This is an updated and revised review. My original review was written right at the beginning of the creation of the ISE brand and I was very much behind what they were trying to achieve, but a lot of things have changed since then. I wrote optimistically about the ISE concept which I felt was desperately needed and inspiring. Sadly it seems that at the moment, and possibly for good, the ISE brand is no longer being sold.
Quotes from my original review
What is the ISE washing machine, and why is it different to other washing machines
The ISE brand was created by the independent engineers group UK Whitegoods with experienced engineers behind it working hard to provide a modern washing machine with a future. One that should last a respectable amount of time and not be a throwaway washing machine like many have become. The difference on offer here, is in who you buy it from (local independents – not the high street), the standard of service you receive, the quality of the aftercare service and the ability to buy spares, get technical information and get it repaired at a reasonable cost when it's several years old.
ISE (Independent Service Engineering) aimed to provide an answer to the frustrations and problems associated with many new washing machines.
I highlighted all their aims and aspirations as well as pointing out the situation at the time (which has only got worse) in that washing machines were becoming less and less repairable and having shorter lives. This was what the ISE brand wanted to change. Most manufacturers either withhold or restrict technical information, error codes etc and are making many parts unrepairable (eg. completely welded shut tubs and drums which cannot be stripped down). As an experienced engineer who trained on washing machines in the 70s I had seen how things had slowly deteriorated, and welcomed the ISE concept.
Quotes from my original review
What's the answer then – Is it the ISE?
I can't say the ISE is the answer, and that everyone should only consider this washing machine above all others, but it seems to me like the beginning of the answer. It offers a chance for consumers to go back to the days when you didn't throw away washing machines that had many years of service left in them. The idea is that your local repairman, can fix this washing machine at a reasonable price, and keep it running for a respectable amount of time if that's what you prefer. He'll also have access to free technical support by the dedicated UK Whitegoods group and he can post his experiences, even criticisms, and his customer's feedback on the UK Whitegoods site where they will be seen and taken seriously. No other washing machine to my knowledge is subject to such essential feedback from independent repairers and their customers. As ISE themselves say, "Local businesses care more". Local businesses now have a chance to supply and look after a new washing machine for you their customer, from the day they install it, to the day you decide to replace it.
ISE achieved a lot, but there’s no denying that some of what they tried to achieve has not come to pass. In the early days they sold what I would class as “ordinary” appliances, which as I said in my reviews (as did ISE in their promotions) were on a par with rivals in the same price range build-wise. What was different was more to do with the idea that they would be more easily and cheaply repairable, with technical information freely available, and should therefore last longer. That was the main selling point. Sadly, for a few this has not been the reality which ISE say is because of circumstances beyond their control such as how the insurance company they used has behaved – and the odd part becoming obsolete beyond their control. (Note the link to their site explaining everything appears to have now been removed).
The current situation
ISE decided to focus on just the higher quality ISE10 appliances and no longer insured their machines for the extended guarantee periods with the insurance company which has forcibly scrapped some of their older machines. Sadly they have now pulled the plug on the ISE project (Dec 2014) and it appears there is no infrastructure in place to deal with any in guarantee repairs, get spare parts or any warranty claims. It’s very sad, because it was such a laudable project, and it looks quite messy at the moment.