I will try to keep this as brief as possible. We unfortunately had our Nilfisk GM200 vacuum cleaner die last year after thirty years of service and braced ourselves for the consumer lottery of finding a replacement. I read the Choice reviews on vacuum cleaners and opted for a Miele Complete C3 Family All-Rounder which we bought online from Betta Electrical for $599 plus the $79 Back-up Repair Plan for a total of $616. We have owned a Miele H5240BP wall oven for 13 years and found it to be a quality product and hoped the vacuum cleaner would be an equally good buy. We deliberately chose the C3 over a C1 machine because the C3 is still made in Germany (the C1 is made in China).
My major issue is that the design of the dust compartment lid and bag holder can lead to catastrophic dust contamination in the machine itself.
Before using the machine for the first time we duly read the manual, fitted the bags/filters correctly and observed Miele’s recommendations in every respect. We vacuumed the house for a short period, stopped the machine and checked the dust compartment as the red ‘full’ indicator had flicked on and off. Another twenty minutes or so vacuuming and then the red indicator came on and stayed on. We stopped the machine, opened the dust compartment lid and were horrified to find that it was completely choked with debris as were both the internal and exhaust filters.
The bag was found to have dislodged from its holder, everything hoovered up had been sucked directly into the machine and bypassed the bag itself. What I discovered is that every time the dust compartment lid is opened the bag is unseated from the holder by the intake port on the lid. It is very hard to detect this visually and despite Miele’s assertion that “A safety device prevents the lid closing without a dust bag in place” it will close with the bag dislodged…
I then went through a world of pain trying to find a “Service Partner” in the Hobart region after reporting the issue, there are only two listed by Miele, one was so incompetent that they nearly broke the bag holder trying to force it into a position that Miele itself warns against: Don't Do This To Your Miele Vacuum Cleaner - Vacuum Warehouse - YouTube
After months of phone calls to Miele and the service agent Miele agreed to pay the agent to do a complete clean of the machine ex gratia. The machine was duly picked up and finally we were able to do a proper clean of the house.
All good it would seem. A short vacuum of the living room and the compartment lid was opened just to check everything was operating correctly and again dust and debris was present! The (new, genuine) bag had been inserted correctly and clicked into place but after further careful investigation I discovered that the seal on the dust bag (soft rubber membrane) was visible below the intake tube.
The photo is blurry but the white lip of the seal can be seen in the centre of the image. I was a technician at Utas before retiring a couple of years ago and being technically-minded I checked the aperture and intake tube with a digital vernier caliper and steel rule and discovered that on the high side of the intake tube it has an increment of error of 3mm. In layman’s terms that mean that the difference between the tube inserting correctly or incorrectly into the seal is miniscule. The consequence of this is that the incoming debris from the vacuum hose bypasses the bag and instead enters the dust chamber. After a bit of fiddling around I was able to manually seat the seal properly, clean the compartment out (again) and finish vacuuming.
I mentioned the woes with our C3 to a friend visiting from Sydney recently and she was full of interest as she had had the same model and after repeatedly choking it with dust had given it away and bought a Dyson. I have read other reviews online with buyers experiencing the same issues, I think it has probably occurred with countless owners both here and overseas. The service agent here in Hobart that serviced the machine and was quite rude towards me told me that “Miele have designed the machine for the consumer so that the the bag is dislodged when the lid is opned in order to facilitate removal of the bag for replacement” I asked him whether any other machines in the store from any other manufacturer had this “feature” and he replied in a somewhat embarrassed tone “errm, no”. They have since ceased trading.
My final word? Here’s a hypothetical: I have vehicle whose dipstick is pulled out of its tube (just marginally so it’s difficult to discern) every time you lift the bonnet. This is apparently to make it easier for you to check the oil. The vehicle manufacturer doesn’t tell you this anywhere in the manual that comes with the car. You close the bonnet and drive away only to notice that the oil light has come on. You pull over and discover that oil has spewed from the dipstick tube all over the engine compartment, sound familiar? I think Miele have designed this machine with a design flaw and have papered over it by placing the onus on the consumer. The C3 range of vacuums have dropped in price in a little over a year to below $499 and their range has reduced internationally from nine models to just two in Australia… Caveat emptor my friends.