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Discussion: Washers > Need serious advice to avoid lemons
12 of 18


1. I strongly disagree when say that the surveys are not very useful. We do not survey by model, but by brand bought within the last x number of years. We list the percentage of units that needed repairs within that time. What that gives you is reliable odds that you'll get a brand that will need repair in the first x years based on that brand's recent track record. That's all.  If a manufacturer produces 1million machines with a 97% reliability record, you'll still get 30,000 machines that needed repairs for that brand. That's a lot of postings....

 The point is to get the model with features you want, that is the highest rated and with a brand that is most reliable.

2. We list reliability Ratings in the story along with each Ratings chart. Now maybe you have a point that it is not right there on the same page, but with a little thought, you can get it.

3. "This model is too new to predict" comment is not applicable because we don't predict reliability by model. We give the statistics by brand.

4. Waiting a couple of years before buying a new model is a non-starter because most model numbers change from year to year.

Sorry Phil, but I'm not with you on this one.


13 of 18

(((((The point is to get the model with features you want, that is the highest rated and with a brand that is most reliable. )))))


This is precisely what consumers have been doing.

My assertion is that CRs ratings leave much to be desired.

With "highly rated" appliances over the years such as the Maytag Neptune TL washer or the Whirlpool Calypso (ALL DREADFUL FAILURES) and more than a few others---the current ratings method lacks depth as far as durability is concerned. 

Using subscriber feedback (questionnaire) is not entirely reliable.

For example---if we were to receive 100,000 responses on the WM2277HW(S) LG WASHER  and the "data" indicated that 42 % of owners experienced a problem requiring an appliance servicer to "resolve" the problem---there would be NO WAY to determine what percentage of those were malfunctions related to incorrect type or amount of detergent use. What percentage were NOISE/VIBRATION relating to wood floors? What percentage were legitimate malfunctions such as a faulty water inlet valve or incorrectly installed water fill hoses?

 This type of repair history by brand data tells me very little.

I concede that--as you've posted-- it is likely a cost prohibitive undertaking for CR to evaluate appliances using run-to-destruction testing. That's a shame though--consumers would benefit enormously from that type of information and the appliance industry would literally be forced to transform overnight.

During the mid-to-late1970s--the American automobile industry manufactured pitiful products. The Japanese auto industry began to gain an edge with consumers because product quality was better. This *forced* the US auto giants to transform the ways cars and trucks were being built. Today--American brands are much much more reliable and durable. At the very least---they don't have the perception of:

"On a quiet day, you can hear a ____________rust".  

(Put whatever US automaker label in there)



Edited 8/28/08   by  John_Shipkowski
Edited 8/28/08   by  John_Shipkowski
Edited 8/29/08   by  John_Shipkowski
14 of 18


1. I strongly disagree when say that the surveys are not very useful.


I understand that you disagree.

That is apparent.

I continue to point out the same reasons why they are not helpful;
you continue to and offer the same "reasons" why you think the surveys help.

To recap yet again:

1) Brand ownership changes frequently. So frequently that surveys on even 3 year old products don't relate to currently sold models.

2) "Brands" such as KENMORE don't even manufacture products.

3) Other "brands" such as Amana and Maytag are owned by Whirlpool but sell products made by Samsung.

4) Models within Brands change. And, recently, after the new Federal energy requirements, they have changed dramatically.

5) you don't show "3%" repairs - but rather 10-20% FOR EVERY BRAND. That means that every brand is going to have at least 10% problems.

6) But, when you rate a machine as #1 and give it a pseudo-scientific precision with a number like "82" people (as evidenced by their postings) think that the brand will be reliable. Even though there is no evidence in the ratings to expect that.


>>... The point is to get the model with features you want, that is the highest rated and with a brand that is most reliable.<<<

Again, you keep ASSERTING that folks can tell if a brand is reliable by the ratings. BUT THEY CAN NOT.

Your CR car ratings often use the "too new to predict" even now on models from TOYOTA - a stellar BRAND.

Brand surveys just DON'T give much information - and when they do, it is TOO LATE, as evidenced by the Maytag fiascos.

CR TOP RATED the Maytag dual washer plate machines a few years ago. They were a totally new design. They apparently washed extremely well. I feel VERY fortunate that I didn't buy one.
Other, people flocked to buy them; In part based on your ratings;
But, they were severely disappointed.
Maytag has stopped making them and has gone out of business.
How different it might have been if CR had said
"they wash great, but this is a radically new and different design"


>>>....3. "This model is too new to predict" comment is not applicable because we don't predict reliability by model. We give the statistics by brand......<<<<

But THAT (rating by BRAND) is exactly the problem!!!!

The MODELS vary so much within brands that rating BY BRAND is pointless.
You might (and should) rate SERVICE QUALITY by brand.

But, how can a customer compare a Maytag built in Mexico, with different design built in Iowa, with a different design outsourced to Samsung?
They can be as different as night and day.

And a KENMORE might be made by any one of several manufacturers.

I know you have skilled statisticians available to you at CR.

Do they tell you that the BRAND-TO-BRAND variation is meaningful when compared to the MODEL-TO-MODEL variation within brands?
You probably can't ask or answer that question because the "surveys" don't select for models...

I don't get it.

I don't get how you can persist in believing this fiction that Self-selected "brand" surveys can help a consumer when buying a model or design or manufacturer that may not have even been in existence for that brand during the time period that the survey covers.

Look at some of John S.'s postings.

There are SOME models in SOME brands that do remain constant long enough to have valid historical data.
You should note those that do.
You should warn about others that are too new to predict.

All washers wash.
All modern washers save energy per federal standards.
****Everyone must have reliability.****
 The best cleaning washer in the world is a doorstop if it doesn't run.

In the ratings, note the MODELS that have been around awhile and have a PROVEN track record.

Mark the others as:
"Gee they seem really nice, but, we can't really tell you how they will hold up; and you should realize that more than 1 in 10 of every washer by EVERY brand will have problems based on our surveys.
Buy from a retailer with a good return policy (like LOWES) in case you don't like a feature or performance;
If you are concerned about longevity, use a credit card that increases your warranty; and buy from a company like COSTCO with a SATISFACTION GUARANTEE. "

Thank you for continuing the discussion.

Best wishes

15 of 18

John -
I wouldn't give up so easily on your test to destruction concept.

It may be prohibitively expensive with the current CR mindset and funding structure.

But, I believe that with world wide markets and the internet, there are options.

As I mentioned in another post, the most promising to me, would be for CR to move from doing the testing to establishing and auditing the testing process. And then to publish the results and grant the "CR SEAL OF APPROVAL and RELIABILITY."

I'm sure a process could be established that allowed manufacturers to pay for the testing for the right to the data and to proudly display the "CR SEAL."

Lacking that, adding RELIABILITY to the Energy Star rating would be a great alternative.

And as a consumer, I'd gladly pay a premium subscription for real in depth test data on appliances. I spent $80 recently with CR when looking at new and used cars.

16 of 18

I wouldn't hold my breath Phil.

To persuade CR to adopt this method of analysis is a non-starter. Like paddling up a creek.

Perhaps another consumer advocate group will take up the challenge and employ this type of data that consumers are so sorely lacking.

As the market continues to expand for the upper-end type appliances---it's only a matter of time before we'll see this become reality.


17 of 18

Perhaps -

Imagine if China or Korea or India were to start national test programs to certify their products and then provide warranties to match the test results.

For example, suppose a Samsung would test out to 3500 washes (about 10 years at average US use).
Then provide a 10 year warranty on all major parts.

And a customer service program that had online forums and good follow up.

It would be a way for a new manufacturer to break into the market - somewhat like Hyundai's 10 year warranty.

CR may end up being irrelevant or anachronistic in a global marketplace...

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