The story of the Dishlex dishwasher at Bell's house in Keswick, South Australia. - and why they would like to “outsource” their anger...
So impressed with the features and price of the Dishlex were the Bell's that they bought two dishwashers, one for their house and one for their holiday home. Unfortunately during the warranty period, the one in their house “blew up”- not in Steven Spielberg terms, but it did expunge a burning smell. It was cold in July 2012 but the Bell's felt optimistic.
Things started off well with a friendly voice at the Electrolux call centre ensuring that everything will be done to resolve the situation (however the Bell's soon found that a friendly voice is not automatically linked to a solution).
The (contracted) technician came to look at the machine and within less than 5 minutes announced that the machine had blown up and it seemed to be a severe electrical fault... therefore the “best” solution was to provide a brand new machine in replacement. The Bell's were joyful as prospect of a total solution seemed immanent.
A week later, the (contracted) delivery firm appears with a brand new dishwasher unpacks and installs and announces with a small fanfare – that all your problems are solved! (or are they?) They vanish along with the old dishwasher, packaging and any paperwork that may or may not be helpful
During August, the kitchen starts to grow. The cupboards swell at their base, parts of the cork floor raise upwards. Is this paranoia? Then as fungus starts to grow on the swollen cupboard bases it is clear that all is not well in the kitchen at Keswick!
Signs of dampness on the floor lead Mr Bell to look more closely at the dishwasher and see pools of water underneath.
A phone call to the ever helpful call centre and the visit from the (contracted) technician to look at the machine and within less than 2 minutes announced that this was a serious issue that he could not fix it and would need to get the Electrolux company representative to look at it.
The Electrolux company representative is a highly technical and experienced person who, in less than two minutes confirmed that there was a problem and something should be done about it. The leaking pipe is tracked down and apparently poor installation is the cause of the problem. A week later he is back to address the same problem. The leak is finally stopped and and the company representative confirms he is there to help – until – the company representative is told that he can no longer deal with such issues and they have to be dealt with in Sydney.
It is September and a form comes through the mail asking the Bell's to get three quotes. The accompanying letter does not have an email address and the phone number is for the ever helpful call centre who cannot seem to find the person who signed the letter.
It is October by the time they get a divisional phone number and explain that they have spent considerable time trying to unsuccessfully get 3 quotations to fix the problems. They eventually get two quotes for the repairs to the floor and two for the kitchen cupboards. It looks like being about $4,500 for the repairs but all four companies express concern about “hidden damage”, so they call in a builder that has done work for them – who like the others is concerned about the possibly of ”repairing by patching up” the cork floor but is more concerned about possible underfloor damage due to the as yet un-diagnosed bounciness of the entire floor. (note the floor did not previously exhibit any trampoline qualities that it does now). The builder suggests that he does not feel confident to quote on the job as it may range from the quotes we have to $15,000 if there is structural damage.
The Bell's provide the quotes and information to the person whose direct phone number they are able to catch on a mobile phone. A request for help on how to proceed is met with - “ well as this is over the limit of claims I deal with (max $1500) – I have passed it to our large claims section (which turned out to be the multi national loss adjusters Cunningham Lindsey)
A cheerful loss adjuster arrives at the start of November assuring them that she is here to help. Within days two other people come to inspect the damage. It is Spring and there is optimism in the air.
A month later a letter offering a cash settlement arrives that includes a short lecture on betterment and the offer of $2296.00 based in the enclosed quote. As the family Christmas dinner is fast approaching a phone call is made to the company (Unitech) who provided the quote only to find they are not willing to complete the repairs for the Bells as the quote is to Cunningham Lindsey (only) at a preferential rate and would specifically exclude any work other than a patch up of the floor and cupboards and there is no way it would cover any underfloor work to reign in the trampoline effect.
Phone calls and emails travel into the cyberspace as the (apparently one and only) cheerful loss adjuster goes on holidays mid December. This becomes apparent when the Bells complain to the ever helpful Electrolux call centre who escalate the issue (4hour SLA) to a “senior person” who calls back the next day saying it is out of their hands, but because they have waited so long they will call Cunningham Lindsay for them. The no longer cheerful loss adjuster who objects to having her holidays interrupted assures the Bells that what they have been told is wrong and it will be resolved the next day.
The ever optimistic Bell's rejoice in the festive season and the occasional 40 degree c day that kills the mold growing on the swollen cupboards.
On Christmas day, the Bell's had the traditional turkey and sat at the table in the dining room that looks onto the kitchen; discussing whether you get used to a dishwasher being in the middle of the kitchen floor rather than under the cupboards that were built around it initially but no longer have room since growing three months ago. The 81 year old grandmother asks if the centrally located dishwasher is there as extra work space. It is an excellent turkey at a frustrating time.
The sometimes cheery loss adjuster assures the Bell's that all will be resolved. Autumn approaches. The Bells live in hope that they can have a meaningful conversation with a person at the company that caused the problem and that is to some larger degree interested in getting the dishwasher out of the middle of the floor and a kitchen that is in a similar condition to last Autumn.
This was posted on January 13th. 2013 and the story is ...to be continued (unfortunately)