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This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3 
 
Author Topic: Domestic appliance conspiracy theory
Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6867
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 03-18-2016 12:06 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Last November my wife and I moved house, and in the process doing so bought a new washer, drier, fridge and dishwasher in a Thanksgiving sale at one of the big home improvement store chains. She was able to negotiate a hefty discount on top of the sale prices for buying all four appliances in one transaction, too. I thought this was too good to be true. And sure enough...

About a month later, the drier failed - motor control board burnt out. The guy who came out to look at it under warranty didn't even have to open it up. When I described the symptom he told me that this board had failed, they did so in this model "all the time" and that he'd have to order a replacement. It was over three weeks before it arrived and was fitted, with us having to hang our clothes up to dry in the closet all the while. Not fun.

On Tuesday morning, the dishwasher decided to take Donald Trump's advice, and go [insert verb here] itself (and yes, it was made in Mexico). We left a cycle going overnight, and in the morning, there was a pool of rancid, slimy water in the sump at the bottom, and pressing the start button for three seconds to tell it to empty only gave me a buzz from a solenoid trying to make the pump run, but failing. Same thing again: repair guy came this morning, listened to me describe the symptom, diagnosed a failed drain pump without feeling the need to investigate any further, because they are well known for failing on this model, and I guess we'll be washing up the old fashioned way for at least the next week (also not fun: we have a one-month old baby, whose bottles and related paraphernalia generate a lot of washing up).

So, my conspiracy theory is this. If a manufacturer has a model of reasonably big ticket domestic appliance that they know has a faulty part of a known design flaw, but still needs to shift several thousand of them, do they do a deal with one or more big home improvement retailers to get rid of them in sales and special offers, factoring in to the math that, say, 15% of them are likely to fail under warranty and need a service call? Maybe we've just had an unlucky coincidence in that two of these things have broken down (all we need now is for the clothes washer and the fridge to go out, to make it a grand slam). But the fact that on both occasions, it was clearly a widespread problem that the service tech had encountered many times before, plants a seed of suspicion in my mind.

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Harold Hallikainen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 697
From: Denver, CO, USA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 03-18-2016 12:13 AM      Profile for Harold Hallikainen   Author's Homepage   Email Harold Hallikainen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And, will you ever buy that brand again? Brand loyalty used to be a big thing. Now stuff is very price driven. Remember "Zenith... The quality goes in before the name goes on..."

Harold

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1908
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 03-18-2016 12:23 AM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Most appliance brands don't actually mean anything any more. Anyone who's making appliances can rent a respectable brand name to put on it, since people are more likely to purchase a known brand of washer or air conditioner than they are if it's a Hong Fi Sing Electric appliance, even if it was made on the same assembly line.

For example, both Westinghouse and Electrohome now exist only as a brand name for rent; they don't actually manufacture or distribute anything any more (as far as I know).

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Harold Hallikainen
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From: Denver, CO, USA
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 - posted 03-18-2016 08:38 AM      Profile for Harold Hallikainen   Author's Homepage   Email Harold Hallikainen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wonder if there's any sort of quality requirement when you rent the name. The owner of the trademark would really lose the value if someone rents it and ships crap.

One line of defense on this is the retailer. If consumers would just return stuff that doesn't work instead of throwing it away, the retailers MIGHT stop buying the stuff.

Harold

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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 03-18-2016 08:43 AM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That goes for a lot of things, Frank, not just appliances. The summer after I graduated from high school (more than a couple of years ago now...) I worked at a canning factory. We canned green beans, and I worked in the canning house (very hot and noisy, not an ideal job for July!). Anyway, the beans would come in from the building where they were sorted for size and the bad ones were picked out, then, in the canning house they were cooked and either cut into your normal cut green beans or sliced lengthwise to make French cut beans. Once they were in the cans and sealed they went on to the warehouse where they were labeled and placed on pallets.

I was curious what brand of beans we were canning (it wasn't obvious from the name of the company) so I asked one day. It was explained to me that we canned several brands, usually in the same day from the same trailer load of beans. When the warehouse was supposed to switch from putting one brands label (say a store brand) to another brand on the can, the supervisor in the canning house would use a can of spray paint to mark one of the cans in red.

I almost always buy store brand goods now. Occasionally I will notice a difference between the store brand and name brand of a certain product, and if it's important enough I'll buy the name brand instead, but that doesn't happen often.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
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From: West Milford, NJ, USA
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 - posted 03-18-2016 09:08 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sharp flat screen tv's in the USA are not longer manufactured or sold by Sharp USA. They licensed the name and related trademarks to a Chinese company. I'm not saying the Chinese versions are necessarily bad, but they are not Sharp.

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Rick Raskin
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From: Manassas Virginia
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 - posted 03-18-2016 01:58 PM      Profile for Rick Raskin   Email Rick Raskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ditto for pineapple. My brother-in-law once worked at a canning house in Hawaii. Same pineapple, different labels.

On knowingly selling defective goods: Think of the class action lawsuit possibilities if it could be proven. You see these ambulance chasers all over TV when it comes to drugs.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

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From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 03-18-2016 03:30 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why didn't you mention what brands/models they were so others can avoid them?

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Tony Bandiera Jr
Film God

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From: Moreland Idaho
Registered: Apr 2004


 - posted 03-18-2016 03:39 PM      Profile for Tony Bandiera Jr   Email Tony Bandiera Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Leo, this is one time when you need to name names...which brand of appliances? Some are notorious for issues, others not so much.

As for dishwashers....make sure you google search "dishwasher fires" there were several brands made by Whirlpool that suffered from frequent control board burnouts (sometimes severe enough to damage more than the appliance.) The problem was hopefully solved...it seemed that most were made from 2004-2010 or so..

Oh, and all of the new "Energy Star" dishwashers, as Joe would say, suck ass. They take 2-3 times longer and don't get the dishes clean as well as the older ones. I just picked up an older GE tall tub model at the thrift store for $20 in very good condition. It is a circa 2005-2007 by my best guess. It is not an Energy Star model so I expect it will do a decent job.

I have a Samsung front load washer going on six years old with no real problems (only thing was a drain pump that failed, most likely because it froze in the moving truck when I moved up here, cracking the impeller magnet..but that was a $60 DIY fix, part was easy to get and install). My sister has used LG for washer, dryer and fridge with no issues.

It all depends on brand, but as others have pointed out, many brands are really made by one manufacturer and rebranded. (I am pretty sure that Samsung and LG are made by the same Korean manufacturer.)

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Mike Blakesley
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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 03-18-2016 04:04 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When we got married (in 2000) we bought a Maytag refrigerator. It's been repaired 4 times, each time being a problem that made it just stop cooling. After losing a fridge-full of stuff for the 3rd time, we bought a small fridge that we now keep in the garage in case the big one craps out.

The icemaker on the big fridge still works, but the water dispenser will not currently dispense any water. We're holding off getting that fixed until something else quits.

About 6 years ago we bought a Whirlpool washer/dryer. After about 3 years the washer started being really noisy whenever it would spin. I thought it was just a bearing going out or something, probably simple. But rather than calling the repair guy in, we visited the store where we got it, and described the symptoms. He said it indeed sounded like the bearings in the motor were going, but you can't replace just the bearings, you have to replace "the whole assembly" and he said given the machine was 3 years old, it'd make more sense to buy a new one than fix the old one, since it would only be a couple hundred bucks difference. I said, "You mean washing machines only last 3 years now?" He said they can last 3 or 10 or 15 years, but "when they go, they go." But he also said we should keep using it until it just quits -- which could be tomorrow or two years from now. So we decided to go that route. Now, it's three years later, and the thing is still working fine, except it's still really noisy during the spin cycle.

There's only the two of us in the house -- I hate to think how quick the washer would have gone down if we had several kids and were doing laundry every day.

On the brighter side, there was a KitchenAid dishwasher already in the house when we moved in almost 16 years ago, and it's still working like a champ, as is the equally-old Hotpoint water heater. I have no idea how old either one of them really are.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

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From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 03-18-2016 04:12 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tony - I'm reluctant to name names (either the store or the appliance brands) because I've speculated about the possibility that both may have known that these things had known reliability issues, but sold them regardless. I've got absolutely no hard evidence for this - just smelling a rat, because both breakdowns were due to a part failing that the repair tech had seen fail many times before and told me was a well known problem with that particular model.

However, were I to name names, I wouldn't be surprised if a nasty lawyer's letter were to follow. The megacorps all have software bots trawling the net for anything negative said about them, alerting their lawyers if they find anything, and that's not a risk I want to take.

quote: Mike Blakesley
On the brighter side, there was a KitchenAid dishwasher already in the house when we moved in almost 16 years ago, and it's still working like a champ, as is the equally-old Hotpoint water heater. I have no idea how old either one of them really are.
My mother moved into her current house in 2000. It had previously been a rental, and a Zanussi washing machine and a Hoover dishwasher were left there when the landlord sold the house to her. They were clearly nowhere near new at that point - I would guess of early 1990s vintage, and well over two decades old now. Both machines are still going strong (or at least they were, when I was over in England last December).

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 03-18-2016 04:22 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why worry? If what you say is true, it isn't slander. More like the brand should worry about how fast their negative actions would go viral in this internet/social media world.

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Mark Hajducki
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From: Edinburgh, UK
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 - posted 03-18-2016 08:35 PM      Profile for Mark Hajducki   Email Mark Hajducki   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In the UK there have been a number of incidents with Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda (owned by Whirlpool since October 2014) tumble dryers catching fire.

Whirlpool's response has been criticised:

From BBC News
quote:
Owners of tumble dryers requiring repairs in a fire safety campaign are being told they must wait 11 months for their appliance to be fixed.

In November, Whirlpool - the owner of the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands - revealed the massive repair campaign following fires in owners' homes.
Initially, those with affected models have a 10-week wait for a call from the company.

They then face a long waiting list for a technician to visit their home.


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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6867
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 03-18-2016 08:47 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, what the hell. The tumble dryer is a Samsung, and the dishwasher a GE.

I wouldn't mind guessing that a lot of the tumble dryer fires were caused at least in part by their owners failing to clean out the crud filter ... ever.

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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 03-18-2016 11:00 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
YOU FELL FOR OUR TRAP! I am a lawyer representing Samsung and Steve represents GE. Guess who's getting sued? We'll wait until Monday though.

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