Tuesday, November 6

The Cold Hard Truth about Appliances

While working as an Appliance Sales Person for a major appliance retailer, I experienced a lot of unhappy consumers and some very hard headed appliance manufacturers.  I think there are a few things that consumers need to know, not only so they have proper expectations, but also so they can protect themselves from..... themselves!  When purchasing an appliance, you, as the consumer, do have a responsibility to be the best informed as you can be.  Appliances are generally quite a bit less expensive than a car, however you are going to have it longer than your car, so why are you going to rush into this purchase?  It is the consumers responsibility to be informed.  After all, who is going to look out for you if you can't look out for yourself?

First of all, let me start by saying this post is intended for most appliance consumers, and especially for the one who go to the local electronics or hardware store to get their appliances.  Those looking for a great deal, shopping the Black Friday ad's at Lowe's or Home Depot, getting a screaming deal at Fry's or Best Buy, or even getting an appliance Sears.  Those consumers is who this post is written for.  So they can make an informed decision and have proper expectations on what to expect with their new appliance purchase.

First of all, most appliances don't need to be replaced as soon as possible for most consumers.  If your dryer dies, you can hang up your clothes to dry for a few days.  If your dishwasher dies, hand wash the dishes.  Most people who come home to a warm refrigerator and spoiled milk generally rush out to buy a replacement that night, even though they have a fully functioning refrigerator in the garage. Why not take an extra day to make that informed decision.  Most appliance manufacturers and retailers can't get your new appliance to you for 3-5 business days anyway. Since your going to be up to a week with out what ever appliance it is, you might as well take an extra day to make sure you sleep on it, and get the best option for your family.

Now, once the appliance is ordered, it's yours.  The manufacturers, not to be confused with the retailer, do not take returns.  That's why, when you read the fine print, they are non returnable.  You have up until the time of delivery to change your mind.  Once that appliance is off the truck, out of the box, and in your home, it is yours, no matter what.  Now, don't get mad at the sales person when you decide you don't like it, they don't make the calls.  The retailers want you to be happy, because a happy consumer is a returning consumer.  So, when that appliance gets delivered, make sure it works, and make sure its beautiful.  Inspect it for any physical damage or flaws, and refuse it, or ask for a damage allowance.  Once the delivery man leaves, install it and run it as much as possible.  Most vendors offer a 48 hour replacement policy, that if the unit isn't functioning properly, but is reported in the first 48 hours, they will replace it.  After that, you are stuck with the warranty service.  Now, if you buy a $3000 double wall oven, and sit on it for a week, then install it and realize the control panel needs replaced, your going to be pretty upset if you can't get the unit replaced. If you get a washing machine delivered, I think that's a great time to wash all the sheets, towels, and anything else you can find to throw in it and test it.

Lets say, in that first 48 hours, you find that your brand new appliance isn't working, then you need to pick up the phone and call the manufacturer and arrange a replacement.  I say you need to for two simple reasons, 1-you can better explain why and how it isn't working, and 2-you know when your going to be home to get the replacement.  You will need a few simple things, the model and serial number located on the appliance, and your phone number.  If you are having trouble getting the appliance swapped out, then call your sales person to help you out.  This is one reason why it is always better to shop in a store and not some online clearance place, you have a person to go help you out.

Now, when it comes to warranties.  I am going to let you in on a secret, just because the fridge you have now is twenty plus years old, doesn't mean the new one is going to be.  Warranties are a good thing, especially if your spending more than $1000 on a unit, especially on your washer and refrigerator, as they get the most use.  Think of it this way, these days, to have a repair man show up on your doorstep is about $100 in most areas, plus repairs.  The next thing to consider, is the more expensive your appliance, chances are, the more there is to go wrong, and the more it's going to cost to fix it.  Most extended warranties pay for themselves on the first use.  Hopefully you will never need it, but the first time you use it, you have made up for the costs.  So think of this when looking at an appliance and a warranty.  It's not that hard to finance an extra $100 over the two or three years many of these companies offer as their financing options.  Now I don't think that every appliance needs an extended warranty, but the higher end ones, with computerized this, and sensor that, yeah, they probably need to have the warranty.

When your price shopping for an appliance, take into consideration all things involved.  The appliance price isn't the only thing to consider.  Delivery, haul away, installation, required accessories and installation parts, and the warranty.  On top of that, you have your financing options. All of these are a part of a much bigger picture.  I have price shopped Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, and Best Buy on the same suite of appliances, and they all have different prices for all of these things.  It's ok to shop around, infact it's expected of you.  You should also take into consideration the sales person, and find one that you can trust to take care of you should things with your new appliance go south.  No, the sales person doesn't make any calls, but they can work on your behalf to try to persuade their management staff to help you out, and they also have contacts and resources to try to help you out.

For example, I have helped a woman get all new flooring installed in her laundry room because her two year old washer leaked and destroyed her Brazilian cherry flooring. I have helped people get a replacement appliance well after the 48 hour window.  Why, because I love my customers, and they always come back to me and buy more things.  With this being said, don't be mean to the sales person should things go south with your appliance.  They didn't hop on the delivery truck and dent the door of your stainless steel refrigerator, but they can help you get it replaced!