The experience came as an unpleasant surprise to Barbara and John King who, as customers who had always chosen what they thought was the safe, worry-free way by taking out extended breakdown protection for their appliances.
Yet despite those steps to ensure reliable continuity, the situation they faced now was riven with confusion and compromises.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on firstname.lastname@example.org
There is always more than one party in the mix when it comes to fixes. And both the insurer and the appliance maker play key roles which for customers, as the ones on the receiving end, means navigation of all that is often far from easy.
The Kings chose Domestic & General for their cover, the UK’s leading care provider and highly rated by customers and had never had a problem until their dishwasher broke down last December.
“After four visits from an engineer and a fifth booked, it was agreed the machine had to be replaced. By this time it was April,” says Barbara.
The couple paid £80 for installation of the Whirlpool appliance, but shortly after it started malfunctioning with the programme ending prematurely, the door opening and the dishes still dirty.
“I thought I was doing something wrong, so I tried to contact Whirlpool many times but got no response until late May,” explained Barbara. “An engineer then inspected it and said the motherboard was faulty.”
As this was a new dishwasher, it was the Kings’ understanding that, having spoken to Domestic & General, they could have a replacement.
“But now we’ve been told by Whirlpool we should accept a repair although seven of the items needed are not in stock,” they complained to Crusader.
While it’s up to a trader to decide whether to offer a repair or replacement, it needs to be reasonable and done within a reasonable period of time.
Given the inconvenience and delays the Kings had experienced already we asked both Domestic & General and Whirlpool if it could help.
Now a new dishwasher will be installed this week. “I was asked what I wanted and am getting a far better quality machine than the first replacement, with the same spec as my original appliance with a 14-place setting, cutlery drawer and remaining time illumination,” a delighted Barbara reported, relieved as well that disposal is also being sorted.
Domestic & General commented: “We’re happy to have resolved this issue. Whilst we aim to repair in the first instance– we don’t want to see machines going to landfill if we can help it – we recognise that being without a relied upon appliance is frustrating, so if it cannot be fixed quickly we will replace the item. We will always try and support our customers and work with them to find a suitable replacement appliance for their circumstances.”[Barbara and John’s names have been changed]