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Which Range Manufacturer Handles Repairs the most Efficiently?

j
JeremyEG Jan 22, 2014 04:21 PM

Hey guys,
I hope you all had wonderful holidays! I've been so swamped with work that I think I went a full 2 weeks without Chowhound and I'm happy to be back!

I'm at the tail end of a truly awful experience with GE. In short, the thermostat malfunctioned and the oven would not preheat properly. The tech arrived and said he hadn't had time to read the notes about the problem but replaced the ignitor. We asked him to wait while we tested it but he refused and ran off. The oven malfunctioned in the same way and we got a bit nervous as the holidays were approaching. Consumer affairs claimed that it might have been repaired properly but that another part had broken in the 10 minutes after the tech left. The next appointment was for 12/30 and I spoke to GE multiple times about the nature of the problem but again, the tech arrived saying he hadn't had time to look at the notes and that we would need to be home for yet a third visit after New Year's because he had no parts with him. Anyway, their corporate office speculates that their techs may have been stressed because of the holidays and that December is a bad time to need a repair. I feel that at $175 labor charge/visit, they should put their stress aside and do the repair properly or not schedule the call.

On the plus side, I discovered that I can roast a pork shoulder quite well in my Breville Toaster oven at 200 degrees! I'm bummed not to have had an oven for either Christmas or New Year's but happy that this ordeal is over.

GE has been clear that they will not waive any fees and that the season was a primary reason for the repair not having been done correctly and they continue to remind me that a 9 year old range is difficult to deal with because it's so old.

Here's my question. Have any of you had good experiences with having your ranges repaired? I spent around $2000 on this range and I think that 9 years is actually not that old given that it has been taken care of. I'm wondering if because GE, unlike Viking and Decor, makes appliances across a larger price range, they do not put ample resources into making sure their repair services work efficiently. I can tell you that we had a minor repair on our Bosch dishwasher and the techs are articulate, thorough and responsible.

At some point soon, I'll need to replace my oven and I want to make a good choice. Thanks in advance for all your help!

JeremyEG
HomeCookLocavore.com

  1. e
    Enigma3 Jan 23, 2014 09:00 AM

    I co-owned a store that sold appliances for over 25 years. At present, NO US company that makes appliances has ANY tech training classes. None. They don't train tech anymore. Miele may be different, but GE, Frigidaire, Whirlpool do not train any new techs. That role is mainly done now by community colleges. So, naturally, the skill level and product knowledge of techs today is abysmal. And that's being kind. The only company that bucks this trend is A&E. It's an expensive call, but they know what they are doing. Also, a local service tech with at least 10 years experience should be fine. It takes a good 2 years to train a new service tech. I know that from experience.

    With your specific problem with GE I would take them to small claims court for the amount of the "phantom" call. A tech should not be pressured into making a specific number of calls per day. That, in addition to pi$$ poor training, is the main factor in poor service. If GE ignores the settlement, which they wlll probably do, you can put a tax lien on a building GE rents or slap a judgement on one of their vehicles. they must pay the judgement before they can reregister or sell the vehicle. This works. We did this on more than one occasion. The arrogance of companies is boggling today. Small claims court is your best friend.

    As for GE appliance, the ONLY ones I'd even consider are Monogram. The rest of their lines, never.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Enigma3
      j
      JeremyEG Jan 24, 2014 10:28 AM

      This is helpful. Thank you. Also, to clarify, GE's stated policy is that there is no communication between the techs and the department that takes the initial description of the problem. This is not the case with Bosch or the other companies I mentioned. While people have great experiences with poor companies and bad experiences with great companies, I think it's helpful to know how companies generally handle these issues. That's why BBB ratings can be helpful to people. I choose to look for experiences from other Hounds when it comes to kitchenware and appliances and restaurants because I think there are indeed patterns. I can find multiple poor reviews of Eleven Madison Park here in NYC for example but the majority of the reviews are raves and I would put the place into the 'well-reviewed' column knowing full well that each of us will have a slightly different experience.
      Thanks again.
      JeremyEG
      HomeCookLocavore.com

    2. wekick Jan 23, 2014 08:25 AM

      It is tough. I think it matters who you buy it from and service is regional. In 7 years I have had two different ranges, Dacor and Wolf and both have been failures. I am now looking for a third range. I have had two brands of wall ovens(5 units) plus major repairs.
      You really have two considerations for repair. The first is under warranty and the second is post warranty. My best experience was when the dealer, a small regional chain, handled the repair itself both warranty and extended warranty. You can buy appliances from a dealer and they might repair one brand themselves but not another. When you are shifted off to deal with the manufacturer yourself, you don't really have any leverage. Service level can be good from the manufacturer, when you buy an appliance and can change. At a minimum try to go through a salesman for service vs dealing with a distributor or manufacturer. Pick out a good one when you buy. Ask how service is handled. Try to buy through someone who has been there awhile. If they are inattentive before the sale, it will be worse afterwards. If you ask for information and you have to call them back,X-off the list. There are good ones but it requires effort to find one. Read online reviews about the dealer.
      Post warranty you can either buy an extended warranty or pick your own repair people. If you buy an extended warranty, some might be from the dealer and their repair service or from a third party. Read all terms carefully and note the exclusions. For example Electrolux ovens have had issues with their blue interior enamel. They will cover it for one year under warranty but if you buy the extended warranty from them it is excluded. I did in the course of the last 7 years find an independent repair company I like. It might be possible to buy a service agreement from someone like that or just pay as you go.
      There are some companies that either carry some parts or try to diagnose before coming to your house so they can bring parts. I have taken days off of work waiting for repair people.
      I am kind of frozen trying to buy another range.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wekick
        e
        Enigma3 Jan 23, 2014 09:08 AM

        Look at DCS ranges. Very high quality.

      2. j
        JeremyEG Jan 22, 2014 08:19 PM

        Hey Ferret,
        Good point. I was a social research major and you're 100% right that I need a bigger sample size. That said, my 12 or so contacts with GE are enough for me to look at other brands in the future. Just as my multiple positive experiences with Breville, Gaggia, Whustohf, and Bosch are enough for me to continue to purchase products from those companies.

        Years ago, I would have gone to Consumer Reports for this kind of info but I happily go to the Hounds when I'm making a decision about cookware or kitchenware or even cheese. The sample sizes certainly aren't huge but I trust the other Chowhounds (you included!) and want to hear any experiences with other range companies they would like to share.

        Thanks.

        JeremyEG
        HomeCookLocavore.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: JeremyEG
          f
          ferret Jan 23, 2014 06:37 AM

          The realities of life are that once you get past a certain scale then experiences will be inconsistent. We had a poor installation of a Miele product by a reputable dealer. Their service guys were unable to remedy the problem so we called Miele. Their first service call was similarly unable to fix it. I called and spoke to a supervisor and they rescheduled with another tech who was the Mozart of Miele techs. He was fantastic; diagnosed and fixed it in minutes. If I had him initially I'd say "Miele is the best company for service ever" but the reality is that once you have a large enough workforce, then customers will have inconsistent experiences.

          As a P.S. I had GE Profile and Monogram appliances in my previous home and thought they were great. No problems for more than a decade.

          Ask 10 people and you'll get 10 different answers, none more reliable than another.

        2. f
          ferret Jan 22, 2014 05:50 PM

          You're making a sweeping generalization based on one experience? It's just not possible to answer your initial question because any response needs to have a breadth of data that's just not available.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ferret
            e
            Enigma3 Jan 23, 2014 09:04 AM

            I don't see "one" experience at all. I see many experiences over one problem. Experiences over the phone and in person. And the generalizations made are spot on, in my long experience of selling and dealing with GE. Frigidaire is right up there with them.

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