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How long should your washing machine last?

Wrecked washing machine

How long your washing machine lasts is one of the main considerations when shopping for a new model – so how about putting expected lifetimes on washing machines?

According to research by WRAP, the average consumer expects a washing machine to last six years before it needs replacing.

It has also found that a product’s lifetime is one of the highest buying considerations, just behind reliability and quality, but more important than price. It’s something that the Which? Convo community has been discussing at length on this faulty washing machines debate.

Manufacturer warranties too short?

While washing machines do not currently come with lifetimes, they do have manufacturer warranties. However, these often cover just a one or two year period. Would you feel hard done by if your machine broke just outside this warranty period?

I would. Two years seems a much shorter time than a washing machine should last, even if I’d paid a relatively small amount of money for it, say less than £250.

Lifetimes for washing machines

One solution could be to decree that all washing machines should have a minimum lifetime, perhaps three or four years, ideally with a manufacturer warranty to match?

Or perhaps it would be better for manufacturers to apply expected minimum lifetimes to their own machines – and have the freedom to give different life expectancies to different machines?

That means if I’m in the shop, I might see a cheap washing machine for £250 that the manufacturer expects to last a minimum of two years. But next to it could be a near identical machine that costs £450 and has an expected minimum lifetime of five years. That would give me a clear basis to consider paying more for the pricier model, or to save some money but lower my expectation as to how long it will last.

Manufacturers on lifetimes

So why are lifetimes not already in place? We asked LG, Bosch, AEG, Miele and Indesit how long they would expect their own washing machines to last.

The responses vary but almost all mention the same problem – there are a lot of factors that affect the potential lifetime of a washing machine, making it very difficult to predict. Such factors include:

• Correct installation.
• Where in the house washing machine is installed (a machine may not last as long as it could do if placed in a garage without central heating).
• Over/under loading.
• Frequency of use.
• Detergent usage.

Of those that provided a figure, Miele came back with the strongest answer, saying that all their machines are tested to last 20 years. But Miele does not offer a free 20 year warranty. Instead, a small handful of models have a free 10 year warranty. Five year warranties are more common, but the remaining machines have the standard two year Miele warranty.

Indesit, which also owns Hotpoint, came back to say they’d expect their washing machines to last seven to eight years, with consumers looking to replace within five to six years to pre-empt the need to replace. The standard warranty for an Indesit/Hotpoint model is one year.

When I asked why the warranty length was so much shorter than the expected lifetime, a spokesperson from the company said that warranty length is an ongoing discussion, ‘but there are some retail outlets who like to sell their own extended warranty’. Of course, a documented expected lifetime will be very helpful when exercising your rights under the Sale of Goods Act once the warranty has expired.

Do you think that all washing machines should have a minimum lifespan, or that manufacturers should be able to set their own life expectancy? Or both?

Do you think manufacturers should give minimum lifespans to their washing machines?

Yes - manufacturers should provide minimum lifespans for their own machines (85%, 1,741 Votes)

All washing machines should have the same minimum lifespan (11%, 228 Votes)

No - manufacturers should not have to prescribe a product lifespan at all (3%, 70 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,039

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Martin McDevitt says:
3 March 2015

i bought a washmachine 11 months ago,i have had repaires out 8 times,including,suds running down my drawer,water on the floor,newdrum,i have got really fed up now and iserved the suplyer with a for sles of goods act 15 days ago.i gave the place 5 days to refund my money.what should i do now as it certainly not fit for purpose

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I am glad you have taken the tough action. Can you let us know what washing machine model and the retailer. Neither deserves to be hidden.

Simon Hambleton says:
7 July 2015

I purchased a Samsung WD1704 washer dryer in October 2012. when purchased these unit had a RRP at £600.00 so has a high value. it was sold with a manufactures 5 yr parts and labour warranty. Its now broke down, Samsung the washer only had a 2yr warranty. They wont even send an engineer out to tell me what is the problem. Trading standards are now involved as i feel the product has a poor build quality and also the warranty was not made totally clear to me when i purchased.

Think again before you purchase a Samsung product.

Liam Hartley says:
18 March 2016

Yep, Unfortunately, Samsung are shocking for their appliances and they do not stand behind their machines or warranties.

Jessica Jones says:
13 September 2015

I bought my beko second hand for £180 in 2009. Zero problems and love it to bits for what does at this price. After six years service its decided to start leaving me.
The door no longer stays closed when the drum is empty, i have a large crack above the draw.
Whilst occasional wholes have been appearing in clothes recently I shall miss this product when it gets skipped.
Having never been let down, I can recommend only using liquid not powder, whilst putting your machine on a hot wash at least twice a month.
At work I clean our mileles are put on every week for hot washes as they are in constant use. It can safe your machine.

I also would not waste any money on purchasing those horrible anti smellie crystals their advertising at five pounds a tub in asda. Just put a scoup of bicarbonate of soda in your washing machine and stick it on an empty hot wash. the smell is just as nice.

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Which?’s current top 40 best buy washing machine list is headed by 11 from Samsung, Zanussi and LG. Out of 13 brands these come, respectively, 6th and 7th= in Which?s Reliability table. 10% points behind the leader. So just how does a Best Buy come with iffy reliability? A best buy should surely offer value for money, which includes lasting well for it’s price (none of these were cheap).
I’d like to know just what Which? mean by reliability. Does it mean lasting a certain time without breakdown and, if so how long? Just how is it assessed?

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I was sitting at my computer this evening and I heard my washing machine going,which I thought was strange as I hadn’t turned it on. I went to check and it was on fire the machine door was open and it had switched it self on. It was on fire around the door locking mechanism luckily I had small fire extinguisher that I used after I had turned off the main switch. I am going away for month next week so dread to think what could have happened if it happened while I was away.
The Machine is an Indesit PWDC 8125W

Liam Hartley says:
18 March 2016

:O That’s why I always, always turn appliances off at the plug when not in use.


Bought a Hotpoint Aqualtis that had ongoing repairs and was eventually written off by Domestic & General last March. They insisted on replacing with Hotpoint and now 20 months later the machine is sounding awful and i daren’t use it. Hotpoint insist I must pay as its over a year old. Forums are covered with similar complaints with weights and pumps but still they continue.


I have had my Bosch machine for 2years and 4months and already i am having trouble with the machine not spinning very unhappy and disappointed


My Bosch washing machine is two and half years old, recently it has got noisy, now told bearings have gone, £248 to repair. I always buy bosch as normally very reliable, last 2 machines lasted 12 or 13 years each, but came with 5 year warranty, can’t help wondering if change to 2 year is down to poor reliability.

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Which? today are recommending a Samsung WW80J4610CX washing machine:
“Which? verdict:
This high-scoring washing machine is practically perfect in every way 82%”
It may well be, but I could not find some information on the Which? site tat many regard now as important factors:
What is the length of manufacturer’s guarantee?
Is the machine repairable (economically)?
How reliable is it?

Which? mag Jan 2016 does not give a reliability rating for Samsung, so may not know. However, for similar money you can buy a Miele with 90% reliability rating (top of the brands) and better value for money (5*).

I would like Which? to be more objective in the information published, particularly taking on board BEUC’s wish to see more durable and repairable products. If it has this information then it should be published. If not then perhaps it should restrain its enthusiasm (“practically perfect”?!!!! I wish)

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I have suggested repeatedly that information about the length of manufacturers’ guarantees is included in product tests and for Which? to report on retailers that offer better than average warranties. Any special promotions offering longer warranties are a bonus. If I’m going to spend my money on new appliances I want to be sure that I am not faced with large repair bills or pursuing my rights under the Consumer Rights Act. Please can we have information about guarantees and warranties.

One of the problems with assessing repairability is knowing whether spares are available and how long they will remain available. It might be useful to look at manufacturers’ policy on spares and past performance but I cannot see how we will know about spares for a particular model in five years time.

For some products that remain virtually unchanged for years it can be easy to give an assessment of reliability, but with home electrical goods there is a rapid turnover and only time will tell how reliable a particular model is. Someone with inside knowledge might know that model Y is little changed from model X which is proving reliable, but that information is not readily available.

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BEUC among others are asking for spares to be available for a certain time after the product is replaced.

Brand reliability, plus knowledge of where the product originates, is a useful guide. Which? publish this information regularly for many products, including washing machines, but I don’t know how good their information is. Perhaps they could tell us.

Lab testing by knowledgeable people should be able to contribute towards an assessment of likely reliability by the components used and the build quality, as well as testing. this particular washing machine was launched in May 2015, tested in June, so plenty of time to do reliability tests just as I believe the German consumers’ association does. And why so long between testing and releasing the accolade?

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Until manufacturers commit to holding spares for a minimum period or we have legislation requiring this (seems unlikely). A decent guarantee and an assurance that spares will remain available would do a lot to convince me that a company is treating consumers with respect.

I have been keeping an eye on Samsung washing machines, some of which have generally done very well in recent Which? tests. Unfortunately, the Samsung website is very unhelpful but I have seen quite a number of Samsung machines with a 5 year guarantee or warranty on the two retailers’ websites I have looked at. The more expensive Samsung machines have a motor with a ten year guarantee.

Five or six years ago I broke the door catch mechanism on my old washing machine and my first thought was to go for a Miele. Nowadays I know that Miele spares are exceedingly expensive and available only to their own agents. Companies make a profit one way or another and I know people who have been taken in by advertising, bought expensive brands and regretted it.

Samsung has done well with their phones and TVs, but I would like to see how wells their washing machines are lasting five years from now.

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I have bought Miele spares direct from them (I am not an agent) at a reasonable price, and found them very helpful. I have also found the products of their I have bought to be very durable and reliable.

The EC are concerned about the “circular economy” that includes durable and repairable products. That would mean availability of spares. Maybe they will enact some useful legislation.

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I am guided by what others have said, Malcolm.

I’m wary of the ‘circular economy’ for reasons I have explained but if European consumers’ organisations are properly involved in development of legislation we could make useful progress.

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I caught the end of a tv news item about The Netherlands and their circular economy.

No household rubbish went to landfill but was all recycled. All the reusable stuff was removed, what was left was burned and the ash used to make paving stones.

What struck me was the organisation, the way it seemed to be managed in a clean and efficient manner not like our individual councils showing they are doing their bit and the back-street cowboys trying to make a quick buck.

It was bad news a plastic recycling company in the UK closed down because the price of oil has dropped so it can’t make enough money.

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Burning the otherwise unusable rubbish is a good idea I think……..However not so far from me there has been planning app’s made and the local public has kicked up such a ding dong that it is on then its off several times………..It should be a lot cleaner than most previous forms of generation but yet again not on my doorstep………
We had another north coast wind farm turned down because it would spoil the view yet the wind farm was miles out at sea and the rotors barely visible from the land
Annoying that people think that everything should be “away” from them………Everything cannot be away from everyone so what really happens everything gets to be on top of a few who dont need all this energy…………So in a way it is unfair on the few……………that is if they dont like it………………
The people of the Netherlands seem to be much less into objecting to clean energy
If one travels around much of the area there is a high percentage of of local solar power yet here again people say take it out of our town/village……..its awful looking
Wind turbines the same……….The Dutch will happily live within a stones throw of turbines ……………

Local generation make a lot of sense as the infrastructures are not put under pressure in the same way as having the generation remote from the load………..
It is also cheaper in several ways.

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According to folklore there have always been windmills all over the Netherlands….

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Thanks Derek,,,,,,,,,,There was windmills and wind pumps all over……..The “mills” were either for pumping the water out whilst some were mills as in grinding grain………….Pretty simple,,,they couldn’t do without them………….Although much of the internals were wood they were far from quiet and the sails had unique noise also but not push you over noise but people were born into the area and were used to them………….

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Have a look at this article from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s website regarding washing machines in the context of the circular economy: ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/interactive-diagram/in-depth-washing-machines

It appears that the idea is to move towards leasing our washing machines and having them replaced with new shiny ones every few years, confident that the old ones will be properly recycled or refurbished. No problem with the cost of a new machine or paying for repairs, just pay monthly and spread the cost. This is how mobile phones are marketed. I wonder how long it will be before we are excitedly discussing our next washing machine upgrade with our friends.

Note that there the Ellen MacArthur Foundation seems to be focused on business and consumer organisations don’t seem to be mentioned.

I reject this business model. I would like to buy a machine that is reliable and repairable and keep it for as long as possible.

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Wave,,,,,,,,,,,,,I’ behind your theory 100%…………………Even wifey is now going to stop the endless line of fancy phone upgrades

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Sky have their own circular economy with their digiboxes. If yours breaks down they replace it with one of their “refurbished” boxes.

What you actually get is someone else’s broken down box that invariably still has a problem. You also don’t know how it has been treated previously and what faults it may have had and I think this could be a major problem with the Ellen MacArthur appliance circular economy model.

I am all for recycling and there is a big market for second-hand goods but I would also prefer to buy a brand new good quality machine that is reliable and repairable that gives many years of service.

And until recently we had a very good local shop who could repair TVs and digiboxes at very reasonable rates.

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I tried to keep it simple by not mentioning refurbished products but they are certainly part of the plans for the circular economy model. You are absolutely right that refurbished products can have problems, for example if there is an intermittent fault that was not picked up during testing.

One reason why the circular economy is promoted is that manufacturers have a legal responsibility for proper recycling of waste products but there is evidence that this often does not happen and illegal activities are occurring even if the manufacturers are not to blame.

My view is that the cost of proper recycling should be included in the cost of new products and councils should provide free collection services from homes.

Maybe Which? might like to come up with a consumer-focused alternative to the circular economy. :-)

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Bundles, who offer clothes washing by leasing a machine state “Miele is the only remaining manufacturer that uses 100% reusable or recyclable materials” – so presumably that is what the rent you?

If someone leases you something they will make a profit (out of you). So I think you’d be better off buying (cash or loan) the machine yourself. The key is to buy the right machine with the right safeguards. Surely this is why a consumers’ association should exist – to advise on the correct choice? A product that is reliable, repairable and durable and that comes with an affordable warranty.

I confess I scanned through the Ellen MacArthur website and got bored with the continual business speak – as an engineer I am sceptical about this sort of talk; more impressed by practical speak. A lot of “independent advisers” seemed academic – where are the real nuts and bolts men?

Coca Cola were featured in the case studies – looking at materials for bottles. Hardly a good role model, surely, when the products in those bottles contributes to obesity, requiring more food production and healthcare.

And Philips/Turntoo rent a light. This is similar to the pfi (and pf2) models where you rent the equipment – as councils do with their street lights to keep the real cost off the books. instead of owning it. If you want a lighting installation that minimises energy use then why not get one designed and buy it for your commercial premises. why pay a profit to someone else?

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The fact that a rental company (rightly) makes a profit is generally a good reason to buy outright. Even with products that have an affordable warranty are generally contributing profits to another company. I want to see white goods sold with a minimum of five years cover in the price, which makes it easier to compare different models. I have confidence in products sold with a decent guarantee/warranty as standard because I know that a company is unlikely to want to have to foot the bill for repairs.

There can be a good case for hiring equipment that is not in routine use. For example pumps may be needed when there is flooding, as we had over Christmas. On the other hand leasing street lights seems like a way of dealing with a cash flow problem and it is difficult to see that this makes long term economic sense.

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Funny you ask this Wave……..Wifey liked Samsung,,,,,,,,,,,We’ve had a couple of TVs that have doen okay………..Actually they done very well but that patients ran out with the digibox and we opted for a new bigger, cheaper digi TV
Anyhow…….Back to machines
My daughter recently got her first house and I got a new question “Dad will you look up machines and tell us what we need………………….
Because of changes about to happen here at home I had already been looking at machines……….
The washer I got interested in was an Ecobubble………….not sure what model exactly…………not the biggest drum thats for sure
The first draw was the published power consumption which like mpg one has to take with a pinch of salt but not as big a pinch as some cars
The second was a genuine 5 year manufacturer warranty
The Ecobubble fitted both
One more thing………many washers moved from ac motors to dc motors with pulsed width power to control the speed……………these motors have brushes
Some newer machines of late are AC with inverter drives and are brushless
Inverter drives I am familiar with and I know that it is a mature tech as is PWM but inverter drives are very cute operators.
I have built machines with inverter drives and they are brilliant little goodies

Secondly,,,,,a dryer
She doesnt have mains gas and never will have i’d think
I could get her a Propane dryer same as we have but they’d be buying bottled gas and it is not cheap heat/power so Again referring to my last couple of years watching the markets I decided that an electric dryer is way too hard to run and I’m sure they’ll order babies at some point so a dryer will be used often………….with that in mind it could not be a basic cheapy dryer
Condensing dryers dont like the garage temp and that is where everything is
So she got a heat pump dryer……….now Samsung only offered a 2 year warranty on theirs which kinda made me think why…………if they can make a washer that has 5 years whats wrong with the dryer so I didnt go for the Samsung dryer
Now a 5 year warranty on a heat pump dryer is important to me because this is the newer form of drying and not everyone has got it right or maybe hadn’t/passed tense at least
I opted for the cheapest A*** with warranty which was the Grundig
The nearest other 5 year warranty seemed to be Miele and their prices are off the plot to me anyhow………….We got the Grundig 8kg for 450,,,,,,,,,Miele was 700 odd for 7kg or or a silly over 1k for the 8kg………………..Daddy or/and Daddy in law is not that well off I’m afraid

Both seem to be working fairly well………….noise is not an issue and was never going to be but both are very quiet………….minimal vibration/shaking if any from the washer which I’m told washes well……………
The dryer does the job and is in reality not far ahead of the kwh Grundig advise which is something I was really really interested in as I’ve found fault with many machines against their published figures in the past…………….The dryer is no sprinter but no heat pump dryers are it seems………still as long as the kwh is low what odd’s

Personally I am still debating about fixing our own rare contraption that has outlasted all others we’ve had a few times over and the option has always been the Ecobubble……………
I cannot fault the daughters as yet and if wifey said to me “we need a new machine” Ecobubble it would be
Yes there are grumblers but there are grumblers about everything

Hope That helps
Sorry I cannot help further but she’s only had it several months but to date its been perfect

Profile photo of wavechange

Thanks DK – I had not appreciated that a condensing dryer would be less efficient when used in a garage, though I can understand the reason. Heat pumps are a more intelligent solution, particularly because water is a precious resource.

I am surprised that the white goods industry has taken so long to move to brushless motors with electronic commutation, since I encountered them in the late 70s. One of the features of my 1982 washing machine was that it used a permanent magnet motor, but it still has brushes. Many washing machine motors wear their brushes because they reverse frequently but mine is very good in this respect.

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The heat pump dryers also list a low limit of temp……………I dont remember what it is but my daughters has ran perfect through freezing nights just fine whereas the condensing dryer kinda uses the heat of the house run its process………….
Be careful though……….heat pump dryers are not maybe perfect as yet although my daughters and several local relations all have had them for I think about 2 year………They have dropped a load in price to the point where costing and running costs are on a par with bulk LPG/Propane……………I dont think they’ll outlast an old White Knight gasser though…………….We have two both around 25 years old………..no brushes…….not controls,,,,,,,,,,,,,,nothing

Liam Hartley says:
18 March 2016

No, don’t do it. I had the top of the range Samsung Eco Bubble 12kg model a few years back. From brand new to completely dead in 7 months. Six (yes 6) failed engineer repairs (this was a £1000 machine) . In the end had to fight Samsung for my money back. They do NOT stand behind their machines or their warranties. Just last month, bought another Eco Bubble (forgive and forget and all that), and not completely happy with it, makes a little too much noise for a machine advertised as quiet, already had an engineer out, and no help. I know there is always going to be grumblers (I worked in a contact centre for 11 years). But the internet is littered with unhappy Samsung owners.

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Durability: this is what the Germans (Stiftung Warentest) do with their washing machines: (Google free translation, :-) )

“Endurance test: 20%

Three washing machines of any make wash each 1840 times in different programs, with small breaks around the clock. They are loaded with rugged work clothes and wash with a commercial heavy-duty detergent. The endurance test takes about half a year and simulated in fast motion a ten-year use at 3.5 washes per week. The rating depends on whether and when errors occur and how severe they are.

In the test, washing machines dryers 2012 respectively 1 430 washing times in different programs, of which 360 times in the program washing drying nonstop. This corresponds to a total of approximately eight years of use. The reason here: Long washing and drying times”

Seems a necessary test to try to sort out those that might last from those that might not.

Do Which? do this? If not, do Which? acquire this information from those that do test more comprehensively?

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I purchased a reconditioned bosch washing machine back in May 2015 which came with a 12 month warranty.
The spin cycle suddenly got really noisey and I have since been told the machine is un-repairable has the bearings have gone.
I’ve been told a refund is out if the question and been offered a new machine for £140 I don’t feel this is fair.
Your thoughts please.

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Sharon – That it took less than a year for the main bearing to fail points to the fact that the bearing was already faulty -ie-the cage was worn that holds the rollers/ball bearings -the track was worn the bearings run in (due to heavy long term use ) OR the bearing itself is from a faulty batch. I realise bosch isnt what it was but having spent years in heavy engineering repairing every conceivable type of machine tool and buying bearings from good companies like Skefco and fitting them from small inch or so size up to massive ones not one of them failed in years of heavy use . No this is down to either inferior quality or more likely sold to you with worn bearings . The same test is applied as happens to wheel bearings in a cars MOT you try to see if there is any angular movement in them ,there should be ZERO , some bearings are self-adusting or adjustable in tapered roller bearings but in a high spin speed drum they will be fixed . Back onto your shop who supplied you even second hand from a shop must comply with the Sale of Goods Act .

Mrs Earnshaw says:
3 March 2016

I brought a Indesit washing machine back in 2011 and its just stopped working today why are any electrical household things not made to last like they were once over , and i notice with this model Iwc6105 the compartment where the softner went was not emptying instead it was just alway s full of water after a year of use . And i payed over £300 for that .. so iam having to replace it …

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Mrs Earnshaw -is it stone dead -ie- no lights /nothing ? or is there an error code on it. ?

Liam Hartley says:
18 March 2016

Unfortunately, in order to satisfy our want for cheaper and cheaper goods. With most manufacturers it has become a race to the bottom. In order to make machines that are cheap (so people will buy them) something has got to give, and it seems to be quality and reliability.

In real terms, washing machines are cheaper than they have ever been, thinking about what a machine cost 30 years ago, and then add inflation, and average wages etc. Most washing machines are dirt cheap, and we just aren’t going to get the reliability we once had.

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LIam -officially South Korea is where they are made —-UN -officially ?? -two countries one is Poland and the other my favourite country of –build to a price –CHINA .For those that say-ah-ha ! if they are built in Poland you cant criticise China Duncan , before you start to gloat guess where most of Samsung washing machine parts are made—–CHINA -so Poland is just an assembler of Samsung washing machines . For those that wonder where I get my info ,again UK waste of time -the “good “” ,old US of A has a website listing all the manufacturers and where they are built and another gave me the info on the parts coming from China . Why should it be so hard to find inner details of manufacturers on UK websites ?? They wouldnt be censoring us now –would they ??? that wouldnt be cricket ,there again they would probably cheat at that too.

Steve Roberts says:
3 June 2016

We have had our Bosch since the start of 1999. It has just now developed a problem