CHOICE membership

Miele & other brands' Design Flaws

A long time CHOICE supporter sent us this image of the button strip on their seven year old Miele range hood - DA 3190. They claim they only use water or washing up detergent to clean the rangehood, no harsh chemicals or anything like that. Miele offered to replace the part for free, but said they would still charge a call out fee.

Has anyone else encountered this issue?

image

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In 2011 a Miele agent sold us a cooktop full well knowing it was to be installed in a Caesarstone countertop. On unpacking it, it was only then revealed that the model was not suitable to be flush mounted in a Caesarstone countertop but could be flush mounted in a range of other materials. No idea why, but.

Miele had a like-model, the only difference being it was a drop in not flush mount.

The brochures and online resources at the time did not state any of this, nor did the packaging, nor were any of the sales people we asked aware.

Miele tried to get a restocking fee from us because the box was opened! Reminder there was no warning regarding the unsuitability excepting in the installation instructions in the box. We had none of it and stood our ground. Miele, in their extreme arrogance, forced the selling agent to wear half the restocking fee while Miele wrote off their half of the restocking fee. The suitable model was delivered as a ‘once off courtesy’.

Fascinating how some companies operate.

Then a few years later I tried to get the halogen light out of my Qasair range hood. The fitting Would Not Move. I rang Qasair who admitted they had a manufacturing problem about the time we bought our range hood and explained how I might be able to free the fitting. It was a bit of a scarey process but I did get it lose. Qasair’s position was that despite it was a known manufacturing fault they would have charged a callout fee to attend. At least as or possibly more arrogant than Miele.

Since I got the fitting lose I did not press the ACL, but they seemed aware of the ACL and seemed to care less about their responsibility.

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Restocking fee… what a shocker. Glad to hear you didn’t let that slide :+1:

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So called name brand appliances are not immune to design flaws. I had an Ilve stainless steel gas cooktop that was quite expensive. It had:

  • painted (or decalled) position indicator marks for the knobs that were damaged within months and largely wore off in a few years,
  • a plastic indicator light that was raised above the SS surface, after a few years and a few dozen bumps with a pot it parted company,
  • a row of knobs down one side whose position bore no relationship to the position of the burner that they controlled nor any label to tell you,
  • air mixture adjustments on the burners that were not stable, so you would have correct mix one day and too rich or too lean next week,
  • one ignition electrode that was unstable and moved away from the burner so that it would not spark,
  • control knobs that as you turned them went from off to maximum and then gradually down to minimum, in the case of the smallest burners where you would put a pot to simmer or stay warm the minimum heat was too high.
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It seems like an almost universal design flaw that is very popular because it adds a $dollar or few profit to every unit, above doing it right. Our Miele cook top has similarly enamelled markers. A cleaner scratched the stainless with a scouring pad between the knobs and it is impossible to ‘buff’ them out without taking the enamel with it, so the scratches remain. Companies almost take pride is making products that attract visible cosmetic abuse.

Could be their contribution to comprehension tests to see if ‘you’ remember which knob goes to which burner from time to time. Forget too often and you get an email from your favourite smart speaker system (Siri, Cortana, or whomever) to get a checkup. :rofl:

Did the operational problems ever get sorted? Some read like shoddy assembly that could be corrected with a proper screwdriver, some lock washers, and some judicious bending of parts. The burners? Curious.

From recent reviews of Ilve cooktops it seems some things are entrenched in their product engineering.

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By myself to some degree. I tweaked the air mixture and locked down the adjustment sleeves the best I could and avoided the worst imbalances. The igniter got a little plastic sleeve under one side to slope it in a bit.

I live over the hills and far away so getting a house call or swap was going to be hard. In the end it came to the model just wasn’t good enough, getting another instance of it wouldn’t really do. Getting another model would probably require a new bench top and a huge argument about what was fit for purpose and who would pay - all at a distance.

I have picked a fight with manufacturers once or twice when I was sure I was in the right but it has never been worth it materially. In this case I judged that fighting the good fight was just not worth the effort given the chance of investing much and getting next to nothing was so high. I know that if nobody ever stands up to them it will get worse etc etc but my time and energy has a value too. So I endured for some years and then recently replaced it.

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Quite a few years ago we bought a top of the range, expensive (but good) ‘BeafEater’ BBQ where the same happened. The position markers (high, low, off) where only stencilled on and vanished after a few cleans but we didn’t do anything about it as for us it’s not an earth shattering problem. However, as Choice often points out, it’s not only the less expensive brands that have flaws.

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My Miele cooktop and oven both have some kind of transfer printing on the knobs, which is now earring off. Dunno how we manage tpwhen it’s totally gone. The oven also has round knobs which are super awkward to use. Fail on both counts.
My Asko rangehood has lost its poor quality transfer power guides on the buttons. We operate from memory.
My Morphy and Richards toaster has such poor temperature control that I inked in markings with a permanent marker.
Can’t believe the basic flaws in these exxy appliances.

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At last a story that is somewhat more positive. I have a Miele pigeon pair fridge/freezer and on the whole I am happy. A few months ago the handle came off in my hand. No quick fix, the bracket holding it on was broken having parted in the middle. The machine is out of warranty and I am in the country so I decided to fix it myself. The replacement handle was in stock, I could get one for $415 from the UK or the local Miele official spares for a tiny $217. As an interim solution I switched the handle from the freezer (they are the same) and sat down to think.

I got on to the Miele customer forum and complained that one does not expect the handle to break on an expensive fridge after a few years of normal use. I pointed out that it is a design flaw, the bracket is a cast non-ferrous alloy but the layout is such that each time the handle is pulled the bracket flexes. After a few thousand flexes it breaks. It is a flaw on two levels, the door is held shut by magnets not a physical catch, so all the handle has to do is push the door away from the frame far enough for the magnet to not hold, seems simple enough. However if you try to open the door when it was closed recently you are pulling against air pressure too. When the door is open warm air flows in, when it is shut that air cools and reduces the internal pressure, the normal air pressure on the outside pushes on the door (until it eventually equilibrates, which if your seals work well takes a while) but in the short term it takes quite a lot of force to open the door.

I noticed others had reported the same problem. I was contacted by Miele and after a little to and fro they mailed a replacement free. I installed it and was not out of pocket other than the inconvenience. So they did the right thing once they were told about the problem.

Some observations.

How can a plastic handle, a metal slide, a metal bracket and some screws be $217 (plus P&H)?

What happens when the two handles I have suffer the same fate in a few more years?

How can you charge so much and not test thoroughly? Hopefully the important bits like the motor/compresor have been tested.

They did not say anything on their public forum, they did not say if you have a problem with this model handle we will fix it. All the negotiations were behind the scenes by email. No public admissions were made. Remember: no hide, no Christmas box. If you don’t ask you don’t get.

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Because they know they can and people will pay. They may also know that it breaks often enough so is a good earner for them.

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Miele market with pride it’s products based on their design, engineering, quality and performance. They price at a premium to the general market.

Failure to address faults such as that described previously might not be profit from spares driven. Is it best for Miele to acknowledge such failings and provide a better remedy (as for a vehicle recall and substitution)? It may not be cheap, and it could be seen by Miele as good or bad PR.a

An alternative is for Miele to hope that the issue does not get a high profile, and manage the fall out if it does with a quick remedy. As for @syncretic showing how to get a better outcome. It’s still not the best outcome.

Noted Miele Australia PL appears to be a foreign owned subsidiary of the German parent. It seems so not like Miele to have a solution. Has the company changed in some way that it is simply trading on past performance and should now be avoided?

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