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planned obsolescence January 8, 2009

Posted by saltcastings in All-purpose.
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Our three-year-old GE washing machine [WSXH208A] went kaput this week.  Well, not totally.  When I cracked the case I quickly saw both stabilizers had snapped.   The stabilizers are built just like a shock on a car to hold the drum in place while it spins.  Fortunately both were easy to get at so I figured an easy repair.  Called two places trying to track down parts and both responded the same way:

“Yep, about three years, that’s when these things typically break.”

If Rancho can make a shock for a truck that lasts for nearly 100k miles, why the heck are companies like GE using parts that are pretty much “scheduled” to break just outside the warranty timeline?  The answer, it turns out, came to me from a GE customer service rep today. 

After installing the replacement shocks last night, I was still having a problem getting the drum to rotate, so I called the company today to talk to someone about troubleshooting.  Turns out I can order parts directly from the company, but if you have any sort of technical or operational question, they will only help arrange a service call to your home via their network of local contractors.  The rep said they had no staff and no knowledge base to respond to technical inquiries of any sort.  So if you have a question about their product, you have to pay them for the answer.  Planned obsolescence.  Lovely business model.  For them.

The dryer that we bought at the same time has also been nothing but a headache.  The possibility of me buying future GE appliances = zero.

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