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Aust Consumer Law for white goods - what is a reasonable period?

I have a Bosch dishwasher which was bought in June 2016. During the two year warranty period, we had to have the front control panel replaced twice. Now the water flow sensor has gone (Error code E14). This will require a repair visit costing $120 for the call-out and who knows how much for a new flow sensor.

Is it reasonable to expect this to be replaced under ACL, even though the warranty has ‘expired’?

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Good question @Obviousman. In terms of the law, it’s hard to pin down a definitive answer as they may look at surrounding circumstances - what the machine was used for, and so on. However, this should give you some general guidance. In short, you should get minimum five years out of your dishwasher, and you can challenge the company to repaor or replace the machine under the ACL. If you’re already running up against a brick wall in this department, we can help advise you on your rights and the complaint escalation process.

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Many thanks. Since I am in a regional area, I intend to pay the service charge (a third party / authorised service group) and then seek refund from Bosch under ACL; is this a reasonable course of action? I don’t want to inconvenience a service agent because of my dispute with Bosch.

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I would try and resolve the matter with Bosch before engaging your own service agent…otherwise it may be very difficult to get you money back. Seeking refund from Bosch is also prempting the resolution that Bosch may otherwise provide under the ACL. They may also assume that you have taken ownership of the problem.

Often companies use particular service agents to carry out warranty claims…I suspect that they tender for the warranty work to minimise a companies costs for warranty claims.

Also write to Bosch and explain the problem…it appears that the electronics have plagued you a number times since the dishwasher was purchased which may indicate there is a part/manufacturing quality issue with fhe dishwasher. There are template letters on the Choice and ACCC websites.

Also so some homework to see if this is a common fault with the model, as this can be used to support your warranty claim that the fault shouldn’t have happened in the time frame since purchsse…a common fault may indicate it is a quality or design issue.

If Bosch don’t come to the party, as a second steo it may be worth seeing if they will provide parts under warranty and that you will pay for the labour.

Good luck and keep us in the loop on how you go.

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It may be advisable to contact Bosch ASAP re the E14 error and to state your position. They may in good faith agree to repair as you require. If not you still have the ability to get the local service agent to do so at your expense and follow through as @BrendanMays is indicating.

Failure to give a manufacturer the option to provide the repair may make any subsequent claim more complex to pursue?

Bosch have been one of the more reliable manufacturers.

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I think that from @Obviousman’s post that in fact this is an Authorised Bosch Repair service and is probably the service that Bosch has contacted or offered to service the fault. So using them will not endanger the ACL rights to seek reimbursement from Bosch of the costs incurred by @Obviousman. Contacting Bosch first might in this case just save spending any money upfront or having to argue with Bosch after the event for that reimbursement if they are resistant to the demand.

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Thanks for all the feedback. Yes, the repair was booked via Bosch & I am contacting them today to request it be covered under warranty / ACL. It seems that the flow rate sensor is a known problem - with various models if not mine - as people always are referring to the “…dreaded ‘check water’ light…”; that’s a symptom of the flow rate sensor failing, which is the error code E14.

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Here is a link to the post I did on 18.07.2018 regarding our experience with repairs to our Bosch front loader, which might be useful for you.

I did pre-empt things by referring to the ACL in my original communication with them.

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I just got off the phone with Bosch. At first they said the warranty had expired but when I mentioned ACL, a reasonable expectation of product life and the other reported issues that I found on the internet, they agreed to cover the repair under ACL.

Thank you Bosch, thank you Choice, and thank you Choice community members!

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Very happy to hear you won’t be out of pocket and that Bosch are doing it without expectation of you first outlaying money to be reimbursed later.

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Well done and a great result. It’s however a shame you had to mention the ACL to get it done under warranty as a defect.

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Sadly the story does not end here. A week or so after the repair, the problem re-appeared (though intermittently with the ‘Check Water’ light only). I contacted Bosch and they said it should be repaired under a parts warranty. The people who did the repair said if it wasn’t the flow sensor then it was another part (heater?). I asked for the issue to be fixed but Bosch refuse to pay for the repair and the repairers want money.

I’m just going to dump both of them, get a repairer I trust to do the job, and never buy a Bosch product again.

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My $450 dishwasher just fritzed itself. It’s 4 years old - Dishlex - base model - has done marvelously up until the point where it died. Thankfully it died after completing the load :slight_smile:

The current model is available locally for $550 or so.

Local agent/repairer quotes ~$120 plus parts which includes 45 minutes labour - warranty on fix is three months - parts cost unknown but $100-$200 indicative from research and likely a little more labour also.

So maybe $300-$350 for a fix, 3 months warranty - or $550 for a new one, 2 years warranty.

I hate this throw away society, but …

Interestingly, Dishlex can cover with extended warranty at time of purchase - different to Gerry’s option, this is a factory extension - just shy of $200 extra but extends to 5 years. Funnily enough I’m not sure I’d do it even now.

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While they are refusing to fix it, it is still possible for you to lodge a Fair Trading or an Administrative Appeals Tribunal complaint against Bosch. You if are a member of CHOICE you could make contact via the CHOICE Help service for guidance about where you can seek an appeal or review and for templates of letters of complaint.

Even if you do have it repaired at your cost you can still possibly recover the costs and even some compensation for costs incurred by taking further Appeal processes. This may more particularly apply because they will not undertake timely repairs of the fault. ACCC on the ACL has this to say about this situation

"If the business fails to give you a free repair within a reasonable time or cannot fix your problem, you can:

get it done elsewhere and pass on the costs to the business
ask for a replacement
ask for a refund
recover compensation for the drop in value below the price paid".

You can also submit a complaint to the ACCC about your issue with Bosch at:

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@grahroll has provided some good advice.

A couple of questions…

  1. It is exactly the same error or a new one?

  2. who identified the issue and recommended the repair what didn’t work?

If it was Bosch, it seems unusual that they would not come to tbe party since the first attempted fix was under a ‘parts warranty’, one would impgine that the second one should do as well. Not doing so would give good ground to take the matter further.

If it was the repairing agent, then I would not be paying their bill especially if it was indicated that they would repair the appliance. If they got the diagnosis wrong, then that it not your fault. I would in such cases say this to them and that you will only pay the first service labour costs if they return and repair the appliance such that it is in good working order. This approach is supported under the Australian Consumer Law where " a service must be fit for the purpose or give the results that you and the business had agreed to". If they provided a service (repair) that didn’t work,then you should not be responsible for the costs of such a repair. It is unacceptable if they try to force you to pay for failed/wrong repair work.

I would be going back to Bosch and saying that under the Australian Consumer Law you have a right to have the defect with the appliance repaired under warranty, especially when they have indicated that the appliance was still subject to a parts warranty. Indicate if they do not honour their parts warranty commitment, you will be taking the matter further. Also say that Choice/Australian Consumer Association has been advised of the problem and are interested it the outcome.

Also contact the service agent and say under the Australian Consumer Law, you are not responsible for their defective appliance repair. Indicate that you will not be paying the labour costs for a repair which did not work. If Bosch indicate they will provide the heating element under parts warranty, indicate to the service agent that when this is fixed, you will only pay for the heater fitment if this results in the appliance working and returning to a condition which is fit for purpose.

It may be best to also put the above contacts in writing so that in the future there is not dispute in what was said or agreed…and also as a record should it need to be taken further.

BTW we had a experience with our Bosch dishwasher where the service agent damaged the control board when doing a repair and tried to make us pay for both repairs. We refused for the damage the service agent caused and also refused to pay for the part. After some haggling, we ended up with a repaired dishwasher.

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The symptoms are exactly the same as before. Talking to the repair agent, they say that if replacing the flow sensor didn’t fix it then typically another part needs to be replaced (IIRC, a heater?). Online research suggests it could be something caught in the impeller pump but the service person didn’t check that AFAIK.

I contacted Bosch who said to claim under the repairer’s parts warranty (the flow sensor). The repairer said as per the first paragraph. I asked them to contact Bosch and get it fixed under warranty, as the original issue was not satisfactorily resolved but the repairers rang back and said Bosch wouldn’t cover it.

I suppose I should contact Bosch directly, as when the original repair was done they tried to charge me. I told them it was a Bosch warranty job but they said they had no record of it. I had to ring Bosch whilst the service person was there and they at first said it was not a warranty claim but then found the conversation where they would carry out the repair. They said they sent two email conformations to the repair company.

Online research suggests the repair company doesn’t have the greatest of reputations, so I don’t know who I am being screwed by.

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Ah if you have not contacted Bosch yet that should be your first action. If the result is as the repairer advised then you can take the steps advised above. If the repairer has given misleading information then Bosch needs to ensure you get it fixed as per their requirement under ACL. It maybe just a grab for money by the repairer to increase their profit from this problem or maybe it could be that they failed to resolve the initial issue when they first said they had repaired it and are not willing to admit it as it will be at their expense to make it good.

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