Whirlpool Canada is suing a Surrey couple with ties to appliance outlets in Vernon and Kelowna for allegedly filing thousands of billing claims to customers that didn’t exist. (Black Press - file photo)

Appliance giant suing couple with Okanagan ties

Whirlpool Canada alleges more than 29,000 fraudulent claims filed resulting in $4 million payout

A Canadian appliance giant has filed a civil lawsuit against a B.C. contractor with a tie to Vernon for allegedly filing more than 29,000 warrant service claims for customers that do not exist.

Whirlpool Canada is suing Surrey couple Mohinder Singh (Mo) Sidhu and Kinder Kaur (K) Sidhu, who operated three companies listed in the suit as corporate defendants: Interior Appliance Service Ltd., with a registered office in the 3000 block of 32nd Avenue in Vernon (which was dissolved from the B.C. registry in October 2018 for failure to make requisite filings); Interior Appliance Service (2013) and Anderson’s Appliance Services (2009), both of which list their registered offices as the Sidhus home address in Surrey.

The suit alleges the Sidhus are, collectively, “the operating minds of the corporate defendants.”

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In the claim, it’s acknowledged Whirlpool, which manufactures and sells brand name home appliances such as Whirlpool, Amana, Jenn-Air, Maytag and KitchenAid, enters into service agreements with third party service companies to provide service and repairs pursuant to its warranties. The third party companies then act as independent contractors.

From Dec. 29, 2009 to present, Anderson acted as an independent contractor for Whirlpool in Kelowna. In June 2013, the suit says the Sidhus acquired Interior, an independent Whirlpool contractor in Vernon, and subsequently incorporated Interior 2013. Both acted as independents for Whirlpool from June 2013 to present.

It was agreed by all that the independent contractors would provide warranty service and repairs to Whirlpool customers in their respective regions for Whirlpool products and would submit claims for payment for these services and repairs to Whirlpool, who would then pay for services rendered in accordance with payment schedules in the agreements following receipt of submission for payment. Whirlpool would reimburse the three corporate defendants for parts used.

During the term of being independent contractors, it is alleged the Sidhus, or at least one of them, prepared 29,323 warrant service claims for payment by Whirlpool, who paid nearly $2.8 million to Anderson, Interior and Interior 2013 for labour, and nearly $1.9 million to Whirlpool’s parts distributor for these claims.

While conducting an audit in February 2019, Whirlpool says they discovered the corporate defendants breached the terms of their Whirlpool agreements by submitting claims to Whirlpool for payment and accepting payment for services not rendered by the defendants, and falsified and misrepresented information contained in the claims.

The suit also alleges that Mo and K Sidhu executed the transfer of their property into solely the name of K Sidhu, knowing of Whirlpool’s claims against them regarding the fraudulent claims.

Whirlpool is seeking restitution, general, special, punitive and aggravated damages, and costs, as well declaring the transfer of the Sidhu’s Surrey property transfer null and void.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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