Monthly Archives: April 2007

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

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 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.

Maytag and Samsung Brand Front-Load Washers Recalled Due to Fire Hazard

Another one for the “Oops!” file:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the manufacturer, announced in mid-March a voluntary recall of about 250,000 Maytag-brand and about 20,000 Samsung-brand front-load washers made by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., of South Korea.

Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately. Water leakage onto the electrical connections to the washing machine’s thermal sensor could cause an electrical short and ignite a circuit board, posing a fire hazard to consumers. Maytag has received five reports of incidents involving the hazard. Samsung has received one such report. No injuries, fires or property damage outside the washing machine have been reported.

The Maytag washers have model numbers beginning with MAH9700 or MAH8700. The Samsung washers have model number WF306BHW or a model number beginning with WF316. Not all serial numbers are subject to the recall. The model and serial numbers are located on a tag at the bottom of the door opening. Maytag models with a serial number ending in the last two letters GA, GC, GE, GG, GJ, GL, GN, GP, GR, GT, GV, GX, JA, JC, JE, JG, JJ, JL, or JN; and Samsung models with the six- digit number 100001 through 799999 prior to a letter at the end of the serial number are subject to the recall.

The products were sold at department and appliance stores nationwide from April 2005 through August 2006 for between $1,000 and $1,200. Consumers should immediately contact Maytag or Samsung for information on how to receive a free repair.

Call Maytag at 1-800-868-5109 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. E.T. Monday through Friday, or go to Maytag’s Web site: Samsung customers can call 1-800-515-7902 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. E.T. Monday through Friday, or go to Samsung’s Web site: