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Miele Washer Dryer WT2780 - dryer failure, getting a warranty repair


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I still find it impossible to understand how it can ever be uneconomic to repair a Miele by the manufacturer who has all parts available at cost.
 

Maybe it is genuinely cheaper for them to give you a complete new appliance than to pay their engineer (or maybe even 2 engineers, which I’ve heard is required for a drum change because of how heavy the parts are) and pay for the parts (even at cost).
 

If so it just shows we will never have long lasting appliances because it’s simply too expensive to repair them compared with how much they cost to build in large quantities. This is actually one of my main points in my latest article about why the new right to repair white goods will never properly work. 

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Thanks for signposting me to your article on the other site - just read.

I'm wondering if engineer costs have actually risen much compared with years ago?  Just been to Indeed to check and they seem to suggest starting around £26k. Given that is just 25% over a minimum-ish wage I'd have thought that would have been the case years ago as well - or were engineers paid very little then?

What does seem to be the case is that either there are far fewer depots - so engineers have to travel long distances - or else they send in 3rd party service firms in disguise. When the guy came to fix an AEG it turned out he was nothing to do with AEG/Zanussi/Electrolux. In theory outsourcing like that is done to save salary costs.

I guess someone needs to trace back to find exactly when the change came regarding making washing machines to a lower standard. In other words which firm first actively decided to choose cheap(er) retail price over good longevity.  For example who was the first firm to use plastic drums?

I would assume that robots (used even by Miele in certain areas) must reduce the cost of manufacture in the long run. In the case of Miele given they have total control over their own parts because they manufacture them themselves   (apart from one thing often quoted - can't remember what that part is!) and given that they are actually quite consistent and don't change their product design every year or make frequent cosmetic changes they really don't have any excuse to charge the earth for them.

p.s. whilst looking at Indeed found this page which is quite interesting re Miele

https://uk.indeed.com/cmp/Miele-Company-Limited/reviews?fcountry=GB&from=career

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Hello jayj. In essence the problem is that manufacturing costs have been, and continue to be, constantly driven down, whereas repair costs constantly go up.

There are myriad ways in which manufacturers can reduce manufacturing costs, including major things like moving manufacture completely over to a much cheaper country, or simply knocking 6 inches off the length of the mains cable, or reducing the thickness/quality of any one of the hundreds of parts.

This has been going on fervently since roughly the mid-to-late 80s. It's obviously always been there, but as someone who has witnessed the changes from 1976 to now, that's when I first started to notice that the status quo was changing and things were being slowly changed in order to reduce costs. I personally always put it down to excessive competition.

I've come to believe that although competition is essential, too much competition can only ever result in one thing -and that is a greatly reduced quality of service and product. Prices can only be driven down by clever innovation and skilful strategy by so much. So when there is too much competition, and everyone has done all that they can, and everyone is roughly on the same level, then the only thing left is to start reducing quality to bring prices down. From then on it's a race to the bottom.

But back to manufacturing costs. As there is naturally going to be diminishing returns with the strategy of reducing manufacturing costs they eventually started to find it more and more difficult to reduce costs. Again, presumably, this is most likely why they started welding drums together, welding motors together etc. If two halves of the drum that used to have at least a dozen nuts and bolts holding them together has been replaced by simply melting and welding the two halves together it is a clever way of reducing costs but at the expense of being able to repair the part in the future.

That simple trick alone could potentially save millions when you think of the savings in cost of the dozen nuts and bolts on every single washing machine ever produced after. This is sadly come at a heavy price for consumers in lack of repairability, and therefore longevity, but of course the main advantage is that it has helped to reduce the initial purchasing price.

So in real terms, washing machines and other white goods appliances are actually cheaper than they were 30 and 40 years ago once inflation and the average wage has been taken into account.

Conversely, the cost of sending an engineer has always exponentially increased. Virtually  everything involved in the sending of an engineer is destined to gradually increase. The cost of the vehicle for example is not decreasing like the white goods are. The cost of petrol, taxes, running the building, employing staff to handle calls and of course the engineer themselves.

A critical issue is that an engineer can only ever do a certain amount of house visits in a day. On average I believe it is about 10 jobs. For most manufacturers engineers, if they try to do the job properly, this is too many unless they are working a very small area, but they usually work quite large areas. This explains why many engineers no longer have the time to fix appliances properly and test them after, especially with an intermittent fault.

I remember when I was out on the road as an independent engineer I would sometimes spend nearly 2 hours in a customer's house thoroughly testing it after I had fixed it or thoroughly testing it in order to find an intermittent fault. But I only used to do about six jobs a day on average.

Also of course the actual cost of employing somebody is a lot more than just the cost of their wages. This is because of pension contributions, taxes, insurance, sick pay and administration costs etc. The most important thing is that they are never likely to be able to get engineers to do more than 10 jobs a day and it's highly unlikely that their wages are going to go down so they can never really reduce repair costs. 

So we have two separate sides to white goods. One is constantly being driven down in price, and one is constantly going up. So it's obvious that a long time ago we reached the stage where it became cheaper to replace white goods than to repair them in many (and increasing) cases. 

Another one of my ideas to fix this problem, which seriously does need fixing because of the damage to the environment, is that it may well be worth looking into the concept of manufacturers no longer selling white goods. Instead they manufacture them and we rent them. In one fell swoop manufacturers are incentivised to produce white goods appliances that last as long as possible and can be repaired as easily and cheaply as possible. This concept is already up and running with computer software tools such as Microsoft word, Outlook and Excel etc as well as expensive software such as Adobe Photoshop and also music software, design software etc

People no longer buy it, they just pay a monthly subscription and then they always have the latest version. I suspect this may well be a great answer to the problem we have with white goods as long as prices are acceptably reasonable.

 

 

Need a repair or spare parts? 

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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Thanks for the interesting info Andy.

I think your 'rental' idea is a good one - in fact a neighbour of mine does just this (not sure which company) though she generally gets Hotopoint type machines as a result which are swapped out every 2-3 years.

I wonder whether some of the manufacturing changes - like less nuts and bolts - are a result of greater use of robots?  From what I understand they tend to weld stuff more than screw stuff together!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/11/2021 at 11:31, DIYCamp said:

the leak will probably be coming from the wide rubber hose that connects to the top of the drum, just inside the door, to the heater box.

So thanks DIYCamp you were spot on - the metal seal ring had not been tightened sufficiently. Nice young Miele guy came and was extremely easy to talk to and took apart the machine in front of me. I guess the first guy - who was pretty good himself - was a bit distracted by me interrogating him about Miele company and forgot to tighten.

From chatting to the young guy it sounds like maybe Miele are trying to get rid of a lot of dead wood. Maybe previous UK management was of the you-scratch-my-back type and so were happy to put up with a lot of mediocre repair people.

Again I can't stress the importance of taking out a long extended warranty - apparently the previous dryer unit repair would have cost £1000+ without a warranty. And we use the dryer max 12 times a year and Rinse Fluff every time - so not due to overuse.

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Sorry should have added that I chatted with the engineer re the possibility of the PCB being wrecked by the condensation. He showed me the board (do wonder why they are not in a sealed case) and it looked ok.

He wiped the glass between the fascia and the LED panel and it now looks good as new - so I didn't jump up and down about replacing the whole fascia.

He reckons that part is still available (via Germany) so I'll see whether it conks between now and the end of the warranty.

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