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Ise - Experience After 4 Months


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I wanted to record our experience with the ISE washing machine after four months of use. The ordering and installation process was quick and easy through FFR Services of Luton. Only disappointment was that there was no facility to dispose of the old machine but the engineer kindly helped manoevre the old machine into the car for a trip to the dump.

Our washing needs are fairly simple - lots of 40 degree washes for school and work clothes - and the machine does these well. It seems quieter than the old Bosch and there are fewer dials and buttons to fiddle with.

After about 100 days, however, the machine developed a fault and would not go into a wash cycle. After consultation with FFR and some time trying button pressing and resetting an engineer came out. It seems the electonics were at fault and needed replacing. FFR did not carry any spares and it took another week to get the spare delivered and fitted. I had expected spares to be carried by the engineer rather than ordered when required so I was disappointed by this, but the repair itself was effective and the machine has been happily working again now for a couple of weeks.

I bought the machine because the concept of a repairable machine using local engineers seemed like a good one and worth supporting. It's too early yet (taking a five year view) to tell whether this was a good investment or not but, however good the concept, simple things like spares availability are still the prerequisites of good service regardless of the brand.

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Thanks for your post. I apologise in advance because this reply wanders into ranting territory later on as I bemoan the state of the general standard of aftersales service on washing machines. But, overall (compared to the big companies) it sounds like the repair service you received was OK, but not good enough to shout praise about. I take your point that you hoped for better, and it would have been excellent if the engineer had got the part on the first visit.

The independent engineers and companies dealing with the ISE washing machine definitely carry a stock of parts, but the control panel is extremely reliable, and on my enquiry I’ve been told that so far, there have only been two known faulty control panels on the ISE washing machine. On that basis I wouldn’t expect them to carry this part as van stock.

(Wandering starts here)

According to Which?, local independent traders are more likely to give a better service than the large multiples and manufacturers. That doesn’t mean it’ll always be perfect but I can honestly say the alternatives are usually a lot worse. With many of the household name washing machines, you could well have to wait at least a week for an engineer to even visit. Then, if he didn’t have the part it could easily be another week or longer for them to come back. I know this because I’ve worked for one of the large national retailers, and frankly their repair service was often very poor in my opinion, and sometimes extremely bad indeed. It’s not that they don’t care or try; it’s just that you can’t run an efficient and quality repair service on peanuts. The amount of pressure the engineers work under and the inadequate amount of time they are allowed for each repair means that unless your fault is very simple, the chances are it can drag on for weeks over several visits - and often with several different engineers. If parts need ordering it can be 2 or 3 weeks altogether.

I won't name them because I believe that no one comparable is any better. They all operate under the same ridiculous pressures (including the washing machine manufacturers themselves). These pressures (and resulting poor service) are caused by one simple thing - in order to satisfy the public's craving for cheap washing machines, there isn't enough money factored into the purchasing price of most washing machines to cover aftersales service, and to pay the engineers properly to fix it under guarantee. Aftersales is often run on a shoestring, with the engineers at the sharp end. This results in rushed engineers with no time to fix anything but the obvious and simple faults. The only reason they get away with it is that the majority of faults on a washing machine under guarantee tend to be ones that don't need parts like items blocked in the pump and user faults, out of balance loads etc. This allows their statistics to show that they do fix the majority of faults quickly. However, they don't seem to know or care that the smaller percentage of customers where they don't fix properly first time often receive very poor service indeed.

(Back on track)

As you say, the ISE washing machine is meant to be different, and I do know that there is more money factored into an ISE in order to provide a better aftersales service. I expect unless you were very unlucky that you’d always get a much better aftersales service with the ISE and more importantly, once out of guarantee it should be more repairable than comparable washing machines.

Finally I should point out that some other quality washing machines such as Miele and Siemens should also come with a good standard of service because you are paying for it. I’m talking of the standard of service that comes with the cheap washing machines, and the not-so-cheap washing machines that are priced high because they are stuffed with lots of fancy features and fast spin speeds rather than because they are a quality build.

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