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  Impact Damage

Oops, things in washing machines that should never be in there and the damage caused

It is very common that foreign objects, as they are known in the industry as, can and do cause damage to washing machine inner drums and outer tanks and this is almost invariably not covered by any warranty.

Drum and tank damage in a washing machine or washer dryer is normally caused by a foreign object left in the laundry that somehow works its way between the inner drum and outer tank and gets caught, dragged around and can cause massive damage to the washing machine.

The most common items that do this are, but not exclusively;

  • Coins
  • Keys
  • Children's toys
  • Nails
  • Screws

A damaged washing machine drum, this only completely destroyedThe most common object to cause damage by far in our experience is a coin. They can get flipped up easily between the drums, especially by the heater on a fast spin and literally tear through the inner drum and often puncture the outer tank as well.

They can also fall down into the sump and block the pump which will cause the washing machine to fail to drain the water out. 

Smaller coins can get into the drain hose and cause a blockage which which will also stop the washing machine from draining

Keep in mind, none of these objects should be in the machine in the first place and it is your responsibility to make sure that they are not in your washing machine, it is not the manufacturer's or warranty company's lookout.

It is absolutely vital, especially on newer large load capacity washing machines and washer dryers that you check pockets and make sure that nothing gets into your washing machine that could damage it. Even to remove foreign objects when they have not caused any damage will be chargeable to you, the cost of the call and any labour or damage will not be covered by your warranty.

Failure to do so can and often does, result in a very large bill or the cost of a replacement machine.

  How Much To Repair

To repair a damaged drum is a pretty major repair for most washing machines and the drum is most often one of the most expensive spare parts. The outer tank is usually even more expensive.

Ordinarily, you will be faced with a bill that will be the best part of 50% of the total cost of the washing machine and, in many cases, more than that.

This is a very expensive mistake to make.

  Drum Damage Covered By Warranty

As one washing machine manufacturer put it many years ago, "We make clothes washers, not coin washers, key washers or washers to clean anything other than clothing."

If that seems a little harsh and you have (probably) found or been pointed to this article because your washing machine has suffered some sort of damage, think on it this way; 

If you buy a new car and, driving out the showroom you scrape the car on the entrance wall or gate, will the manufacturer pay to repair the damage or give you a new car? Or, if you drive off and nip in to fill the tank and put the wrong fuel in the car, will the manufacturer pay for the repairs? Or, if you throw a table in the back seat and tear your upholstery will the manufacturer pay to have it repaired?

In all cases the answer is, of course they won't.

The same applies in our industry just as is the case with all others. If you put objects inside any product that should not be there or, you abuse the product in any way, such as not using it for its intended purpose then the blame lies squarely with yourself. And, so does the cost to put it right or replace the product.

Even on most extended warranties or maintenance plans, this sort of damage would not be covered by your warranty.

  My Washing Machine Drum Is Damaged, What Can I Do

Bear in mind here that, in 99.99% of all reported cases of damage to a drum or outer tank in a washing machine, you are at fault and it is not covered by your warranty in any way.

Therefore, shouting at the repairer, warranty company or the manufacturer is unlikely to get you very far and, in fact, could prove to be detrimental as people do not like to be shouted at, especially when you are in the wrong in the first place.

Our advice is, be nice as it is far more likely to get you a result of some sort, even if it is only a reduced cost to repair.

The next thing to do is check your home insurance policy as if you have home contents insurance very often accidental damage, like this, will be covered and you can get a lot of the money back should you have the repair done or you need to replace the washing machine.

  Evidence Of Damage

Over the years we have seen many, many cases where customers have claimed that the damage was caused by the washing machine, a part of the washing machine and just about everything that you can possibly imagine in a bid to get the manufacturer or warranty provider to pony up for the repairs.

We've had people stripping out all sorts to remove objects before the machine is inspected, putting objects in the drum after the engineer has attended and explained the situation, claiming the damage was caused by the machine, magically. You name it, we've seen it or heard it.

The simple fact of it is that as we, as well as manufacturers and warranty companies, have seen it all before. We know that there was something in the machine whether or not we actually find it. We can often tell what caused the damage and how as this is not uncommon and we see it on a fairly regular basis.

Basically, you won't fool the engineer warranty company or manufacturer. So don't try as it all just gets rather unpleasant.

The fact is that, if there is damage to the washing machine of this nature, something caused it and it is in the machine. If it isn't in the machine, it has been removed. That's it.

If there are no objects or reason found the assumption will be that the customer has removed the object prior to inspection. There is no other logical explanation.

Loads of people try to "get around" this and make it a warranty claim. Most fail and if you get caught you are breaking the law, it's fraud.

  How Damage Is Detected

Many manufacturers and warranty firms have sophisticated and, not so sophisticated systems to detect this sort of thing even if the service engineer does not report it as being down to damage from a foreign object. It isn't that hard to work out a simple system to detect potential service calls that could be down to customer abuse or misuse.

Essentially, even if you persuade the service engineers or they offer to try to slide the call through as a warranty job, the chances are it will be picked up and questions will be raised over the nature of the failure.

Service companies and engineers also have to bear in mind that, should they be caught trying to "slide the call through as warranty" they are also committing fraud. It is serious and can lead to the loss of the contract, if not worse.

A good example of this is drum damage on a washing machine. 

What happens is that the reported fault is looked at, then the spare parts requested and where any potential damage is suspected then questions will be asked as to why the washing machine needs these spare parts.

This can be flagged automatically by software or, just picked up on by staff. In either case it is often very easy to spot potential foreign object damage.

  Outcome

The outcome of drum damage is almost invariably that it is entirely down to the customer.

It was almost certainly objects in the washing machine that should not have been in it.

It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that there is nothing placed in the washing machine that can cause damage in the first instance and, therefore, down to the user.

In very, very rare cases damage can be caused by something coming adrift in the machine itself but these are the exception, not the norm. If this is the case then the cost of repair or replacement would be borne by the manufacturer or warranty company.

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