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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

Thermador and Other High-End Brands are Less Reliable than Mid-Range Appliances

15 posts in this topic

I've been saying this for years.  Nice to see that bastion of consumer advocacy, Consumer Reports, finally catching on.  :?

Washington, DC: A new survey by Consumer Reports shows that mid-range appliance brands are often more reliable than many high-end brands such as Thermador and Viking.

On Monday, Consumer Reports released highlights from its "Annual Products Reliability Survey." The full survey will be published in the magazine's May issue.

Thermador gas rangesHigh-End Brand No Guarantee

Interestingly, Consumer Reports found that high-end brands of major kitchen appliance are more prone to need repair early in their life-span. Thermador, Dacor, Viking and Jenn-Air rank among the least reliable brands of major cooking appliances as identified by Consumer Reports readers.

Consumer Reports found that 33% of consumers' Viking gas ranges and at least 15% of Thermador, Dacor and Viking gas cook tops were repaired or had an unrepairable problem between 2002 and 2006.

According to the report, Whirlpool, Kenmore and GE "prove to be safe bets for major appliance shoppers," having relatively low repair rates across a variety of appliances, including electric and gas ranges, ovens, refrigerators, washers and driers.

Results are based on more than 950,000 Consumer Reports reader responses to the magazine's online and paper survey. Because consumers own more than one type of product in the same category, the entire Consumer Reports study contains more than 5.1 million product reports.

Thermador: A Host of Problems

There are reports that some Thermador Gas Ranges PRG366US are defective due to problems with the patented simmer control potentiometer, igniter switch and motherboard, which could result in safety hazards. Owners of Thermador gas ranges have reported to consumeraffairs.com that they have also had difficulty getting replacement parts through the company.

In 2002, BSH Home Appliance Corp. voluntarily recalled 2,460 Thermador gas ranges. The recall was initiated because of a burn hazard to customers caused by the venting of hot air below the small oven, which caused the metal surface of the door to heat up.

The Cost to Consumers

A new Thermador unit can cost more than $5,000. Range repair costs can be as high as $400, and units may require repeated repairs. Some repair services have advised consumers to purchase an extended warranty for their Thermador units - at an additional cost of $450-$500.

While the Consumer Reports verdict is clear, many consumers will probably continue to buy high-end appliances because of their status. As Laura Ries, principal in the Ries & Ries branding consultancy told Marketing Daily: "McDonald's coffee came out better than Starbucks in another Consumer Reports survey - but the perception of Starbucks as superior is so firmly entrenched that McDonald's would find it extremely difficult to overcome."

By Anne Borden

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"McDonald's coffee came out better than Starbucks in another Consumer Reports survey - but the perception of Starbucks as superior is so firmly entrenched that McDonald's would find it extremely difficult to overcome."

Well, I and a friend ventured to Wayne's Coffee a while back... their excuse of coffee was bitter, and cost so much that we should have had the cups for ourselves too... returned the sludge and left... wondered how the heck are so many people sitting around drinking the stuff. 2 cups of coffee, 2 croissants and a small bottle of lemonade cost €10!

To think that my town has a private bakery shop, where you get a cup of coffee, a croissant, and a wiener pastry for €2,50... the coffee is always fresh, and the cups are more ergonomic. And they never complain that they would have to raise their prices for any reason. And nobody regards them as a high end coffee shop in any sense.

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Is the repair data on these high-end appliance repairs based on actual problems that required a replacement part, or are they combined with customer usage issues and adjustments or even installation issues, (i.e. improper conversions for gas appliances).  I find the later to be true for most of the upscale appliances that required a service call.  Also the classification of 'unrepairable' could be because of insufficient training or lack of knowledge on a particular brand and/or model.  Is there more data regarding other appliances such as dishwashers, fridges?, etc..  Furthermore I find Consumer Reports opinions to be biased and I do not take any of their information and spread it around - the major manufacturer's shell out big money for ads in these well known magazines and some of that money I am sure finds its way into some of these 'surveys'.  I say it's a goddam conspiracy!  Ahh - now I feel better.

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I've always said that CR is a crooked rip-off organization.  I think that finally had to get on board with this recent assessment of appliances because it was becoming common knowledge with broad consumer experiential knowledge-- if they didn't finally come out and acknowledge the obvious, they would have been irrelevant (which they are anyway, but they don't want people to *know* that).  

I agree with your other observations about poorly-trained techs and impoper installations, but I have personally seen lots and lots of issues with Thermador an Viking in particular (the subject brands in the article) that are nothing less that poor quality and/or design flaws.  Thermador is especially bad about orphaning products and leaving people stuck with a $4,000 wall oven for which you can't even buy a replacement ERC (just one recent example that comes to mind).

My only complaint with the article is not its factual basis or claims-- it's, "What the hell took 'em so long to finally publish the obvious?"

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I agree, they are finally giving into the obvious fact that things are not made to last and some models are not able to be repaired (discontinued parts).  One model that comes to mind is a Wolf dual-fuel range.  This particular model has the flip over control pad - if it fails there are no more - there goes $12K out the window.  I have only serviced two thermadore wall ovens and one downdraft unit and I did find the design was not thought out well for the price.  As far as actually printing articles based on this problem, I think that the magazine grew some balls and not giving into temptation and siding with the manufacturer's with all their cash to influence a good report. 

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Unfortunately  the high end appliances aren't worth the money. Their performance may be better, but they have the same amount of repairs, (if not more)  than the every day runt of the mill brands. 

Fortunately for us servicers,  affluent consumers will continue to purchase high end appliances because they think they are buying the best.  Since high end appliances cost a premium, consumers will be keeping them longer and getting them repaired more often than the everyday runt of the mill brands.

It is what it is, the way I look at appliances (and cars) the more expensive it is when you purchase it, the more expensive it will be to repair it in the future.

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 To me,   it seems as if appliances like Bosch and Dacor are the "BMW of appliances".

 

 

 

This means that they are nice machines when they run,   but they get electrical gremlins over time and aren't the easiest to repair.      Just funny to me how a less reliable machine can cost more because it looks better,   that goes for Bosch,  Dacor,  Sub-Zero,   BMW,  and Mercedes.

 

 

 

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Yup, roger that Econo Appliance.  You don't always get what you pay for.

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When you buy the Cadillac of models expect to spend Cadillac prices to fix it.

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Cadillac Catera - now that's a piece of junk.   Really made by Opel,  brought to the US by GM and rebadged as a Cadillac.    Break down all the time.    Parts are nearly impossible to find,   and take a long time to ship here.   Maybe this is the LG of cars???

 

  ehhhh

  

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[user=19296]Scottthewolf[/user] wrote:

Yup, roger that Econo Appliance.  You don't always get what you pay for.

True... you don't always get what you pay for, but on the flip side, sometimes you do. As a salesperson, I always find humor in people who insist on buying cheap crap, then complain because it broke on them in just a few years. No kidding... that's what cheap crap does!

Mind you, there are some cheap gems out there. The trouble is knowing where to look.

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W.r.t. buying "cheap crap"...if the cheap crap dies, say, in half the time the expensive crap dies but costs one third the price, isn't it cost effective to buy cheap crap? You even get NEW cheap crap half-way through the life of the expensive crap!

[at this moment I am attempting to fix an expensive crap Thermador stove - simmer burner problem that appears to be pandemic - so have little sympathy for expensive crap]

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Back the van up.  Viking DOES  have issues, with the bake and broil ignitors, the bake burners, the oven bottoms with the flame spreaders breaking at the welds, the door hinges, the broil burners cracking, the list goes on.  Viking is also very fast to tell customers, "Sorry, your unit is out of warranty, we can't help you."

As far as Consumer Reports goes...

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/aboutus/mission/overview/index.htm

 

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/aboutus/adviolation/index.htm

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I've quit trusting Consumer Reports when they chose a Kenmore product as the most dependable machine without even mentioning that Kenmore isn't even a brand.

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Especially when they list an exact copy of the Kenmore model tested, with a model badged by the Mfr. - yet the 2 models will rate on opposing ends of the ratings spectrum!

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