Major appliances: They don’t make ‘em the way they used to.


Consumers express frustration with expensive appliances that don’t last

Major appliances come with lots more bells and whistles than in the past. And it may be no coincidence that these high-tech appliances are producing a lot of consumer complaints.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that more computerization, an increase in the number of individual components and the use of lower-quality materials are all combining to reduce reliability and longevity.

Over the last decade, ConsumerAffairs has heard from many consumers perplexed by the short lives of appliances costing thousands of dollars. Rahim, of Marietta, Ga., said he purchased a Samsung 28 cubic inch French door refrigerator about three years ago and has had nothing but trouble.

“From first few months we have [had a] problem with it,” Rahim wrote in a Consumer Affairs review. “Now the water dispenser, which is combined with the ice maker, stopped working. Samsung technician said it needs a left door. Samsung declined to replace it. I will not recommend buying any Samsung products.”

Not just one brand

But Samsung is not the only appliance brand causing consumer angst. Peter, of Charlestown, R.I., said he purchased a Frigidaire refrigerator in 2022 that, from day one, was much colder than necessary.

“Freezes food everywhere,” Peter told us. “The fresh produce drawer, up on the top shelf, on the bottom shelf. Everywhere!!. Tried the different settings and procedures recommended by the appliance store, nothing works. Fresh food drawers broke within the first year – complete garbage. Would not recommend Frigidaire to anyone.”

Even though today’s major appliances are more sophisticated than their predecessors, Euromonitor International reports U.S. consumers spent 43% more on appliances in 2023 than in 2013. Why? According to the Journal, consumers are having to replace defective appliances.

It makes sense that stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines that make sparing use of technology might be more reliable in the long run. There are simply fewer things to go wrong and these appliances tend to be in the budget category.

On the other hand, spending more might yield improved results. One poster on Reddit suggests purchasing commercial-grade appliances, even though they will cost more.

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