfer listed on the property transfer form is $1," the lawsuit reads.
"The market value of the property listed on the property transfer form is $1,815,000."
Whirlpool is suing the couple and their companies for fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
No one responded to a message left with the service company and no response has been filed to the lawsuit.
None of the claims have been proven in court.