26 July 2009

So now it's the washing machine...

Okay, this homeownership stuff is for the birds. Now it's the washing machine that is in the process of crapping out. It is a 9 year-old Maytag Neptune stacked washer-dryer that I have not loved from day 1. It is one of those Maytag frontloaders that has a problem with mold, which I have kept under some control with hot washes and bleach, and keeping the washer door open when not in use. The unit has a backstory which is complicated and annoying.

Our house is almost 50 years old, and we bought it from the original owner, who had gone into a nursing home. The son took care of the sale, and he was one cheap bastard. Any repairs that had been done prior to the sale were shoddy. When we bought the house in 2000, it had not been updated since the 1970's, other than some of the kitchen appliances. The stove, oven, dishwasher and refrigerator were all new, but each was the cheapest one available from Sears (why yes, I did check, thank you). The washing machine was aqua colored and didn't work. (It was aqua!) There was no dryer. So TheHusband and I went to Sears to buy a washer and dryer. I had already done my homework and picked out a Kenmore frontloader that I liked along with the matching dryer. I liked that the washer had a see-thru door -- I like watching laundry get washed. They could be stacked, which I also liked. And last but not least, it was on sale. So we paid and set up a delivery date.

When the truck arrived with the washer and dryer, I was really excited. I was tired of going to the laundromat, which I had been doing for a couple of weeks at that point. I can't carry heavy things with two hands due to balance issues, so going to the laundromat was extra-annoying. I watched them unload the pieces off the truck and thought "that looks weird." They were at the bottom of the driveway and from the front door, I could see that the dryer looked strange. It had a black mark on it. When they got the dryer up to the front door, I could see what that black mark was. It was a gash of about 6 inches. In the side of the dryer. Right through the casing or whatever you call the metal outside part. I said "WTF?!?!" Or words to that effect. The delivery guys basically said "I dunno. It has your name on it, we're just the delivery guys."

Not shockingly, I refused delivery, and called Sears right away. "Really? It had a hole in it?" said the Sears CSR. "Yes." I replied. "So sorry. We'll send out a new one." So then I had to wait another week for that one to be delivered, because I wasn't about to cancel patients, and I lived far enough from my office that I couldn't just zip over.

Skip to one week later... Yay, the Sears truck is here!!! I watched them unload the washer and dryer again from the front door. What do you think I saw? Yes, you're right. A dryer with a big gash in it. I didn't even let them wheel it up to the house; I went down to the truck and told them I wouldn't accept the same broken dryer. Different guys, same reaction.

I called Sears again, got a different CSR and was VERY snippy on the phone this time. I told them that I wanted a washer and dryer that were not broken before delivery. "Really, we delivered the same broken one? That's terrible. We can have one for you in 2 weeks." I blew a gasket "Two weeks?" I shrieked. "I've been waiting for almost four weeks for a washer/dryer. I am not waiting another two weeks." So they said they could deliver it the upcoming Saturday. I had to work that day, but TheHusband would be home. Fine, it was his turn to hang around the house waiting for delivery guys.

Cue to 3 days later, Saturday... At about 10:30 I got a call from TheHusband telling me that he had freaked out when Sears had attempted to deliver the same broken dryer again. Now Sears had two incredibly irate people calling and shrieking. And you gotta give credit to large faceless uncaring corporations -- they really don't care about the customer. When TH called to complain about receiving a broken dryer for the 3rd time, he was told that was because we kept refusing it -- they were delivering "our" washer/dryer. When he asked snidely if there were no others of those W/D pairs in the state of Maryland, he was told that there were, but they were all slated for other customers. He said that we'd rather have a different washer/dryer at that point. Someone else could have "ours". The woman on the other end of the phone replied in a shocked tone "How would those people feel? They'd be getting broken merchandise." He yelled back at her that he knew exactly how they'd feel. When TH was telling me about this conversation, I thought he would burst an aneurysm.

After much shrieking and carrying on and comments about bait-and-switch, we got offered an upgrade at no extra cost to the one-piece full-sized stacked Maytag Neptune unit. It didn't have a glass door, but we'd be getting it for $600 less than its advertised price. It was delivered about 10 days (grrrr) later in one piece and unbroken. But I've never loved it. And it turned out to have that mold problem.

It was repaired once before ($250). But now the repair cost will be at least $500, which is almost the cost of a new washer. So we are off to Home Despot or Lowes or a local appliance store (if they exist anymore). We have opted to replace the unit with a stackable washer/dryer pair. That way, then next time one breaks, we will only have to replace one unit, not both.

I just can't even imagine what appliance will crap out next...


vince said...

While there are a few things I miss about home ownership, there are very few. I do hate going to the laundromat, but I rarely have to, as the ex mostly does that.

I do feel your pain.

Nathan said...

Look at the Electrolux appliances. We're really happy with our stove and it was only slightly more expensive than a lot of brands. Much cheaper than most of the "designer" brands.

ntsc said...

If PC Richards is in your area they are much better than either Home Depot or Lowes. I lost a 20+ cu foot freezer on a Saturday afternoon, they delivered a new one the next day. Yes Sunday.

We had a Sears refrigerator die while still under full warranty. Serviceman came out and confirmed its death and that he could not fix it. His boss argued with us for a week claiming they needed to confirm it wasn't repairable. Serviceman went through roof about incompetent boss.

Before replacement showed up, they called and said it had been damaged in shipment and they wouldn't deliver. Next week they tried to deliver one with a gouge, #3 was damaged in shipment and they wouldnt deliver, #4 had a gouge in a different location than #2. Wife demanded and got money back. Then they delivered #5, which we refused because A): we already had a new one and B): gouge in third location.

Haven't been in a sears since.

ntsc said...

I can not speak to Electrolux home products, but their commercial equipment, to use the words of a professional Chef: "Are like their vacums, they suck."

CIA is replacing their Garlands with Electrolux and neither staff nor students are happy with the deal.

neurondoc said...

We're totally constrained by the size of the washer and dryer. They must be stackable and fit into a closet. The depth can't exceed 28 inches. Unfortunately, the dimensions exclude the majority of the washers and dryers available at Sears, Lowe's and Home Despot.

We don't have PC Richards near us. I went with my mom to one near her to buy her all new kitchen appliances. The salesman there was great, as were the prices.

So we ended up at Sears and bought a Kenmore pair that will fit the space and are reasonably rated. They look like the "modern" version of the pair we had wanted 9 years ago...

Wendy said...

Sorry you've had such problems with Sears. I've nearly always had Kenmore appliances when I've had to buy my own. Have a full size W&D I bought from Sears about 3 years ago.

They arrived still in their boxes. Installers unboxed them in the truck, but the lift lurched when they were lowering the washer down and it has a "crease" in the top of the control panel.

I wrote "damaged during delivery" on the paperwork, noting where the damage was. Then called the store while the guys were finishing up the install, told the salesman what happened and that I'd like an adjustment. Said he'd get back to me. Never acutally called back, but a couple days later I spotted a $25 credit on my account and got a note from Sears apologizing for the damage.

My parents have always used Sears and their house is full of Kenmore appliances. Fortunately the store that is two blocks from their house is home to an excellent service department, who take very good care of that nice older couple in the white house around the corner. Probably helps that they've patronized that store since the day it opened 35 years ago. (OMG, I worked at there then!)