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Losing Faith In Miele's Guarantees

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I have to say I am losing faith in Miele's guarantee that they will be able to keep machines going for 20 years. Here's my story.

In 1994 I bought a Miele washer dryer for £1100, which was used fairly lightly. In 1998 there was a drum problem, so I paid £300 for it to be repaired. This meant a month waiting for an appointment before an engineer could come. When he did arrive he installed the part, but failed to screw it in properly, and the machine nearly exploded when I tried to use it again. I called them again, they came after a few weeks and promised me a new machine if I paid them another £800. I said they must be joking, and refused. Eventually they gave in and said I could have a free replacement if I waited six weeks. As there is no launderette locally, I ended up spending the winter washing clothes and sheets in the bath with my feet, like a peasant crushing grapes, and draping mounds and mounds of wet washing all over the house (the family had expanded since I bought the machine). A new machine was delivered in early 1999. This new machine started to have problems again in 2003-4 as the floor flooded every time I tried to use the drier facility. Miele quoted me a wait of six weeks and a minimum charge of over £100 to come to inspect the machine. I asked a local firm to visit instead, but they said that they didn't touch Miele machines. Another firm agreed to come out to have a look, but were unable to get the drier function working again. They just taped a pipe up so it wouldn't flood in future. The machine now smells of damp despite me using special products to try to clean it out, washes quite poorly and rattles around a great deal, so we are fretting about the bearings now. However we are loath to get Miele back as they are hopeless at repairing things efficiently, and charge an arm and a leg. As we have really looked after the washing machine, this is all very disappointing. Incidentally, we have had a similar story with our £750 Miele fridge freezer, as they did not make a replacement part for the door hinge, so after £300 in visits again we had to scrap an otherwise perfectly good appliance two years on, for the sake of a tiny and very simple part. As I try to be ecologically aware, I find this waste very irritating, quite apart from the expense. I would be interested to read any comments from other Miele owners about similar problems.

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Miele don’t charge more than most other washing machine manufacturers labour-wise although a quality product will always have more expensive spare parts. The last time I researched engineers labour charges even Candy charged more than Miele.

Standards of repair service can vary from area to area, and certainly from manufacturer to manufacturer. They can also vary according to the time of year, with the Christmas and New Year period being particularly stretched. Finally the most critical variance can be with individual engineers, some could be new and not particularly experienced and some can just be useless and may not even last very long.

You clearly haven’t seen exemplary service although I would genuinely expect Miele service engineers to be much better than the average manufacturer or multiple's engineer for two specific reasons

  • Miele customers pay a lot for their washing machines and know they are buying one of the best washing machines, they expect a similarly high quality repair service
  • Miele engineers only repair Miele products so they are much more specialised.
An engineer working for Currys or Comet for example has to repair virtually every make of washing machine that Currys and Comet sell – and that’s dozens of different makes. Plus they have to repair most of the different makes of fridges, freezers, fridge-freezers, cookers, hobs, tumble dryers and dishwashers. It’s a crazy amount of products and you can bet a years supply of washing machine detergent that it is very hard to do all that. Most other manufacturer’s repair engineers will also have to repair several different brands. For example, Hoover engineers have to fix all Hoover products and all Candy, Zerowatt and a few others all owned by the same Hoover-Candy group. As far as I know, Miele just make Miele products so their engineers should have more product knowledge and more spares.

Waiting a month for an appointment seems outrageously long and if Miele give a very bad service we should know. However, one of the reasons I don’t have a forum specifically soliciting for bad experiences (even though it sounds like it could be a useful thing) is that they tend to give a very distorted view and are ultimately unreliable as they only attract severe experiences and have no counteracting good ones. I’ve just experienced a recent example of this myself. I’ve been trying to find a new hosting company for Washerhelp and spent hours researching. Every time I found a company that looked great, boasting recent awards etc. I did a search on their name and always found at least several comments on forums slagging them off. This really put me off, so I researched more and found other great looking companies, but there are web posts slagging every one of them off too. Nothing is immune from people having bad experiences or even totally unacceptable ones.

However, as you say, if other people have had bad experiences, we should hear about them and I’m happy for people to put them up for us all to see as long as they are reasonably balanced.

One of the flies in the ointment as far as Miele washing machines are concerned (apart from the cost) is the fact that independent washing machine engineers often don’t repair them because parts and technical support are more difficult to obtain. This is mentioned on my Miele reviews and does mean that choice of repairers is restricted. This could potentially cause a bit of arrogance from Miele if they know you can’t find too many others to repair them cheaper or quicker. If this is the case and it was widespread, I would be disappointed, but have a duty to let people know.

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Unfortunately this thread shows that there are some downsides to buying the best washing machines, which my Blog article here discusses - <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>. The main problem is the lack of competition for repairs and the high price of some repairs, which can shorten the life to well below 20 years for some unlucky people who have contributed comments to the article.

If you have plenty of money they are still the best though.

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