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Miele Not So Good!

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Can you help? We invested in a Miele washing machine while living in Germany and brought it back to the UK with us four years ago. It is only 6 years old and is broken. A reliable repair man thinks it is either the motor or the board. I have found out from Miele that their service man charges a £90 call out fee, a new motor would cost £295 + call out + VAT and a new board £426 ++. I am so annoyed and frustrated at having spent £1000 on a wahing machine that is no better than a cheap throw-away. :angry: Any advice?

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Hello Hayley

I can understand the feeling that you are no better off than if you’d bought a cheap throwaway washing machine, but the odds are that buying cheap throwaway washing machines is a lot more expensive in the long run these days, and the best we can do is play the odds and hope we aren’t an exception to the rule.

Miele washing machines may be made in Germany, but they make different models for the UK market. A washing machine brought over here that was made for another country’s market is likely to be harder – and more expensive - to get repaired because they are almost always different in some way, and likely to have different model numbers (which we have no information for here). Some parts may only be stocked in the originating country. A Google search for your model (W935) only brings up German pages, which implies they were never sold in the UK. Although Miele repair agents or dealers should be able to order parts, anyone else might find it very difficult.

However, we can’t get away from the fact that a Miele washing machine’s motor or control board will cost a lot more as a spare part than a cheaper brand’s. They are quality washing machines because the parts inside are far superior in build quality and they will be more expensive to make. Mind you, cheap throwaway washing machines are still horrendously expensive for similar repairs, which in many ways is worse. For example –

  • A Hoover washing machine costing around £230 to buy, requiring a new motor after 6 years, can easily cost £90 for the motor, and Hoover’s labour (last time I checked) was £93. This 6 year old Hoover washing machine needing a new motor could cost £183 – and incredible 80% of the purchasing cost.
  • Servis washing machines can cost as little as £200, but a Servis motor can be around £150 + labour charges that could amount to over 100% of purchasing costs
  • Indesit motors vary between £90 and £140 + labour charges, but the washing machines only cost again around £200 - £250
  • The same applies to the control boards which are equally expensive
If a Miele motor on your £1000 washing machine costs £385 to replace, it represents a much lower 39% of the initial purchase cost. It’s therefore more viable to repair than the cheap one as it has the potential to last another 10 to 15 years, and the repair – although very expensive, is a much more reasonable percentage of both the initial purchasing cost and a replacement cost.

Without wishing to disrespect your repairman, if he says it’s, “either a motor or a board” then he doesn’t sound sure. If he’s eliminated connection faults, and checked that the motor brushes are OK, then without any parts to try he’s done as much as he can. I say this because I’ve been in similar situations myself, where I don’t have the right spare motor or control board on the van. Once you have eliminated the common and simple faults, it’s sometimes necessary to physically fit a new part to see if it cures the fault. The problem is that unless a repairman has these parts with him, he cannot take the risk of ordering one, in case it doesn’t cure it. This is a weak position to be in and a bit of a dead end for an engineer..

Summary:

  • £90 labour charge? This charge is normal and compares favourably with other much cheaper manufacturers. I mean, to me and you it is a hell of a lot of money, but Miele charge even less than some much cheaper and less well made washing machines such as Hoover and Indesit. Most manufacturers charge similar amounts. It’s very expensive having trained engineers on the road
  • The price of parts is expensive, but obviously they are higher quality. The motor doesn’t concern me as much as the £426 control board. That is extremely expensive (if accurate) although for what it’s worth it would probably add up to just over 50% of the purchase cost, which is less of a percentage than a cheap washing machine’s pcb board which can cost again around 80% of purchasing cost. However, Miele washing machines <strong>should</strong> be more repairable than cheap ones.
  • Should the motor have failed after 6 years? Unfortunately we don’t know for sure exactly what the fault is yet, a Miele motor would be expected to last longer than 6 years, but remember, nothing is infallible, breakdowns can occur even with the best (even Rolls Royce)

In my Miele washing machine reviews, although I praise the quality of the washing machines, I do say that my only concern is potentially expensive repairs if they do go wrong. However, these days, many Miele washing machines come with a 5, or even 10 year guarantee (some of the entry level models have 2 year guarantees). Ultimately it’s a tough choice, whether to invest more money in your current Miele washing machine, and hope you get many more years from it, or spend the money on a new washing machine altogether.

[edit]

Since writing this reply I have unfortunately been shown more examples of some Miele repair quotes being so expensive it brings into question the economic viability of repairing them. Some have reportedly been less than half the "20 year" designed for life. I don't believe it to be overly common as yet but it is a serious concern for me, which I've written about on my blog - <a href="http://www.whitegoodshelp.co.uk/wordpress/potential-downsides-to-buying-miele-washing-machines-and-appliances/">Potential downsides to buying Miele washing machines and appliances</a>


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Andy,

Thank you very much for such a lengthy and detailed reply, I read all of it! I have decided to call in a Miele serviceman (or woman!) in the hope that the origianl man was wrong and the whole repair and call-out will be less than £350 (price of new machine). I can't bring myself to add another washing machine to a pile of broken ones from an environmental point of view and I have decided to have a bit more faith in the Miele I have. The serviceman is coming at the end of the week so I will keep you posted.

In the meantime thank you so much again for taking the time to answer.

Kind Regards

Hayley

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Please do keep us informed Hayley, and fingers crossed :) I agree that we can't just keep throwing things away everytime they break down. It's becaome totally crazy. We have an entire generation that's grown up believing repairing things is bad and buying new is great. You invested a lot of money in the Miele washing machine and it should last many more years, even if it costs a lot to fix, it's still a far better washing machine at 6 years old than the majority of new washing machines at £200 - £400.


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Andy,

Sorry for the long delay in replying but we were away on holiday. My machine is now working again! The Miele serviceman came by and replaced some computer componant. All in all it cost £296 including call-out fee and spare parts and VAT. I could have bought a new machine for £350 but decided to stick to my environmental morals. I am now hoping that my Miele will last forever! If a £350 machine lasts for four years before being replaced with a new one then I now need my Miele to last another 10 years without further repairs for it to make financial sense. However if it does last that long I have saved 3 washing machines going in the landfill site.

Many thanks again :rolleyes:

Hayley

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Many thanks Hayley. The final cost was much less than originally feared (although it's still a lot of money). I would still think that your 6 year old Miele washing machine is still far superior to any you could buy for £350 and likely to last longer. At the end of the day though, we still have to trust a little to luck as well as logic, so fingers crossed. :)


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