Samsung says it’s out of spares for my 18-month-old washing machine

It cost £1,700, is still on sale and I offered to pay for a repair – but it won’t budge

When my 18-month-old washing machine sprang a leak, Samsung sent a technician and he diagnosed a tear in the drum. Then things started to go downhill. We chased for information for two weeks until Samsung told us we were not covered under warranty because the damage had been caused by a “foreign object”. We asked if we could pay for a repair. However, another 10 days passed before the company declared that this was impossible as it didn’t have the necessary spares, even though the model was still on sale.

Among the useless responses I was given during my hours on the phone was that I could try sourcing the part on its website (where spare parts aren’t sold), and that I should contact an approved repair company which, of course, couldn’t help as there were no parts.

I contacted the UK executive office and was told that manufacturers are obliged to support a product for six years by supplying spares and repairs, or an alternative resolution if these are unavailable. But since then it has stopped replying. So I have a relatively new £1,700 machine that hasn’t worked for three months, and an 18-month-old boy. Help! TS, London

It looks as though Samsung got distracted by its exploding Galaxy phones while you were enduring launderettes.

That six-year reassurance is a red herring. It refers to the six years in which you can claim a refund, repair or replacement for a purchase that turns out to be inherently faulty. If your machine was damaged after purchase this doesn’t apply. There is, in fact, no legislation that requires manufacturers to stock spares for a set period.

Under a voluntary agreement, members of the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances used to keep spares for eight years after production stopped, but now its guidelines simply state that manufacturers will try to retain spares for as long as there is a market.

This is scant comfort for anyone investing in a new appliance and Samsung should have tried harder to find a solution.

It does exert itself when the Observer gets in touch. Miraculously it manages to find the non-existent component and arranges to have your machine fixed. “Although, on this occasion, there were some delays, a satisfactory conclusion has been reached,” a spokesperson says.

If you need help email Anna Tims at your.problems@observer.co.uk or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number.

Contributor

Anna Tims

The GuardianTramp

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