A tale of a DOA dishwasher

Consumer Reports News: June 27, 2008 01:47 PM

Last week, I spotted an interesting post on Consumerist.com about a dishwasher purchase gone awry. The buyer related the following tale, and while his story, the beginning of which follows verbatim, might not be common, there are some shopping lessons to learn from it:

"This past weekend, I purchased a $1300 dishwasher from Sears.. They delivered it Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after order. Great! However the dishwasher that they delivered was defective, I immediately called the store where I purchased it, and spoke with the Sales lady.. She told me that Sears has outsourced their customer service to a company called OneSource and that I that she couldn't help me. . . . "

(Read more about the disheartened buyer's experience and the dozens of comments that ensued. Long story short, the guy is expecting a replacement dishwasher to be delivered on July 1.)

Many commenters urged the dishwasher buyer to use the charge-back feature of his credit card, which would give him the right to dispute a charge if he were dissatisfied with the quality of a purchase. But as we pointed out in an article about the consumer rights you have when you shop with a credit card, there are limits to charge-backs, including:

• You must have made a good-faith effort to resolve the problem directly with the merchant before disputing the charge.

• The charge must be at least $50, and the transaction must have occurred in your home state or within 100 miles of your current billing address. The transaction location depends on your state or other laws, which complicates matters, especially if you make a purchase online, by phone, or through the mail.

• The geographic restrictions and the $50 rule don't apply if the card issuer or close business partners sold you the product or service and also do not apply to billing errors.

One way to avoid getting stuck with problem appliances is to inform yourself about the products and the brands you're considering. There are no guarantees you'll be satisfied with what you buy—indeed, Kenmore dishwashers have not been repair-prone, based on more than 112,000 reader responses about dishwashers to the Annual Product Reliability Survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, as detailed in our Brand Repair History. But you might be able to avoid getting stuck with an underperforming item or an unreliable brand.

Read our expert advice for buying appliances, and if you're in the market for a new dishwasher, visit our product page to find the latest report and Ratings (with Brand Repair History, available to subscribers). Look for our latest review of appliance retailers and the services they provide in the August 2008 issue of Consumer Reports, online and on sale in July, and see how we test dishwashers (right).—Gian Trotta

Essential information: Read about a plan by Sears to start selling its brands at other retailers. And use our Home Improvement Guide interactive to take a room-by-room tour of the top-rated appliances and most cost-effective improvements you can make to your home.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Appliances News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more