Friends

03 July 2016

THEY DON’T MAKE ‘EM LIKE THEY USED TO

sorry about the angle...
I couldn't get down low
enough!

I know some readers of this blog will remember my Hoover washing machine scandal in 2013 when I wrote to the head office to complain and got nothing back but a load of headaches. Well sit yourself down and see what happened to another machine. It’s okay, this is nothing like the last incident(s) ... yet!

When we could stand the old machine no more Joe and I went shopping and bought a new washer-dryer. This time we chose good old faithful Hotpoint. We had always had Hotpoint machines before and been satisfied so I don’t why we didn’t buy one instead of the damned Hoover. Anyway, that’s in the past so moving on....

It was just under a year since we bought the latest machine and time to consider insurance. The insurance company wrote to me so I couldn’t forget about it. Now that Joe has gone I have to consider these things myself – and I’m not used to it. Joe, bless him, did everything. After much thought I decided it would be foolhardy to replace a machine every year and therefore foolish not to take out insurance. So that’s what I did. Actually it was all done slightly in advance, I still have a week or so before the 12 month free guarantee runs out but, as the girl on the phone explained, anything can happen and it would be awful not to be insured for a week or so.

It’s hard to believe what happened next. Yes, it broke down. Well, strictly speaking it didn’t break down completely it simply started to make a noise when spinning. Now, there’s noise and there’s noise, some you hardly hear and some that deafen. Mine was the latter. It was SO loud and so horrendous that neighbours three doors away could hear it. Frightened me, I can tell you.

The noise was like something grating. My thought was that something was grating on metal and that thought stayed when I saw the grey powdery stuff on the floor. Metal!? With so many stories on the news about washing machines setting on fire or blowing up you can understand my fears. Out came the plug from the electric socket and out it stayed.

I rang up and reported the problem and thereafter got loads of text messages about the actual problem, asking if I could turn the drum or was it too hard, plus numerous more questions. Finally I was offered an appointment.
 
The engineer who came out knew straight away what was wrong. When I explained (again) about the problem and the deposits on the floor, he said he could guess what it was. He took the machine to bits and showed me.

Inside a washing machine are concrete fitments which are there to keep the machine balanced and avoid vibration. I’ve seen inside those machines before but never noticed any concrete. Well, the lump of concrete that I saw was in the wrong position simply because chunks had been breaking off, thus loosening its position. The horrendous noise had been caused by the drum tossing concrete all over the place! Easily remedied, said the engineer, although I would have to wait for the new part. He reckoned on a week. I didn’t care so long as I could have my machine up and running again.

Four days later, three if you don’t count Sunday, I received a message that the part was not in stock and would have to be ordered. This forced me to think seriously about what to do with the bed linen.

OK, I could leave it another week but there’s no guarantee that the machine will be fixed by then or even in the near future. What to do? Well, I used to take stuff to the local launderette when the last machine went wonky so why not go back to it? This I did. I stripped the bed, bunged sheets and other stuff in a bag, did the five minute journey to the launderette and ordered a service wash. £8 wash and dry. Not bad when you think of all the electricity I’m saving. I wondered if it was the route to take and to hell with machines altogether.

Three weeks later: rang the service/repairs people at Hotpoint. It was one of those ‘press 1 or 2 or 3’ situations. I managed to speak to a helpful guy who gave me another number. He told me there would be options and not to choose the first one. He said I wanted the second option... are you with me so far? I carried out his instructions and got through to a non-English speaking girl, at least that’s how it sounded. Eventually I managed to decipher certain things and gave what I thought were appropriate replies. Wrong! She couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand her. She got frustrated, I got frustrated, and in the end I slammed down the phone. Stupid, I know, but that’s how aggravation works.

Later that same day my solicitor visited me at home. He was returning lever-arch file upon lever-arch file of papers he'd had in order to process probate matters. Hell, doesn't THAT take a long time?  So, after our business was finished he sat back and enquired about my health and welfare. After I told him about the washing machine and that morning's upset he offered to ring them for me. There and then, wowee! He explained who he was and I wondered later if the title 'solicitor' influenced the people at the other end!! Not only did they take notice of him but they revealed that the required part had been available for a while. SO WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME? An arrangement was made for them to come out next week and put things right. 

I love my solicitor! Before he left he advised that if I had any more trouble with anyone to let him or his assistant know and they would deal with it. Suddenly, I felt like dancing.

What happens next remains to be seen but please note that my choice of heading for this post stands firm... THEY DON’T MAKE ‘EM LIKE THEY USED TO.


14 comments:

Ron said...

"and in the end I slammed down the phone. Stupid, I know, but that’s how aggravation works."

Valerie, I had to smile at that because I've done the same thing in the past. It is SO frustrating to talk to someone on the phone about an issue when they are not speaking English. Here in the US many companies use foreign countries for their customer service representatives. In fact, it's gotten to the point where you rarely speak to someone who is from this country.

Glad to hear that your solicitor was able to speed things along for you in getting this matter taken care of. I am so looking forward to hearing what happens next!

Have a lovely Sunday, dear lady!
X

Bob Bushell said...

Just a moment, they never made a washing machine in 1952, ha ha ha.

Valerie said...

Ron, I guess it is just as frustrating for foreigners to our countries but at moments of stress one doesn't think of that. Before he left the solicitor told me to let him know if there are any more problems. That is so reassuring.

Valerie said...

Bob, 1952? I think machines were made well before that. Check progress on line!

kden said...

When we moved into our house 18 years ago, there was a washer and dryer already here. The dryer is still working (with one repair) and it was old when when we got here. We've replaced the washer with a 50.00 used one. I agree, they don't make them like they used to. I'd go with refurbished over new anyday.

American question. Is a solicitor like an attorney?

Valerie said...

Kden, my opinion is that the oldies survived much longer than new ones. See below for the answer to your question.

Attorney is American English word for a British English lawyer. The D.A. or District Attorney is a lawyer in the U.S. who works for the state and prosecutes people on behalf of it.

Jenny Woolf said...

What a sweet solicitor! A gem!

As for insurance, what company did you use? We had John Lewis washing machine insurance for ages on our old machine. When it went wrong we had a similar run around to you, only not so bad. It just mmeant being without the machine for ages, and when it finally was fixed the man said the machine was wearing out anyway. The cost of the insurance was not much far off 1/3 of the cost of a new machine. So when the machine started making odd noises again, we bought a new one, with NO insurance, and they took the old one away. So far, the new one is so very much quieter and nicer than the old one. It might go wrong a bit more quickly, though, I suppose, although I hope not within a year.

Valerie said...

Jenny, we used Curry's - but never again. I shall revert to old practices of buying new when one breaks down. Sometimes I long for the old days when everything worked!

troutbirder said...

Nothing like the potential of a lawsuit to get these people to pay attention...:)

Geraldine said...

Wow, sounds like one big headache Val. And you are SO right, they don't make em like they use to, for so many regular appliances that most people have. What ever happened to washers that lasted for 20 plus years, and kitchen appliances even longer. My parents had the same working stove and fridge for over 25 years! We live in an all too disposable society now and that is all wrong, especially considering the impact this is all having on the environment too.

Hope you have a good summer overall though! Let the washing up wait!!! Hugs, G

A Cuban In London said...

I have been so close to slamming down the phone. I think what's stopped me at the last minute is the thought that the person on the other side might not be in a position to choose what job he or she can do. But I certainly sympathise with you. Been there.

Great post.

Greetings from London.

Valerie said...

Geraldine, I agree with every word you wrote. Perhaps now we're not in the EU manufacturers will try to make things that last. Doubtful, but I can dream, can't I?

Mr. Shife said...

Sorry to hear about your machine troubles but glad you got a solicitor on your side to take care of business. Best of luck, Val. Take care.

Katie Eggeman said...

I sometimes casually mention my daughter the lawyer, and that sometimes gets things moving along. I am not sure what would happen if they called me on it. She is in California.....