Consumers express frustration with today’s appliances


Some report major failures after just a few years of use

Remember when you could buy a refrigerator or washing machine and it would perform perfectly for years? In recent years, those appliances have become less common.

At ConsumerAffairs, nearly every appliance manufacturer has an abundance of 1-star reviews – the lowest possible rating. A common theme is that the appliances fail, and they fail quickly.

“I bought a Whirlpool refrigerator in 2019 and it failed in 2023,” Larry, of Staunton, Va., wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “The repair costs were too high so I bought a new refrigerator.”

According to consumer appliance experts, the average life of a dishwasher is around 10 years, with proper maintenance. Jason, of Guyton, Ga., didn’t get nearly that far with his LG dishwasher, which he recently purchased.

“Our quad dishwasher control panel cracked due to faulty parts,” he told us. “The unit is useless after only a few years of use.”

Italia, of Santa Paula, Calif., told us she got even less use out of her GE Profile dishwasher.

“Before the year was over, it stopped working, Italia told us. “Had to struggle with customer service to stop by. They finally did, it needed to be replaced.”

Longs for the good old days

Linda, of Montevideo, Minn., said she purchased a Maytag Agitator washer, remembering how well they performed on 1990s models. She says the results weren’t the same.

“I'm so disappointed in this washer,” Linda told ConsumerAffairs. The name is what sold me. What a letdown. PLEASE BRING BACK THE OLDER MODELS!”

Occasionally, we hear from consumers whose washing machine or dishwasher has overheated and caught fire. Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, an appliance repair company, says today’s appliances are no more of a fire hazard than they were years ago.

“Expensive appliances with many features don't necessarily have a higher chance of catching fire, but complex electronics or poor maintenance can increase the risk, just as with less expensive models,” he told us.

They don’t make ‘em like that used to

Jonathan Prescott, vice president of E-Commerce and consumer goods specialist at CouponBirds, says today’s major appliances are just not as good as in the past. 

“Most of the electrical appliances 30 years ago were made of metal, but now the electrical appliances are made of plastic composites,” he told us. 

“Secondly, the functional design of electrical appliances 30 years ago was simpler. Relatively speaking, the functional design of current electrical appliances is more complicated, and the circuits will be more complicated, which may cause fires. Many of the complaints received as a result come from consumers with expensive, feature-rich machines, and the tendency to catch fire is likely a factor.”

Manufacturers, as well as appliance repair companies, say consumers need to clean and maintain their appliances, following manufacturers’ guidelines, to improve the chances they will operate normally.

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