July 22, 2009

Dirty Wash

What's worse than waiting four weeks to get a washing machine fixed? Spending hours on hold with the same 30 seconds of music cycling over and over and over.

Let's start with the nitty gritty. For christmas we bought an LG washer-dryer unit, a fancy one that saves on space, saves on water and was being sold at a great price because the economic downturn had hit hard on luxury items such as Lexus 4WDs, Time Share packages on the Gold Coast and washing machines. One of the selling points is a ten year warranty on the motor, and a 2 year extended warranty on the rest.

Now we know why the warranty is so long, because you use up most of your warranty waiting for the repairs to happen.

The day before my wife is heading off for a 6 week film job the machine start spewing smoke into the room. Time to call LG and get it fixed, hopefully in the next day so she can do a load of laundry.

What should have been a quick call to start the process turned into a nightmare. The pleasant and helpful girl on the phone got almost everything right. She somehow managed to completely bugger up the name of the store where we bought the machine. It's difficult to fathom how she got it so wrong, it's not like she misspelled a part of the name but instead fed my words into a random word generator. The trouble is that LG decided the unit was bought second hand, as they had never heard of the retailer listed.

Of course they hadn't heard of it, the one they listed was completely fabricated!

It took a week to sort that one out. Mainly because the next level manager at the call centre failed to reply to calls. It had to go one more level up. So that's not just a week of waiting, that's a week of calling and being promised someone will call back today, tomorrow, etc. You know the drill.

So we now get booked in for a call-out. Not from LG though. That's important, LG don't service their own machine, it's outsourced to the nearest contractor. There are implications on this, as from here on the status of the repair is no longer tracked by LG. I was told that my guy would arrive between 9am and 5pm, which means any regular wage-earner has to take a day of annual leave to attend the call out. Hmmm, that makes it an expensive repair already and so far a week has already elapsed.

The dirty clothes are stacking up.

He arrived at 6pm. On a scale of 1 to 10 the efficiency of the call centre and the timing of the repair technician is rating a 2. It doesn't take long to ascertain the drum is buggered and it needs to go back to the workshop for repairs. But he doesn't do that, they have to book it in for a pick-up. Oh. So that's another day of annual leave that the poor suckers who buy this machine are expected to give up. This repair is getting very expensive indeed.

And here's the kicker. They wont do the pickup until *after* the new parts have arrived.

Two weeks go by, and no action. I finally call the LG centre again to ask what's going on. I give my reference number, get asked a bunch of random questions that lead me to believe they haven't actually typed in the reference number at all, and then get transfered to another second level operator. And that hold music is circling inside my head like a scythe wielding banshee, slashing at my sanity. How I hate that frigging tune, that 30 seconds of pseudo music that has come to symbolize the trauma of LG and their repair protocols.

I get a cheerful person on the line who just says "Hello how can I help you?" Oh no, do I have to repeat this entire conversation all over again? Does anybody actually use that reference number? Or is it just another product of their random word and number machine that spits out useless and non-related data to re-enter into their customer information systems?

And here's the fun part. LG don't know who is repairing my machine. They have no record of that.

In a few days time I'll be marking the fourth week without the washing machine. No minor inconvenience when you live without a car in a suburban neighbourhood where laundromats went out with the vinyl record. Our hideously expensive christmas present still sits in the laundry, quiet and useless.

I'm hoping this thing gets repaired before the extended warranty runs out. And if any of the boffins at LG are listening, please stop selling top-end white goods if you don't intend to deliver on the quality of the product or service them effectively.

LG Steam Washer / Dryer WD1248RD


yewenyi said...

Obviously it's been a while since I popped by here. Was there an outcome to the saga? (I sit here waiting for the repairer for my LG machine to arrive, but it broke last sunday after 7 years of service and I called on Monday to get it fixed.)

ewster said...

hey brian, my reply was slower than your question! it took 3 months in the end to get it back. and 6 months later the dryer component of the machine is no longer working. a rather expensive failure at this point.