CHOICE membership

Areas that Choice don't test!

We have two Asco appliances (dishwasher and washing machine) and intended to make our new kitchen an all Asco kitchen with new ovens, cooktop, exhaust fan and refrigerator.

After our little fiasco in the week before Christmas that supplier won’t even make it onto the list of possible suppliers. Our dishwasher (just over 6 years old) decided to keep the door locked - the latch had failed. We rang Asco to find out how to get the door open - “sorry we don’t have anyone here who can help you. You will need a service agent”. “Ok please send one!” “Sorry they are all booked up and could possibly get there second week of January 2001”. By this time I was not a happy camper so decided to try and fix it myself. (As I had to do with the Asco washing machine when a valve died at 4 years old). I removed the door and found the problem and phoned to order the part (black plastic lever notorious for breaking) only to be told they don’t supply counter sales and I would have to wait for a week for a courier delivery. In my diplomatic, quiet way, (bullshit) I asked to speak to the manager and things started to move. They were supposed to ring me to let me know when I could pick it up. My partner had to ring them mid afternoon the next day and collected it. Machine was back in action that night.

Now I know this is a long explanation but it highlights a problem that Choice needs to address. It’s OK to say which is the best performing appliance, but some idea of reliablity and customer service (or lack thereof) would be a big help in deciding which brand to buy. I am sure if you asked your members you would get a very accurate description of how well an item lasts and in the event of a failure, the companies attitude in sorting it out. Asko fail in both departments and I will never ever buy another Asco product.

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The first dishwasher we ever bought was when we were living in our first home and it was an Asko.

I hated the piece-of-junk and would not touch another Asko product with a barge pole.

My 3 choices for major appliances are Bosch, Bosch and Bosch and we have had great customer service from them. We just replaced our piece-of junk SMEG dishwasher with a new Bosch one last week.

As for disgusting customer service, or the lack thereof, try dealing with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

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Choice do this in the form of the Choice Best Brand scores. In these, Choice surveys device owners to get information on the reliability and customer support of appliances, which is something that cannot be tested in a lab.

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Welcome to the community @Curly

That has been broached over time. The basic issue is how to do it.

Beyond surveys Choice also has ‘member comments’ for products tested, and many of the comments for well tested products are not flattering while noting many are old, some products never get any member reviews, and there is no way to reliably and consistently engage users to post their own experiences. The routine surveys are unfortunately as good as it gets, and as @tpeter267 added,

If you have a suggestion in how this could be done better, please add it to your topic as Choice is always looking to improve its own ‘product’, eg consumer information.

Some other sites are actually collections of anecdotal opinions than reviews that withstand scrutiny as ‘research’ or ‘comparative tests’, and Choice is thus differentiated by its rigour, and prizes its reputation.

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I’ve responded a number of times. Not sure if 2019 is the latest. Probably due for another one soon?

We tend to stick to the better known brands, using the survey results, Choice product guides and reviews. Many critical home appliances (aka fridges, ovens dishwashers, washing machines …) of high value need to function well and match our needs. Not all needs are the same.

As a consequence we’ve never had a home perfect one brand style co-ordinated kitchen. The older small Westinghouse fridge does occasional duty for special occasions. The Electrolux ‘upside down’ is now 10 years happy. The Westinghouse gas standalone range is approaching 25, and the F&P 5.5kg top load does the job for now is also more than 12yo. The Miele DW is a youthful 5yo and is good as new inside.

Choice has steered our more purchases of reverse cycle air conditioning. The best outcomes from the five brands and models we have owned over the past 30 years.

If we had a grumble, it’s been the bigger purchases for around the home where there are gaps. Whether it’s realistic to expect Choice to ever dip their toe in on these categories is always open. The Community is always a great option to ask for ideas or feedback. Need a larger ride on mower for the back yard, a 6’ slasher for the horse paddock, a constant pressure pump and potable water treatment system for the home because you are off the water grid, or a composting toilet because you are also off the poo grid. Some of these have been covered which shows the diversity of the community.

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One has to also remember that not all appliances from every brand fail within the lifetime expectation of the consumer. Failures are less common that one may think, but they exist and are often what information to communicated to others (we rarely say to friends that our dishwasher has been trouble free for 10 years, but if it breaks down then we tend to tell everyone or post a critical review online).

Choice has found from their member surveys that most products/brands have a relatively high reliability rate (not many failures compared to those which don’t). When an appliance/device/product has a problem before the end of life expectation of the consumer, consumer then find out what after sale support and spare parts availability are like (noting that the older the product, the less likelihood spares will be readily available). The after sales support is captured also by Choice surveys in the customer satisfaction/recommended ratio. Those with poor after sales service generally score poorly in these areas.

Notwithstanding this, the other challenge which any data collection faces is that many consumer replace their devices and appliances before the expected end of life is reached. This is often to keep up with the latest models (to ‘keep up with the Joneses’), to meet changes in use (say a family gets larger and needs a larger washing machine) or because a new model has a feature which is highly desired (TV which is smart to allow playing of a specific streamed service).

The worst time of year to have any problems with appliances is late December through to early January. Businesses which provide parts and repairs go into skeleton mode or shut down during that period, as there is an expectation like many employees in other businesses, that they can have time off to have a holiday and/or spend time with families. Having a problem at this time of year can result in tardy service and repairs. It is just the nature of that time of year…when many of us expect things to happen yesterday.

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