Thermador and Other High-End Brands are Less Reliable than Mid-Range Appliances

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on April 28, 2007

in General Appliance Wisdom

For years, I’ve been saying that many of the high-end brands are overpriced junk. Finally, Consumer Reports has caught on to this (or Thermador and Viking are no longer able to pay their bribes to Consumer Reports), and is reporting this sad but very real truth. Moral of the story: You don’t always get what you pay for and spending more doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting better quality.

I wonder how long it’ll take ‘em to figure out that Sub-(standard)-Zero is also a ripoff brand?

Washington, DC: A new survey by Consumer Reports shows that mid-range appliance brands are often more reliable than many high-end brands such as Thermador and Viking.

On Monday, Consumer Reports released highlights from its “Annual Products Reliability Survey.” The full survey will be published in the magazine’s May issue.

Thermador gas rangesHigh-End Brand No Guarantee
Interestingly, Consumer Reports found that high-end brands of major kitchen appliance are more prone to need repair early in their life-span. Thermador, Dacor, Viking and Jenn-Air rank among the least reliable brands of major cooking appliances as identified by Consumer Reports readers.

Consumer Reports found that 33% of consumers’ Viking gas ranges and at least 15% of Thermador, Dacor and Viking gas cook tops were repaired or had an unrepairable problem between 2002 and 2006.

According to the report, Whirlpool, Kenmore and GE “prove to be safe bets for major appliance shoppers,” having relatively low repair rates across a variety of appliances, including electric and gas ranges, ovens, refrigerators, washers and driers.

Results are based on more than 950,000 Consumer Reports reader responses to the magazine’s online and paper survey. Because consumers own more than one type of product in the same category, the entire Consumer Reports study contains more than 5.1 million product reports.

Thermador: A Host of Problems
There are reports that some Thermador Gas Ranges PRG366US are defective due to problems with the patented simmer control potentiometer, igniter switch and motherboard, which could result in safety hazards. Owners of Thermador gas ranges have reported to consumeraffairs.com that they have also had difficulty getting replacement parts through the company.

In 2002, BSH Home Appliance Corp. voluntarily recalled 2,460 Thermador gas ranges. The recall was initiated because of a burn hazard to customers caused by the venting of hot air below the small oven, which caused the metal surface of the door to heat up.

The Cost to Consumers
A new Thermador unit can cost more than $5,000. Range repair costs can be as high as $400, and units may require repeated repairs. Some repair services have advised consumers to purchase an extended warranty for their Thermador units – at an additional cost of $450-$500.

While the Consumer Reports verdict is clear, many consumers will probably continue to buy high-end appliances because of their status. As Laura Ries, principal in the Ries & Ries branding consultancy told Marketing Daily: “McDonald’s coffee came out better than Starbucks in another Consumer Reports survey – but the perception of Starbucks as superior is so firmly entrenched that McDonald’s would find it extremely difficult to overcome.”

By Anne Borden

Original article posted here.


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