Avoid Being Stung Later
Why people choose particular brands and what you should really be looking for
When people go appliance shopping it is most of time a case of, barring any specific requirements, the cheapest, with the most features and highest specification from a name that is recognised is what people will buy.
If we were to map it out for the likes of a washing machine it’d be something like this as a list:
- Brand name
- Load Size
- Energy Use
- Spin speed
Then after that it’s a bit of a free for all.
Problem is, with the monumental proliferation of own label brands in this industry and then the fact that many will use the same component suppliers, are you really getting what you think you are?
We doubt most people are. We doubt it a lot.
Most people just look at the above and the nice shiny new machines with all the marketing and take a punt on what they think is best.
Bear with us though and we will explain one thing you really should be looking at that is a major point of difference and, one not many people will know or want to talk about.
Name On The Box Isn’t The Maker
People think all the time and, we hear this all the time, that for example that Hotpoint is made by Hotpoint, Hoover by Hoover, Servis by Servis and so on.
Not even close. Most brands bar a very few are owned by another brand or they don’t make a single product themselves, they just buy them in with a badge slapped on them.
If you read the lengthy article on the topic called own label brands you will get a better sense of just how big and prolific a problem that this is now but, if you think that every brand name you see in a shop are all being produced in different factories then we’re afraid that you are very wrong, they are not.
Why is this you ask, why can’t you just look it up?
Well, the brands selling these machines aren’t exactly going to advertise that they sell the exact same machine, tweaked about a bit, as their competition do for more money are they?
They also want you to think that they are unique, you’re buying into the “brand” and all that malarky.
For us to maintain a database of thousands of models a year sold in the UK and Europe is just too much to ask for a free site, even paid for sites like Which? and others cannot do it and, we can’t either.
So you have two choices available if you want to know what you’re really buying, research it or ask someone that will know. Outside of that, you pays your money…
What Separates Them All
If you’ve read the own label brands article and you’ve read the performance cheating one as well as a few others in these sections you will now know that you pretty much can’t trust very much of the information that you have or can get.
What we can tell you or, at least the guys in the forums can, is what the position is now with a brand.
What they can’t tell you is what the position will be in years to come.
And as above, we can tell you the score with service and parts right now but, we cannot tell you what the future might hold.
However knowing and being able to find out what each brand is like now could prove invaluable and, at least if you buy a machine that you can get parts and service for you have a fighting chance of it lasting a while.
This is utterly vital when you are purchasing a new kitchen full of appliances from a single brand or a large and often expensive purchase such as a side by side American style fridge freezer, a range cooker and so on.
You really want to know if it will be serviceable in years to come.
So a major point of difference for many is the availability of spare parts and the ability to get them repaired.
Don’t Buy One Of Them
How many of us can relate to somebody saying to you not to buy a particular make of car as parts or service is expensive or difficult?
It is roughly the same with appliances, there are brands that are terribly difficult to get parts for and a number that spare parts are expensive for, some are both.
Same with service, with some brands you are completely stuck with the manufacturer service only, no choice but to pay whatever is demanded or, scrap it and buy another, even after a few years.
We see people all the time, including landlords and builders that go out and buy the cheapest they can with a new kitchen only to find that a few years down the road, they cannot get parts and need to rip out and replace the machines. Not such a good deal after all it often turns out.
Just as with cars, there are brands that you would do well to avoid as, if or rather when it does eventually break, you will struggle to get parts, information and/or get stung with silly parts pricing.
Top Brands To Avoid
Before we name names, let us point out that any of the brands here can change this opinion at any point in time they choose to.
We do not make the situation, we just have to live with it just as the owners of these products have to. And, we think it only fair to tell others of our experience of being able to source spare parts and obtain information on the machines.
Over the years we have built up the manufacturer section with most every brand sold in the UK that is known to us listed and, in there we tell you who services the machines and often what spare parts are like as well. You can find out about most brands in there making researching what you are buying easy.
That section is updated continually with information as we receive it.
But here’s our list of the brands we like to hate on the most for being difficult, expensive or both. But this isn't all the ones that should be avoided by any stretch, just do a little research in the manufacturer section and you'll find loads that you'd be better off giving a very wide berth to.
You can’t get any info on the machines, zero tech support so you will be stuck paying whatever that demand for service. Some machines you cannot do anything with unless you have a Miele laptop and software to work on them with.
Even if you do, spare part prices are simply horrific.
Great machines, shame about the backend.
Samsung do not let anyone other than appointed Samsung agents have access to technical and spare part information so, if you need that on a Samsung machine you have, you’re stuffed.
Then as spare parts are only sold through “authorised distributors” you get stung on part prices as, you’ve only a couple of outlets to get them from in the UK and there’s not a lot of competition. If any.
Much like Samsung although in fairness not just as bad and as there are more outlets for spare parts there’s a little more competition on part pricing.
Technical information can often be obtained but not freely from LG and spare parts are still limited, with some of them being expensive but nowhere near as bad as some others we list here.
Like Samsung though and, we think this is a Korean thing if not an Asian one, parts do go obsoelte and often at an early stage. We've seen American style fridge freezers being scrapped at only eight years old or so as you can't get parts.
Not just as bad but in many ways they play the same games with some elements you need to use BSH service and, that’s it. Tough if you don’t like the price, there’s no option.
Unlike others here, at least you can look up spare parts freely enough.
Whirlpool were always on out naughty list for not allowing access to technical information or even spare parts lookup and, this is bad.
Then there has been the issue of spare parts pricing which, with Whirlpool has been an issue since the dawn of time is seems, they are one of the worst around for part prices.
To be fair however after they bought Indesit many prices have gotten better but who that will pan out in the longer term we have yet to see.
However the restriction on technical and diagnostic still seems to be there and so, we cannot recommend them of that alone as if you need service you may well be stuck with authorised service only and, that’ just ain’t right.
Glen Dimplex bang out stuff under the Stoves, Belling and New World brands primarily and the company seems to us to be a haphazard mess.
Technical information and spare parts diagrams, if they even exist, seem impossible to get. Then when or if you do get them sometimes parts are ludicrously expensive but, not always. Sometimes parts are pretty reasonably priced and all the more so when we cross reference them as you will often find the machines are built by Beko or someone so, there are alternatives.
Big Retailer Brands
Many of the large retailer brands and, we’re thinking any of the exclusive brands for the like of Argos, GUS, Currys and more are quite frankly, a total nightmare.
They seem to either wish to prevent anyone from getting parts and technical support at all to keep it all in-house or, they are just so disorganised it’s not avaialble to anyone.
Either way, it ain’t good for buyers.
Then when you do track down what it is and, you can’t cross reference it to other brands (and you will be able to as they make nothing, they’re all own label brands) the parts will often be stupid expensive.
A Deal Now
We often see stuff floating about promoting one of these or another in the trade or retail offers and sure, it looks like a great deal or it can do for the buyer but, is it?
If a couple of years down the road you can’t get a part that breaks or, it’s £100 to get a door for a £200 machine is it really such a good deal after all?
Or worse, if you buy a whole kitchen full of machines from one of them and you get problems with two or three of them and have to swap them out.
If you’ve read through this and the other articles related to this topic you might come to understand why we put such a focus on these issues as, we don’t see the machines from a sales perspective. We see them down the ways a bit when people have problems with them and, we see how disgusted and annoyed people are then.
They were probably well chuffed with the shiny new super duper machine when they bought it with it’s low price, great energy rating and funky features as, that’s what you are sold and what manufacturers will pander to in order to sell.
But that shine evaporates very quickly when you get stung later.
Hopefully this helps people avoid that as much as possible by making you aware of the sort of things that go on in the appliance industry and it a case of, caveat emptor, buyer beware. If you don't find out before you buy.... it's on you we're afraid.