Washing machine durability - possible NCAT claim

I’m hoping others might be able to share experiences / tips relating to ACL claims on the grounds of acceptable quality (specifically “durablity”)?

Our front loader washing machine needs expensive repairs (so costly that it wouldn’t be worth it). We got it only five years ago and paid well over $1000 for it. We’ve maintained it well and haven’t subjected it to any form of abnormal use (no overloading, subjected it to an average frequency of use, had it installed by the retailer etc).

We expected it would last a lot longer and certainly wouldn’t have bought it for this price if we’d known it would die five years later. Our last one made it to 13 years.

We’ve hit a brick wall with the retailer and the manufacturer, including after involving Fair Trading, so we’re thinking of going to NCAT. Aside from wanting a working washing machine, we’re angry at the environmental impact of throwing away a major appliance after such a short lifespan. Oh yeah and we’re annoyed at the retailer for telling us it was our fault for not buying their extended warranty & that means we don’t have a leg to stand on … :astonished:

Does anyone have any tips or experience in running a claim on the grounds of durability? Or know of any resources that might help us in argument?



Welcome to the community @Darryl

Since you have already involved Fair Trading and that was not helpful there are many unanswered questions.

  • what was your claim based on if not for unacceptable quality?
  • did you send the retailer a formal letter of complaint per the ACL prior to going to fair trading, and if so why was it rejected?
  • are you aware of the Choice ‘study’ that details the expected average life of major appliances? (Mid-range washing machine life is about 8 years)

I recently had an issue with an iPad and researched the expected average life of one, and made a reasonable claim for a repair or a pro-rata valued discount on a new model. (Apple agreed to and repaired the old one.)

If you are a Choice member you can also consult with Choice Help, noting they are often busy and may not be able to respond quickly.

Might this be from a Harvey Norman franchise (if not which)? Regardless, the ACCC would be interested in hearing about that misrepresentation if it is explicitly as you wrote, if you have documentary evidence of it (eg an email reply or similar).


Thanks for your reply Phil! We’re long time members of Choice but this is the first time we’ve had to take a retailer on, so it is all new. Good result with the iPad!

Yes we’ve sent a formal letter of complaint requesting repair or a partial refund (based on that helpful article, actually). The retailer referred it to the manufacturer, who said five years was a reasonable length of time & that was the final word. Our claim is based on unacceptable quality (durability). We’d definitely put the machine in the mid-range.

No, not HN. I’ll name and shame if we get nowhere but just seeing how it plays out for now! Wish I did have that misrep in writing though - this was the call centre on my first call to them. Luckily we knew better so took the matter further, but how many people have been turned away?!


In your situation I would hang my hat on the manufacturers ‘determination’ of acceptable durability and quality of its products as being self serving. As a minimum I would challenge that in a way where the manufacturer had to put in writing their products are not very good, and go from there.

You might also troll through Choice reports on warranty experiences for the manufacturers as evidence. The manufacturer will be taking the position of the shortest possible life. Dispute strategy sometimes says to go for the most ambit claim and negotiate down from there, but the expected life for the product category is most reasonable when in dispute.

Rather than a pro rata refund, if you have not, go for a discount on a new one, from the retailer. Assuming 3/8 value was not delivered, using $1,200 as a possible purchase price, that would be a $450 discount, not so far off better sales campaign though.

A comparative personal experience w/Hoover and TGG is in this other topic.


Yes it says a lot about their products, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it is a brand that gets strong recommendations in the Choice reports (and that’s why we bought this model five years ago …)


Do you have a brand and model?

Sometimes a manufacturer made a particular model that later on is found to have quality or design issues. If there is other examples online of the same washer failing for exactly the same reason, this can help substantiate that the washer has had reasonable use and that it has failed as no result of anything you have done.

It may also be worth trying to negotiate a repair where say that manufacturer provides the parts to you have you pay for the technician to make the washer work again. Sharing costs often shows the manufacturer that you are reasonable and willing to compromise to reach a resolution. Sharing of costs may be reasonable considering the age of the washing machine…and that the washing machine is part way through its life and shouldn’t have potentially failed this early. The difficult challenge is having information that it isn’t the use which hasn’t resulted in the failure…a common problem can remove this argument or defence of the manufacturer.


Thanks! Unfortunate the parts are fairly inexpensive, its the labour that’s the killer in this case.

But good idea, I’ll see what I can find online about the model


@phb yes, a simple google search shows similar complaints emerging after 4 - 5 years (thanks, can’t believe I didn’t think to do that earlier!)