We purchased a Hisense 7.5kg washing machine online from Harvey Norman on the 1st of December last year, picking it up from the local store in Hobart. Apparently it comes with a 3 year warranty. It’s only been a couple of months since we’ve had the thing though and last week it stopped mid cycle and started beeping constantly with an error number, of E3 which according to the manual means there’s a blockage. We checked and couldn’t find anything blocked in the hose, but because of this error we couldn’t open the door to get our half washed washing out of the thing. Even using the safety lock override button sequence didn’t work. All we could do was to keep restarting the cycle and hoping for the best. After about an hour it finally caved in to itself and decided it wasn’t blocked after all and we managed to get the cycle completed so we could rescue our clothes. Since then it hasn’t come up with any more error messages but it has begun making sounds that I can only describe as a very loud, sad howling puppy whenever the thing is spinning slowly, which happens a lot during the cycle. Apparently it has something to do with helping to balance the load.
So this morning I called Harvey Norman Hobart to enquire about getting it looked at under warranty, and the best they could do was tell me to get in contact with Hisense myself. They couldn’t even get the phone number for me and I had to google it. I then called Hisense and was put through to a man with a very heavy American accent who had trouble understanding my Aussie accent. After explaining the same problem to him half a dozen times or so he decided we needed to give him the serial number, which he said should be on the back or the side of the washing machine near a barcode. We found a barcode but nothing that said serial number. He said it would probably start with a H… no problem, there was a H number… except it ended up being the model number of the machine instead of the serial number. The only other number was the barcode number which his computer told him wasn’t a valid serial number. He then kept insisting that we give him the serial number that we kept telling him wasn’t there and no matter how many times we told him that there were no other numbers to give him, he’d simply state over and over that we need to locate the serial number near the barcode and give it to him. Eventually frustration took over and I asked him if he was stupid because no matter how many times he was going to ask for another number, we were going to keep telling him that there were no other numbers to be seen. He ended up telling us to photograph the barcode sticker with all the numbers on it, which didn’t make any difference because we’d already given him every single letter and number that was on the thing, but he was still insisting that we look again for the number as if it was going to magically appear from no-where. It got to the stage where I was swearing in frustration at him for not taking any notice of what we were telling him and said I’d like to speak to someone who knows what they’re doing, so he decided he no longer needed to deal with our problem and hung up.
So how the heck are we supposed to get anything fixed under warranty when the place we purchased it from insists that we have to deal directly with the manufacturer, and the manufacturer insists on being given a non-existent serial number before they’ll even attempt to log a repair call out?
What can we do next to invoke our consumer rights on this matter?