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Hisense Australia warranty support, completely useless customer service phone staff

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?

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Might be worth a trip to Harvey Norman and ask them to show you where the serial number is on one they have on the sales floor - which is most likely exactly where you found your serial number (but just in case there is a really screwy serial number location), explain to them that in trying to get service that number didn’t work, and ask them to resolve the issue. Maybe take a photo/printout of the serial number you found. If the counter-hopper can’t help, escalate.

Ultimately Fair Trading are the people who can help, but personally I’d be off to the store first …

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We have an out of warranty model in our backyard which died about a year after the 3 year warranty period expired. It has the same model number but is noticeably and visibly different on the back, so I’m assuming the one we have now is an upgraded version of the same model. On our old one there is a metal plate on the back of it which has various details and an extra barcode sticker with a different H number on it. I’m presuming that’s the serial number for that one. Looking at our new machine the spot where the metal plate goes doesn’t actually have a metal plate attached to the thing. I’ve sent Hisense the following message:

I wish to register a formal complaint concerning your customer service team. We purchased a 7.5kg washing machine from Harvey Norman on the 1st of December 2017 and it has since begun making noises that can only be described as a constant sad howling puppy when the unit is spinning slowly. It also put out an e3 error last week, which apparently means there’s a blockage, which we couldn’t figure out where or how this had occured. While it was constantly beeping and e3ing us, we couldn’t get our half washed clothes out as the lock symbol was on and using the lock override button sequence didn’t help. The best we could do was to keep restarting the cycle which would then beep another e3 at us after a few minutes of the initial drainage process. After an hour it eventually decided it wasn’t blocked and we got a full cycle out of it. We still are getting full cycles but now with the horrible loud whining puppy howl. The reason for our complaint today is because when we called your customer service team after Harvey Norman stated we’d have to deal with the problem through you, we ended up with a man who had a thick American accent who had troubles understanding my Australian accent. He also kept insisting that we give him the serial number, which he said should be near a barcode on the back or side of the machine. There was one barcode and one barcode only on the thing and none of the numbers were what he wanted, yet he kept insisting that we look again and again and again and no matter how many times we told him there were no other numbers or barcodes to be found anywhere on the outside of the machine he’d tell us to look again and again to the point where frustration got the better of me and I ended up shouting at him to put me in charge with someone who knows what they’re doing, which did involve a few swear words, again out of the pure frustration of this person completely ignoring everything I was telling him and insisting I look again no matter how many times he was told that there was no other numbers to look at. He then terminated the call and we’re stuck with a washing machine that’s having issues and no way to invoke our warranty because someone at your factory neglected to put the serial number sticker on the thing. So how are we going to get this fixed under warranty??? Please ensure that I don’t end up speaking to the American I had to deal with before because he seriously needs to pay attention to what people are saying to them and not insist that we tell him something over and over and over that we’ve repeatedly told him does not exist!!! We purchased the washing machine from a reputable outlet under the understanding that it has a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty, and because someone neglected to place the serial number on the thing before it left the factory, we’re now stuck with a faulty machine and apparently no way to invoke the warranty. This is simply not good enough and the matter will be taken to the relevant consumer affairs body if a solution to our problem is not found by your company. Under Australian Consumer Law this must be dealt with under warranty and can not be ignored simply because you neglected to put the serial number on the outside of the product.

So we’ll see what happens from there.

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Hi @NubglummerySnr,

Under the Australian Consumer Law, Harvey Norman can’t refuse to help you or claim that you need to go through the manufacturer or importer. As suggested, if you’re finding it difficult to get in contact with Hisense, you might need to speak to the manager or another staff member at Harvey Norman and to make it clear that you escalate the complaint with them unless they can rectify the issue. Good luck getting it sorted.

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Vince, While ‘enjoying’ the system, check for a sticker in the door area. Many if not most or all washing machines seem to have the model & serial there. My LG has one there but the door needs to be wide open to notice it since it is by the hinge.

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Yep, that’s where it is alright. Absolutely nowhere near the side or the back of the machine which is where the Hisense bloke kept insisting we look again and again in the off chance it magically appeared out of thin air the 17th time. Might have to escalate it with Harvey Norman though seeing as it’s their responsibility to sort it out and not just palm it off to me to do the work for them. Thanks everyone. I’ll keep you posted.

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That’s correct. This is from the ACCC website: ‘The seller also must not refuse to deal with a customer about the returned good and tell them to deal with the manufacturer instead.’.

If Harvey Norman still says that you must go to the manufacturer, let them know clearly the above sentence and say it is their responsibility to resolve. If you can, it might even be worth printing out that part of the ACCC webpage to make sure they know what their responsibilities as the seller are.

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You might also drop a few words about HN’s illustrious history in this area.

Some HN franchisees (and HN corporate) are truly slow learners that you were fobbed off!

I neglected to mention since you bought it online, HN Online is a different business than the franchisees! But good news regardless.

You may also contact or attend the Harvey Norman Store where you collected your goods, or where your goods were despatched from, and a Harvey Norman staff member will assist you with any return or repair. This may include inspecting the goods, arranging for the goods to be sent for repair, or providing you with a replacement.

You would have thought HN Online would have long ago communicated this to their franchisees, but apparently not.

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What about on the HN invoice? Did they record the serial number?

No chance you’ve still got the box is there? The serial number is on the outside of the box too.

Edit: since read that the s/n was found. :slight_smile:

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Just for purposes of elimination, have you checked that there isn’t a puppy in there? It would certainly explain the constant howling and sadness :wink:

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When recently shopping for a new machine I was interested in purchasing either LG or Samsung as they cater for large capacities. What put me off these brands was when I called their customer service with a couple of questions. I ended up buying an AEG, who have a customer service in Australia.

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The power of social media comes to the rescue.

The machine stopped whining for a while so we forgot about it until the wailing puppies returned last week. So I posted on Harvey Norman’s Facebook page to complain about being palmed off to the manufacturer and how they’d already copped multiple fines for this illegal practice and other bits of info about how we didn’t get any help from the manufacturer anyway. Their social media team quickly got onto it and then contacted the local store for us who then called us to say we’ll be getting a brand new machine with better specs delivered tomorrow sometime and they’ll be taking the offending one away at the same time.

So we’ll see how we get on with that then. Happy to have a fix, but having to get the run around by floor staff before getting a fix because you’ve got something to gripe to the social media team about is a bit of a convoluted way to get the service you’re entitled to.

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Great work @NubglummerySnr, and thanks for sharing the result. It’s a good case study for other consumers in how to use social media to get a refund.

Hope the new machine does the trick!

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Well, we now have our replaced and upgraded machine. It’s so quiet we had to check a few times to see if it was actually on or not. Interestingly enough, when I checked the Harvey Norman customer reviews for the new washer after finding out what we would be getting, just about all of them had a mention of how quiet the machine is, yet there was one lone reviewer who was complaining how noisy the thing was. All I can think is that they were trying to wash some bricks in the thing, because it’s the quietest washing machine we’ve ever owned. The only downside we’ve had is that if we have the new washer, the dryer and the kettle on at the same time we trip a fuse switch, so it must be using a bit more power than the old one did. Otherwise, it washes well.

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I wish I’d read this 7 months ago! Harvey Norman insisted, that I was required to speak to Hisense by phone. I did so. They demanded pictures of the damaged fridge (entirely fair) and when I sent 20 pictures by mail, Hisense claimed they were lost. I sent more but at a registered mail cost. Over 8 weeks later they approve a refund but Harvey Norman exculpate themselves saying they’re ignorant of the situation. Eventually they claimed they’d “attempt to honour the transaction or return but that Harvey Norman requires the purchaser to remove the fridge out of the house and into the garden because their delivery drivers won’t collect large items like fridges.” They demanded I not only find a “large Maori or Samoan” but that I would need to pay for the removal. Another 3 weeks goes by and mysteriously they agree to collecting it and paying for its removal. They end up marking the floor to which the unnamed delivery driver and collection officer says: “I don’t have fu**ing all day to look at non-existent marks from house wives.” NEVER AGAIN!

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That’s a shocking experience @purofilion. Did you manage to remove the mark?

In any case, that treatment is unacceptable and I’d encourage you to make a complaint to their head office with your delivery details so they can track down the delivery people. It’s not nice to think there are people behaving that way in someone else’s home.

Here are their contact details:
www.harveynorman.com.au/customer

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Indeed I didn’t. Thank you for your response and suggestions. I’ll definitely do this as I’ve stored the delivery people’s names and number in the phone so I should start there. Thank you!

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Service is very poor for Hisense
I brought a fridge from this company the door article holder has broken so hard to get help from them .I started 2 months ago .They hang up on you I am sitting on the ph 1st I chose call back which never came .Now I’m ringing back again .Then they don’t accept outlook emails and last week I tried to ring twice and they had technical difficulties just don’t buy the products not good service

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Welcome to the Community @Dawn,

Sorry to hear about your bad experience, but as the existing topic about Hisense shows you are not alone.

I suggest you read about your rights under the Australian Consumer Law and write a formal ‘letter of complaint’ and deliver it to the retailer you purchased the fridge from, who has responsibility for your warranty, in a manner you can get a receipt for it (eg an email received works, hand delivered and logged or signed for).

Most companies will respond crisply when one goes formal, You can find out about the ACL, your rights, and writing letters of complaint by searchig the Community (use the Community search function, not your browser’s or google).

Please let us now if you need more advice on the ACL/letter of complaint, and please post back how you go getting your fridge repaired.

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How did it break?

If it broke through something that you did (overloading, trying to squeeze to much on the shelf, dropped something on the shelf, dropped it when cleaning etc), it will could be classed as misuse under the ACL and therefore the Australian Consumer Guarantee won’t apply. If it broke due to say a manufacturing fault (e.g. it had a crack in it when it arrived and later broke or due to change in the temperature in the fridge, the holder broke), then this will be covered under the ACL.

If you need to buy a replacement part, there are many online appliance spare parts business which may stock the part in question. These are likely to significantly cheaper than buying the part from the manufacturer and it is possible that you will also get it sooner. If you know the fridge model number (which can open be seen when the door is open, then finding spares can be easier to do to ensure you get the right one).