Saturday, April 04, 2009

Miele Singapore - Avoid At All Costs

I have long held the view that when it comes to tools, you either buy the cheapest or buy the best. This approach owes its origin to Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Catalog, which I first ran into the late '60s. The idea is that the best way to learn and decide about tools is to start cheap, then when you have determined which features/brands/quality is appropriate, you buy the best.

A domestic tool that we all have to deal with at some point or another is the washing machine. A visit to a local appliance dealer such as Best reveals a huge choice of models at widely varying prices. The question naturally arises as to whether or not there is a measurable difference between the cheapest machine and the best, which is presumably also the most expensive.

Having to set up a new flat some time back, I was faced with this challenge, and decided to purchase the best. Based on reviews and poking around the shops, I settled on a Miele W1514. They are obscenely expensive, but appear to be well built. In fact, Miele makes a big deal about the longevity a customer can expect from their products, as this excerpt from their website shows:

Long life expectancy

A test performed by wfk, Germany's renowned research institute based in Krefeld, proved that Miele appliances last 20 years. Appliances from 6 manufacturers were tested, the result: Only the three Miele washing machines survived in working order. Miele also subjects its appliances to in-house 10,000 hour endurance tests in which they operate day and night. Only Miele sets such a high benchmark.

OK, so we have the Rolls-Royce of washing machines, clearly worth the inflated price.

Except that it broke down after 18 months.

Getting ready to wash a load of clothes before a business trip, the machine turned out to be stone dead. After checking the electrical outlet and fuses, it was clear that the fault was within the machine's power control unit.

While annoying, it would be unreasonable to assume that a single fault is grounds for complaint. A call was placed to the Service number, and after some negotiation, a service man turned up.

Without parts.

It was 4 days later that another service man arrived with the proper part, and replaced the power control unit. Total cost - S$684.57

To put this in context, Best was advertising a Japanese 9.5 litre washing machine for S$320 on the same day. So for more than double the cost of a new washing machine, I had my Miele repaired.

Arriving back from my business trip to find that I had been ripped off by Miele, I wrote a polite letter to the General Manager of the firm in Singapore, requesting a refund based on the fact that the machine had barely been used, and the fault was in a non-moving part, clearly a design problem Miele has with the machine.

It has now been 2 months since I mailed and faxed the letter to Miele, and I have had exactly zero response.

It appears that Miele is trading on its (undeserved) reputation for quality, and simply ignoring customers with product problems.

My conclusion: Avoid Miele Singapore - they are unsafe to do business with.


foreverbetter said...

I'm quite surprised u had such an experience.On the contrary I had a miele for 15 yrs and loving it. The reason y we changed another model is because the wife hate the sight of the old machine and we changed to another model last yr!! We are impressed by the sg's subsidiary's excellent customer service and enthusiasm, and the friends Ive intriduced to them were similarly impressed.

Waleed Hanafi said...

That was certainly the experience I was hoping (and paying) for, but the reality has been different.

If Miele had done the right thing and repaired the machine, I would be happy. As it is, the evidence says stay away.

Roy said...

Actually, I have similar experiences with Miele Singapore. The washer drum has a big dent inwards, struck by something outside the drum. They claimed that this is user fault and it is caused by a small $1 coin stucked. I need to pay approx $500-$600 for this repair.....

Whatever they claimed, do we have any means to verify that?

What I can do now is to check around with friends and colleagues. Summing up, a total of 270+ years of using front loading washer, turned out that I am the only one using Miele and having this problem...

A $4000 washer having problems in 1 year....whereas a cheap $800 Electrolux lasted me 10 years of normal changes to my washing frequencies/habits....

I am still torn in between whether to junk this so called Rolls Royce of Washer and buy a down to earth Electrolux or Brandt...

For new buyers, I would suggest to stay away from Miele Singapore.

Roy said...

Actually, I have similar experiences with Miele Singapore. The washer drum has a big dent inwards, struck by something outside the drum. They claimed that this is user fault and it is caused by a small $1 coin stucked somewhere. I need to pay between $500-$600 for this repair.

Whatever they claimed, do we have any means to verify that?

What I can do now is to check around with friends and colleagues. Summing up, a total of 270+ years of using front loading washer, turned out that I am the only one using Miele and having this problem...possible product related issue?

Bottom line is that a near $4000 washer having problems just after 1 year whereas a cheap $800 Electrolux lasted me 10 years and $900 brandt for 12 years of normal usage. My washing frequencies and routine are pretty the same as old habits die hard....

Rather than repairing and subject myself to such charges again, maybe I should buy a down to earth replacement Electrolux or Brandt....possibly also make a video trashing/tearing apart this so called Rolls Royce of Washer onto uTube :)

For potential new buyers, hope you can get some learnings from my experience.

shirley said...

Thank you for your review! I was just looking for local reviews for Miele, and now i have decided on other models. My machine tat just dies is a Fisher Paykel top loader. Completely cant turned on at all!

shirley said...

Thank you for your review. I was just looking for local reviews for Miele, and now i have decided on other models. My machine tat just dies is a Fisher Paykel top loader. Completely cant turned on at all!

Ian Mao Tan said...

I have been using my Miele washing machine for 5years plus. And the power supply is faulty. It costs $1,000+- to repair.

Please don't buy Miele. It shouldn't cost so much to repair.

Dylan said...

I absolutely agree. Our tumble drier won't dry clothes but leaks water out the back instead. This was fixed 2 months ago and now the same is happening again (maybe I shouldn't be surprised, because the technician who 'fixed' it put the filter back in upside down!!). Today I call up to get the technician back (at HUGE expense), I'm told I have to wait THREE WEEKS! Clearly their technicians are run off their feet with broken down Miele appliances bought by naive consumers (like me) who have forked out a small fortune for nothing more than a great marketing ploy (I also bought a Miele S6000 vacuum cleaner 3 years ago. Needless to say it's been back for repair 4 times and still doesn't do a very good job).......Save your money.

wbucket said...

I had a bosch n it is spoilt juz after 2 years. I am wondering if Miele is worth getting but was disappointed that they are only offering 2 years warranty for something they claims to work 20year.

Personally is in the product design line n the common trend is to design for life just a little over warranty, and focus is no longer on reliability. A little sad that this is the case. Nothing a poor engineer can do when that is the business direction.

sthomi said...

I have similar experience, but with Vacuum cleaner. I was sold an expensive $550 item by Courts when i arrived to Singapore. After 12 months, the so called comfort tear and wear parts started to peel off, The silver paints in the on/off and cable winding button as well.

Few months later, the push buttons in the 3rd extension of the Telescopic Wand broke. It was still manageable as it lock at the full long position, adjusting the length by the inch-long adjustable pipe. However, things became worse when the push button on the inch-by-inch adjusting part of the wand. Literally not usable with one hand...

So, I took the wand to the 'Care center' and they happily accepted for repair. However, no response after that, called them after a week, then the case started moving. But, one day later, got this shocking call that they can't repair and advice to buy new wand which cost $260.

I decided to take 2nd opinion, so i took the Wand back home. But, keeping my trust this machine is still usable and high quality in Singapore norms, purchased additional $100 worth of accessories (brush, active carbon filter etc).

Then, i searched through internet and found a online store selling the push-button part in UK cost $20 & $20 for shipping. So decided to import with the little risk. However, it turns out to be good decision as i could replace the inch-by-inch adjusting push-button myself.

Life went on for a month and wife told me very silently the machine stop working, gets power, but motor do not power on.

Again ran back to Miele with a hope, they will help. The same experience, happily accepted with $20 as inspection fee. No response for a week, then we called and reminded. The case started to move and gotten a response back in couple of hrs saying that 'they need to replace the motor which will cost $300'.

The machine is still with them. The new model cost $398. I have lived in Japan for 12+ year before relocating to Singapore 2 yrs ago. I had used much more advanced Panasonic domestic only model with lots of moving parts and electronic controls, it never stopped working for 5 yrs.. had to give away to someone else because of voltage difference.

Miele Singapore, hopefully you are serious about your business in Singapore and world wide. Please listen to customer voice and improve your quality of the product and customer service.

The plastic parts started to break and , i have co

Jarod Zhang said...

agree with the author that you should avoid at all cost. Whoever up there saying miele is great - wait till u hv sth break down and need service.

sthomi said...

Closing the story posted earlier by myself.

So, finally Miele customer service ask $360 (including GST) for the motor repair (and kindly offered 20% discount as i bought $120 worth of accessories a month ago) which comes with just 1 yr of warranty. On the other hand, new machine cost $50 more which comes with 2 yrs of warranty for all the parts.
Given the experience, I wasn't fully convinced about the cost of the repair or to continue as Miele customer. However, i made an offer to continue with them, i.e., go for repair if they can repair under $200 or sell new machine at 25% discount. In spite of me personally showed up couple of times there and negotiating with CS staff and her manager (through email), my request was turned down. I was told they can only offer 10% trade-in discount on new product and can't repair the old machine for lower than the price they quoted. So, it was waste of time and arrogant response. I took the machine back home and decided to look at other make/model.

In a week or so, i found a high-end Bosch vacuum (BGL8SI59GB) (RRP $649) at 40% discount (online cheap price combined with Black-Friday special coupons by Qoo10)and took the machine home for the price $379. The Bosch machine is one of silent machine i come across at 59dB. Feature and model was similar to Miele one, however Bosch build quality is far better than Miele.

Ironically, i just checked Miele vacuum price this month, they slashed price aggressively by 25-40% . I believe, either they learned a lesson or listened to customers voice.
couple personally and negotiated with them my previous comment

Josephine Tan said...

I have 2 Sentosa condo with Miele electrical appliances. I have had endless problems with Miele products and some of them totally stopped functioning after 2 years. Miele repair is super expensive. The latest policy ( since Sep 2018) you have to pay for the services n parts by paypal before an appointment can be fixed. For simple job, they will insist you have to pay for 2 hours labour, every hour labour is $120+. Its best to avoid Miele at all cost. Now I have learned my lesson, if Miele product is spoilt, I just change to a cheaper brand which is hussle free and last much longer. Miele manager n customer service personnel are very unprofessional too.

Unknown said...

I agree Miele is poor quality; avoid buying it in the first place. If a developer is selling units with Miele built in, demand a discount or buy a difference project.
But my experience is that the highly paid service team is professional.
It took them 4 days to deliver on a customer service complaint and then charged me more than a mid-priced laptop computer to replace a PCB board that failed after only being installed for 18 months! It is highly unusual for a PCB board to fail. I was obviously shocked by this outcome, but they worked professionally.
If I had known this was a likely outcome, I would have just bought another brand and swapped out the whole Miele unit. I will do research now so that I will be prepared to do so next time it fails...