High quality appliance only lasted 4 years

I received a consumer question from someone who had bought a white goods appliance and it had only lasted 4 years. It was an expensive hob, but this advice is relevant to any white goods appliance.

The customer had purchased a NEFF induction hob 4 years ago for £820. He now found that 2 rings had gone faulty. A Neff engineer said that the cost of repair would be £600+ which rendered the appliance beyond economic repair.

Does the customer have any rights?

In my opinion yes. They should have a case under the consumer rights act 2015. Paying £820 for a hob, which 4 years later is beyond economical repair just because 2 rings have gone is unacceptable. Not only should you not expect 2 rings on a quality product to have failed by now, but it’s outrageous that they want to charge around 80% of the purchase cost to repair it.

It’s also very disappointing that they seem so content to write it off. I’ve had this argument on another article regarding some Miele repair costs. Any manufacturer who’s business model is selling high quality, superior, and very expensive products, should find it an anathema to see any one of their appliances scrapped at 4 years old.

Everyone within the company should find it equally unacceptable to have this happen to any of their customers, which undermines their entire business model. I told the customer that I think there is a strong case for arguing that the hob has not lasted a reasonable time.

However, unless Neff want to try and restore his confidence in their appliances by repairing it at a reasonable price he will need to take his case to the retailer where bought it from under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. And if necessary, threaten to take them to the small claims court.

Sadly though, in reality, the retailer is likely to dismiss any claims for compensation or replacement, at least at first. But at a cost of £820 you should expect a lot longer than 4 years, and I’d be very surprised if a small claims court judge felt any differently.

Bear in mind that a retailer does have the right to knock off a certain percentage to take account of how many years of use you have had from the appliance. This adds more complexity because you have to agree how long it should have been expected to last.

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4 thoughts on “High quality appliance only lasted 4 years”

  1. I am the person referred to above. I emailed Neff and firstly received an email saying my complaint was with the retail outlet rather than themselves. I then emailed again and received a much more helpful reply with two options.

    Firstly they could cap the cost of repair of the faulty hob at £250, then guarantee those repairs for a year or secondly offer me the current equivalent new hob for the concessionary sum of £387.00 inclusive of VAT. We felt that to have the faulty hob repaired would be risky as the other two rings could go wrong which would leave us back at square one, so we have chose the replacement upgraded model at £387 which includes installation as well.

    By doing this we have a brand new model, guaranteed for a further 2 years for just £387, when the cost price of that model is still £822.50, saving around £435.00. We have never had a problem with Neff appliances so far, so hopefully this has been a one off. We weren’t out to get ‘something for nothing’ but felt that a quality appliance should last longer than 4 years, and obviously Neff agreed. Once I got through to the right person they were very helpful and understanding. Many thanks to the whitegoodshelp website for the advice.

  2. Thanks for your update David. It shows that most manufacturers and retailers are not to be trusted when it comes to our consumer rights but when pressed they will usually start conceding ground. It’s pretty disingenuous. As far as they are all concerned we have the guarantee (usually 12 months) and after that we pay. It’s that simple to them. However, the government says that’s not good enough.

    Retailers should be selling decent products, and if not they should have to deal with the consequences. If a product is so poor that some of them are scrap after just a year or so they should stop selling them or make sure they are so cheap most people will accept it. If your hob had been £199 you might well have accepted 4 years, but not at £820.

    Supposed high quality appliances at premium prices should always perform much better than normal and should not suffer serious and outrageously expensive breakdowns so young. All of the quality appliance manufacturers seem to have a very serious problem in that they don’t seem able (or willing?) to repair their products at reasonable prices. It’s hard to understand how one can seriously quote £600 after 4 years to replace 2 rings on an £820 hob. To me it comes across as either showing total contempt for customers, or living in an alternative reality.

    At least they have accepted how unacceptable it is and have offered to try and make amends. If they have a good name to defend it should be more than worth it to them. The question is, were they taking the proverbial before, or are they substantially subsidising the repair to keep their good name?

    If these prices are real they have a serious problem with their business model because they are making appliances that essentially can’t be repaired. It may only be a small percentage of people getting affected (I’ve no idea but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt) but it’s pretty outrageous to be unable to repair their own quality products because of crazy prices, and expect customers to just write them off after 4 years.

    And if it genuinely is so rare for such a thing to happen there’s even less of an excuse for expecting customers to take such a hit after investing in their good name.

  3. Michelle Drakes

    Glad to hear that your issue has been resolved. Unfortunately I am not in such a good position. Purchased an Induction Rangemaster for £2370 32 months ago. Now has a major problem with the hob and getting quotes of £1150 to repair. Rangemaster won’t entertain any help, not even a reduction in the price of the parts which amount to just over £1000. AO who I bought it through are only willing to offer a depreciated refund of £1327. Cannot believe the arrogance of Rangemaster who won’t offer any support.

  4. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Michelle. It always saddens me to see such ridiculous prices to repair high quality products. Maybe it is no longer such good value for money to buy high quality appliance? The main point of spending extra money is that the appliance should last considerably longer than the cheap ones and therefore prove better value for money in the long run.

    Your case is the same as David’s in the last comment, except much worse. £2,370 for 32 months use of an appliance just isn’t good enough. If they are quoting 50% of the purchase cost to repair it after just 32 months I would say you have rights under the sale of goods act because of they extremely high cost of the appliance. I think it’s fair to expect that an appliance costing that much should not break down within 32 months and need a ridiculously expensive repair.

    It may be that you are entitled to a free repair. You could consider asking AO to pay for the repair instead of giving you money for a refund . However, you might have lost all confidence in the appliance now. The retailer is entitled to offer a depreciated refund. However, any money knocked off should be fair. The normal method would be to try and decide how long an appliance should normally last on average. So for example the average age of modern washing machine is reportedly only around 7 years. Therefore if one had lasted 3 1/2 years it has lasted on average about 50% of its expected lifespan.

    I would expect a Rangemaster costing £2,370 should surely last about 20 years? Not necessarily without ever breaking down but not so soon and needing such high cost repair. If that is the case, and I can’t guarantee it is, then the figure they have quoted you appears to be based on an assumption that it is lasted about half its expected lifespan. I would strongly dispute that because it should last more like 20 years.

    If you check out this article ( Out of guarantee even by a long time doesn’t always mean you should pay) you can see that Which? Advised one of their members who had purchased an-expensive coffee machine but it had only lasted 30 months that they should be entitled to expect it to have lasted more than 30 months and were entitled to a free repair. So I would think it reasonable to assume that with the amazing amount of money your appliance cost they would advise exactly the same.

    If you are by any chance Which? member, get in touch with them. If not you should try somewhere like Consumer rights UK.gov.

    As I am a Which? affiliate and also a member I do promote them a lot. I would recommend becoming a member if you aren’t already – Why subscribe to Which?

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