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Insisting On A Refund


Nig

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Hi, an excellent resource, thanx Washerhelp:-)

Our machine is coming up for 6 months old and is waiting it's third engineer visit. Not that it's faulty as such, it washes and dries well, is quiet, dead easy to use. All in all a good machine. However, I believe it has a major design fault (well, it maybe a 'feature', who knows?) in that it has no user servicable filters and we need to have an engineer come in a clean them out. One of the filters is built right inside the machine and involves the heating elements to be removed in order to get access to the thing. This is a complete waste of our time and theirs and also means we go without having a usuable machine for almost two weeks until the manufacturer can send out an engineer.

This third time has been the last resort as far as we are concerned and we have been requesting that the supplier take it back and give us our money back, which they are saying they will not do unless an engineer says it's unserviceable, which is highly unlikely. we say that having an engineer out three times in less than six months is unacceptable and that the machine is not fit for purpose. As the machine is still under warranty we obviously don't have to pay for the visits but come another six months, this is going to cost us big time if we have to have someone come out and clean out the filters every couple of months! I do think that this is all a ploy to get the consumer to sign up for extended warranties.

We have been in contact with Trading Standards and they say that we should insist on getting the machine either replaced or get a refund. We'd prefer the latter as all the supplier would do is swap like for like and that will be no better. The suppier says that they are not aware of other complaints about this particular machine but I know two other people with the same make of machine (tho' different models) who have suffered the same thing. Unfortunately, they used different suppliers to us so our supplier is obviously not going to hear about those particular cases but it does imply that there is a problem with these machines.

So, what can we do? Keep badgering the supplier? Go back to TS and get them to handle it? Anyone any experience in getting refunds for a major supplier after having a machine less than six months?

Regards,

Nig

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  • Root Admin

Thanks Nig.

The latest consumer law says that if a product breaks down under 6 months old it is deemed to have been faulty when sold - or that it had an "inherent fault". In which case either compensation, a replacement washing machine or an appropriate refund are your rightful choices. However, this doesn't sound like a straight forward breakdown and it's an interesting situation.

If your blockage problems are caused by coins, keys (even bra wires) or other objects that shouldn't be in the washing machine in the first place then the lack of a customer accessible filter is very inconvenient, but it's something that would weaken your case.

On the other hand, if the blockages requiring an engineer were lint, fluff from towels etc. I would agree that you appear to have a case. (An important caveat is that fluff and lint can snag on an obstruction that shouldn't be in there and build up to cause a blockage, in which case the obstruction is to blame - not the lint or the washing machine).

I've reviewed a couple of washing machines that didn't have a proper filter and always said I would never buy any washing machine that does not have a customer accessible pump filter. To me they are essential. However, whether not having one is definitely a design flaw is something a court may have to rule on. The overwhelming majority of washing machines do have one though.

The fact that no one else has complained is of course totally irrelevant.

To me, the case hinges on the simple fact of what has caused the blockage(s). If it is items that the manufacturer could argue were negligently put inside the washing machine you have a weaker case. But if it is normal fluff and lint then the machine has been designed in such a way that forces a customer to pay unnecessary repair bills while most other washing machine owners can easily clear the blockage themselves.

Even if the blockages were caused by obstructions that really shouldn't have got into the washing machine you could still argue that not having a customer accessible filter is something you can't live with and that the absence of one - contrary to virtually all other washing machines - is bordering on negligent design but as I say, it's something that may need testing in court.

Finally, you mentioned the filter inside the sump hose, which is hard to access and the engineer takes the heater out. A blockage here would not be removable using a customer accessible pump filter at the front. If this filter is getting blocked with lint and fluff with no obstructions trapping it then it's clearly a design fault. Some washing machines have some sort of filter inside the sump hose - even those with a separate pump filter at the front. However, a sump hose filter should have relatively large holes and only catch big items. It shouldn't be fine enough to collect normal lint and fluff because an engineer is required to unblock it - and that would be plain daft.

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