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Old 09-09-2014, 08:58 AM   #21
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I'm not surprised at all. Just about every major appliance mfg. makes a line of "builder's specials". Some were resistant to the idea at first, that it would give their brand a bad name over time. But by not participating, they were then shut out of the builder market due to too high of cost. So... they bit the bullet and came out with a cheapo line to compete in that market. And that is a very big market, with no retail overhead. These models are not easy to ID, they can have the upscale model names on them. They don't scream "cheapo".

And sometimes people have been snookered by unscrupulous salesmen/developers, that the new house buyer paid extra for the "appliance upgrade"... and got builder's specials anyway, the salesman pocketed the difference.
I'm sure you are probably correct, but I don't think that applied in our case as we purchased the appliances outside of the builder channel (Lowe's, Home Depot).

These were bona-fide GE Profile models but as a friend of mine commented during our troubles, the higher you go up the model line the more problems you may have because the manufacturer makes less of the higher tier products and hasn't worked out all of the bugs.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:06 AM   #22
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We put a new GE fridge, dishwasher, range and microwave in our kitchen 16 months ago, so far so good though 5-10 years is the real test. Consumer Reports generally rated GE appliances higher than most other brands when I was reseaching then, and the premium cost brands were mostly rated lower, some shockingly bad despite very high prices. We had a friend who bought an expensive LG fridge a few years ago and it was a nightmare in year one. Time will tell...
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:11 AM   #23
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I would not touch a GE refrig.
But back in the 70's we bought a house with a GE refr. that the prev. owner did not want to take with, would not match their next house kitchen. The left kitchen appliances were "coppertone" color! (remember them?) The only thing we had to do over the years we lived there was to replace the refr. evaporator fan, the bearing seized. It took me longer to take all the food out of the freezer to get at the panel that the fan was under, than to actually replace it.

But in much more recent times many have had big probs with GE refrs. We looked at refrs. maybe 5-7 years ago, at that time some of the GE models seemed to be a very thinly disguised other make, Samsung I think. IIRC, the bad GE refrs. were out before that, maybe they threw in the towel on their own.

My pref. for refr., D/W, washer, dryer is Whirlpool. And that is what we bought for refr. after I did the major kitchen renovation, a Whirlpool s-b-s w/water/ice through door (we moved up!). We gave away our still running fine 20 year old top-freezer Kenmore (mfg. by Whirlpool).
For D/W, Whirlpool. For elect. cooktop, elect. wall oven and M/W and build-in kit for the last two, GE. Zero problems so far.

Just a note, many Kenmores today are made by others, not Whirlpool, can tell by the first digits of the Sears model # as to who the mfg. is. I used to have a big list of Sears prefixes to mfg. coding.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:23 AM   #24
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We put a new GE fridge, dishwasher, range and microwave in our kitchen 16 months ago, so far so good though 5-10 years is the real test. Consumer Reports generally rated GE appliances higher than most other brands when I was reseaching then, and the premium cost brands were mostly rated lower, some shockingly bad despite very high prices. We had a friend who bought an expensive LG fridge a few years ago and it was a nightmare in year one. Time will tell...
It is amazing that some very high-price brands can still be around. I would think that the cachet would wear off eventually, but not so far. When we moved here a couple decades ago, you just didn't have a first-rate kitchen to be proud of if you didn't have a built-in Sub Zero refr.! Way overpriced, a maintenance nightmare. Not for us! A lot of the "commercial" ranges that people put in are in that category, like Thermadore and something-king, and others.

On the topic of LG, I will not buy anything of theirs anymore, nor anyone else's model if it is their brand but made by LG. I learned my lesson. I don't need the aggravation. It can be hard to determine, and the salesmen really don't know anything or not to be trusted on info like that, make something up.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:39 AM   #25
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Here is what claims to be a definitive list of who makes what:

Appliance411 The Purchase: Who Makes What?

I made the statement somewhere on page one that white-westinghouse made 80% of us appliances, which is clearly not the case, and other sources say that w-w is under license to electrolux since 1986. Time to defrag the old meat hdd.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:39 AM   #26
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I imagine many reading this thread will not bother to mention their good experiences with the same manufacturers that others are complaining about. I too would tend to emphasize the ones that didn't work out over the ones that did.

For us, almost all manufacturers we've used have done OK. Maybe we are just lucky? This includes: Bosch dish washer, Jenn-Air stove top, Thermador oven, LG refrigerator (only 1 year on this one so far). I think we've gotten our money's worth out of most appliances.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:48 AM   #27
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Perhaps they can now restore the name.
I won't buy anything GE, way way too many problems.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:58 AM   #28
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I used to work at Appliance Park in Louisville. At the time (early 90's) the only thing that mattered was making the profit and keeping Jack Welch happy. I was not and still not a fan of him. <snip> I will not get into some of the actions that I feel were unethical business practices, driven by the almighty profit. Let's just say I sarcastically call it Generous Electric now and will never buy any GE appliance for myself.
Yep- I worked for an insurer GE owned. Make the numbers at any price. I refer to them as Giant Enterprise.

While I was working there we got a great discount on GE appliances and (knock wood) our washer, dryer and cooktop have served us well- 11 years in the case of the washer and dryer.

If you want a vacuum built in the US, buy Simplicity. There are a few other manufacturers that make SOME vacuums in the USA but not all models.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:59 AM   #29
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The only GE appliance we put in our kitchen last year was a built-in microwave. I think we had five repairs on it right away as the door would not open--it has a push button latch, not a pull open door. We were told first the builder screwed up the box, then that it wasn't centered, then it needed a new control panel, then a new door, and finally a new microwave was delivered. Some of the chrome trim fell off too. The most believable repairman said it is just a crappy design.

Not to be left out, our non-GE stove has had two repairs and our non-GE refrigerator one.

I think my parents had an Electrolux vacuum and doesn't Kelly Ripa do their appliance commercials ( so they must be good)?
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:15 AM   #30
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I used to work at Appliance Park in Louisville. ... After transferring from GE Aircraft Engines in Evendale, OH (Cincinnati); it was a big shock to go from aerospace quality to bare minimum quality. At GE Appliances it was "how can we make it cheaper" - not like it should have been "how can we make it better". I will not get into some of the actions that I feel were unethical business practices, driven by the almighty profit. ...
I can honestly say that quality was important to my old mega-corp, even in the lower end consumer product lines. I can't recall anything I'd consider unethical when it came to the consumer (some internal politics got pretty dirty though).

There were debates about the QC group holding the lowest end products to the same cosmetic standards as some new high end product that was still getting very high 'early adopter' prices, but for the most part, a blemish on a low end product would get it rejected the same as a blemish on the highest end products.

One interesting decision was hotly debated, and considered unethical by some - it turns out that there was a point in time when a new low end product could actually be made cheaper by using the new components we used in the higher end products, and these new components were also lighter (these were portable products, and light weight was highly valued). But the product manager wanted more differentiation between the low and high end, so they added dummy weights to the low end product.

Lots of people thought that was terrible. I didn't, the customer was getting what they paid for - the weight, price, size, performance and features were all published specs. If the customer didn't like it they could buy something else. It was all transparent, so to me, not unethical. But that's as 'bad' as it got, AFAIK. Mega Corp is a shell of its former self, but not because of quality.

[edit/add:] - I now recall that we tracked warranty expenses closely, which were a significant hit to profits. So there was an attitude of 'quality pays', rather than 'quality costs'. But of course there needs to be a balance. And it's absolutely incorrect to think that a quality approach always costs more (even before warranty costs are considered). Often, a cheaper, more streamlined process produced better quality as well. Maybe if those quality metrics were applied to management, Mega-corp would still be a big player.

I do think quality of many items isn't what it should be. I somewhat blame the consumer for that. Many people seem more interested in the latest style and features, and trade in working appliances (or move) before they would wear out. So suppliers respond.

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Old 09-09-2014, 10:20 AM   #31
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The only GE appliance we put in our kitchen last year was a built-in microwave. I think we had five repairs on it right away as the door would not open--it has a push button latch, not a pull open door.
When our builder-installed oven/microwave combo died, DH and I had an oven installed and then had a carpenter build a shelf over it with an empty space for a stand-alone microwave. Great decision. It lasted quite awhile but when it died, replacing it was easy and inexpensive. Built-ins, IMO, may look sleeker but aren't worth the extra expense.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:24 AM   #32
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Lots of people thought that was terrible. I didn't, the customer was getting what they paid for - the weight, price, size, performance and features were all published specs. If the customer didn't like it they could buy something else. It was all transparent, so to me, not unethical. But that's as 'bad' as it got, AFAIK. Mega Corp is a shell of its former self, but not because of quality.
It might not be unethical, but in an open an fair free-market system, it opens up an opportunity for a competitor to leave the weights out and give the impression of a better product at the same price.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:26 AM   #33
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When our builder-installed oven/microwave combo died, DH and I had an oven installed and then had a carpenter build a shelf over it with an empty space for a stand-alone microwave. Great decision. It lasted quite awhile but when it died, replacing it was easy and inexpensive. Built-ins, IMO, may look sleeker but aren't worth the extra expense.
Now you tell me The built-in was so much more $ than a stand-alone and really limited selection. It was a drop in the bucket in percentage of the total cost of the gut-remodel kitchen so we didn't really consider cost, but sooo annoying that the simplest appliance needed so much attention.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:31 AM   #34
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I do think quality of many items isn't what it should be. I somewhat blame the consumer for that. Many people seem more interested in the latest style and features, and trade in working appliances (or move) before they would wear out. So suppliers respond.
I tend to agree. We Americans are to anxious for latest greatest thing and thus spend our hard earned dollars on pursuing a fantasy. Not this group, of course. We are experts at LBYM so we use things until they fall apart or get dangerous to use.

Perhaps if we focused less on cheap and more on quality we might not have this problem. Cheap is not always the best value.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:31 AM   #35
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Now you tell me The built-in was so much more $ than a stand-alone and really limited selection.
Well, I'd already been burned in the previous house I owned. Built-in died and I thought it wasn't a big deal. Microwaves are cheap, right? Yes they are unless you need someone to install them. Lesson learned the hard way.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:47 AM   #36
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I bought new kitchen appliances in 2009: Kitchen Aid gas range and dishwasher, and Whirlpool refrigerator and microwave. No issues with any yet, and reasonably happy with all but the dishwasher. The lower rack comes off track easily, and the it requires relatively clean dishes, even on the heavy-duty, super-duper wash cycle...

On the other hand, I have a Hotpoint washer/dryer pair, probably two steps up from el-cheapo supremo, which are still going strong after eighteen years.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:50 AM   #37
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When our builder-installed oven/microwave combo died, DH and I had an oven installed and then had a carpenter build a shelf over it with an empty space for a stand-alone microwave. Great decision. It lasted quite awhile but when it died, replacing it was easy and inexpensive. Built-ins, IMO, may look sleeker but aren't worth the extra expense.
Agreed. We originally had an over/under oven/range and when that had to be replaced there were almost no models like that anymore. Long story short, I ended up with a built in micro-wave/convention oven with fan, and a conventional oven/stove-top. At the time I really worried that I'd made a mistake. The built in was $$$, and yes, it died 5 years later (GE brand, but I'm not sure others would be any better/worse). Our cheap $70(?) counter-top microwaves lasted longer than that, and no big deal if they did break. Unfortunately, our options are limited, so I bought another built-in to replace it, but skipped the convection oven to bring the cost down some.

RE: weights in a product to make it more 'lower end' to differentiate from higher end products:
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It might not be unethical, but in an open an fair free-market system, it opens up an opportunity for a competitor to leave the weights out and give the impression of a better product at the same price.
Absolutely. But we were ahead of the competition - they didn't have the lower weight components yet. The product was a flop anyhow (for different reasons I think), but it may have actually been a good short term move to protect the profit margins on our higher-end product. But all this had to be done with an eye on the competition as well.

I think a more unethical approach would be adding dummy weights to a product where 'heft' is viewed as a sign of quality. If people think that weight reflects structural quality, but they are just dummy weights, that's not right, IMO. If the consumer doesn't have any good measure of structural quality, then it isn't 'transparent', and is tricking the consumer.


RE consumers not pushing for long term quality:
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I tend to agree. We Americans are to anxious for latest greatest thing and thus spend our hard earned dollars on pursuing a fantasy. Not this group, of course. We are experts at LBYM so we use things until they fall apart or get dangerous to use.

Perhaps if we focused less on cheap and more on quality we might not have this problem. Cheap is not always the best value.
And sometime 'cheap' is the best value. I often go cheap for things I don't plan to keep a long time or use much, and I like having the option. But sometimes, that view is so prevalent that it is hard to find much choice of real quality products, even when I am willing to pay extra for it.

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Old 09-09-2014, 12:03 PM   #38
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About 8 yrs ago, we needed a new dw to replace our 15 yr old kitchenaid dw. We went to a small Maytag dealer in our neighborhood. My wife and I had our eye on a Maytag model but I (Mr. Cheapo) was balking at the price. The salesman pointed out they had an Amana dw with the same features and same everything else for about $100 less. Still runs very well.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:12 PM   #39
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Apparently the new GE appliances are cheap crap to be avoided. I don't know if any other brand is any better, however.

But the good news is that if you have an old GE appliance, just hang on to it, and make cheap minor repairs now and then. Knock on wood, I have old 1980's GE Hotpoint washer and drier, GE Hotpoint refrigerator , and GE Hotpoint dishwasher. The only repairs needed since 1986 have been new hinge for the fridge, and a new pump for the washing machine ($24 for the pump and my free 2 hours of labor.)

Oh yeah, when the fridge was about 10 years old, GE came out and replaced the compressor for free, under a recall, even though it was still working fine. I doubt they would do that today.
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:20 PM   #40
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OK, I will provide two examples of what I consider unethical behavior I saw happening when I worked there:
1) take an existing supplier's part that was in production, and then open it up for new group of suppliers to bid. Which then the lowest cost (or slightly lower even) was sent back out as a new target price to the same group of suppliers to squeeze another round of price reductions. So much for supplier loyalty and valuing a long term working relationship. You think a supplier would try to make the best quality part under this scenario?
2) when a supplier comes up with a new technology or process method to make a part for some significant reduction in costs or reliability improvement, the purchasing guy would "leak" that knkowledge to other suppliers and then request new bids that could use that original supplier's advantageous technology or processing. So much for supplier confidentiality. That is theft by my definition.

One of my co-workers said it best "the quickest and fasted way for GE to make money is with a guillotine". Many people's lives were upended and messed with due to layoffs. Note, I am not saying layoffs are always bad as companies do have to adjust workforce size to meet current needs. When the only reason it to increase short term profits, it is bad.
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