Monday, June 08, 2009

Designed Against Repairs

In “Appliance Anxiety: Replace It or Fix It?” published May 27, 2009 in the New York Times, Julie Scelfo reports on the financial and logistical challenges faced by consumers of appliances.

On the one hand, approximately 1 out of 3 major appliances breaks in the first three years.

On the other hand, repairs are priced to make replacing the appliance more attractive than fixing it. One major reason: for just a few hundred dollars more than a repair, a consumer can replace the faulty device. The major culprit: prices for replacement parts, whose retail prices can be as high as half the price of the appliance.

And even if the consumer opts to service the device, getting someone to come is a challenge in its own right. So sick of visits that ended with “I need to get a part,” one frustrated consumer in the UK held the repairman hostage until he finished the job. (She admits she wasn’t proud of that.)

A Consumer Reports reporter cited in the article advises consumers to buy the simplest appliances because the more electronics and gadgets it has, the more that can break and the more expensive the parts. Having had just gone through my second faulty Cuisinart coffee maker with the built-in grinder that doesn’t grind, I’ll take that advice.

See the entire article at

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