This is following up on my disappointing experience of trying to get our four and a bit year old Miele W5740 washing machine repaired. When I got back to Miele, they offered to send an engineer for a free inspection and let us know what they could then offer us. Nothing to lose, I thought.

I wasn’t sure what they might offer to do and how much they’d charge, but I was weighing possible costs against that of a new machine. I’d previous looked up the cost of the failed part and service, which would be at least £417. Without any further guarantee, that doesn’t compare well to a new machine.

For example, John Lewis sell the Indesit XWD71452W which gets good reviews, for £209. Even if it failed just outside the 2 year guarantee, its cost per year would be around £100.

If the Miele W5740 proves uneconomical to repair it will have cost £203.83 per year (£958/4.7). If the £417 repair worked and it lasted a total of 20 years as implied by Miele’s website, then the cost per year comes down to £68.75, but all the risk of any further repair or replacement is on me, the customer. Consumer rights law suggests that you should be able to insist a machine lasts for a reasonable length of time, based mostly on the cost of the machine. However, enforcing this might require a trip to the small claims court, which isn’t expensive, unless you end up paying the company’s legal costs.

We’d already decided that I’d rather spend less than the full £417 repair cost on a new machine with some kind of guarantee, possibly selling the old Miele one for parts on eBay.

As it turned out the Miele engineer took a look and confirmed our suspicions that the main board had gone. He also said he’d phone his boss, saying we’d likely get a better deal than asking customer services. They offered to provide the £300 part which had broken for free and only charge us the £117 call out charge. Not a great deal, given there’s no guarantee it will work for any length of time, but less hassle than buying a new machine, so we went for it.

In future I won’t be taking much notice of how long a company’s marketing material suggests their products will last. Instead I’ll be looking at long-term reviews and how long the guarantee is.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for the post. Very good to read. How is the washing machine performance after the repair? I bought w1960wps in Dec 2010 and recently (that is after 6 years and 7 months) it broke down. The control unit is found faulty and will cost Singapore $800. Thinking whether it is worthwhile to repair. Considering buying another cheaper brand instead.

    1. After the repair the machine works correctly in all important ways, in fact the maximum spin speed has gone up from 1400 to 1600, presumably as a result of a newer main board.

      The only thing which doesn’t work is the door button. We now have to use the manual release, which is inconvenient, but not worth paying to fix, IMO.

  2. Integrated circuits (chips) and transistors are by its nature parts that virtually don’t wear by use. By the way they can be easily damaged under many, unpredictable circumstances. The more functions they perform the more they are delicate. Surface mounted devices (smd) made things worst. Nowadays most electric gear contains electronic boards inside to perform tasks once made by electromechanical devices. Talking about washing machines, these now have very sophisticated functions , these can save water and energy, spin at tremendous spin speeds in almost absolute quiet but all this happens thanks to electronic biards that are found in modern machines. There are electronic board made with better components and designs but even in those cases a fault can easily happen. We can not always blame the manufacturer for that. There is a legal warranty time and we can’t demand the manufacturer to replace every electronic board that fails after years of use. Miele replaced the board after six years at the only labour cost, i would like to see how many manufacturers do the same.

    1. Marco,

      Yes I know that the outcome is better than most manufacturers would provide, but then I paid about three times as much for this machine as most manufacturers’ machines cost. The cost per year is still more than cheaper machines with more features.

      Yes there can be unexpected reasons why boards fail. In my opinion manufacturers are better placed to insure against this than consumers, especially if the occurrence is rare.

      For what it’s worth I still think Miele are probably the most reliable machines out there, but for the price I wish the company would provide better support to the few unlucky ones.

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