CHOICE membership

Lousy Westinghouse fridge

Fridge was bought, probably on Choice recommendation, in April 2015. Water has been pouring out of the bottom of the fridge. I phoned Westinghouse who were not interested and said it was out of guarantee and I’d have to have one of their workers coming out at the cost of $145 plus parts. Instead I called a local man who replaced the faulty fan - cost $330.

Surely a fridge (cost $1682) should last longer than 4 plus a bit years??? How can I name and shame Westinghouse (who now seem to be Electrolux)?

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How did replacing a faulty fan cure the “water pouring out” problem???

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I’ll not go into naming and shaming as your report has enshrined your experience.

Although they fobbed you off successfully since you paid for the repair, in spite of what you were told the Australian Consumer Law may apply and your fridge fixed under the ACL. That has been referenced many times on the forum in many circumstances so I’ll just add a link here. Please read through it, especially the parts about consumer guarantees.

https://consumerlaw.gov.au/consumers-and-acl

You might be able to reclaim your costs if you dispassionately present your case using a formal 'Letter of Complaint" (templates are linked to the above pages) citing claims of quality, reliability, and so on as your ‘argumentary evidence’.

Choice has reliability information (member content) you might find interesting or at least surprising.

I’ll note your fridge is lasting longer than 4 and a bit years, it just needed a fairly minor repair, although nothing is cheap to repair these days, so keep some perspective as you decide how to move ahead with the ACL, or just move on.

Please let us know how you go.

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FWIW a mate recently had a similar sounding problem with his 24 year old fridge. The fan failed and water was condensing and pooling at the bottom, and out it ran but in a dribble rather than a ‘pour’. There was no doubt it was well outside the ACL’s cover :wink:

In spite of everyone telling him to buy a new fridge since throwing money into a 24 year old fridge seems a bad punt, but he got it fixed so we know the resolution was as described. $350!

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The fan over the evaporation tray approach may also fail to keep up in particularly humid weather when evaporation doesn’t work as well and the rate of condensation inside also increases as does the rate of door opening as humans go for cold drinks.

Another mode of failure is the evaporation tray sitting on a hot spot over the motor or compressor. This is also supposed to get rid of water and it does work until in time the heat cooks the plastic tray and it leaks. Hopefully not into the motor.

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In almost all fridges this would be unlikely, as they are sealed units. However, the electrical connections may be an issue if not properly protected.

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Hi @pmslaytor,

Do you have a model number for the fridge?

If it is a known design issue or a regular problem reported by other fridge owners, it could be argued that there maybe a design/quality issue with the fan (and motor?). If this were the case, it may be possible to argue with Westinghouse that the issue experienced is common, appears to be a manufacturing issue (not wear and tear) and therefore should not be expected from a relatively new (4-5 year old) fridge. Thus it may be possible to argue that the fault should come under the Australian Consumer Guarantee.

Also check the user manual to see if there is any maintenance required of the evaporation fan unit, such as annual inspection to remove collected dust, mould, buildups etc. It may be that the fan failed through not meeting the maintenance requirements of the manufacturer. If this was the case, it will be very hard to argue that the fault should come under the Australian Consumer Guarantee.

If there is no history of similar faults or there are no maintenance requirements, then it could either be a wear and tear issue (good quality appliance colling/evaporation fans and their motors should last many years and possibly the expected life of the fridge) or a fault with the fan fitted in the fridge you bought. Such may provide an avenue to negotiate an outcome with Westinghouse such as they pay for the part while you play for the labour. Such offers may be accepted as they share the costs for an appliance which is out of manufacturer warranty but may still be under the Australian Consumer Guarantee. It may be worth trying.

Choice has in the past covered life expectations of some major household appliances. For fridges, Choice found…

Fridges

Cheaper to replace after 6–20 years

Life expectancy:
· Budget / entry level: 6 years
· Mid-range: 9 years
· High-end: 13 years

Your fridge would be possibly classed as mid-range and therefore last at least 9 years. It is worth noting, and as outlined above, that the evaporative fan problem you experienced would be considered a minor fault and not impact on the life of the fridge. One would however expect such a part to be very long lasting and not fail prematurely.

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The fridge is a “side by side”, model WSE7000WF and cost $1682. The manual was very poor - to start with, printed in pale grey on white. the only relevant item in “Troubleshooting” says “If water drips on the floor” "The defrost water tray, located at the back of underneath of the cabinet, may not be properly positioned or the drain tube may not be properly positioned to direct water into this tray. You may need to pull the refrigerator away from the wall to check the tray and tube:

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There were no instructions about cleaning the fan - only cleaning the inside walls. Pulling the refrigerator out for my husband (86) and myself(79) is much easier said than done - definitely a design fault.

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Here is a link to the electronic copy of the manual…

https://www.westinghouse.com.au/manuals/?m=WSE7000WF

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I am not aware I have ever seen that evaluated in a review. An interesting point since I struggle to move mine twice a year and just accepted ‘that is how it is’.

Fridges are heavy; how easy the rollers are to steer and feet to use seems like there should at least be a mention - looking at recent tests nothing about mobility or weight. The Choice buying guide references rollers and adjustable feet but not in evaluations.

Since one should clean under and behind a fridge more than once in its lifetime maybe the reviewers could at least categorise them as easy, normal, or difficult to jockey around? If they are all similarly difficult to move they are all similarly difficult and it could at least be noted; some should be easier than others within each size group, but are any?

The differences could be the caster wheels (bearings and quality - eg ease of ‘steering’ under weight), ease of access to their adjustments, and the instructions on how to properly level and move them.

As an example, mine goes frontwards and backwards comparatively easily - changing to move to the left and right is a struggle, and in our kitchen requires care not to run it into cabinetry.

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There’s an ‘Easy Roller Heavy Duty
Appliance Mover’ at Bunnings ($19.50)

I guess other big hardware stores would stock it too.

I remember my parents having one of those many years ago.

It might help?

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Getting an appliance on top of such rollers could be a problem, and depending on one’s cabinetry the extra height might be prohibitive. How about turning?

FWIW these rollers are available on ebay for, not $19.50, but only $54.35 shipping inclusive!

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It appears that you have bought a lemon going by the reviews for Westinghouse fridges in general and your model in particular.

You may wish to add your review to the lists of unhappy customers.

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Those are 40mm high, I think most cabinets would accomodate a clearance of 1 1/2 inches?

I remember that my father would lift the fridge a bit and someone else would slide the rollers under.

To get behind a fridge the only movement would need to be forward?

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Usually but not always. Cabinetry on the left and right and an island in front of the fridge space. Enough room to pull it out and then sideways, but not enough to just pull it out and comfortably be able to clean behind it. But I’ll allow those rollers could be the answer to most needs, although it seems they are best installed when the fridge is empty.

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An observation: As with many reviews on Productreview it is obvious many consumers are completely ignorant of their rights under the ACL, yet are savvy enough to post their gripes and experiences.

What manufacturer would advise them they have rights beyond the written warranties (that now include a reference to the ACL, but who reads that text and has a look?) so it is truly a jungle out there.

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On your advice, I did look at the ACL website - it has been designed by lawyers with a Machiavellian talent for confusing the punters! by the way, I did exaggerate slightly when I said water was pouring out from my fridge. In fact there was a considerable pool because the floor is light coloured and I did not see it until there was definitely more than a puddle!!! I am still waiting for a response from Westinghouse.

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There is often confusion over product models as well…it appears that the previous model WSE7000 may have had an issue with glues or internal insulation resulting in ‘oozing’ from the lower fridge after many years of service. There is avpost showing photos of the black ooze. It appears that some of the WSE7000 black ozze issues have slso appeared in the WSE7000WF reviews. I can’t substantiate if WSE7000WF has the same issues.

Productreview also tends to have a higher weighting of consumers with negative experiences, which tends to indicate it isn’t a product review website but a product criticism website. Often products which have been sold in 1000s, if not 10000s have a few (dozens) of critical reviews. It could be assumed that the remainder of owners which bought the same items either are happy with their purchase or don’t have any inclination to post a review on Productreview.

For Productreview to be useful, verification of a purchase and total number sold should be provided. If I look at negative reviews on this website, I tend to trust those with photos over others.

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Let us know how you get on and also if there is anything else you may need assistance with.

Hopefully Westinghouse offer at least to pay for the parts…which is a win of sorts.

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